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Posted by on Mar 8, 2013 in Featured Posts, Good Habits Challenges, Happiness | 6 comments

3 Things You Should Be Grateful For NOW (and The Gratitude Challenge)

3 Things You Should Be Grateful For NOW (and The Gratitude Challenge)

Are you tired of reading everywhere on the Internet that you should feel grateful … without actually knowing how to do this and what it really means? Wherever you look on Internet, you are being advised to express your gratitude in order to increase your level of happiness. That’s a great advice, but you really don’t see anything to be grateful for in your life, right? You might be broke, be trapped in a dead end job or just want something different from life.

That’s what I thought for a long time in my life. I didn’t see any particular aspects that I could be happy with. It’s not that I had a sad life, it’s just that I thought it was ok. Nothing special, you know?

Then one day, I read this advice saying to finish your day off by listing three things for which you were grateful that day. I started, not really convinced, and it actually had some great effects on me and my overall happiness.

Easier said than done.

I know. It’s hard to believe. On the paper it sounds easy, but in real life it looks pretty hard to feel grateful on a daily basis. You are trapped in your routine, today looks like yesterday, tomorrow will be like today and there’s nothing to be happy for. Well, you have knocked on the right door. You and me, together, we will learn to be more grateful and apply this straight away with the Gratitude Challenge (see at the end of the post). But first things first, let’s dive into the three things for which you should be grateful NOW and every day.

Be grateful for your life

When you try to express gratitude, the first thing you should do is look back on your life and see the positive side of things. Whatever the situation you are in right now, there is probably something in your life that you can be grateful for:

  • you are surrounded by awesome people
  • you live in a developed and democratic country
  • you got a job
  • you can read and write
  • you have a shelter
  • you have food on your plate
  • you have been blessed to never go to the hospital
  • your parents are still alive
  • you have never been broke

I know it might sounds corny, but come on, which post of my blog isn’t? The point here is to give yourself another point of view. Start understanding that things are not as bad as you think, and that there actually are some positive aspects in your life.

If you don’t think about anything, ask people around you. Ask them what they envy from you and/or your life.

Be grateful for your day

Now it’s time to review your day and pick up positive things that happened to you. The mind and the little voice in our heads tend to focus only on negative things and easily forget the positive moments. The first time is going to be pretty hard, but you will learn to be grateful for the small details that made a difference. You know, the ones about which you’d say “that totally made my day”.

What the hell has been positive today?”, you might ask. “I’ve woken up, had breakfast, went to work, came back, had dinner and went to bed. A normal day”.

Really, is that it? You haven’t laughed? Haven’t seen something that made you smile? Nothing that made you shiver? No goose bumps? Come on, think about it a little bit:

  • you’ve seen a baby smile in the suburb
  • the cashier at that place where you got your coffee was super smiling
  • the breeze of the fresh morning air made you feel alive
  • you received news from a very good friend
  • someone thanked you for something nice you’ve done
  • you thanked someone for something nice they’ve done
  • you learned something new
  • you just saw a video from George Carlson
  • your kid asked some typical kid question and made you laugh
  • you randomly listened to a song that you hadn’t heard for years

Be grateful for the people around you

Post card with messages

That one is probably the hardest one. We easily forget the nice things people have once done to us and stay with the negative memories. I do this all the time and I feel pretty bad about it. And yet it’s so easy to stop holding grudge for a second and be thankful for what people around you have done to you and/or for you. Or just be thankful for who they are.

  • Maybe you are having a complicated relationship with your parents. Remember that they gave everything for you, every little ounce of energy or time they had has been completely dedicated to you for probably 18 years (or more).
  • Your boyfriend or girlfriend often get on your nerves lately. Remember that the opposite is probably true. You have here an amazing person who is accepting all your defects. Thank them.
  • You lost contact with your best friend because you never had time to meet up… but hell you love that person!
  • Your kids, because they make you laugh every single day. But do you tell them often how grateful you are for bringing so much light to your every day routine?

If you are holding grudge against someone in particular – but know it’s wrong – I have found out that there is an easy way to relieve the grudge. I write down on a piece of paper some good memories I have with this person, or something nice they’ve done for me. And every time I start getting a little angry about that person, I just think about the nice things they did and my anger softens (tweet this).

