Christine’s 10 Day Gratitude Challenge

I just completed a “10 day Gratitude Challenge” on Facebook which was quite enjoyable!  I was nominated by my cousin to write 3 things I am grateful for 10 days in a row and then post it and nominate someone else.  Of course I nominated my mom, who then nominated one of my sisters, which made it triple the pleasure because I got to read things my loved ones were grateful for each day as well.  This “challenge” (though it was nothing of a challenge) was something that came with ease and delight first thing, every morning for the past 10 days.

I have been writing in a “gratitude journal” every night for over 2 years.  Right before bed, I write at least 5 things I am thankful for either from the day, the moment, or from life.  Whatever comes to my mind in that present moment is what I will write in my journal.  Sometimes the “grateful” is as simple as soft pretzels, other times it is more meaningful such as “I am thankful for my relationship with my Mommom and spending time with her today”.

I started this practice in the Spring of 2012, after I had experienced great loss and heartache in my life.  I was at a low point, and had read from Dr. Andrew Weil (a hero of mine), that “Spending a specific time each day or week recording things for which one is grateful has been shown boost subjective happiness levels in as little as three weeks.” (Spontaneous Happiness)  It was exactly what the “doctor ordered” and it certainly worked.  It boosted my happiness and made me more grateful of things in and around my life, thus becoming a constant part of my bedtime routine.

However, starting my day with this practice has been an amazing experience!  My morning routine has always consisted of stretches, yoga, and meditation, but now adding “morning gratefuls” to the regime I feel even more content.  I have noticed I have been more mindful throughout the day of all the blessings in my life.  Taking mental notes of all these gifts, I would ponder if this should be part of my “morning gratefuls” on Facebook, and eventually not even caring about Facebook but appreciating what is in front of me now.   Each morning I found there were so many “gratefuls” to choose from that I would think how lucky I am and appreciate my life even more.  It was a beautiful gift that I want to continue to give myself and to others.

My “gratitude challenge” came at a perfect time.  As I begin a new school year, I am always looking for the most inspirational, effective and empowering ways to help my students reach their full potential.  This practice is something I plan on doing each time I meet with my students.  If it could affect me in such a positive way in only 10 days, I can only imagine what this can do for my students.   By “taking 5 or 1”(minute) in the beginning of our session, and then writing or reciting something we are grateful for the students’ mindsets could shift from feeling discouraged, angry, sad, anxious….to joy, kindness, and gratitude even if just for a moment.

I believe that we are here on this earth to be of service to others, to spread kindness and love, and to share all the gifts, lessons, and joys we are blessed to experience to others.  Just like this gift was given to me, I will give it to my students, in the hopes that they are uplifted and spread the “challenge” to others.  I encourage you, the reader, to also incorporate 10 days of gratitude in your morning routine.  You may notice things that were taken for granted before, like your neighbors wishing you “Good Morning” with a genuine warm smile.   We are blessed with so many gifts in our life, if we only take the time to be present, take notice, and appreciate them.

It is not Happy people who are thankful.  It is Thankful people who are happy.”  ~Unknown


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