There are days where it is hard to find anything to feel thankful about. These are the kind of days when something happens to us that feels unfair and undeserved. God calls us to be thankful in all circumstances, regardless of how we feel about those circumstances. God calls us to take perspective of our circumstances and find the good even during the bad. We are called to rejoice in every single day, recognizing that “this is the day that the Lord has made;let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24).
As Christians we are called to recognize that every good thing comes from God. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (James 1:17). The source of all that is good does not come from within our own actions but from the outpouring of our Father. We have been given many gifts and talents that have helped us achieve anything good that we have in our lives.
God does not call us to be thankful FOR all circumstances but rather to be thankful IN all circumstances. “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
Put this into action by joining our 25 Days of Gratitude challenge. We are starting every morning by thinking of 25 reasons to be thankful. You can read more about how this can change your life in our post here.
What if I told you I had the secret to having a stronger immune system, lower blood pressure, and a better night’s sleep? The secret to being more alert, alive and awake. The secret to optimism and happiness? According to the decade long research done by Robert Emmons at The University of California, there a way to improve our physical, emotional and social health - and the secret is practicing gratitude.
Emmons studied over a thousand people with ages ranging from eight to 80 years old. He found that people who are consistently thankful report benefits in their emotions, their health and their relationships with others.
One of the easiest ways to cultivate gratitude is to use a gratitude journal. Like anything else in life, we have to be intentional about being thankful. Being thankful is easy when things are going well but practicing gratitude on a bad day is much harder.
Do you think you can find 25 things to be thankful for every day for the next 25 days? That is our challenge to you! Once a day, every day, write down 25 things you are thankful for. The next day do the same thing. The lists can have similar things on them - but no cheating! Don’t copy your list from the day before.
An important factor is consistency! If you miss a day, then the 25 days start over again. I’m currently doing this and I’m on day five (for the second time).
Here are some sample things I’ve listed: air conditioning, a good parking space at Kroger, my family, my phone screen not cracking when I dropped it, a job that I love, friend who care about me, the milk wasn’t expired when I wanted a bowl of cereal.
Can you join our challenge? What are some things that you are thankful for?
The idea of being sad in the summer seems counterintuitive. Being sad feels associated with dreary winter days and no sunshine. However, the reality is that feeling a kind of seasonal sadness in the summer is perfectly normal. During the summer kids and teens are thrown off their normal schedule and routines. They might mess up our circadian rhythm by staying up too late and sleeping through the afternoon. There can be a sense of purposelessness in the summer without a school schedule to think about.
Can you relate to this feeling of summertime sadness? If so, you aren’t alone. We have some suggestions for how you can battle the summertime blues:
1. Keep a consistent eating schedule
Don’t confuse your body with a weird eating schedule. Set yourself a consistent schedule so that you aren’t experiencing a blood sugar drop in the middle of the day. The schedule can be as simple as wake up at 9, eat lunch at 12, eat dinner at 6. When we let ourselves be inconsistent about eating our blood sugar will fluctuate and can impact our moods.
2. Don’t confuse your circadian rhythm
Being awake during the day is important for our bodies natural rhythm. Our circadian rhythm is an internal biological clock that controls our sleepiness and wakefulness. If we stay up all night and sleep all day our circadian rhythm is thrown off which can cause us to feel moody or sad.
3. Give yourself purpose
Give yourself some (fun) summer goals that you can accomplish. Set your sights on reading five books this summer or learning a new skill. Just because school is out doesn’t mean that there can’t be a sense of purpose about your days.
4. Get out of the house
Take a shower! Put something on other than your pajamas! When you live in PJs and don’t brush your hair you are more likely to feel sad. Give yourself a reason to put on some normal clothes and take a trip to the park.
5. Turn off the TV & phones
Having your face glued to a TV screen for hours upon hours can seem tempting. TV helps pass the time quickly and numbs you to anything else. But watching so much TV and numbing yourself out of feelings leaves you feeling empty and bored at the end of the day. Turn off the TV and put down the phone for a little bit of time and take a break from the screen.
Summer can be a time of fun and relaxation! It is also the perfect time to find some balance and keep working towards healthy habits that lead to a well rounded life. Don’t let yourself get caught up in the summertime sadness. If you are feeling a sense of sadness this summer that can’t be solved by these suggestions, please seek help from a professional therapist. Some things we need help to work through and that’s normal and okay!
Written by our counselors to help promote your help, hope, healing