Gratitude in the Storm

by Sharon Clark
22nd September 2021

Gratitude is a powerful thing, there is now an abundance of scientific evidence that the simple practice of writing down 3 to 5 things that you are grateful for each day for 21 days, will rewire your brain to think more positively and increase your happiness, health, sleep and energy, enhance relationships and your overall wellbeing will improve by about 25%. Win, win, win!

I have grown up practising gratitude in my everyday life, but in the last few years, I have studied gratitude and consciously practised it and proven that it works. I have had the privilege of running Gratitude Groups with the staff members where I was a Chaplain and have seen the changes and empowerment that it has brought to many people over and over again.

Some people seem to think that gratitude is just about looking at all the good things that happen to you when things and going well, just focus on the good and that makes you feel better, but I believe gratitude is so much more than that.

Gratitude is about appreciating what we have, seeing it, reflecting on it and be thankful for it. It’s about contentment and being satisfied with what we have, not always focusing on what we don’t have and longing for more, not looking for the next or better thing to happen and missing the present moment we are in.

When things are tough and life is challenging and complex, or just difficult and hard, practising gratitude becomes a choice we make. Because we certainly don’t feel like it, it’s a struggle and a huge effort to choose to be grateful. But in the midst of the storm, when we focus on gratitude, the transformation that occurs is amazing. It doesn’t change our circumstances and make everything all better for us, but it is still miraculous. By being still and reflecting on the good things in the midst of the struggle, it changes your focus to the things that are good in the situation, they may seem small and insignificant in comparison to your significant trial or hard circumstance, but those little things that you start to notice that are good, they will change your life and improve your journey through the storm.

There were times in the midst of my storms when all I could do was read my gratitude journal, as I couldn’t think of anything to be grateful for, but when I looked back on the lists of things I was thankful for, something shifted in me. My focus changed and I started to remind myself of the numerous good things that are happening even in the midst of the storm. Slowly hope was restored and started to grow, with that hope comes the courage to continue on.

So where does Gratitude originate from? The Bible. Written thousands of years ago and still relevant for today.

7 times we are encouraged to show Gratitude in this Psalm below. Gratitude is one of the keys to being happy, content and at peace.

Psalm 100 New International Version
A Psalm. For giving grateful praise.

1 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
2     Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his;
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.

We have been given many hints, keys or tools that will improve our lives and make them more enjoyable, but often we can miss them. Gratitude can seem too simple or too easy for people to actually believe it will work, so they don’t try it. But I think if I could create a medication that if I could put into a pill and sell it, that guaranteed to increase your happiness and overall wellbeing by a minimum of 25% with absolutely no bad side effects, I would be incredibly rich very quickly.

My challenge to you is, are you willing to use the power that has been given to you, to increase your happiness and wellbeing? We all have the choice. There are lots of resources and tools available to assist us. Please send me an email if you would like me to send you some resources to get started or you can search online for Gratitude Group information.

About the author

Sharon is the Program Director for Chaplaincy and Community Services at Alphacrucis College.