Thanksgiving: Gratitude is Good for Your Health and Reducing Stress

Thanksgiving: Gratitude is Good for Your Health and Reducing Stress


Gratitude and giving thanks always is a recurring theme throughout the Bible, and medical science also lists a number of things thankfulness reduces such as stress, anxiety, depression, inflammation and more.

Science proves thankfulness affects the body

In a recent interview, a social worker from the community health network listed a number of issues being thankful can improve, while explaining the science behind it.

“It activates a part of our nervous system called the Vagus nerve,” Jennie Voelker told WishTV in Indianapolis. “This nerve helps us to move from the stress response, that fight or flight, to the calming and balanced response.”

“We’re activating that nerve while we share or experience gratitude,” Voelker added.

Psychiatric studies show “thankful thoughts” affect body in numerous ways

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

– Philippians 4:6

The Bible teaches us that being thankful reduces anxiety. Science has reached the same conclusion. Here’s why…

The Vagus nerve is the main contributor of the parasympathetic nervous system. It’s also part of our gut-brain axis. It’s responsible for the regulation of internal organ functions, such as digestion, heart rate, and respiratory rate, as well as vasomotor activity, and certain reflex actions, such as coughing, sneezing, swallowing, and vomiting. Stimulation of the vagus nerve can help with depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the immune system, playing an important role in inflammation. Further, the vagus nerve has been proven to represent an important link between nutritional, psychiatric, neurological and inflammatory diseases.

Vagus nerve stimulation treatments and meditation techniques have been shown to be beneficial, the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry reports. Researchers say there is clinical evidence for the efficacy of mindfulness-based stress reduction in the treatment of PTSD.

Thankfulness and gratitude a running theme in the Bible

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

–1 Thessalonians 5:18

In both the Old and New Testament, advice on being grateful and thankful in all circumstances is a continual, recurring theme.

The apostle Paul, who wrote 13 books of the New Testament, nearly half, also offered more passages on thankfulness and gratitude than any other author in the Bible. What’s most astonishing is that Paul’s life was one of unrelenting suffering. Yet, he is repeatedly thankful amid both good and bad conditions, no matter what came his way.

Why should we be thankful for both good and bad?

All the bad we suffer only makes us stronger. The apostle Paul taught that no matter what sufferings we face – they pale in comparison to the sufferings Christ endured to redeem humankind from sin, and prove that life after death exists. The fact that Christ rose after death – defeating death – means that we shall, too. Life does not end with this life here on earth. It is eternal.

A greater glory, free from suffering, awaits those who turn away from sin and put their faith in God. They shall have victory over death, receiving the gift of eternal life.

Paul writes:

“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

– 1 Corinthians 15:57

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