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?
Dad: Just tell me.
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?
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.
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…
Be grateful for something you hate
Say “I appreciate you” at least 3 times a day
Count your blessings at the end of the day – start with 3
Seek out one thing to read that brings you joy, per day.
Look for the little benefits in every day life
Say “thank you” for the smallest of things- people deserve to hear it
Start a gratitude journal
Do unexpected acts of kindness
Smile more readily
Let someone go first
Give someone a pass
Say you’re sorry
Share good news
Give a compliment
Share your stuff
Pay it forward
Share your talents
Write thank you cards
Share other people’s talents
Write a love letter
Give a small gift
Donate your time
Let someone ramble- don’t correct them
Be there for someone who needs help
Be a person of honor and grace
Just call to say hi
Do someone’s unpleasant task
Hold the door
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.