What are you grateful for today? Friends, family, job, health, a house, pets, children — those are all great things to start with. Or what about fall foliage, hot sauce, indoor plumbing and a cozy sweater? Just look around you — there's a lot to be thankful for.
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All that gratitude doesn't just produce a warm, fuzzy feeling, it just might be good for your health too! In a January 2013 study published in Personality and Individual Differences, researchers found that people who tested as more grateful reported fewer aches and pains and say they feel healthier than others.
A November 2011 study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being found that people who journaled for 15 minutes about what they were grateful for slept better than those who didn't journal.
And according to researchers at UC Davis Emmons Lab, keeping a gratitude journal has been linked to:
- Exercising more regularly
- Reporting fewer physical complaints
- Experiencing better sleep quality and duration
- Feeling a greater sense of connection to others
- Increased likelihood to make progress toward important personal goals
- Higher levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and energy
- Feeling better about their lives as a whole
Read more: 25 of the Best Stress-Relief Techniques
How to Do the Thankfulness Challenge
To reap all of these benefits, all you need to do is record and take note of items you're thankful for. Here's one way to help you do that — a thankfulness challenge!
1. Begin Paying Attention
Was your lunch today particularly good? Did you listen to one of your favorite songs while driving in your car? Were the clouds in the sky in a beautiful pattern? You can find gratitude and thankfulness in anything — big or small.
2. Write It Down
Each day, write down one thing that you are grateful for. That can be in a journal you already have or the notes app in your phone. Or you can print out the daily calendar we've created below, fill it out each day and keep it where you'll be reminded of all the great things in your life.
3. Share Your Progress
Join our LIVESTRONG.com Challenge Facebook Group for inspiration challenge updates. Share you own stories and read those of fellow group members. You can also share your daily gratitude on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook using the hashtag #30DaysOfThanks.
Recording your gratitude should take you only a minimum of one to five minutes a day, though you can certainly spend longer if you're feeling extra grateful! This is such a small amount of time to spend on something that can give you tremendous happiness and health benefits.
Below is the 30 Day of Thankfulness Challenge calendar, but you can click here to get the larger version for printing.
Read more: 8 Easy Mindful-Meditation Techniques