The Gratitude Challenge

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20100917 IMG 7308   The Gratitude Challenge

I recently made the connection that gratitude and practicing gratitude are two entirely different things. I feel very grateful for the blessings in my life, but on the other hand I know I’m not putting my gratitude into practice very often. It’s one thing to know I’m grateful, but it’s another thing to claim what those things are and bring them to my awareness on a daily basis. For a lot of people, this can mean the difference in feeling apathetic about ones life or feeling happy, grateful, and blessed.

As I mentioned in my Goals for 2012 post, I was struggling with more internal negativity than usual. Shortly after writing that post, I realized that my goal of reducing negativity wasn’t the best goal because I didn’t say how I was going to overcome it. Great goals always have a plan, right? I decided to change my goal up slightly. Instead of saying that I was going to reduce negativity, I now say that I’m going to reduce negativity by incorporating a daily gratitude practice in my life. My goal now has a plan!

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When I told Eric about my plan, he was eager to join me. Initially, my plan was to write down 5 things that I’m grateful for each day, but after telling Eric about it, he suggested that we do it together. Instead of writing it down, we would just talk about 5 positive things from our day with each other. It’s now a daily gratitude conversation. Not only does this keep us accountable (it’s like having a workout buddy!), but it allows us to share the goods things that went on that we otherwise may not have known about.

I’ve tried in the past to keep a daily gratitude log, but I always found that I could never stick with it. Having someone as my gratitude buddy will help me commit to this practice each day. We’ve been telling each other 5 things we are grateful for before bed and I’ve been blown away by what a difference it makes in our outlook. Not only do I enjoy hearing about things that have made him happy in his day, but I love to share things with him. I like to relate it to gift giving; is it better to receive a nice gift or is it better to watch someone open a gift you gave them? Sharing joy, increases the joy in our own hearts.

As an added bonus, it’s a great way to tell your partner something that they did to make you happy. How often do we do things for each other that go unrecognized? It’s the perfect time to say “I acknowledge what you did and that makes me feel grateful”. Of course, this can be done any time of the day, but sometimes all we need is a quiet moment to reflect on things.

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For all of you who have a hard time sticking with a daily gratitude practice, my challenge for you is to find a gratitude buddy. It can be your partner, mom, sibling, roomie, best friend….anyone you love and trust. Pledge to share 5 things you are grateful for each day. Some days will be easier than others to come up with the list, but that is the point. If you don’t live with the person, you can call them on the phone, Skype, or even just commit to emailing each other your list each night before bed. Or maybe once a week works better for you. You come up with what will be realistic for your life!

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Sketchie is thankful for boxes. :)

Since we started this daily gratitude practice, I’ve felt significantly happier and more positive than I have in a while. I totally underestimated how much of a difference it would make and now I’m a believer of the positivity daily gratitude can create. I find myself thinking about good things throughout the day because I know that I will have to come up with 5 things before bed. In turn, my positivity is increased all day long.

In my mind, practicing gratitude is simply bringing all of those daily experiences that we all have to the forefront of our minds. Gratitude does not negate the bad things that happen to us, but it’s a conscious choice to bring our attention to the positives in each day.

I’d love for you to join us with this challenge!

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For other Daily Glow posts, see:

Graduation Fears

The Silly Things We Say

Do What You Can…Today

What’s Your 6-Word Love Story?

Without Self-Love, I Have Nothing.

Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain

Kicking the Pop Habit: Eric 1 Year Later

Weekend Inspiration

How to Reframe and Negative Thought with a Thought Record

 

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{ 132 comments… read them below or add one }

Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn January 17, 2012

Gratitude is so important, and I have found over the last month (being home from college), that gratitude towards my parents is so much easier and even more important. It makes you feel wonderful, being grateful for what others do for you, and what you do for yourself.

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat January 17, 2012

Ange, this is SUCH a wonderful idea!! I too have been keeping a gratitude journal on and off (more on these days than off, which is a good start!) but I love the idea of having another person there to actually discuss these things with. It sounds like it will be a great way for you and Eric to bond too. You’ve got me motivated this morning! :)

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The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh January 17, 2012

This is a truly inspired idea. I hope you don’t mind me swiping it for the Mr and I to practice. We’re grateful for our blessings too but the everyday seems very, well, every day. I think this will help us realize each day had hidden positivity we weren’t seeing before!

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Andrea @ Vegvacious January 17, 2012

I love this idea! My husband and I have very different schedules and it’s really hard sometimes to find the time just to ‘talk’. I think this would be a great thing for us to do even just a couple of times per week – it will give us a chance to talk and listen to one another!

