The gratitude challenge is probably one of the first challenges I put myself up to when I started my whole personal development journey. It seemed to be the topic most talked about at that time, and people like Oprah burned it into my subconscious that being grateful was good for me. And, they were right! Practicing gratitude opened up my awareness and helped me grow in so many other ways. That’s why I recommend it as a challenge if you want to be happier, more aware, and more successful in life.
5 Reasons To Take The Gratitude Challenge
1. Gratitude Helps You Get More Of What You Want
— Jack Canfield (@JackCanfield) October 28, 2016
When you focus on lack, you will attract more lack. Not just by some magical force in the universe, but by thinking, believing, and doing things that make sure of it! Focusing on what you don’t have soaks up a lot of your energy that could be used for taking action to get what you want. Furthermore, it keeps you from taking action because you are sending yourself messages about your lack and why you have that lack.
And, focusing on what you don’t have soaks up a lot of your energy that could be used for taking action to get what you want. Furthermore, it keeps you from taking action because you are sending yourself messages about your lack and why you have that lack. Messages like “I can’t get it” or “I’m not good enough” or “I don’t deserve it”.
For instance, if you are focused on your lack of job, then sitting around stewing, complaining, and crying about it requires you take a lot of energy away from finding a job. And, as you focus on your lack of job, you tell yourself negative things that hold you back from going after jobs you want. You may tell yourself things like ‘I’m not good enough to get a great job!’ or ‘I don’t have the talent to get or hold down a job!’ It’s all very personal, but the fact is we talk negatively to ourselves when we are focused on the negative, and that affects our ability to go after the things we really want in life.
When you are grateful for the things you do have in life, you stay in a positive frame of mind. You feel good about yourself. You feel good about your abilities. You feel good about the direction of your life. And you are more willing to take action to get more of what you want.
And, being in a grateful state helps you get more of what you want in another way too…
2. Gratitude Opens Up Awareness
When you are stuck in a negative state, your awareness is very narrow. You only see things that align with your vision of your life.
For example, if you think people are out to get you, then you watch for people who are out to get you. Even if they aren’t, you can only see the words, behaviors, and actions that cause them to seem like they are out to get you.
BUT if you are holding an attitude of gratitude, your awareness opens up. You look for good things in life. You see good things in all situations. And, you are much more likely to experience happy and positive events during your day.
3. Makes You More Sociable And Less Lonely
When you turn your eye towards things you are grateful for, you feel good about yourself and your life. But, you also see other people in a more positive light. You can see how they are helping you or supporting you. You can see them praising you and acknowledging you. Gratitude is an emotion that helps strengthen your current relationships and build new ones.
A friend of mine said that the gratitude challenge helped her see that her husband wasn’t as bad as she thought. She had been focused on a few negative things he did (which really were not that negative) and once she started writing down things she was grateful for, she found that the things he did for her far outweighed the one or two things that annoyed her.
This has to do with awareness, again. When you see through a narrow focus, you only get a small part of the picture. But once you start practicing gratitude, you open up your view and see all the good things that have happened to you, are happening to you, and will happen to you.
Another friend of mine met his current wife once he took on the gratitude challenge. Before it, he was focused on all the dates that went wrong. He felt like all women were out to get him. But once he started practicing gratitude, he found that there were plenty of women in his life that were giving him things to be grateful for. They were kind, supportive, and loving. That change in perception on women helped him spot women who were kind, supportive, and loving, and he found a woman who fit into his life perfectly because of it.
4. Improve Your Physical And Mental Health
Gratitude has been shown to help a number of physical and mental issues. For instance, it can:
- Help you sleep better. In that study, it was found that sleep helps pre-sleep cognitions, which makes sense. When you are thinking more grateful and positive thoughts, you don’t tend to overthink and worry about the bad stuff. That helps you fall into a lower brain wave state quicker and fall asleep. And, because there is less to worry about and work through, sleeping through the night becomes easier. This matters because a good night’s sleep can benefit many aspects of your health. It can reduce inflammation, improve your memory, expand your lifespan, lower stress, and help you maintain a healthy weight.
- Boost your immune system. Researchers have found that people who see themselves as optimistic have more disease-fighting cells in their bodies. They have also found that gratitude boosts levels of IgA, which is an immune antibody. Perhaps this is because of better sleep and less stress. Or, perhaps it is a mind over matter thing. Either way, we can all benefit from a stronger immune system.
