day 7 gratitude challenge togetherness

I Made this Year’s Gratitude Challenge a Real Challenge

It’s so comfortable to complain. It’s even a great way to make small talk, especially with people you don’t know. “I’m so over this cold weather already.” “The traffic is always so bad this time of day.” Lately, I’ve been finding myself down on a lot of things going on in our world. So, to inject some needed optimism in my life, I decided to make my 3rd annual gratitude challenge a real challenge for myself.

The Science Behind Gratitude

In many parts of the world, November is considered a time to reflect on all that we have in our lives and show our thanks. The bonus is that expressing gratitude is actually beneficial to our health and well-being. If you’d like to know the details behind this claim, Imed Bouchrika, PhD, explains it well in this article.

“Contrary to common knowledge, gratitude is more than just an individual’s emotional response that results in making other people feel appreciated. Actual scientific studies prove the benefits of gratitude that contribute to an individual’s character development and overall well-being.”

– Imed Bouchrika, PhD

7 Day Gratitude Challenge

Eager to conduct my own gratitude experiment, I did my first 7 Day Gratitude Challenge a couple of years ago when my website was brand new. I found it surprisingly therapeutic. I chose the week before the American Thanksgiving holiday precisely because it is such a busy time of year. Carving out a moment in each day building up to the Thanksgiving holiday forced me to slow down and take time to savor the good in my life.

I decided to make the 7 Day Gratitude Challenge an annual endeavor. To make it more interesting, I try to show gratitude for something different each year. Last year, I reflected on the “little things” in my life, such as coffee and family recipes.

This Year’s Gratitude Challenge is a Real Challenge

Recently, I’ve noticed that a lot of things I used to really enjoy–get really excited about–just don’t do it for me anymore. Some have even started to feel like a chore.

There are probably a lot of reasons behind this; I don’t think it’s solely because I’ve become completely spoiled. (Although, my dad would debate this.) Some things may have lost their novelty simply due to repetition. Or perhaps, my values have shifted. Regardless, I want to try and re-spark the joy I once felt. I want to shift my mindset from complaining about the things that I’ve come to take for granted to savoring them.

So, this year’s gratitude challenge will highlight the everyday things I really can’t live without.

Day 1: Technology–mobile phones, computers, tablets

I rarely consider how important technology is in my life–until it goes wrong. It is then I feel my complete and utter dependence upon it. Wrong or right–it is what it is. Common complaints? It’s too slow, too expensive–it’s programmed to make me an addict! Yet, it is an indispensable part of my daily life. It helps me get where I’m going, purchase necessities, communicate with my loved ones, and promote kindness in the world. For all those things and more, I am grateful.

7 day gratitude challenge - technology - day one

Day 2: My Body

Chalk it up to societal pressures, women’s magazines, or even Instagram reels–pick your poison. The truth is, I am overly critical of my body. I find myself dissatisfied more often than not: too many wrinkles, graying hair, my saggy neck on zoom calls. I could go on and on. But actually, my body is healthy and serves me well even when I don’t treat it very nicely. I am grateful for my body and the precious gift of good health.

7 day gratitude challenge-day 2 my body

Day 3: Shoes & Other Wearable Goods

Recently, I’ve taken up the hobby of shoemaking. Now, I look at wearable goods in a completely different light. I have a new appreciation for the time, creativity, and years of experience needed to make these beautiful things that I used to be quick to label as overpriced. Don’t get me wrong–not all products are worth the price tag they carry–but I certainly value the goods of small, local makers in a much different way.

gratitude challenge - day 3 - shoes

Day 4: Access to Healthcare

I know, this is a loaded issue. But in a country where access to healthcare is not an option for everyone, I feel extremely lucky to have quality medical care anytime and anywhere for me and my family. I often find my annual appointments, mammograms, and vaccines a drag. I mean, is it all really necessary? Yes. It is. And I am grateful that I have the opportunity to care for myself in sickness and in health.

gratitude challenge day 4 access to healthcare

Day 5: Delivery Services

As a New Yorker, driving (and parking!) in the city is avoided at all costs. Which means that almost all of my errands are done on foot or public transportation. Every trip is carefully calculated: Is it physically realistic to walk .4 miles with all those groceries for Thanksgiving? Um…no. Even though it pains me to say it, since I know the impact on the environment, I do rely heavily on delivery services. I know there is a lot that can and needs to be improved (packaging, etc.), but especially on holidays like the upcoming, I am eternally grateful to the companies who deliver.

gratitude challenge - day 5 - delivery services

Day 6: Air Travel

Travel, in general, has been through a lot in the last few years. I’m not certain if it’s just an impression or indeed a fact, but air travel seems busier and more expensive than ever. I struggle to find the person who hasn’t experienced a flight cancellation, and travel horror stories seem to be the norm in conversation around any major holiday. BUT, this is the time for gratitude. And the fact is, if it weren’t for the travel industry, my fabulous daughter would not be joining us for Thanksgiving. And for that, I’m very thankful.

day 6 gratitude challenge - air travel

Day 7: Togetherness

I spend a lot of time wishing for more quiet time. The constant bustle of the city and the busy-ness of life often leaves me craving for more calm in my life. But, on the 7th day of this year’s gratitude challenge, I found myself thankful for the chaos in the kitchen and the noise of laughter and voices competing for attention. Being together was the absolute best part of the holiday.

day 7 gratitude challenge togetherness


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