The Power of Thanksgiving

Day 1 of 7 • This day’s reading

Devotional

The Power and Benefits of Thanksgiving 


By Luann Doman


“It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High.” Psalm 92:1 (NKJV)


Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. If you participate in social media, you’ve probably noticed that it’s become popular for many—including myself—to launch the season with a post-per-day of something we’re thankful for.


I’m not sure when or why I started doing this, but it’s become somewhat of a tradition. I enjoy thinking of and sharing fun or funny things to be thankful for. My hope is that it spreads a positive vibe to my friends and family, challenging them to be grateful as well.


And according to Dr. P. Doraiswamy, head of biologic psychology at Duke University Medical Center, giving thanks is also good for my health. “If [thankfulness] were a drug, it would be the world’s best-selling product with a health maintenance indication for every major organ system,” Dr. Doraiswamy says.


Studies on gratitude have shown measurable effects on everything from neurotransmitters (serotonin, norepinephrine), social bonding hormones (oxytocin), cognitive and pleasure related neurotransmitters (dopamine), to inflammatory and immune systems stress hormones (cortisol), cardiac and EEG rhythms, blood pressure, and blood sugar, according to Doraiswamy. Other medical studies have indicated a thankful attitude reduces stress and boosts immunity. 


When the Psalmist wrote Psalm 92, I’m not sure if he was aware of the specific health benefits that thankfulness produces. However, he surely knew it is good, right, and appropriate to give thanks to the Lord. 


Whatever situation you are in right now, whether it is good or challenging, are you able to give thanks? Can you join the Psalmist in praising the Lord for His lovingkindness in the morning and for His faithfulness in the evening? Can you recount the work God has done in your life? Are you amazed by the depth of the Lord’s thoughts (Psalm 92:2–5)? 


I hope you’ll join me this year in counting blessings, in looking on at all God has done, is doing, and will continue to do in, through, and around you . . . in reflecting and praising Him simply for who He is, for His character, for His nature, for His goodness, and His loving kindness. He is worthy. He is worthy of all our thanks and praise!