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Gina @ Running to the Kitchen January 17, 2012

This is a really good idea. Aside from the gratitude piece of it all, I like how it’s another way to connect with your husband (or partner, whoever) at the end of the day. This sounds sad and/or pathetic, but I think it might actually be hard to think of 5 new things every day that I’m grateful for. Life can be so monotonous sometimes and when the same job takes up 8-10 hours of your day all day, every day, I bet I’d struggle with that. But, it’s a good challenge!

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Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table January 17, 2012

Great idea! I am struggling with the same thing. Coming off the holidays (which I love, but it is a stressful season too!) and getting stuck in the grind from work and cold weather tends to result in more negative/whining for me. Time to turn it around a focus on the good!

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Andrea January 17, 2012

I love that whenever you have an idea, Eric supports you 100%. I realized this with my boyfriend last night, we were talking about one of my goals for this year and hearing him support me and encourage me to go through with it was so motivating, and I couldn’t stop smiling! I love this challenge and I am going to participate. Thank you, Angela! :)

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Jasper Naomi January 17, 2012

you should make a line of tea bag leaves with gratitude statements on them…although that might not be too good for the environment…they’re just so cute though! and you say the best things!

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Liz January 17, 2012

Thanks for the reminder Angela! I did start doing this with my husband at the start of last year and then it kind of fell by the wayside. After the yuckiness of the last few months, now would be a great time to renew this!

Side question – when you guys review these before bed, do you find that you sleep better? I’ve been taking AGES to get to sleep lately and when I do, my dreams are anxious and often not pleasant. Have a lot going on in the next few months, so I know that’s the reason, but I was wondering if it has been any help for you?

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AGS January 17, 2012

What a great idea! I think I’ll give it a try with my husband.

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Louise January 17, 2012

I am grateful for you! I have been following your blog for quite a while now and never stopped to comment on how much I appreciate everything you do for your readers – from recipes, to workouts, to ideas on how to improve our lives… I love everything about “oh she glows” and have put much of what you written about into practice to make my life better. My husband (who grew up in southern ontario) even knows exactly what I’m taking about when I say that a recipe or an idea is from “oh she glows”. I think I’ll suggest this idea to him – I like the idea of sharing positivity with each other. All to often, I feel like we share many of the negative aspects of our days. Thanks again for being awesome!

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Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit January 17, 2012

I love the idea of having a conversation about what we’re thankful for with the ones we love. Kevin and I have been trying to figure out how to add more positivity to my brain (I have a dreadfully hard time staying positive) and this just may be the key! Thanks again for a great suggestion :)

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Emily (Edible Psychology) January 17, 2012

What a wonderful post, Angela! I love the idea of a gratitude buddy. I have been planning to start a gratitude journal ever since you mentioned it in your comment on my post… But it sounds far more fun to do with my partner. What a lovely thing to share each day, and I must admit, I had never really thought about how it would impact your entire day by making you think about things you are grateful for all day rather than just when you are writing them down or sharing them. I will now be starting this today, rather than planning to start it any longer.

Thanks for the inspiration, and I am so happy to hear that it is making a difference in your life! I love the way you come up with goals and then really put them into action.

~Emily~

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QueenieCarly January 17, 2012

It’s such a great experience to acknowledge everything you have to be thankful for in life. At first, I thought three things a day would be a challenge, but once I started and really got rolling, the list came so easily to me. Thanks for the reminder. I need to get back on track with this practice! (And I think I’ll include my boyfriend in the conversation. I’d never even thought of that!)

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Stacy @ Say It With Sprinkles January 17, 2012

I really love the idea of a gratitude buddy – someone to help keep you on track while you help them do the same, but also someone to provide a different perspective. Sometimes it takes an outsider’s eye to spot the positive in a situation so it’s nice to have someone to bounce thoughts back and forth with! Perfect!

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Julie January 17, 2012

Hi! I found a really life-altering book called 1,000 Gifts. It talks about gratitude, and finding the beautiful among the ugly. Looking daily, and moments to be thankful for.
http://onethousandgifts.com/tag/1000-gifts

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 17, 2012

Thank you I will look into it!

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H January 17, 2012

Great idea! Also, I have a cat named “Sketch,” which is kind of close to “Sketchie!” :)

P.S. I’m a new fan, and I love your site!

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Kellie January 17, 2012

This is such an inspiring post. I love your blog, have had some great successes with your recipes, and just love the positive vibe you give off in your writing! Thanks for the reminder to be more grateful for the many great things in my life, and for sharing yourself with the world!

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Lindsay @ The Reluctant Runner January 17, 2012

I love this! I slip into a negative headspace a lot too–I’ve always been really pessimistic and cynical–and one of my goals is to be more positive. My intention was to list three things that I’m thankful for each morning when I wake up, but I promptly forgot about that. I love the idea of a buddy to keep me accountable!

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Janine @ThePurpleGiraffe January 17, 2012

What a great idea! I’ve noticed an increasing negativity in my life lately, and my husband has too. This would be great for us to focus on the positive!

