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If there’s one thing I’ve come to learn about life, it’s that it can get quite overwhelming, and pretty quickly too. And I think anyone who has lived through the past few years can attest to that.
When life does its “thing”, it’s easy to get caught up in all that’s going on, that we may sometimes forget to take the time and appreciate the things and people we do have in our lives.
Gratitude is something that truly goes a long way. And not just for our mental health, but for our physical and emotional health as well.
If you’re looking to integrate the habit of being grateful into your life, then this is for you.
In this post, you’ll discover the importance of gratitude, the role it plays in our life, as well as an amazing 30-day gratitude challenge.
This simple challenge will help you appreciate the little things in life more, and make others around you do so too. There’s also a free printable to help you follow through.
Let’s get right into it.
Why Gratitude Is Important
Growing up, we were told, when someone we know, gives us something, or does something nice, we should respond, by saying “thank you”.
Oh, those were much simpler times. Fast forward to the current age. The amount of things we have to deal with today, compared to back then, is significantly more.
Sometimes, we get so busy with dealing with the current issues of life, we sometimes forget to stop and say “thank you”.
Gratitude, is an essential human emotion. And expressing it, can have some positive effects, both physically, and mentally. For example, it can help reduce feelings of stress, and depression in certain situations.
What Gratitude Is Not
Some people, seem to get the misconception, that when we talk about being grateful, we automatically mean you shouldn’t express, or at least feel any other negative emotion.
That’s not the case. If you’re walking to your car, and you accidentally slip and spill a hot cup of coffee all over your clothes, you don’t go “wow, I’m grateful for spilling this coffee all over myself”.
Negative emotions are just as real as the positive ones. The idea of being grateful, is not denying these negative emotions, but simply not letting rule how we think.
So you could spill the coffee and get upset (I would too). But that doesn’t mean you should disregard the other good things that could be happening around you, or to you, and instead let the bad event rule your day, or your mind.
30-Day Gratitude Challenge
This gratitude challenge contains a series of tasks you can complete in a 30-day period. These tasks will help you develop the habit of appreciation, not just to the people around you, but to yourself too.
Also, don’t let the end of the challenge be the fun. Continuing this healthy habit will help you be happier, and live a better life.
1) List 5 Things You’re Thankful For
Like I said earlier, it’s easy to get so caught up in the events of life that we sometimes forget to take a moment to appreciate the good things we do have.
What are some of those good things you can think of, that make you happy? Things you’re grateful to have in your life at the moment? Feel free to think about them and write them down.
2) Send Someone A Thank You Message
Being grateful for good people in our lives is one thing. Showing that appreciation is another. The simplest way you can show appreciation to someone, is by simply telling them thank you.
3) Do Something Nice For Someone
Spread the spirit of gratitude by doing something nice for someone. Just as you’re thankful for the good people and things in your life, they’ll be thankful for having you in their lives.
It could be a friend, relative, the janitor at work, or even a random stranger. Regardless of who the person is, they’ll certainly be grateful for what you did for them that day.
4) Enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature
When it comes to beauty, Mother Nature is unrivaled. If you’ve sat down and watched a beautiful sunset, or looked up at the sky to watch the billions of stars and galaxies, or just seen a beautiful garden, then you know that nature’s beauty is next to none.
Enjoying the beauty of nature can make you realize how truly lucky we are to be here. The odds are truly astronomical.
Whether or not you believe in a God, there’s no denying one thing. And that is that nature is breathtakingly gorgeous, and it is indeed something to be grateful for.
5) List 5 Of Your Greatest Achievements
Don’t let the current tribulations of life make you forget how much of a badass you are. Remembering the things you’ve accomplished in life be a great mood-booster, and help you hold your head high.
6) Give Someone A Complement
You know the feeling you get when someone genuinely complements your good looks? Well, it’s time to return the favor by complementing someone. It could be on their clothes, hair, face, or even character.
Something as simple as a complement can be the highlight of their day, and will help spread the joy and happiness you feel.
7) Say Positive Things To Yourself
One of the first steps to developing a habit of gratitude, is to embrace positivity. And there’s no better recipient for that positivity, then yourself.
By saying positive things to yourself, you begin to see things in light of that positivity, which will in turn help you to appreciate the things around you more.
8) Surprise Someone With A Gift
One of the ways you can show you’re grateful for life, is by making the lives of people around you better. And what better way to brighten someone’s day, than with a heart-felt gift.
It doesn’t have to be anything flashy or expensive. Something as simple as a cup of their favorite coffee, a nice flower, or
9) Thank Yourself For Making It This Far
Your friends, loved ones, and other special people in your life deserve thanks. But one other very important and special person that also deserves your gratitude, is you.
No matter how you choose to look at it. You’ve made it this far, and that is no easy feat. So pat yourself on the back, and give yourself a round of applause. Because you deserve it.
10) Read An Inspirational Book
Books have the ability to open up our mind, and make us see the world in a whole different way. A good book won’t only motivate you, but it’ll also help you see things in a more positive light, and make you appreciate the good things around you.
Lots of great books can be found both online, or at your local library.
11) Let Go Of Negativity
It’s difficult to be grateful for life and all the good things that come along with it, when there’s a cynical or pessimistic voice in your head telling you otherwise.
One of the steps to embracing gratitude, is letting go of negativity. It could be negative thoughts, people, or associations. Things like that will only end up tainting the way you should see the world. And you certainly don’t need them in your life.
