Now Reading: The Hidden Power of Gratitude in the Fight for Mental Health


The Hidden Power of Gratitude in the Fight for Mental Health

November 27, 20235 min read

We live in the middle of a mental health crisis. That is not a statement of hyperbole. The US Surgeon General said in the summer of 2023, “Mental health is the defining public health crisis of our time, and for many Americans, loneliness is at the heart of that crisis.”Our society is experiencing unprecedented levels of diagnosed depression and anxiety. Suicide is now one of the leading causes of death in the United States, and that sad fact stretches across nearly every demographic and age range among Americans.

The Hidden Power of Gratitude in the Fight for Mental Health

The mental health crisis is complex and requires a proactive approach on many fronts, but public figures and medical professionals often miss one critical front. Scripture clearly describes the principle of gratitude as a secret weapon in building up our mental health fortifications.

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

1 Timothy 2:1-4 (NIV) (emphasis added)


Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7 (NIV) (emphasis added)


As I wrote earlier in this series, a posture of gratitude and thankfulness is not merely repeating words of thanks to God. It is pausing the busyness and activity of our lives and minds and taking the time to look toward God, humble ourselves, and thank Him for His faithfulness.

The book of Psalms describes gratitude as “magnifying God.” When we magnify God, we lift up, zoom in, isolate His being and presence in our thoughts, and consider His awesome goodness. The posture of gratitude involves expressing that reality of magnification from our hearts. It says, God, I see You, I honor You, I thank You for the goodness in my life, even amid the circumstances that often distract me.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15-16 (NIV) (emphasis added)

The secret of gratitude is not a superpower we must discover. God designed mankind to praise and thank Him. Along the way, through various philosophies and distractions, many of us lost that reality in our lives. We were made to thank God!

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

Romans 1:21-23 (NIV) (emphasis added)

The curse of sin and death includes a futility that transcends life, leaving us in despair and misery. That is the end result of sin and turning away from God. A core element of the gospel is our return to God and a resumption of our original status near Him, with Him, and thanking Him.

Activating the potent activity of gratitude in our lives lifts us from sin’s futility, the mind’s depression, and life’s anxieties. It brings us back to where God designed us to stand, in postures of gratitude toward Him.

In an age of mental health crisis, the stakes for accurate and active postures of gratitude in our lives have never been higher. How will you activate this critical spiritual power in your life today?

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