Want to focus more on the positive things in life? This is where practicing gratitude and teaching yourself to have a grateful heart comes in.
Today we’re going to take a close look at my 30-day gratitude challenge which includes positive changes you can make in your daily life to obtain a true attitude of gratitude.
We’ll be covering:
- The benefits of gratitude
- 4 ways to increase your gratitude
- 30 gratitude challenge ideas you can try
- You can also download the gratitude challenge PDF printable
Also, remember this…
Gratitude isn’t only for the Thanksgiving table or the holiday season – it’s something to focus on any time of year.
What are the Benefits of Gratitude?
We’re always hearing that gratitude is good for us – when we learn to be grateful in life the sun seems to shine a little brighter and we notice more good than bad.
The cool thing with practicing gratitude, however, is that science can back up the positive emotions and experiences that come along with being thankful.
As cited in this Forbes article, gratitude can have a positive impact on the following areas:
Physical health – those who practice gratitude have less aches and pains and tend to take better care of their overall health.
Mental health – Gratitude can reduce toxic emotions and even has lasting positive effects on the brain.
Practicing gratitude as part of your daily routine also…
- Increases empathy
- Helps you appreciate the small things
- Makes you a kinder person
- Gives you a different perspective on your life
- Increases happiness and contentment by reducing negative thoughts
On a personal note, I’ve actively been practicing gratitude for a number of years now and it has helped me get through tough times and enhances my everyday happiness.
When you are focused on looking for things to be grateful for you’ll realize that there is actually a lot more in your life that you can appreciate.
How Can I Increase My Gratitude?
1. Intentionally Look For Things To Be Grateful For
Do you ever notice that when you’re focused on something it seems to pop up everywhere?
For example, if you’re looking to buy a new car, you end up seeing the exact model you want on the road multiple times a day.
This car has always been there, however, you didn’t notice it in the past.
The same goes for gratitude.
When you’ve set your mind to focus on being grateful, you will naturally come across more things to be grateful for.
It’s an amazing positive cycle that keeps on giving.
2. Recognize Your Blessings & Appreciate Where They are Coming From
Dr. Robert Emmons, the world’s leading expert on gratitude believes there are two key elements when practicing gratitude.
“It’s an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received.” – Dr. Robert Emmons
We can do this by looking at what is working in our lives, rather than what is not working.
“We recognize that the sources of this goodness are outside of ourselves. … We acknowledge that other people—or even higher powers, if you’re of a spiritual mindset—gave us many gifts, big and small, to help us achieve the goodness in our lives.”
Dr. Robert Emmons sees gratitude as an emotion that strengthens relationships. He believes that gratitude “…requires us to see how we’ve been supported and affirmed by other people.”
3. Look for Ways To Express Gratitude
Having a grateful heart and showing your appreciation to someone not only makes that person feel good, but it makes you feel good too.
If someone is going through difficult times, you thanking them or showing a random act of kindness can really have a positive effect on that individual.
4. Find a Good Time to Focus on Gratitude
Like everything in our busy lives, many of us need to schedule things in our calendars to actually make them happen.
I, therefore, recommend you find a time that works best for you.
I find that the best times to add gratitude to your daily routine are first thing in the morning or at the end of the day.
These are ideal as the morning allows you to set intentions for the day and the evening allows you to reflect.
Tips to Get Started on Your Gratitude Challenge
- Use this list of gratitude challenges to get your daily gratitude practise started.
- Look for little things you can do (in addition to this list) to improve your own gratitude journey.
- If there’s something you want to do more than one, go for it! Enjoying this process is a big part of making it work for you.
This post contains affiliate links. This means I may earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Read disclosure info here.
30-Day Gratitude Challenge Ideas
Let’s start your gratitude challenge! Every day for the next 30 days your quest is to discover new ways to express gratitude.
Also, make sure to download the free PDF printable to get you started!
1. Write a Thank You Card
Gone are the days when people sent cards in the mail, but when you receive one – doesn’t it feel good?
So, today send a simple thank you card to someone who may not expect it.
2. Do Something Kind For Your Neighbour
These can be simple things such as bringing their garbage can up from the curb, sharing food or shovelling their pathway in the winter.
