Cause to Pause

Today’s Bible Reading (from Genesis 23-24; Matthew 7
Friday’s: Genesis 25-26; Matthew 8:1-17
Saturday’s: Genesis 27-28; Matthew 8:18-34
Sunday’s: Genesis 29-30; Matthew 9:1-17
Monday’s: Genesis 31-32; Matthew 9:18-38

Robert Emmons, at the University of California, Davis, pioneered research on the benefits of positive thinking. He’s said, “Gratitude is never so important as during those times when everything appears to be lost.” Finding something to appreciate can save us from despair in a way that complaining can’t, which seems counterintuitive because venting our frustrations feels therapeutic. Emmons noted new studies showing that pretending to be thankful raises levels of serotonin and dopamine, chemicals associated with pleasure and contentment. The professor explained that if we live like we’re grateful, even pretend, then the real feelings of gratitude will follow. He emphasized the need to write down things for which we’re grateful because research confirms that those who list items of gratitude are 25% happier ten weeks later than those who don’t. They even feel better about their jobs and tend to accumulate more hours exercising.  Dr. Emmons offered one simple exercise for those wanting deeper meaning in close relationships by suggesting three questions for serious reflection: 1. What have I received from him or her? 2. What have I given him or her? 3. What trouble have I caused him or her?  He said this final question can increase our sense of gratitude by helping us discover “you owe others more than you thought.”[1]

Grateful people realize and acknowledge their indebtedness to others, including to God and His Son!

Best regards,
Mark Dillman
Minister, Airport Rd. Church of Christ

[1] Reader’s Digest, November 2009, pg. 163