How To Practice Gratitude Over Grumbling

Shane FookesBlogLeave a Comment

by Shane Fookes, MA LPC Intern

We live in an emotionally and relationally challenging time

The Coronavirus pandemic continues without an end in sight. Contention seems the theme of the day over any number of topics: masks, vaccinations, economics, history, gender, sexuality, race, policing, just to name a few hot topics. Practicing gratitude may help.

Couple holding hands. Our Christian counselors in Hillsboro, OR can help with Christian anxiety counseling in Hillsboro, OR. We offer stress counseling in Clackamas, OR, trauma therapy in Clackamas, OR, both in-person and via online therapy in Oregon.

Now, we head into the holiday season, a time that can be stressful under normal circumstances. And these are not normal circumstances.

I’d like to offer a tangible practice to decrease the stress you experience not only during the holiday season, but also throughout the year. This practice takes the theme of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday and embeds it into the very fabric of your life: practicing daily gratitude.

Now, I realize that may sound too simplistic. Research has shown it to be highly effective. What we regularly practice forms habits, whether intentionally or unintentionally. If you were able to follow yourself through each day, which do you think you practice more frequently: gratitude or grumbling? As much as you’d like to think you exhibit gratitude, more likely than not grumbling is your go to. Need convincing? What do you do when you encounter more traffic than expected on your commute? What happens when you have to park further away from the store…and it’s raining? How about when you encounter a long checkout line? When your kids won’t cooperate? When your spouse is later than expected? Need I continue? 

You become what you practice

When you habitually practice grumbling, you increase your level of discontent. Perpetual discontent increases your stress because the problem solving part of your brain is hardwired to resolve tension. And while your brain is busy problem solving, your body remains on alert, ready to engage in the solution when it comes. Too often, however, the solution never comes. Because there isn’t one.

Those who look to the Bible for hope and help find similar encouragement to replace grumbling with gratitude when facing difficult circumstances.

Person sitting near windowsill looking cozy. Come receive stress counseling in Hillsboro, OR. Our christian counseling for depression in Hillsboro, OR would love to help you with christian family counseling, christian couples therapy, and more. Call today to get in touch with Christian counselors in Hillsboro, OR.

In Philippians 2:14, we read: do everything without grumbling.

Then, in Philippians 4:6-9, we are encouraged to deliberately practice gratitude.

Keep in mind, the one who wrote those instructions wasn’t sitting on a beach sipping a Mai Tai. He was in a Roman prison cell. Regularly practicing gratitude rather than grumbling helped him find joy even in the midst of tremendous difficulty. 

How To Add Gratitude to Your Life

Here are a few ideas that can help you get started practicing gratitude today:

Woman blowing glitter. If you're looking for christian counseling in Hillsboro, OR, our christian counselors near Portland are here for you. Whether you need christian depression treatment, christian family counselor, we offer in-person and online therapy in Oregon.
  • Link the practice of gratitude to something you’re already doing. For example, as you brush your teeth, challenge yourself to list ten reasons you are grateful. See if you can list 10 different reasons each day.
  • “Repurpose” grumbling situations. When you find yourself in traffic or a long line and you feel the urge to complain, instead remind yourself of as many things as you can for which you are grateful. Challenge yourself to keep working on the list for as long as you are in the line!
  • Keep a gratitude journal. Place it somewhere you frequent each day – on your nightstand, at the breakfast table, on your desk, etc. Whenever you see it, write at least one thing for which you are thankful. Taking a few extra minutes to read back over what you’ve previously written can also be helpful.

Practicing gratitude under difficult circumstances doesn’t come naturally and takes intentionality. However, the more you practice it, the more you shape your brain to look at the world through the lens of gratitude. Over time, you’ll discover your body is more relaxed and your mind more free from persistent anxious thoughts.

Begin Online Therapy in Oregon for Christian Counseling

Our Clackamas and Hillsboro-based counselors are excited to work with you, wherever you are in Oregon. Your relationships can thrive again. We can help you get back on track in a way that aligns with your faith and values. When you are ready to start online Christian counseling in Oregon, follow these simple steps:

  1. Learn about our therapy team in Hillsboro and our caring counselors in Clackamas
  2. Schedule an appointment with your preferred therapist, or contact us with questions
  3. Feel more connected to the important people in your life

Other Mental Health Services at Life Discovery Counseling in Hillsboro, OR

If you are in Clackamas, Happy Valley, Damascus, or Hillsboro, we can help you in person at one of our comfortable therapy clinicsChristian counseling is the cornerstone of our approach to therapy. Not only do we see adults, but children in counseling too. We also work with depression treatmentanxiety therapytrauma therapy and PTSD treatmentrelationship issuesmarriage problems, and postpartum counseling. No matter where you are in the state, we can provide the support you need with online therapy in Oregon. Once you’re ready to start, we’re ready to meet you. Let’s connect!

Headshot of Shane Fookes, Christian counselor in Clackamas, OR

About the Author

Shane Fookes is a graduate of Western Seminary’s Counseling program and a Licensed Professional Counseling Intern. He was previously a pastor and is still involved in churches, and writes about marriage and relationship issues, anxiety, depression, and spiritual development.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *