3 Reasons Gratitude Is a Powerful Antidote to Coronavirus Stress

3 Reasons Gratitude Is a Powerful Antidote to Coronavirus Stress

3 Reasons Gratitude Is a Powerful Antidote to Coronavirus Stress

Gratitude may seem like the last solution when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic.

After all, this virus has taken away many jobs and lives, and everyone can feel the stress of this global event to some degree. During this time, we may feel tempted to wave our fist at the sky and ask God why he hasn’t intervened and why he can’t improve our present circumstances.

Nevertheless, Scripture does call us to exercise gratitude for a reason (Colossians 3:15). No matter what circumstance the biblical writers encountered, whether jailed like Paul, imprisoned like Joseph, or on the run like David, the writers continued to exercise thankfulness—no matter whether the Lord had showered overt blessings on them that day or chose to withhold them.

Not to mention, gratitude can give us some health benefits.

According to the Psychology Today article linked above, gratitude can reduce aches and pains, erase toxic emotions, and improve sleep patterns and self-esteem.

In a time full of stressors and uncertainty, here are some powerful reasons that gratitude can help combat our anxieties and aid our efforts as we cling to and trust the Lord during this time.

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Several People in Scripture Exercised Gratitude in Trying Circumstances

Several People in Scripture Exercised Gratitude in Trying Circumstances

We see several examples of people showing thankfulness in Scripture, but we may be tempted to think that they only did so when God showered blessings upon them. After all, David had praised God after God had granted him victories, such as seen in Psalm 20.

Nevertheless, the Bible contains an enormous amount of examples of people who hit hard times and continued to praise the Lord. Because we look to these figures for examples of righteous living, let’s dive into these instances.

David, as mentioned before, didn’t have a great go at things from the start.

Igniting the King of Israel’s jealousy, he spends a good portion of his life on the run from Saul’s murderous rage (1 Samuel 23-24). Even when David ascends the throne, he loses his best friend to battle. Later, his own son tries to overthrow him, and his son dies a painful death (2 Samuel 18).

However, no matter what circumstance David encounters, we see him declaring the praises of the Lord in passages such as Psalm 86:12, Psalm 67:5, Psalm 9:1, and others.

Another example, Job, chooses not to curse God when his situation turns sour.

Satan wagers with God that if he takes away Job’s family, possessions, and health, that God’s faithful servant will turn on him and call curses upon his Creator (Job 1-2). Nevertheless, when Satan strikes Job, the opposite happens. Instead, Job praises God’s name (Job 1:21).

Even when his own wife, who managed to evade the disasters, tells him to curse God and die, Job chastises her saying, “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” (Job 2:10) In other words, we can’t just praise God and exercise gratitude during the good moments, but the bad moments as well.

Lastly, in Acts 16, Paul and Silas (a ministerial friend of Paul), show how to praise God in the midst of a difficult trial.

Paul and Silas were wrongly strippped, beaten with rods, and imprisoned. But instead of choosing to lick their wounds, they sing praises to God in the jail cell (Acts 16:25). Throughout his ministry, Paul opts to exercise thankfulness despite often being homeless, imprisoned, beaten, or even pummelled with stones.

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We Can Always Find Something to Be Thankful For

We Can Always Find Something to Be Thankful For

We don’t have to wait until Thanksgiving to go around the dinner table and list something we’re grateful for.

As mentioned in this Talkspace article, we can focus on minor items we often overlook as something we can lift up praises to God on high. Maybe God gave us a blue sky today, or the succulent plants in our home brightened the room. No matter what the case, we can always find something to be thankful for.

I often try to write a list of ten things I’m grateful for as soon as COVID-19 virus overwhelms me. In this way, I can avert the effects of stress.

Listen to the song “Blessings” by Laura Story or any number of uplifting songs to give you peace during crisis. Although a great amount of evil has come from this virus (Genesis 50:20), God can always take something evil and create something good from that situation. Because Paul and Silas wound up in prison, they converted the guard and his family that night.

Because David was on the run, he had the opportunity to spare Saul’s life. And Job’s home and fortune were more than restored by the end of the narrative.

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Gratitude Brings Health Benefits

Gratitude Brings Health Benefits

As mentioned above, gratitude can have a number of health benefits. It appears to improve the health of a human being physically, mentally, and physiologically. And Bible believers will argue a spiritual sense as well.

According to this Harvard Health article, gratitude can make people happier. It improves relationships, can motivate employees to work harder and more efficiently, and can help brighten one’s outlook on life.

Other health benefits that have been correlated to gratitude include counteracting depressive thoughts, and can help improve mental health as well as the health of a heart and gastrointestinal system.

Although there isn’t a direct causation link, they have found correlations between a grateful heart and improved health.

Even if gratitude doesn’t carry health benefits, Scripture does call us to exercise thankfulness nonetheless (Colossians 4:2). What are some practical ways we can show thankfulness during COVID-19, especially when we don’t feel like it?

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woman in doctor coat with stethoscope eyes closed hands over heart praying

Some Ways to Show Thankfulness

There are so many creative ways to be grateful. Here are just a few suggestions of ways to express your gratitude this week to your family, your friends, and most importantly, to God.

Look Around and Write it Down

First, create a list of 10+ items that you’re thankful for. You can even take a look around your room and come up with 10 examples alone. For instance, in my room I’m grateful for a couch to sit on, a computer to type this article, a warm cat snuggled by my side, a lap desk to hold my computer, a pillow to support my back, a window to the outside world, a blue sky, a house heater that works (it’s going to snow today), Wi-Fi, and clean clothes to wear.

Although so many things may be going wrong, there’s a lot going right as well.

Send Gratitude or Support

Second, write thank-you notes or texts. Teachers, health care workers, essential workers, among so many others could use gratitude right now. Make their day and tell them why they had brightened yours.

Third, give to your local church, local ministries, and local businesses. Now more than ever local businesses need our time, whatever finances we’re able to give, and our gratitude. If you love a local ministry or want to help your church, give.

We don’t have to attend church on Sundays to give.

Many pastors and churches have had to reduce staffing salaries because people have ceased giving because they aren’t attending church physically. It's an out-of-sight out-of-mind kind of phenomenon. But now, more than ever, they need us to show our gratitude by supporting them in whatever ways we can.

Pray in Praise Daily

Lastly, pray daily. Make sure to praise God just as much as we supplicate for him to meet our needs. He has given us so many good things. And with thankfulness, we can see these amass more and more by the day.

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headshot of author Hope BolingerHope Bolinger is a multi-published novelist and a graduate of Taylor University's professional writing program. More than 1,200 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer's Digest to Keys for Kids. She has worked for various publishing companies, magazines, newspapers, and literary agencies and has edited the work of authors such as Jerry B. Jenkins and Michelle Medlock Adams. Her modern-day Daniel trilogy is out with IlluminateYA. She is also the co-author of the Dear Hero duology, which was published by INtense Publications. And her inspirational adult romance Picture Imperfect releases in November of 2021. Find out more about her at her website.