- Lower your blood pressure. Gratitude makes you feel calmer – more at peace. It’s no wonder that your blood pressure would benefit from it.
- Help you become more optimistic. Optimism is highly underrated. To be optimistic means to be hopeful, and hope is what helps you get through the tough times and celebrate the good times even more. It helps you make good choices and face obstacles and issues head on. It helps you stand up when other people try to push you down. Optimism is the catalyst for a happier and better future.
- Reduce aches and pains. It has been reported that grateful people have fewer aches and pains and feel healthier than people who are not grateful. I see this every day in my family. The people who are least grateful are always complaining about aches and pains. The people who can find things to be grateful for are much less likely to feel aches and pains. Perhaps they are too busy focusing on better things and appreciating those things. Or, perhaps it’s because they take care of themselves more (eat well, exercise more, do stress reducing activities) thanks to their higher awareness.
- Improve your self-esteem. Studies have found that gratitude increases people’s self-esteem by reducing social comparisons and by helping them see their positive attributes and contributions.
5. Improve Your Empathy And Compassion
This is a big reason to take the gratitude challenge, especially now. We need empathy and compassion in order to progress our world in a positive way. Each person who adopts these two traits will find a way to contribute to other people’s lives in a positive way.
- They will avoid hurting and bringing other people down.
- They will support and cheer on other people.
- They will be kinder and able to see where other people are coming from.
- They will do things that help improves other lives – donating, sharing, creating, etc.
Empathy and compassion also help improve your life. You stop judging and hating. You replace those things with acceptance and understanding.
I’ve found one of the biggest things is that you stop feeling defensive in life. Your compassion helps you see that people are struggling and their words and actions have to do with them, not you. This insight will improve your relationships, your career, your health, your happiness, and everything else.
How Long Should You Take The Gratitude Challenge?
This challenge should be a 30-day challenge, at least. While other challenges may only require you to do something for a week or a half a month, you will want to do the gratitude for at least 30 days to really experience the benefits.
How To Do The Gratitude Challenge
It’s so easy to do! All you need to do is start writing down things you are grateful for. There are a few different ways you can do this, though.
- In a gratitude journal, gratitude page, notebook, or online notebook, write down short things you are grateful for in a gratitude list. For instance:
- The sun will be out today!
- Getting up on time.
- My dog’s sweet cuddles.
- The possibilities of today.
- In a gratitude journal, gratitude page, notebook, or online notebook, write down longer thoughts in your gratitude list to extend the reasons why you are grateful.
- The sun is going to be out today which means I will get to go for a picnic and spend time with my husband.
- I got up on time and was able to get much more done in the first few hours of my day than I normally get done all morning. Plus, I was able to go for a walk before it got light out and I could see the stars!
- My baby is doing well still and he still loves to cuddle me. I cherish every single cuddle he will give me.
- Today I can do anything I want. I’m grateful that I have choices in this day and can choose to make the most out of it.
- Create a gratitude jar to hold all of the things you are grateful for. Make sure to include a ton of paper pieces to write on, and then every time you are grateful for something, write it down and throw it in the jar. This gives you a visual of your jar (gratefulness) filling up.
If you get inspired to do your gratitude list in another way, do it! It should resonate with you. In fact, the very act of writing down what you are grateful for should make you grateful, so pick a gratitude journal or notebook that inspires you, color your gratitude jar in a color that makes you happy, and write with a pen that makes you feel grateful.
Free Downloads For The Gratitude Challenge
1. Here’s a template for a short daily gratitude list. There are seven spaces to write small thoughts that you are grateful for in your day. There is also two short lines at the end of each page to write any thought or note that comes to mind while taking the gratitude challenge. Lastly, there is a large page at the end to write down any thoughts or notes that you want. There are 10 pages in this downloadable and printable PDF and 10 gratitude lists per page, so you can use this for 100 days!
2. This gratitude journal PDF has more space to write in. If you want to write longer thoughts about what you are grateful for, or just include more items in your gratitude list, then this may be better suited for you than the smaller gratitude journal PDF. Again there are 10 pages and a blank page at the end. Good for 40 days of gratitude lists!
And, remember, World Gratitude Day is September 21, Thursday this year. Gratitude challenge or not, make sure to celebrate it.