These little gestures feel great and show your appreciation.
3. Send a thoughtful gift to someone you love
Sending a gift can be as little as ordering them food delivery for their favourite burger (just because). Of course, you can send other special gifts if you like but this act of gratitude is all about the thought.
Related: 25 Thoughtful Self Care Gift Ideas
4. Tell someone how much you appreciate them
Just simply saying in the moment that someone…
- Is awesome
- Makes your life easier
- Brings you joy
…is pure gold.
5. Act of kindness
Whether it’s a planned act of kindness or a random act of kindness, make this a priority today. Here are some simple ideas:
- Buy a coffee for the next person in line
- Offer to water someone’s plants while they’re away
- If you see a homeless person asking for money, offer to buy them lunch (and actually give money if you can afford it)
- Say good morning to people you pass on your morning walk
- Strike up a conversation with an elderly person you might not know – “Gorgeous day isn’t it?”
- Offer to the person with fewer groceries to go ahead of you in line
6. Answer some gratitude writing prompts
Gratitude prompts are the perfect way to dig deep and get a great look at things you may not realize you have. Here are a few examples:
- Think about a time you were really proud of yourself. What happened? How did it feel?
- What relationship do you have that you take for granted? How can you show more gratitude to this person?
- What life experiences do you appreciate the most?
If you like these writing prompts and want more, check out my 52-Week Gratitude Journal – with 52 thoughtful, unique writing prompts, self-reflection prompts and colouring pages.
7. Write a list of things that you’re grateful for today
When doing this make sure to think about the little and big things. Sometimes it helps to put yourself in some else’s shoes – someone who doesn’t have the things you have.
8. Appreciate what you’re grateful for by acting on it
Here are some examples to help get my point across.
- Love your garden? Go out and cut some flowers and bring them in the house
- Appreciate the neighbourhood you live in? Go to a local park or coffee shop to experience what you enjoy.
- Are you grateful for your best friend? Call them up and make plans with them.
‘Acting on it’ simply means – take that thing you’re grateful for and experience it today.
9. Text a family member or close friend and share what you love about that person
There doesn’t have to be a special reason to tell someone how special they are. Just do it today, right now – for no reason at all.
10. Show Appreciation To Someone Who Makes Your Day
Leave a bigger than normal tip, give a small gift or thank you card to someone who always helpful or makes your day (coffee shop barista, grocery store clerk, postal worker).
11. Start your morning with 3 things you’re grateful for
– write them down and focus on them while you have your morning tea/coffee.
12. Write a list of your favourite simple pleasures
Think about your 5 senses – sight, sound, scent, touch and taste.
To find some inspiration, check out this post on 99 simple pleasures that bring you joy.
13. Appreciate what you have, not what you don’t
To do this you can grab a piece of paper and write down everything that comes to mind.
14. Introduce a gratitude practice with your family
Have everyone share what you’re grateful for at the dinner table. Ask you kids what they appreciated about their day when it’s bedtime.
15. Write some positive affirmations
Affirmations are positive statements, that we affirm about ourselves. They can be beliefs or thoughts that you repeat to yourself on a regular basis (ideally daily).
A few examples:
- I choose to see the beauty all around me today
- I will attract good things into my life
- I appreciate what I have in life right now
Once you write your list, be grateful that you are looking after yourself.
16. Start a gratitude jar
This is perfect to do on your own, with your family or roommates.
You can use a large mason jar, and keep a pen and paper beside so everyone can add what their grateful for whenever they like.
You can then read these blessings at Thanksgiving or another special occasion.
17. Write a gratitude letter to someone who makes a difference in your life
Be as detailed as possible sharing how this person makes you feel, how they make your life easier, etc.
18. Go on a gratitude walk
If you’re into nature you’ll love this.
As you walk look around, reflect on all the beauty that you see.
Normally you may not notice these things – the birds chirping, the sound of a child’s laughter in the distance, the sun shining on your face.
As you walk take in all the beauty around you and think of your 5 senses to appreciate these simple pleasures.
19. Think about how far you’ve come
Have you struggled in the past to get to where you are now?
Focus on how you worked, and how you loved yourself, to get to where you are today.
Be grateful for this journey and most importantly what you learned about yourself.
