“Enter his gates with thanksgiving, his courts with praise; Give thanks to him; bless his name.” Psalm 100:4
Today our American and Canadian brethren celebrate Thanksgiving Day. We should actually be thankful every single day. There are so many positive emotional, social, physical, and mental health impacts of being grateful. I was just listening to a doctor on the TV yesterday who said that so many young people have mental health issues because of the pandemic. He said his schedule is so full as he has to deal with so many disorders ever since the lock downs. This affects not only young people who usually crave connections and interactions with others their own age, but also those who are older and more mature.
Appreciating what we have can lead to more intimate and connected relationships, motivation and engagement, and less depression, according to Dr. Gail Saltz, a psychoanalyst at Cornell Medical Center. Our outlook becomes more optimistic and satisfied and our mood becomes more upbeat. Thanking God for our many gifts can give us more self-confidence and self-esteem and this can diminish feeling frustrated or envious when things don’t go as we want it to.
It may sound simplistic, but if we think about what we are thankful for before we sleep, better yet have a notebook where we list our blessings, perhaps even number them, most of the time we sleep better. But if I think about all the problems and challenges I’m facing, I have a troubled sleep, and sometimes I even feel my heart beat faster! Giving thanks to God diminishes stress and anxiety, and we can certainly depend on Him to take our burdens from us if we lay them at His feet in prayer.
St. Paul exhorted the Philippians in 4:6-7: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”