In the United States, it’s Thanksgiving. I love this holiday, for a number of reasons: family connections, great food, crisp fall weather, and a general openness in people. It’s wonderful to be reminded of all the good things in our lives, but why reserve gratitude for one week a year? This year, why not make Thanksgiving the start of a daily gratitude practice: The 5-in-5 Challenge?
If you think it’s silly, or too much trouble to remember to give thanks every day, here are five great reasons (not in any particular order) why a daily attitude of gratitude is important.
1) Gratitude is the key to happiness — recognizing all the good in our lives lifts our moods. No matter how grumpy you might feel in any given moment, if you take a few seconds to think of positive things in your life, you’ll feel better. Guaranteed. How can you be unhappy when you see and understand how great your life is?
2) Being grateful reduces stress — When you’re preoccupied with all the busyness in your life, you are thinking and worrying about things. Worrying causes anxiety which generates more worry, and before you know it, you’re caught in a vicious cycle. When you practice being grateful for what you have, you stop worrying about what you don’t have, begin to relax, and before you know it, the tension melts from your shoulders and you just know that everything will be all right.
3) Gratitude opens the flow of energy, allowing even more good things into your life — Everything around us, even a thought, is energy, and this energy interacts and affects other energetic fields. When we open our hearts to gratitude, we actually open the flow of energy in our lives, allowing more of what we are grateful for to flow to and through us.
4) Gratitude aligns you with your creative side — Creativity plays in the unlimited fields of imagination. When we are in gratitude, we see abundance rather than limitations, which enhances our ability to think more imaginatively (i.e. creatively).
5) It balances perspective — When you focus on problems (the car isn’t working, you’ve got a stack of unpaid bills on your desk, and your tooth hurts) life can seem overwhelming and troublesome. However, when you focus on what’s working (your health is good, you like your job, and you have a great dentist), you experience a positive, balanced perspective .
Now that you know why to practice it daily, I challenge you to participate in the 5-in-5 Challenge for the next 30 days: spend 5 minutes each morning writing down at least 5 things for which you are grateful. Do it for 30 days. (I will too.) At the end of the 30 days, spread the wealth — share your results with others.