Just because we know something is right or good for us does not mean we automatically do it. Take being overweight, for instance, we know to be severely overweight causes health issues like hypertension, diabetes, and other curable diseases that if we lost weight could disappear. For some reason, most of America, myself included, has not been able to break free of this stronghold. Is it mind over matter, being disciplined? We’ve all heard the phrase, “It’s a lifestyle change”. Maybe there’s some truth to that?
Some experts believe, it takes 21 days to establish a new habit which is why “it’s a lifestyle change,” makes sense to me. Usually done at the start of the calendar year with new resolutions seldom kept or obtained, the gratitude challenge does not involve unrealistic materialistic or physical appearance goal-setting for quick fixes.
Research done by Miami University confirms religion and philosophies have long embraced gratitude and the manifestations of a grateful heart. Science, however, has been a little slow coming to that conclusion but has finally arrived at what religious people have known for years. Religions refer to it as prayer and thanksgiving or praise and worship, science suggests meditation and doing things that make you happy. So, rather you’re religious or an atheist, you can comprehend gratitude
Now, November is my birthday month, and if the Lord says the same, by the time I make it to day 21, I will be celebrating another year of life. In a society that can more times than naught be overwhelmingly negative, where posts, people living their ‘best lives’ on social media can produce a rapid cloud of depression over you (happy for them, sad for yourself, or maybe jealous of them and sad for yourself, we’ll discuss that in a moment), we could all use daily reminders of things that make our heart glad. These things don’t have to be enormous, showy items you mention to impress others but, I oftentimes say, for me, it’s the little things, like waking up in the morning. I honestly cannot think of a better way to start my new year than saying thank you to my God.
According to an article in Huffington Post, gratitude reduces the negative effects of stress, improves sleep, and cultivates positive emotions such as enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness, and energy as opposed to social comparison which ofttimes robs you of your joy and peace. Grateful people place less emphasis on material things, help others, and are less envious of others. I’ll say that again for the people in the back. Grateful people are less envious of others. Other people living their ‘best lives’ shouldn’t cause you to get upset or jealous because when you’re coming from a place of gratitude, you realize you’re living your best life too.
So, join me (or not) in celebrating my birthday with the 21 Days of Gratitude Challenge. Each day, post one word, sentence, paragraph, or story (image if on Instagram) that makes you happy, one person, place, or thing that makes you smile inside, gets you out of bed and brings you great joy. Try finding the good in the not-so-good circumstances, and share your goodness with others. I’ll be posting daily prompts for those who need a little help. Ready? Let’s go!