Follow Me On A 21 Day Gratitude Challenge
Last year I read a fabulous book, The Happiness Advantage by psychologist and best selling author Shawn Achor. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend it. One of my favourite messages from the book is that happiness precedes success. Success does not precede happiness. How often have you said to yourself “I will be happy when….”? The reality is that is not how happiness works. That is why cliche "money doesn't buy happiness" has been around for so long.
According to Achor, “scientifically, happiness is a choice”. He goes on to talk about how you can rewire your brain to be happier. He provides you with a list of exercises to do every day, for 21 days, to “transform your brain from a pessimist into an optimist”.
Now, I am generally a very happy person. I have also been successful in many areas of my life (in my education, in my career, in my chosen sport, and I have fabulous and very happy relationship). But really, can a person ever be too happy? So I decided to practice everything Sean Achor recommended in his book. So I purchased a notebook and I started to do all of the exercises that he recommends which I quote below:
- Gratitude Exercises. Write down three things you're grateful for that occurred over the last 24 hours. They don't have to be profound. It could be a really good cup of coffee or the warmth of a sunny day.
- The Doubler. Take one positive experience from the past 24 hours and spend two minutes writing down every detail about that experience. As you remember it, your brain labels it as meaningful and deepens the imprint.
- The Fun Fifteen. Do 15 minutes of a fun cardio activity, like gardening or walking the dog, every day. The effects of daily cardio can be as effective as taking an antidepressant.
- Meditation. Every day take two minutes to stop whatever you're doing and concentrate on breathing. Even a short mindful break can result in a calmer, happier you.
- Conscious act of kindness. At the start of every day, send a short email or text praising someone you know. Our brains become addicted to feeling good by making others feel good.
- Deepen Social Connections. Spend time with family and friends. Our social connections are one of the best predictors for success and health, and even life expectancy.
I have been keeping my journal almost religiously for nearly a year now. Sure, I forget to journal some days, but not very many. It is a habit, and one that I really enjoy doing.
On June 1 at the CPA Elevate luncheon I heard Amanda Lindhout speak. Truly the most inspirational speech I have heard in my life – there was not a person at my table that did not have tears hearing her story. In her incredible story, she says that one of the things that got her through her torturous experience was to find something everyday to be grateful for. And my God, if she could find something to be grateful for under the circumstances she endured – anyone can. (On a side note, I highly recommend her book - A House In The Sky).
On October 15th I had the honour of speaking at an event, Boldly Go-Tools for Navigating a Life of Success. At this event, was a very special and inspiring speaker, CaroleAnne Sluchinski, and her topic was “Attitude of Gratitude”. In her speech she challenged the audience to do a 21 Day Goal Challenge.
While I’ve been journaling my 3 daily grateful thoughts for a while now, I’ve decided to take CaroleAnne’s challenge to a different level and share my grateful thoughts publicly – and challenge my followers to join in on the challenge with me, starting on November 1st.