November kicks off the lead in to Thanksgiving, when many people start talking about gratitude. And while I believe we should focus on our gratitude every day of the year, this is a great time to pause to reflect. Especially this year with so much upheaval and uncertainly pressing on society. So I’d like to encourage you to take the gratitude challenge in November!
It’s a pretty simple challenge – focus daily on at least one thing you’re grateful for. Easy, right?!
Benefits of gratitude
Gratitude helps us express an appreciation for what we have. It can change our mindset from focusing on everything going wrong to looking at what’s going right and what might bring ease to our lives. And with that change in mindset, the weight lifts a little from our shoulders.
When we’re going through something challenging, like cancer, a relationship ending or this pandemic, it can sometimes be difficult to think of ourselves as lucky. But practicing gratitude can help bring positive outcomes to our lives. Studies show people who regularly express gratitude experience better sleep, improved emotions, less materialistic, greater satisfaction with life and more.
Truthfully as a three-time cancer survivor, I often feel overwhelmed with gratitude. It sounds funny to be overwhelmed with goodness, but I know how blessed I am to be here and my emotions bubble up. I’m grateful. Grateful to be alive, healthy and walking on my own two legs after bone cancer, for keeping my curly hair after cold capping during chemo last year, being surrounded by amazing family and friends. And so much more. While I certainly face challenges as a cancer survivor and through other life situations, I can say that my outlook, and in some cases my outcomes, during these scenarios changed when I chose to focus on gratitude.
If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw my post last week about my annual mammogram finding two small spots in my breast (same one that had cancer last year). That mammogram led to an ultrasound which led to three cyst aspirations – NO cancer! Talk about feeling grateful. This experience was one more example of being thankful for what I have, right now.
My challenge for all of us is to pause each day to acknowledge our gratitude.
Here are some tips to take the gratitude challenge:
*Acknowledge something you’re grateful for – one thing or many.
*Write it down. Add it to a journal or notebook. Jot it on a piece of paper to place in a jar. Share on a social media site or keep it private.
*At the end of the month, review what you wrote. Looking back on your gratitude can help remind you of the positive in your life.