Life gets busy, bills pile up, schedules seem endless, and there are never enough hours in the day. Stress starts to build and the tiny, insignificant things suddenly become substantial and earth-shattering in our thoughts and feelings. When stress increases and life becomes overwhelming we often ask ourselves questions like, “When will this all slow down? Where can I find relief?” 

It’s at times like these when we need to press pause! Pause from the to-do list. Pause from the never-ending amount of laundry and dishes. Pause to simply breathe in and consider all the things in which to be thankful for in our lives.

This approach to life isn’t simply to get beyond pressure-filled moments that come and go. Practicing thankfulness consistently is actually shown to reduce stress, help with depression, and create lasting positive effects for years to come. In fact, research is showing several positive physiological effects of thankfulness such as lower blood pressure, better rest, and a stronger immune system.

So how can you practice having a thankful mindset this season and throughout the year? Try these simple things each day:

Breathe in and remind yourself of something you’re thankful for (and then breathe out stress).
Keep a gratitude journal or list of people, situations, or things for which to be grateful.
Remind yourself daily of the gift of living and all its potential!

At times, life gets hard—really hard—and too many negative thoughts bring about undesirable effects. Nobody wants that! So, even in hard times gratitude can become a source of light that helps pull us out of otherwise dreary circumstances.

As Christians, we know Jesus is our ultimate hope! Psalm 147:11 reminds us that “The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.” God cares deeply for us. He loves us more than we can comprehend. He cares about the smallest worries that are on our minds.

So, hold tight to Scripture that brings comfort during times that are otherwise concerning for you. A great verse is found in 1 Peter 5:7 where we’re reminded to, “Cast all your anxiety on him [God] because he cares for you.” Pray when you’re feeling overwhelmed and rejoice in thankfulness. The Lord is good, and there is always good that comes from Him.

Another resource that I highly recommend is One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp. This book is a fantastic resource on this topic of gratitude. It reminds us to live fully present, and find thankfulness in the smallest things of life! This book also offers a section within its pages for listing daily reasons to be thankful.

Breathe in thankfulness by replacing daunting phrases about stress with expressions of gratitude, and then watch how your attitude improves! Find beauty in the ordinary. Take control of the overwhelming by reminding yourself to give thanks for the abundance of blessings in your life!