In the office the other day I was going through the mail and had received a card. Inside was a note from a person whom I have met one time briefly. They wrote to inform me that they were taking the next couple of months to pray for clergywomen in our conference. Ending the note with, “God thinks you are amazing!” I knew exactly what I wanted to write to you about after receiving that note.
It’s November, and we usually spend time talking about gratitude. It can seem clique and forced, but stick with me for a moment. I was reading an interesting study the other day done by Dr. Joshua Brown and Dr. Joel Wong. Both studying psychology and brain sciences, they were reporting findings on the effects of gratitude on our brains. Very briefly, the study involved 300 adults who were already seeking mental health counseling primarily for anxiety and depression.
The participants were split into three groups. The first group was asked to write a letter of gratitude to someone once a week for three weeks. When they had negative thoughts and experiences, the second group was asked to journal their thoughts and feelings. The third group was asked to do nothing. In short, those who wrote notes each week were still reporting significantly better mental health 12 weeks after writing the third note. (It was measurable in their brains by MRI!) There’s so much more to read in this study and I will reference it below, but I wonder what might happen if we were to take this challenge for the month of November? If each of us wrote a note of gratitude weekly to someone this month. What effect that might have on us and the receipients?
If you follow through with this challenge I would LOVE to hear about it! I will be writing right along with you!
Peace and Grace,