Day 1–November 1, 2012
“If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.” ~Meister Eckhart
Every November I start thinking about gratitude and thanksgiving in a big way. That’s because Thanksgiving Day falls on the fourth Thursday of every November in the U.S., but mostly because it is my favorite holiday of all. Instead of all the hoopla of being pushed and pulled to get and give, Thanksgiving merely asks us to pause and reflect on the good in our life. Plus it is usually celebrated by having dinner and spending time with people you care about most—and those who care about you—be they friends, family or neighbors. For anyone attempting to live a life of happiness, simple living, contentment, peace and well being, Thanksgiving deserves special recognition.
That’s why this year I decided to formally celebrate all month by coming up with a 30-Day Gratitude Challenge for myself and anyone else who’s interested. What’s the challenge? Actually the rules are quite simple. Each day I will come up with one quote that helps me focus on being grateful. I will write that post on the SMART Living 365 Facebook page, I will tweet about it on Twitter, I will also post on Google+ and even LinkedIn. Oh, and I will once a week update you all with the quotes that I’ve used that week (I don’t want to overload your email box with a daily email).
Why you might ask? Well, besides the fact that I think it will be fun; there are dozens of benefits that come from focusing on gratitude in our lives. Need a few reminders? Scientific and social studies show that people who practice gratitude on a regular basis:
1) Feel significantly better about their life as a whole and more optimistic about the future.
2) Report fewer health complaints like colds or flu—along with a higher immune system;
3) Exercise more (nearly 1.5 hours);
4) Get more sleep and have better sleep quality;
5) Are less materialist—they appreciate experiences and relationships rather than “stuff”;
6) Feel more connected to other people and the world around them;
7) Report higher levels of the positive states of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and energy as opposed to a focus on struggles ;
8) Are more likely to have made progress toward reaching important personal goals;
9) Are better able to stay in the present moment and focus on the good they are experiencing right now in spite of any difficulties they might be experiencing.
10) Showed that it is nearly impossible to be deeply grateful and unhappy at the same time.
Want some of those benefits for yourself? Then join the first ever SMART Living 30-Day Gratitude Challenge. What can you do? First I can use all the gratitude quotes you can send me—they can be original or someone famous—it’s up to you. (If you quote yourself, please provide your name.) I will go through them all and pick the very best each and every day. You can either comment to this blog post, email me directly, or post them on the SMART Living 365 Facebook page and I’ll take it from there.
Beyond that, I invite you to get involved even more by doing what I’m doing by sharing this post on Facebook, tweeting, emailing and passing around the 30-Day Gratitude Challenge with everyone you know. In fact, wouldn’t it be great if we flooded the Internet, and our friends, family and co-workers, with quotes and ideas about gratitude all month long? And don’t stop there—use your imagination to come up with special and unique ways to share gratitude this month, and then let me know about them and I’ll pass them on to the entire SMART Living community. This could be HUGE!!!
Of course we recognize that some of you have been dealing with other types of challenges recently (hello Hurricane Sandy and other stuff like that!) and might not feel so thankful right now. We understand. But if you can see your way through whatever your difficulty, we would love for you to join us at any point during the month of November.
A big part of SMART Living is sharing ideas and possibilities that can help to increase the quality of our life—no matter where we live and no matter what our situation. In order to do that we need practical and fairly easy steps that just about any one of us can do. The SMART Living 30-Day Challenge is just that—a practical, simple and effective tool for getting us to focus on the good in our lives. Let’s all take a short amount of time each day this month to share what we are grateful and thankful for…and we may just discover this is the best Thanksgiving we’ve ever had.