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It doesn’t mean you can’t get more

Being grateful for what you have means you should be happy in the present moment and not wait for a possible change in your situation or a new acquisition. Nevertheless, it does not imply you should stop pursuing your dreams nor waking up every morning to do something of your life. These are two very distinct things.

Too many people think that being grateful is a way to fall into contentment and eventually mediocrity, since you will not push forward anymore for your most important dreams. Of course it’s not. Actually, if well used, gratitude is a powerful catalyst for reaching your dreams. By thanking life and people more often, you will have a much more positive mindset, and therefore rather than seeing obstacles on the road to your dreams, you will see opportunities and new lessons to be learned.

The Gratitude challenge specifics

As many things in life, gratitude takes practice.

So, let’s practice together. Let’s have a gratitude challenge together and help each other be more grateful.

Here is my proposal:

  • 28 days of gratitude
  • Starting on Monday 11th of March
  • Ending on Sunday 7th of April
  • Rules: every night, you will write (on your laptop, on a piece of paper, …) 3 things for which you are grateful, according to the 3 rules listed below (tweet this):
    • Be grateful for one thing in your life,
    • Be grateful for one thing in your day,
    • Be grateful for one person around you.

Will you follow me in the gratitude challenge?

Express your gratitude

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” ― William Arthur Ward

There is one bonus rule I haven’t mentioned above. You could tell that person how you feel. I know it’s not easy. But don’t forget the power of free compliments. You can totally make someone’s day by telling them what you feel.

Not convinced yet?

Check this article for all the benefits of gratitude: http://www.30daygratitudechallenge.com/why-gratitude.
And read this piece of comment on Flickr from someone who has been following a similar challenge:

Today is the last day of the 30 Days of Gratitude but definitely not the last day I will be grateful!!! I have been so grateful for this project, I can’t tell you. It is so refreshing to find things to be thankful for every day. Just this weekend, I had to make a list of 100 Things I was thankful for…seems like a difficult task but really, I could have written more than a hundred things, I am still thinking of things to write down on that list. For instance, I am grateful for my duvet and red wine and heat (our heater is broken right now so it is a tad cold in our house) I am grateful that this project has marked me and I will seek to be grateful for something, however small, each day. 30/30

Now to YOU

It’s your turn. For the next 28 days, you have to feel grateful, write it down, and notice the changes in your mood (tweet this). Sounds too good to be true? Try it, you’ll see.

Most of us are having a hard time seeing the positive side of life and being grateful for what we have and who we know. Share this article with your friends and make the world a happier place to live.

Oh, and sign up to my newsletter on the right or below. It’s gonna be legen … wait for it … dary!!!

Photo are courtesy of Ever Kelly and Sarah

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6 Comments

  1. Count me in :)

  2. I’m late by three days! It’s a great idea, but I’m going to run out of people to be grateful for after a while. Not sure if I have 28 people I am genuinely grateful for, as harsh as that sounds. Only honest. :)

  3. Well, this was just a general guideline. The point is to feel the gratitude very deep inside and be really aware that there are so many good things going on in our days and lives. You can be grateful for fellow bloggers, or a music singer that really rocks your world ;) I am for example very grateful for Muse’s powerful lyrics.

  4. I have been keeping a Gratitude Journal Blog for well over a year; I post three things I’m grateful for every day. I think in the time I have been keeping it, I have missed a couple of days here and there. And I can guarantee it will make a difference in your life. There are days when I truly struggle to find 3 things to be thankful for, and there are some duplicates, but I think the important thing is to live an Attitude of Gratitude every day. It has changed my attitude. :-)

    • Hi Ruth,and thanks for stopping by :)
      Indeed, the general attitude of gratitude is very important, whether there is a challenge/a diary or nothing. It just helps you realize that things are not as bad as you thought, and that your day has had some positive aspects. I don’t write any gratitude journal anymore, but before going to sleep, when I’m already lying in bed, I make sure I review my day and mentally find three reasons to be grateful (one for my life in general, one for my day and one person to be thaknful). Reviewing my day also helps me see what went wrong and what I should improve in the next days :)
      Hope to see you around more often!
      Nicolas.

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