Whenever I’m exhausted or hangry my mind starts spiraling down, down, down.

Small struggles magnify into immense hurdles.

Little discouragements become portals to dark, depressing thoughts.

Minor issues become monstrous.

Maybe you know that downward cycle, too.

The moment I’m self-aware enough to recognize the exhaustion or low-blood sugar hunger, I do everything I can to shut down the downward spiral and tell myself not to think about those things… but what is good, true, beautiful, high-protein, and low-carb.

Scientists have discovered a powerful question we need to ask ourselves whenever we’re spiraling—whether from lack of sleep, lack of food, or too much stress.

What am I most thankful for in my life right now?

Why is this so important?

Gratitude boosts neurotransmitter dopamine much like an antidepressant does.

When you start making a list of what you’re most thankful for in your life, the emerging feelings of gratitude activates the region of the brain that produces dopamine.

Alex Korb in The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time writes:

“It’s not finding gratitude that matters most; it’s remembering to look in the first place.

Remembering to be grateful is a form of emotional intelligence. With higher emotional intelligence, it simply takes less effort to be grateful.”

I don’t know what area of your life you’re most discouraged in….

Your work..

Your marriage..

Your marital status..

Your kiddos..

Your health…

Your health insurance..

Your church…

Your school..

Your roommate(s)..

Your debt…

Your paystub..

Your career..

But my hope and prayer is that today, you will pause and give thanks.

In the comment section below, will you pause and list 3 areas of gratitude right now.

Let’s get our minds and hearts aligned with Christ—and all the reasons we have to be thankful.