Why you need the gratitude challenge this year. It’s five days of connecting in a different way. We’re not going to talk about seeing the sky and being grateful for sunshine. That’s connecting with what you see, or hear or eat or do. This is being grateful for people, and showing your appreciation. This could also be called the kindness challenge, but we’re going to call it the gratitude challenge because we need to feel gratitude right now.
Yes, we know that this year feeling gratitude is more challenging for some of us than any year we can remember. Are you suffering separation anxiety from loved ones you haven’t seen in person for a long time? We are. What about fear and worry about what is going to happen to them, or you, in the next few months? You may be sad or worried. Anxiety and sadness definitely affect your mood and even your health.
Taking the challenge distracts from the hurt
Gratitude can distract you when you’re hurting. I’ll give you an example. Say, a loved one is struggling with addiction or mental illness, and that person is making demands of you that you can’t meet. This is particularly true in a pandemic. You simply can’t fix the problems, and that adds to your distress. Codependency which accompanies the family disease of addiction is being too connected to loved ones, and not being able to separate your needs from theirs. If you can’t help, or you know it’s time to let go, taking the gratitude challenge can distract you from catastrophizing. Thinking and fearing the worst and blaming yourself. With the gratitude challenge you can let that person know you love and appreciate him.
If you’re worried, get a worry stone. then fill yourself with hope. Here’s one example. We know a mother who sent a card to her son every single day for months telling him she knew he could recover from his addiction, even when others had given up on him. It was those cards of her appreciation and belief that saved his life and got him through. Sometimes a gesture of kindness really can save a life.
‘The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.”
William James, father of American Psychology
Connect this way on a deeper level
If you’re feeling separation anxiety, the gratitude challenge will connect you on a deeper level. Here’s how the challenge works: show your appreciation by telling people what’s good, positive, loving, creative, interesting, and gifted about them. Remember a kindness they did for you. Thank a stranger. Send cards and emails to people far away. Let loved ones and friends know you’re thinking good and positive thoughts about them. This will start a loving circle.
When we take time to acknowledge the people in our lives, our world become richer. We have a more meaningful connection to those we love. This in turn helps them feel good about who they are, and you will feel good about who you are. You can add to the challenge by journaling what you appreciate about that person. A self help book can help with your self awareness.
Take the gratitude challenge for five days and see what happens
Do this for five consecutive days. By making gratitude and appreciation part of your daily ritual, we program ourselves to recognize the good in ourselves and others. You will hard-wire your thoughts to be more positive feelings than negative. This really works.