This past month, I issued myself a challenge–to give thanks every day leading up to Thanksgiving. My goal? Investigating the power of gratitude. Could being thankful actually improve my health?
Well, my Gratitude Challenge officially came to an end last week on Thanksgiving Day. And here’s what I found out: Giving thanks really, really works! That’s not to say it’s easy. Some days, I had to push myself to come up with thanks. But the benefits soon became clear.
I noticed that I was actually less stressed throughout the course of the challenge. More at peace. I can’t be sure if that change was completely because of the Gratitude Challenge. But I know it played a part.
One day during the challenge, I was feeling pretty grouchy. Lots of deadlines and little annoyances. Not sure what else to do, I opened up my gratitude list on my computer and typed out a few things I was thankful for. By the time I was done, I was feeling better, not so anxious. It’s not that the worries and stresses disappeared for good. But the exercise cleared my mind, put things in perspective.
Now that the challenge is over, I feel much more aware of the wonder in my life. More appreciative of the things I usually take for granted. And ready to keep on giving thanks, even after the Thanksgiving leftovers have disappeared.
What about you? How has gratitude changed your life?
Gratitude Challenge, Days 18-24
What a wonderful day of resting and feasting. I had such a ball chatting with my aunts, uncles and cousins, plus eating pecan pie!
2) Fun and games.
The other weekend my friends and I had a “Friendsgiving.” We spent a good part of the night just playing the game Catchphrase and laughing. The simple things in life really are the best!
3) A note of thanks.
Right before Thanksgiving, I received a good old-fashioned letter in the mail from my dad. Just to let me know that he was thankful for me. It’s powerful to give thanks, but also to receive it.
4) “My People.”
God has planted some pretty great people in my life, from my parents and sisters to my funny co-workers and best buds. I’m so grateful for the gems I’ve crossed paths with over the years.
Of course, this one is obvious. But we’ve been through a lot, God and me. And I’m especially thankful for our friendship, which I hope continues to grow and grow.