12) Thank Your Parents
Growing up, I was told superheroes were people with special abilities like superman, batman and captain America. But now, I see the real superheroes, were our parents.
They were the ones who always took care of us, and made the necessary sacrifices to give us the best quality of life possible. During this gratitude challenge and beyond, let’s let our parents know how much they mean to us.
13) List 3 Things You Like About Yourself
We all have certain attributes or characteristics that make us unique and special. Those things, in my opinion, are worth celebrating. Write down 3 things you like about yourself.
It could be physical characteristics, like your beautiful smile, your perfect hair, or your cute little freckles. Or something non-physical, like kindness, being a great listener, or the ability to fall asleep 5 minutes after getting into bed.
No matter how big or how small, these wonderful traits are worth celebrating, because some people would consider themselves lucky to have them.
14) Don’t Complain For 24 Hours
Complaining is a habit we’re used to. Even so much so, that we could often find ourselves resorting to complaining when the slightest thing goes wrong.
Well, that’s one habit we’re kicking during this challenge. For a period of 24 hours, try your best not to complain about anything.
Even if you find something inconvenient, rather than complain, try to immediately think of a solution. Not only is it more productive, but it can help you see problems as potential challenges, rather than something to complain about.
15) Appreciate Someone Who Stood By You
We all have someone who stood by us through thick and thin. Through our highs and lows, through our good decisions, and our often terrible ones. People like that are rare, and honestly difficult to find.
So if you have someone like that in your life, be sure to appreciate that person for being there for you. Because people like that, are the definition of angels in human form.
16) Practice Optimism
You’ve probably heard the story of the optimist and the pessimist observing a glass of water, filled half-way through. The optimist sees it and says the glass is half full, while the pessimist sees it and says the glass is half empty.
In situations like that, the optimist will be grateful for having a glass of water, even though it’s only half full, while the pessimist will complain about having a half-empty glass.
Optimism and a spirit of gratitude go hand in hand. When you look at things in a positive light, you’re more likely to appreciate the little things when you see them.
17) Hang Out With Loved Ones
When you spend time with people who drain you, you end up seeing things though a more negative lens. Conversely, when you spend time with the people who make you happy, you’ll see things through a more positive lens.
Plus, you’ll create more memories to be thankful for.
18) Make Someone Smile/Laugh
A smile is one of the most contagious things on the planet (in a good way of course). Once someone smiles genuinely, it spreads like wildfire.
One great way to spread that spirit of gratitude and happiness, is to put a smile on someone’s face. It could be through a joke, a gift, a compliment, holding the door for them, etc.
It really doesn’t take much to make someone smile. And whatever it is, it’s sure to brighten your day, as it will theirs.
19) Donate Something You Don’t Use Anymore
There are so many amazing ways to spread positivity that don’t necessarily involve money. Donating things you don’t need anymore, is a very good example.
If you have something lying around the house that you don’t use anymore, and you know could be of help to someone else, then give it out. The recipient will the more than grateful for it.
20) Leave A Nice Tip
Tips are how we show certain people like our waiters/waitresses, and delivery personnel, how much we appreciate their service.
If you go out to eat, or order something, and you appreciate the work of the person serving you or delivering your package, then you can thank them by giving them a tip.
It means a lot to them, especially when you consider the amount of stress a lot of them have to go through each day. That tip might just make their day.
21) Give Someone A Big Hug
We all need a hug every now and then. Spread that positivity by giving someone around you a long, deep hug.
22) Listen To Uplifting Music
Music is another amazing thing that can have a huge effect on our mood, and our behavior. If someone only listens to sad or depressing music, it’s only a matter of time before they begin to see everything that way.
Similarly, if you listen to uplifting music, you’ll begin to see things in a good and positive light as well.
23) Give A Good Business A Positive Review
Reviews play an important role in the success of any business. If you have an encounter with a business and you enjoyed their service, a positive review is another great way to show your appreciation.
Plus, it’ll also help other people locate them, and have a similarly positive experience with them.
24) Meditate On Things That Make You Happy
Never underestimate the power of meditation. The things we focus our minds on, eventually influence our subconscious, which will eventually affect how we relate with the world.
Meditating on the things that make you happy will not only help you appreciate them more, but it’ll also help you relate with the world more positively.
25) Tell Someone They’re Doing A Great Job
A lot of us (including you) are working really hard. And unfortunately, we rarely get the thanks or recognition that we deserve. Getting that little pat on the back can go a long way.
Next time you see a friend, co-worker, boss or someone else you know working really hard, be sure to tell them how much of a great job they’re doing.
26) Write an Experience You’re Grateful For
Our experiences play a very important role in how we see life. Try to recall an experience you had in the past that contributed positively to who you are today.
27) Treat Yourself To Something Nice
Like I said earlier, gifts are one of the ways we show gratitude to the important people in our lives. And when it comes to important people, you’re certainly one of them.
So take your time and treat yourself to something nice. You’ve earned it.
28) Volunteer To Do Something Good
One great way you can give back to the society, is by volunteering. It could be at a local charity, a children’s hospital, or the local animal shelter, or any other place you could be of help.
29) Hold The Door For Someone
30) Look At The Bigger Picture
We often get so caught up in the present moment, we forget to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. A lot of the things that cause us unhappiness rarely last forever. Everything passes eventually.
Plus, we have a limited amount of time on this earth. Best to spend that time being happy, and grateful for the chance to be here, which is one in a gazillion. You don’t win those kind of odds every day.