A Reason for Gratitude
The power of gratitude is undeniable. Regardless of all of the things you would like to improve about your life, there are certainly things to be grateful for. Focusing on the things you are grateful for helps to put the difficulties in perspective. It doesn’t necessarily change those grievances, but it helps to remember that while there is bad, there is also good. And the force of that good can be harnessed to propel you toward the change needed to improve the things you don’t like.
As with most things in life, balance is key. Just like you don’t do yourself any favors by only focusing on the negative, it is also unhelpful to only ever focus on the positive; however, if you find yourself in need of a little structure to help you turn your attention toward the positive more often, this challenge might do the trick!
The Gratitude Challenge
Pick a visual reminder, like a stop sign, a mirror, or your pet, and use it as a cue to reflect on something you are grateful for. Any time you see your visual reminder, pause for a few moments and reflect on at least one thing you are thankful for.
Take the time to thank someone. Expressing thanks out loud is a powerful affirmation.
Thank something besides a human. All too often we take other-than-human entities for granted, even when they are very important to us.
Find a quote about gratitude that resonates with you and post it somewhere that you will see often.
Find a time to look in the mirror and thank yourself for all that you do and all that you are. If you can, take your time and really reflect and revel in that gratitude.
Make an effort to tell people, beings, and things that you regard them with affection, that you love them, and say it out loud. Love can be a great source of gratitude, and expressing it aloud is something we should all do more often.
Spread the gratitude! Go through your closet, cupboards, bookshelf, or pantry and find some things to donate. There may be some things we have that we don’t even remember or never use that someone else would be very grateful to have.
Treat yourself to something special. Just like on Day 5, when you were focusing on all the things you are grateful for about yourself, let yourself revel in that today and enjoy something special because you are grateful for yourself.
Give someone a heartfelt compliment.
Leave a kind review for a business, podcast, artist, YouTube channel, or something else of your choosing. Go out of your way to turn your gratitude into a public expression.
Write a list of all the things you can think of that you are grateful for about yourself. This can be something you post somewhere or just a list you make for the sake of the exercise.
Make another list today, this time of things you are grateful for outside of yourself.
Volunteer some of your time. Are you grateful for your local park? Spend an hour or two picking up trash in it! Are you grateful for your local library? Reach out and ask if they have any volunteer tasks. Find a way to offer your time and energy to someone or something that you appreciate.
Before a meal, pause to think about the very simple gratitude of having something to eat. Even if it isn’t something you’re excited to consume, simply being able to nourish yourself is cause for gratitude.
Give a physical note of thanks to someone, either in the mail or by leaving it somewhere they will find it.
Find a way to give yourself a break. Maybe this means ordering a meal instead of cooking it or giving yourself permission to not finish your to do list. Your time and energy are important and precious. Express gratitude for them by giving yourself a break.
Find a piece of media (podcast, tv show, song, book, poem, work of art, etc.) about gratitude and engage with it.
Express gratitude for someone special to you by reaching out and catching up with them.
Leave an encouraging comment on someone’s social media.
Make a gratitude meal or item of food. As you are putting your food together, think about what you are grateful for, and reflect on your gratitude for the nourishment and joy the food is going to bring you. You will cook your gratitude right into the food and it will come right back to nourish you!
Extend your gratitude outward by doing something kind for a stranger. Maybe you pay for the coffee of the person behind you, maybe you hold the door open for someone else, or maybe you help someone who has dropped something. Be on the lookout for an opportunity to help someone you don’t know!
Pick something you are grateful for and write a poem about it. As long or as short as feels right to you.
Send a friend or loved one lunch (or something else of your choosing, ideally something edible). Just like on day 20 when you made a gratitude meal or food item, you can nourish someone else with your gratitude.
Make a piece of gratitude art. This could be as simple as a doodle or as complex as you would like to make it. Weave, collage, draw, paint, sing, dance, engage in some form of art, inspired by your gratitude. If you don’t know where to start, ask yourself, “What does my gratitude look like? What color is it? What does it smell like? What does it sound like? How big is it? What shape is it? What textures is it made up of?”
Try to go one full day without complaining aloud. While there are certainly things to complain about, all the time, see what not complaining out loud for a day does for your headspace and your sense of gratitude.
Go for a walk, a drive, or sit somewhere you enjoy and try to spend all of that time noticing things you are grateful for and contemplating all of the specific nuances about them that you enjoy.
Now that you’re almost done with this challenge, use today to reflect on obstacles to feeling or expressing gratitude.
Contemplate how this challenge has impacted the last 30 days for you. What feels different? What feels the same?
Find something from these last 30 days that you will commit to carrying forward with you.
Write a note of thanks to yourself for completing this challenge. Put it up somewhere you will see it.
Gratitude is Where Change Starts
Congratulations on completing this 30-day gratitude challenge! Hopefully it was helpful in reminding you of some of the good things in your life, and the importance of dwelling on those things and expressing your thankful feelings for them. Don’t forget though, that balance is still important. Making more space for gratitude doesn’t mean that everything in your life is perfect and/or that nothing needs changing or improving. Focusing on the negative sometimes can help you learn and grow from mistakes and/or initiate and work toward necessary change.
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