«In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (l Thessalonians 5:18).
In a report published by The New York Times magazine on Sunday, July 7, 2013, Catherine Campbell pointed out that mental illnesses represent a serious problem not only for our health but for the economy of both the suffering one and the government in general. These illnesses represent more than half a trillion dollars per year for the United States. Its treatment, under no circumstances, guarantees the recovery of mental health.
One of the best ways of dealing with mental illnesses consists of preventing them. In this regard, a rising number of researchers have started studying those strategies that could improve the psychophysical and emotional well-being of people. Among these researchers stand out psychologists Robert Emmons from the University of California and Michael McCullough from the University of Miami who realized an innovative experiment among the university students. After recruiting about thirty students, they divided them in three groups, giving them different tasks. To the first group, they gave the task of writing down everyday things for which they were thankful for. These participants wrote statements like: «I give thanks to God for giving me one more day» or «I give thanks for my friends.» For the second group, the task consisted of writing down the problems or troubles they had had during that day, and they wrote sentences like: «It was difficult to find parking» or «Nobody cleaned the kitchen.» Lastly, the third group had to write about things they had done in general, and they wrote: «I traveled to Sacramento» or phrases like this.
The interesting thing was that, a couple of months after participating in this exercise, the subjects that had expressed their gratitude showed higher levels of psychological well-being than those of the other two groups. What is even more extraordinary is that they showed less symptoms of physical illnesses than the others.
A popular saying makes us aware that «you cannot be dissatisfied and thankful at the same time.» There is wonderful power in gratitude. «Nothing tends more to promote health of body and of soul than does a spirit of gratitude and praise. It is a positive duty to resist melancholy, discontented thoughts and feelings—as much a duty as it is to pray.» (The Ministry of Healing, ch. 18, p. 251).
Let us thank God that His Word gave us simple and efficient principles that bring well-being and satisfaction to our life. Remember that «in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for [us].»