[12 Mindful Days] Day 4: A Day of Gratitude

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Today's challenge will last all day, and it's focused on gratitude. Yes, I realize Thanksgiving is over. But gratitude is something we should all be practicing year-round.

Positive thinking not only feels good, but it also can have physical health benefits:

Grateful people take better care of themselves and engage in more protective health behaviors like regular exercise, a healthy diet, regular physical examinations ...
— Robert Emmons, University of California Davis psychology professor

Are you stressed right now? Gratitude can help with that, too:

Gratitude research is beginning to suggest that feelings of thankfulness have tremendous positive value in helping people cope with daily problems, especially stress.
— Robert Emmons, University of California Davis psychology professor

I considered making the challenge to write a list of things you are grateful for, but decided it would be more fun — and more challenging — to make this an all-day event. 

Here's the challenge:

Throughout your day, look for things to be grateful for, and then pause and take a moment to feel gratitude. Especially in stressful situations. Here's an example from last night ...

We had a mountain of laundry. Folding laundry is my least favorite chore and I wasn't feeling very grateful. So I paused and thought, "How can I turn this not-so-positive situation into a gratitude exercise?" It was simple, really.

  • I'm grateful we have nice clothes that need to be washed.
  • I'm grateful we have a washer and dryer.
  • I'm grateful we now have our own home which houses these things.
  • I'm extremely grateful my husband does most of the laundry, and that I'm not solely responsible for this task. 
  • I'm grateful my adorable puppy is keeping me company while I fold.

My attitude went from blerrrrg I hate folding laundry to I'm grateful for these clothes, and this experience.

So today, as you encounter people you love and especially people you don't so much love, as you encounter joys and stresses at work, as you work out at the gym, as you complete household chores, as you do anything throughout your day, look for opportunities to practice gratitude. Include the obvious ones, but also challenge yourself to find opportunities to be grateful when negative thoughts creep in your mind.

If you're sharing your experience, I'd love to hear about a situation from your day when you practiced gratitude. Let me know on Facebook, or snap a photo on Instagram using #12MindfulDays.

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Namaste.


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