For decades the field of psychology focused its efforts on people who were struggling emotionally and/or mentally. Recently, a science has emerged that studies people who are doing well. This is often referred to as ‘wellness research’. Within this field, psychologists study people who are emotionally and mentally healthy and look to replicate those factors in others to increase their level of well-being or thriving.
So how does this impact me, as a Christian?
In John 10:10 Jesus tells us he has come that we may have life, and have it to the full. I am confident he is referring to eternal life in heaven, but I believe he also longs for us to be filled with gratitude, peace, and joy on our journey toward heaven, as well.
The Bible speaks of joy 442 times! Many of those times it is in the context of this life. Due to sin we know that we will not always be happy. Pain, sorrow, and fear are real challenges that we share. However, through these trials we can remain filled with joy, peace, and gratitude – that is real well-being.
Furthermore, when we look at what the secular science says about well-being, we see it mirrors what the Bible tells us!
There are numerous characteristics people who are doing well have in common. Study after study suggests that one common characteristic of those who are thriving in life is gratitude.
Being grateful…counting your blessings is one of the most important things you can do to increase your level of well-being…and it’s fun!
Each day, reflect on the blessings in your life.
If you are reading this, you have access to electricity today – not everyone in our world does.
If you have electricity today that probably means you have access to clean running water in your house – what a blessing that is so easily taken for granted.
If you are reading this blog it means you know how to read – many people can’t.
Where you able to get out of bed and walk this morning? Not everyone was.
Someone right now is probably praying for something that I take for granted.
Research suggests that being grateful often, and for all of the little things, contributes to our thriving far more than being grateful for a few huge momentous events. What is important is being aware of all the little things as we move through our day.
As followers of Jesus you and I have the greatest gift ever! We know that Jesus paid our debt and because of that we can have true peace in this life and the next! We can be filled with gratitude, regardless of our earthly situation.
Thank you, God…I am grateful!
Dr. Rhoda Wolle is an educational psychologist who serves as the Dean of Student Success and Associate Professor of Education at Wisconsin Lutheran College in Milwaukee, WI. She is an international speaker on the topic of student success and thriving. She also enjoys travel, music, sports, and walks with her dog, Kipper. Her life purpose is to celebrate Jesus and encourage others in using their God-given gifts!