Lessons Learned While Practicing Gratitude as part of a 30 day gratitude challenge.

Lessons Learned While Practicing Gratitude

Gratitude.

Gratitude is defined as the quality of being thankful. It is a readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. There have been numerous recent (and probably old ones as well) studies that show how practicing gratitude each day is good for our mental health.

December tends to be a whirlwind of activity for me (and I would guess the same for many others). I have a tendency toward anxiety during stressful times. My anxiety expresses itself in many ways. I tend to nag more, to lose my temper more, to become more fearful of the “what-ifs”, which in turn makes me more controlling (see the first two items for the issue with this), and generally want to disengage from the chaos swirling around me.

Practicing Gratitude

That is why I decided that December’s Challenge would be the perfect month for me to spend practicing gratitude. Each monthly challenge forces my personal growth a little more. This month was no exception.

Tulips in the Museumplein in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Gratitude Challenge.

The best way for me to participate in a gratitude challenge was to follow a prompt. I chose this one that I found on Pinterest. I wasn’t sure how I would capture my daily gratitude only that I would capture it in a concrete way each day.

How I Practiced Gratitude.

In the end, my concrete form was a photo or video posted to my Instagram story each day. I did take photos with my camera most days as well. Originally, I had planned to keep a gratitude journal because most things I read talk about the benefits of journaling, especially journaling about gratitude. Journaling my gratitude over the 30 days did occur. The problem with my journaling scenario was that I’d think about the prompt throughout the day, journal it most days, but some days I’d just crash into bed and then journal it the next morning. Around day 20, the daily portion became even more sporadic as to when I’d fill it in. This may or may not (definitely may) coincide with the fact that my kids began their winter break and we were rapidly approaching Christmas.

Tulips in the Museumplein in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Lessons Learned About Gratitude.

Over the course of the 30 days I picked up a few personal lessons about gratitude and journaling. I thought I’d share some in case you find them helpful.

  • If you’re thinking about what you want to journal, just stop and journal it. Otherwise, you might find yourself too tired and skipping journaling all the things you’d found to be grateful for over the course of the day.
  • Even though I chose to focus on a daily prompt, I still found myself thinking of all the other things in my life that brought out my gratitude.
  • If you feel compelled, list more things that you are grateful for, even if you are doing a daily prompt.
  • Don’t edit your gratitude. This is a personal journey and journal. You don’t have to share it with the world. Unless you want to…then by all means…do.
  • Practicing gratitude helps keep the anxiety levels down.
  • Practicing gratitude really does help you keep the important things in life in perspective.
  • There’s always  something to be grateful for.

 

These are just a few of the lessons that I learned during my 30 days of practicing gratitude. I haven’t given up on journaling and will continue to try to have it become a habit. Recently, I read at this website, Greater Good in Action (a collaboration between UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center and HopeLab), that writing in a gratitude journal three times a week (1-3 times it says deeper in the article) might have a greater impact on our happiness than journaling every day.

That might be a good place for me to start.

Practicing Gratitude In Action.

As a result of each of these daily concrete examples of practicing gratitude, I decided to make a YouTube video of the clips from my 30 days of gratitude. I’m still learning how to make the edits, so I don’t know how to add music to a video on some clips and leave the talking on others. Maybe that should be a challenge for myself this year?

Hey… we’re all works in progress, right?!

Do you practice daily gratitude?

What are you most grateful for today?

Even though I’m on day 3 of my January Challengeit’s never to late to join along.

The Real Gift of Gratitude is that the more grateful you are, the more present you become. - Robert Holden

Let your light shine!

