Counting your blessings is always a good idea, but more often than not you forget to do it. Living life as we know it, we are always in a hurry, and we let good things pass by without taking a moment and appreciating them. That is why gratitude challenges come in handy. They are here to remind you to count your blessings, but every day in a little bit different, unique and creative form, so you don’t get bored.
So, let’s make a list of reasons why you should take the gratitude challenge right now and how you will benefit from it. Here it comes:
1- You’ll have fun
First of all, before we get into actual, scientifically proven benefits of being grateful, let’s point out the obvious. Our gratitude challenge is fun! It works this way: you have one straight-forward and well-defined task to finish each day, with corresponding journal prompt following. All of the exercises inspire gratitude, and they will fill your heart with warmth.
At the same time, you will form a good habit of noticing good things in your life while having fun. Checking off another task from your list feels great, especially when it is something fulfilling that makes you think. Once you are done with the challenge, you will have a chance to take a look back at your gratitude month and remember all silly, cute and meaningful stuff you’ve done and feel good about yourself.
2- You’ll become more mindful and self-aware
Even though attitude of gratitude usually comes as a result of practicing mindfulness, things can go the other way around too. Gratitude challenge will make you practice mindfulness more than once; you will be asked to focus on positive things and to live your life one moment at the time. When you become grateful, you will be aware of what you have rather than longing for what you don’t. (1)
On the other hand, as soon as you start expressing thanks, you will become more aware of your behavior, cognition, and emotions. You will realize that feelings are temporary but significant and that your actions can leave positive effects on others too.
3- You will sleep better
It might seem unrelated to a layman’s eye, but studies conducted by psychologists had shown that grateful people sleep better. It makes you worry less at bedtime, helps you sleep longer and wake up refreshed.
Researchers explain this correlation like this: gratitude leads to having more positive and fewer negative thoughts at bedtime, which limits ruminations and offers a good night’s sleep. This works for both people who are struggling with sleep disorders and the ones who are not. So, why wouldn’t you try counting blessings instead of sheep when you lay to bed? You won’t lose anything, but you might gain a few hours of restful sleep. (2)
4- Your relationships will become better
Gratitude is a relationship-strengthening emotion in its essence. Its social character is undeniable, as it inspires us to notice the good things people do for us and give back in the same manner. It is no wonder it has positive effects on relationships.
Basically, it starts the cycle of generosity which is useful not only for romantic relationships but professional ones and friendships too. While participating in our gratitude challenge, you will be asked to turn to your partner, friends, relatives, colleagues and community, recognize their effort and perform a random act of appreciation.
5- Your stress level will drop
Engaging in our gratitude challenge can help you leave the stress behind. Of course, it doesn’t mean you will suddenly start living a stress-free life, but daily stressors will have a much lesser impact on your mood.
How does this happen? Well, feeling grateful helps us to detach from stressful periods and savor a positive memory instead. This switch in our focus, from negative or neutral to positive aspects of life, can improve our well-being and distract us from our worries and upsets. Studies had shown that grateful people are less likely to be anxious, depressed, lonely, and neurotic, which means gratitude challenge can be some sort of shield, which will help you during the most significant life battles. (3)
6- You will inspire kindness
You already know that kindness inspires kindness. At the same time, thankfulness makes people want to repay for the goodness they have been gifted with. During the gratitude challenge, you will be instructed to do many kind deeds, some of them toward the people you know and love, while some towards complete strangers.
Studies that polled people who engaged in gratitude exercises found out they were more likely to be helpful, generous, compassionate, forgiving, outgoing and feel less lonely and isolated than the control group, who didn’t write a gratitude journal. (4)
7- You’ll get a career boost
Unfortunately, the data says people express gratefulness the least at their workplace while they would like to be appreciated by their colleagues and superiors at the same time. If you decide to accept the gratitude challenge, this will change for you.
You will learn how to recognize the effort and say thanks which will help you network, improve your decision making and increases productivity. These benefits can only lead to progress towards your career goals. At the same time, you will be responsible for turning your workplace into more friendly and enjoyable environment. (5)
8- You’ll become more optimistic
Our gratitude challenge is a daily reminder for you to change your mindset, and make an effort to see the silver lining in every situation. It doesn’t invite you to become unrealistically optimistic, but keep a positive outlook, even when things seem hard and unresolvable.
Writing a gratitude journal can increase your optimism for 5-15%. According to science, optimism is correlated with gratefulness because people with an optimistic disposition are biologically “wired” to focus on the good instead of bad. (6)
9- Your self-esteem and confidence will improve
Gratitude has the potential to make you feel good about yourself. It can increase both your self-confidence and self-esteem. When you start practicing thankfulness, you will realize you are getting positive feedback from other people, and you’ve stopped comparing yourself to others.
Once you let go of the resentment toward individuals who have more money or power than you, you will be able to focus on your own success appreciating other people’s accomplishments at the same time, and that is precisely what gratitude does for you.
10- You might live longer
Who wouldn’t like to add a few years to their life-span? Gratitude can make you physically healthier. Other than improving your sleep, it will lower your blood pressure, strengthen your immune system and improve cholesterol levels. Also, there are tasks this challenge includes that will help you become more aware of the importance of good health, which might encourage you to start exercising more often and do that health checkup you’ve been avoiding for so long. (7)
11- You will be motivated
Finishing a simple task and checking off another item from your challenge list will keep you motivated, and not just for practicing gratitude. When you are able to see the actual results of your work, you become more satisfied with yourself which makes you more willing to work on other stuff in your life too.
12- You will become a better leader
If you are holding any leadership position, you can benefit from this challenge tremendously. Gratitude is one of the most underestimated weapons for a leader. When a superior can express thanks to his employees, they become more confident and their sense of self-worth increases. At the same time, this can have miraculous effects on team’s cohesion and willingness to help each other out.
13- You will be grateful for this decision
If you are still asking yourself if you should participate in this challenge, just trust me when I say, you have nothing to lose. The most obvious and most important reason to do it is this – you will become more grateful. In the end, you will also be thankful for the fact that you agreed to participate and for doing every single task and creating new, colorful, positive memories.
It won’t take up too much of your time, but it will offer you many gifts, and it will make you grow as a person.
Are you ready to take the gratitude challenge?