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Erica Gruebler January 17, 2012

This is a really great idea! My husband and I have tried doing this every morning but have never stuck to it. I think I will try doing it towards the end of the day. I really enjoy reading your blog and seeing all of your great posts!

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Samantha @ Health, Happiness & Skinny Jeans January 17, 2012

I like this idea but its something I would like to acknowledge to myself as a part of peaceful meditation at night before I go to sleep. I do need to think more positively and I think reflecting on the day in that way would be very helpful towards my overall mood.

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Jenn from Much to My Delight January 17, 2012

What a wonderful ritual you have started! You have definitely inspired me to do the same. Love this, Angela.

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Natalie January 17, 2012

I just LOVE posts like these! I really like this idea, and have been struggling with negative thinking as well. Looking forward to trying this with a loved one :)

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Heather January 17, 2012

I wore a “gratitude” charm on a necklace for years and each day on the way to work I would touch it and say a handful of things I was truly grateful for. It really served me well to have that small reminder with me. I need to find a new routine now that I work from home – love your idea of having someone to be accountable to…

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PoochesForPeace (Anna H) January 17, 2012

Oh my gosh I love this! I am going to try to recruit the boyfriend as my graditude buddy! :)

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Cat @Breakfast to Bed January 17, 2012

I love this idea, I also love the idea of including my 3 yo son. I think it’s a good thing to start young.

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Sharon @ Bit of the Good Stuff January 17, 2012

This is such a wonderful idea and thanks so much for sharing it with us! As well as increasing our own positive outlook and gratitude for our precious human life, it could also really help to improve relationships. So often we take our partners for granted and forget to tell them how grateful for we are for all the things they do (big or small). By telling them how grateful we are on a regular basis, their happiness increases and, in turn, so does ours. Win Win! :)

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Natasha January 17, 2012

Angela – thank you for this post…I also read your self love post…it was real, and so true….I have struggled with my own self love for the past 4 years (and earlier with an ED) after gaining some serious weight due to being very sick (I had a tumor removed from my Uterus) – while I’m on the road to recovery, and there are still issues – the weight is slowly coming off, and I am healthier now than ever before – I can still be very hard on myself…ugh.
Rob and are completing our inspiration board this evening, and I need to regroup – seriously…you are so beautiful for sharing your heart, and soul….and a thousand times – thank you.

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Erica January 17, 2012

Great post! Practicing gratitude is something I think most of us struggle with. Recently I had a revelation from observing my kids: Gratitude is not an innate thing we are born with. It has to be learned, and like most things that are learned, it does indeed need to be practiced. As someone who also struggles with self-criticism and anxiety, remembering everything I am grateful for on a daily basis is really important to my well-being.

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Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga January 17, 2012

Making a choice to be happy, to be grateful, to be positive; to not succumb to negative thinking, a negative mentality or mindset is such a great message and so important.

I try to do all those things and appreciate the reminders and think it’s great you’re doing this challenge!

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Starla January 17, 2012

I love this ! I too am grateful for you, I love your blog and when I need a positive spin on the day I always go to ohsheglows to see what is new. Thank you for always being inspiring and encouraging. :). I will try to pay if forward !

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laurie January 17, 2012

My husband and I take an evening walk together every night so this will be a perfect focus for our discussions!

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Tricia January 17, 2012

You turned a passive negativity (NOT dwelling on the negative) into a positive choice to dwell on the good stuff. How wonderful to have a partner/husband who supports those decisions in such a concrete way! No matter how we feel to the contrary, we all have something for which to be grateful, even if we can’t see it right now. Thank YOU, Angel, for the reminder.

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Denise January 17, 2012

I do something similar to this almost every night at dinner with my family. We each talk about the best thing that happened to us that day. I think its a great way to share the positive things that happen to us during the day with each other and it also teaches my children to recognize the happy parts of their day.

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Jessica @ Dairy Free Betty January 17, 2012

I used to do this with the teens I worked with! Every time they would seem really annoyed with me – after a few weeks I decided to quit because I was frustrated with their attitudes. After two days of not doing it, they told me that they really missed it!! So it became a tradition for us!!

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Marina January 17, 2012

Beautiful post, Angela!

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Jessica January 17, 2012

LOVE this idea- as you said, I think it’s a great way to be more connected to your husband/partner and really share with them how they make up such a big part of why you’re grateful for so much. This is especially great to do in the winter months when things have a way of bringing us down more easily!

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Cyndi January 17, 2012

Love this idea, thanks for sharing. I will be implementing this – what a great idea!

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jenna January 17, 2012

:) brilliant idea! this is a great way for everyone in the family to be held accountable for their actions and feelings! A great way to get kids and adults involved in loving and respecting their life!

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