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<blog> Are You Up For A 30-Day Gratitude Challenge?

Everyday gratitude… a smile, a wave into traffic, a door held, a nod. We all know how good we feel when we are thanked, or a kind gesture is extended.  But are you extending enough? 


I just got home from spending the last 3.5 hours having lunch with my mom and my cup runneth over.  I’ve laughed all traces of makeup off because I’m a crier when I laugh.  I ‘m certain we alarmed several guests with our spontaneous howling, cackling, and screeching.  We told hysterical stories about my Dad who passed away 14 years ago, which still have me giggling as I’m typing:


Dad: What store are we looking for?

Mom: Guess.

Dad: Just tell me.

Mom: Guess.

Dad: Which store are we going to?

Mom: I said Guess. 

Dad: Quit playing around!


And another… as my Mom was lost in Las Vegas:


Mom: I’m lost in this city and can’t find what I’m looking for.

Dad: Where are you?

Mom: Wynn

Dad: Right now.  Where are you?

Mom: (yelling) Wynn!

Dad: Honey, calm down. I need you to focus and tell me where you are, right now.

Mom: Wyyyyyynn!!

Dad: NOW! Tell me NOOOW!


It all just went on and on and on.

Throughout the hysteria, I hit the table, did the “mime laugh” where you laugh so hard that nothing comes out, I snorted and coughed, and thought I was choking to death.  It was a truly fabulous lunch.  We all need way more lunches like this in our lives.


As I was driving home it dawned on me how fortunate I am.  I am so incredibly grateful to have this relationship with my mom.  I mean, she’s MINE, which is really, really great, right?  I, seriously, lucked out.  Then, I started thinking about life without her and it made me wonder if I do enough to let her know how much I appreciate and love her. Do I call enough?  Do I text enough?  Do I make enough time, for her? As much as I don’t like to think about it, my time with her is limited and I need to make sure that I am putting my gratitude into overdrive.  Sadly, I realized that I don't do enough… and, I’m changing that, today.


So, this week, I want to encourage you to kick your gratitude up a notch and join me for a 30 Day Gratitude Challenge. We all know that gratitude can increase your happiness and wellbeing. There’s plenty of research that focuses on mindful or formal gratitude, with participants doing deliberate writing activities that boost their mood. Studies also show overwhelming effects of casual or everyday gratitude with married couples and friendship when it becomes the fabric of the relationships; those who thank each other more often have happier marriages, and thanking friends or acquaintances creates stronger and longer bonds. 


Stronger and happier bonds… What’s not to love about that?


Here’s a list of 30 acts of gratitude to aid you in your 30 Day Gratitude Challenge.  Simply follow the suggestions and make one idea your focus, each day. As you add multiple actions of gratitude to your life, your relationships and perspective will change.  It’s magic.  Trust me.


So, let’s do this…

  1. Be grateful for something you hate

  2. Say “I appreciate you” at least 3 times a day

  3. Count your blessings at the end of the day – start with 3

  4. Seek out one thing to read that brings you joy, per day.

  5. Look for the little benefits in every day life

  6. Say “thank you” for the smallest of things- people deserve to hear it

  7. Start a gratitude journal

  8. Do unexpected acts of kindness

  9. Smile more readily

  10. Let someone go first

  11. Give someone a pass

  12. Say you’re sorry

  13. Share good news

  14. Give a compliment

  15. Share your stuff

  16. Pay it forward

  17. Share your talents

  18. Write thank you cards

  19. Share other people’s talents

  20. Write a love letter

  21. Give a small gift

  22. Donate your time

  23. Let someone ramble- don’t correct them

  24. Be there for someone who needs help

  25. Be a person of honor and grace

  26. Just call to say hi

  27. Send flowers

  28. Do someone’s unpleasant task

  29. Hold the door

  30. Empathize more


I know that we do these things when we think about them, but how about committing one full month to making it your primary focus.  Can you do it?  What an incredible legacy to be known for being the embodiment of gratitude.  THAT is an honorable life goal.  So, what do you say?


Science tells us that grateful people are typically happier people. Being grateful makes us more optimistic and reduces negativity -- and that's a huge reason to make acts of gratitude a daily habit.  I want to live in a world where this is the norm.  I want to be a part of relationships that value each other on this level.  I want my marriage to reflect this.  I want my mom to know that she means the world, to me.  I’ve got some work to do.


I’m off to order flowers and send that card… and, I’m committed to 30.  I hope you join me.

Onward!

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