20. Appreciate your flaws or mistakes and learn from them
This gratitude exercise is a little reminder that no one is perfect – including you!
Now, instead of beating yourself up for your flaws – look for ways to embrace them and learn from them.
For example, I see myself as someone who is ‘too emotional’. Thinking this way puts me down and makes me feel lesser than. If this thought ever comes up I flip the script in my mind right away.
I instead think – “I feel deeply which allows me to not only feel when things hurt, but also feel deeply when things are great. This means I laugh more, appreciate life more and have deep relationships with those I love.“
If you have a so-called flaw, think about how you can change your thinking.
21. Write a review for a small business you recently purchased something from
Whether it’s an Amazon seller, Etsy business or local shop take the time out to write a review online.
This little act of gratitude may only take you 5 minutes but can make a big impact on a small business.
22. Donate or volunteer at a local charity
Non-profit organizations work extremely hard. They are focused on making your community, your city and the world a better place.
Why not show your gratitude by helping them out with your time or financially.
23. Introduce Gratitude into Meditation
As you clear your mind, focus on what you are grateful for in the present moment and how this is impacting your life in a positive way.
Now take this positive energy and focus on how it feels in your body.
24. Cook a meal for a loved one
Even better, cook their favourite meal!
25. Send a Postcard
Receiving a postcard in the mail is the best and you don’t have to be on a vacation to send one. I recommend picking up some cute postcards you can use anytime.
Send one to someone letting them know you’re thinking of them.
These ones are super cute…
26. Love where you are right now
An effective way to be grateful is to love who you are, and where you are in your journey today.
Focus on all you have achieved and be proud of yourself for this.
27. Thank Yourself for all you do in life
Sometimes we want to hear thanks from others, but looking within ourselves to appreciate what we do is the first step in feeling truly appreciated.
Finding peace within ourselves means we’re less likely to seek acceptance externally and therefore feel more content in the everyday.
28. Make someone’s life easier today
I bet there is a little thing that will help someone you care about. It might be a small effort for you, but will make them feel appreciated, special and loved.
29. Reflect on what you’ve learned about yourself in this gratitude challenge
Did you have a positive experience? Did your mental well-being improve?
30. Share this gratitude challenge With Someone Who Needs It
You can even do this challenge with someone else at the same time. This way you can both experience love and gratitude your life together.
Can You Do This Gratitude Challenge at Work?
The best way to do this is to read through the above gratitude exercises and think about how these apply to your work and career.
Here are some examples from the list above on ways to have workplace gratitude…
Tell someone how much you appreciate them – this challenge is actually ideal for the work environment.
Show your team members and colleagues that you are grateful.
A great way to do this is to buy someone a cup of coffee, compliment them directly, or giving them a thank you card.
Doing this will also have a positive influence on others, making it a happier environment all around.
Want to continue your gratitude practice?
I highly recommend getting started with regular gratitude journaling.
- Access these 52 gratitude prompts for every week of the year.
- You can also pick up a copy of my 52-Week Gratitude Journal to reflect on the good in your life a little deeper.
There are some big benefits you can expect from journaling about gratitude:
✓ Shift how you feel about your current circumstances in life.
✓ You’ll begin to practice gratitude without trying. It will become natural to be thankful.
✓ Experience more happiness in life. It really is true that practicing gratitude feels good and you’ll realize you have so much in life to be thankful for.
✓ Things you worry about may not seem as big as they once were.
✓ You’ll realize you have more support in life than you thought.
You can purchase the gratitude journal HERE
I hope this 30-day challenge has given you the inspiration to express appreciation for the wonderful things in your life.
Good things ARE around us and it’s up to us to see them, appreciate them and act on them.
Make sure to download the gratitude challenge PDF Printable!
For those of you who’ve completed this gratitude challenge or frequently practice gratitude in other ways – I’d love to know…
What positive changes have you experienced when practicing gratitude?
Share in the comments below.
Related Gratitude Resources:
- Check out my 52-Week Gratitude Journal
- Access this Ultimate Gratitude List of Things To Be Thankful For
- Read these 40 Inspiring Gratitude Quotes
- Find out How To Be Content With What You Have: 12 Tips