Gratitude is not limited to Thanksgiving. I have discovered a joyful way to increase gratefulness for previously unnoticed moments or objects in my life. I took on a challenge to exercise five different ways to increase my gratitude. Will you join me? I will post a weekly challenge, and we’ll take it from there.
Challenge 1: Take daily photos
Through the next week, I will take a daily photo of something for which I am grateful. The idea is to learn to be thankful for the things I take for granted. You can even invite a gratitude buddy to do it with you and share your progress. I got the idea when I read about an Australian photographer who went through a severe bout of questioning her life and finding nothing to live for. Essentially, these feelings depressed her because she had an excellent partner and two healthy children.
The challenge to explore gratefulness
She consulted with a counselor who suggested she take 10 minutes each evening to reflect on things that deserved her gratitude. She had to write them in a journal. After a few days, the photographer says she realized that she began to notice objects and moments that she had overlooked before. The counselor told her to do this exercise for 10 days. However, the photographer in her wanted more. She decided to take one photo each day for an entire year. We will do it for seven days, and then move on to the next challenge.
Things that moved her feelings of gratitude
Before long she realized that the color green plays a significant role in this process of practicing to feel more grateful. She photographed weeds rustling in the wind, her favorite green umbrella and a bug that perched on her daughter’s top. When she zoomed in on the bug, she likened it to a jewel. As the time passed, she became aware of changes in her preconceived expectations. She found a whole world filled with wonderful things to be grateful for.
She saw her husband in a different light
One of the things that bothered her before she saw the counselor was that her husband was no longer the romantic prince he once was. There were no more romantic dates and bunches of flowers. While she was looking for something to snap for her daily gratitude image, she noticed her husband serving the family dinner. What she also saw was that he served the biggest portion of pie onto her plate. She felt embarrassed when she realized that he had always put her first, even though it did not include flowers and romantic dates. She also realized that her personal challenge to take photographs has opened her eyes and mind to much more than she had thought possible.
This challenge’s long-term perks
We all have days when it is challenging to find even one thing to stir our gratitude. With this challenge, you’ll have all the photos to look through as reminders of what really matters. I am excited to start taking daily pictures and discover things in my life that I never took the time to notice.
Come back next week for the second of five challenges to increase gratefulness. No matter how bad something may seem, there are always, always, many things to be grateful for.