How Thanksgiving Changes Your Brain | Northlands Church

How Thanksgiving Changes Your Brain

by: Laura Boal

"Giving thanks" changes us, spirit, soul and body, and brings us to a place of joy!

Lift up a great shout of joy to the Lord! Go ahead and do it—everyone, everywhere! ...You can pass through his open gates with the password of praise. Come right into His presence with thanksgiving... He's so loving that it will amaze you; so kind that it will astound you! And he is famous for his faithfulness towards all. Psalm 100:1,4-5 (The Passion Translation, Simmons)

Did you ever wonder why God commands us to give thanks always? Here are just a few of the reasons.

Physiologically, it turns out that joy and thankfulness really are good medicine. “If [thankfulness] were a drug, it would be the world’s best-selling product with … indication for every major organ system,” says Dr. Doraiswamy of Duke University Medical Center. Brain scientists tell us that an “attitude of gratitude” literally boosts your immune system. It reduces your stress level, blood pressure and blood sugar. And it improves good neurotransmitters, things like serotonin and dopamine that make life better for all of us. If you’re sick, of course, thankfulness won’t replace going to the doctor. But it will certainly increase your wellness.

Even more importantly, thanksgiving connects us with the presence of God. Thanksgiving and joy are the mood of Heaven. What sorrow could survive in the face of the One who is all power, love, goodness, holiness and light? Now, because our human spirits are connected to the Holy Spirit, we can tune out the world around us and draw our mood from His presence. Thanksgiving is the key.

When we experience sorrow or loss, of course there’s a season for grief. Especially in those times, we run to His presence. He will meet us, comfort us and provide for us. But for most of us, grief isn’t what sidelines us; it’s simple discontent or ingratitude.

Are you stuck in a place of ingratitude? Take heart; God doesn’t love you any less! But hear his invitation to you: Don’t stay bound up in an inferior reality. Scripture tells us:

► We are seated in heavenly places.
► When we’re in need, we can run to Him.
► Our God will supply all our needs according to His riches in glory.

Try spending a little time every day thinking of what you’re thankful for. Big things or small things! Discover the secret God has revealed to His children: thanksgiving brings us to a place of joy.

Dr. Doraiswamy: ABC news, 11/23/2011; 1 Corinthians 6:19, Romans 12:15, Hebrews 4:16, Ephesians 2:4-6, Philippians 4:19

Prayer

Lord, thank you for promising that You will never leave me or forsake me. Even on the hardest days, You are looking out for me! Here’s what I am thanking You for today…


© 2016 Northlands Church and Laura Boal. Permission to share so long as credit is given.