Gratitude Challenge

by Alessandra Cavalluzzi

In the USA, November is a month when we find ourselves contemplating gratitude more so than we do at other times of the year.  The Thanksgiving holiday reunites us with family from near and far, and social media is filled with posts about the "30 days of thankfulness" or similar challenges aimed at making us focus more on our blessings than our problems.  But what happens after November? If you're like most of us, you slip right back into old habits.  The challenge ends and with it ends our practice of focusing on our blessings.

Now, I'm not going to pretend that I have the gratitude thing nailed.  I definitely don't.  But I will say this, I am much happier when I make it a point to practice identifying something to be grateful for every day.   They key, of course, is making a point to do it every day.   Sure, it's easy peasy when things are humming along in our lives.  It's when we hit roadblocks, unexpected illnesses happen, or we suffer losses that it becomes almost impossible to find something to be thankful for.   But we have to try. 

You see, there is a lot of negativity in the world.  People are at odds with each other.  Many have forgotten the importance of connecting with another despite differences of opinions and thoughts.   Social media has made more people feel isolated and alone than ever before.  People compare themselves to others who appear to have the "perfect life"... or the illusion of a perfect life.  Now more than ever, we must practice gratitude for the good things in our lives.  It helps keep us grounded.  It reminds us of what is really important.  In practicing gratitude, we help others see the good things in their lives, too, and the good in people in general.   

Start right now.   What are you most thankful for today?  It doesn't have to be something poetic or deep.  It could be something as simple as "I am thankful for this delicious cup of tea because it is helping me unwind after a very long day".  Boom!  Simple, relevant, easy.  Start with the little things.  Before you know it, you'll find you have more to be thankful for than to be upset about. 

Try it. Start with a week. Then extend it another week. Then another. Keep it going until it becomes a habit. You have nothing to lose and everything good to gain.