Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Grateful Or Grumpy?

6 Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him — Colossians 2:6 (NASB95)
      Adults who frequently feel grateful have more energy, more optimism, more social connections and more happiness than those who do not, according to studies conducted over the past decade. They're also less likely to be depressed, envious, greedy, or alcoholics. They earn more money, sleep more soundly, exercise more regularly, and have greater resistance to viral infections.
      Now, researchers are finding that gratitude brings similar benefits in children and adolescents. [Studies also show that] kids who feel and act grateful tend to be less materialistic, get better grades, set higher goals, complain of fewer headaches and stomach aches, and feel more satisfied with their friends, families, and schools than those who don't.
– Melinda Beck, "Thank You. No, Thank You," The Wall Street Journal (11-23-10)
Sometimes, I just love the studies that scientific and academic types produce. Some of them are funny. Some ridiculous. Now and then, one just makes perfect sense. The study referenced in the article from The Wall Street Journal falls into that category.

Doesn’t it just make good sense? Doesn’t it fit with your observations of people? It does mine. It’s clear to me that grateful people are happy people. The folks who can’t seem to manage even the slightest bit of gratitude are the most unhappy. They gripe and grumble, fuss and complain, and are almost impossible to satisfy. They go through life experiencing a lot of self-produced pain because nothing is right (at least to them).

Watch the negative, fault-finding, critical, verbal abusers. Gratitude is seldom one of their strong points. Some people seem to enjoy sitting around taking pot-shots at others. They can tell everybody else what they ought to do, how they ought to do it, and can list a quick hundred reasons whatever they’re looking at isn’t good, won’t work, or could be better. They almost never have solutions, improvements, or positive contributions. Largely, it’s because they aren’t grateful for much. Look around. Really. Take a look. You have so much for which to be grateful. You’ve got people and things, maybe a pet, money in the bank (even if it’s a little), sunshine and stars. Best of all, you’ve got a Savior who loves you and died for you, who will save you from your sins and give you eternal life. What about it? Thankful yet?