Amy

 

wpc: growth

 

34 thoughts on “Lessons Learned While Practicing Gratitude

    • Thank you! I’m glad to be hearing more about gratitude. Maybe it’ll begin to change more and more people’s perspectives away from negativity! 🙂

  1. There are so many benefits to consciously practicing gratitude. I’m not really in to making New Year’s resolutions, but I fully intend to get back on track with taking a moment to jot down reasons I’m grateful, every day. Like you said, there’s always something to be grateful for. And that’s the truth. 🙂

    • I don’t really do resolutions either. I try to do goals or intentions, but resolutions make me feel like it’s “make it or break it” when really any step in the right direction is better than no step. I’m hoping to get better at the jotting down part! 🙂

  2. I have a gratitude journal I was keeping daily then fell off routine, don’t even remember why – or when! I do remember it seemed to make my day go really well. Sometimes I wrote thanks for things I wanted as if they’d already happened. Thanks for the nudge, Amy! Gratefully joining the jotting with you this month. <3

    • I like the idea of writing thanks for things you wanted as if they’d already happened. That may be something that I incorporate as well! I’m glad to be the nudge you needed. I’m sure my process with have its ebbs and flows, but I do feel so much better when I take the time to recognize all the things that I am grateful for. <3

  3. Gratitude saves me daily. In terms of anxiety, I’d say it’s up there with sleep. I think I told you about the book on gratitude I got from a fellow blogger? Love it.
    I love the fringed/parrot/ruffled tulips. Ooh, makes me eager for spring, but I’m still enjoying winter 🙂

    • I can see how gratitude helps in terms of anxiety. I think between that and meditation, I am really learning some good coping skills. I remember about your book on gratitude. I think that sounds like an awesome book.
      I hadn’t seen fringed tulips before those. I am eager for spring. I don’t enjoy winter, but a little snow might make it tolerable. 😉

  4. Great post Amy, love seeing all of your videos too. I seemed to have missed some of them in my instagram feed as I hadn’t been on there as much, so it was very cool to see 🙂 I love the idea of recording gratitude by prompts on video and photos. I have journaled in the past but it is so easy to forget and play catch up like you were saying. I love how it kind of becomes a habit after a while thinking about what we are grateful for. xx

    • Thanks so much Demelza. I liked taking the time to focus on gratitude. I think so often we push it to something we’ll focus on later (at least, that’s been my experience). Journaling has always been a struggle for me, no matter what I’m focusing on journaling about. I’m not giving up thought. 🙂 xx

    • I do think it’s so important. I have a tendency to think “oh, that’s something I’ll focus on later…and then later never happens.” It was nice to take the time to try to make it become a habit. I’m sure it’ll still ebb and flow as I integrate it more and more. Best of luck incorporating it into your daily routine!!

  5. Feeling very connected to your post…I have a group of very special girlfriends with whom I’ve ‘coffee’d’ over the years (in addition to many other activities) and this year we collectively decided our word for 2018 is GRATEFUL. On countless occassions we have texted or messaged back and forth how grateful we are for each other for some reason or another. It takes effort to show and share how grateful we are for someone or their actions but easily done when we truly are grateful. I applaud you for dedicating to a month of journaling about GRATITUDE.

    • Thank you so much! I’m so glad that my post connected with you. How wonderful to a special group of girlfriends and what a great word for 2018!! It does take an effort to show and share how grateful we are for someone. I’m working on making sure I take the time to do that instead of taking it for granted that they “just know”.

  6. Although this has been a recurring theme, I don’t think we can read it enough because we do not naturally lean toward it. Every post I read about this subject, I am challenged once again to be more grateful to choose to see the blessings rather than what I do not have. I have Jesus, therefore I have all I need.

    • I do think it doesn’t seem to be our normal tendency. It was eye opening to spend a month making it a priority.

  7. Beautiful post Amy and so important. This is my seventh year I’ve kept a daily Gratitude Journal. It’s become like my third hand and I can’t imagine being without it. Wishing you abundant blessings in 2018. ❤️

    • Thank you so much Miriam! I saw your photo of the gratitude journal. It looks like a beautiful way to remind yourself of the many things that present themselves for our gratitude. Another of my blogger friends has a book on gratitude that she loves very much. The fact that you are on your seventh year gives me such inspiration that I can make it into a daily habit. I feel so much better when I pause for those moments. Wishing you abundant blessings as well. xx <3

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