try this 5 day gratitude challenge

try this 5 day gratitude challenge

If you’re reading this I’m sure you’re familiar with the link between gratitude and happiness.

Happy people tend to be more grateful.

And grateful people tend to enjoy more happiness.

But practising gratitude in the same way every day can become stale; and boring. Which is why this 5 day challenge is so cool. Maintain more happiness with variety over the next week…

via TED Ideas by Daryl Chen

These five different exercises — all from TED speakers — can help you add more thanks to your life.

Feel free to do the challenges in any way that suits you, whether it’s in back-to-back days or spread out over weeks or months. Then, if some of them resonate with you more than others, focus on those and save the rest for another time.

The key is discovering the practices that increase the gratefulness in your life. Enlisting a gratitude buddy — someone else who will do these exercises at the same time as you so you’ll able to share your experiences — can help, too.

Challenge #1: Take a photo every day of something you’re thankful for.

In 2008 Hailey Bartholomew, who lives in Queensland, Australia, was struck with a bone-deep case of the blahs. “I had two healthy kids, a lovely partner, but I just did not feel anything for my life.” she recalls in a TEDxQUT Talk. Bartholomew went to a counselor, who asked her to do this exercise for 10 days: Take 10 minutes at the end of every day to reflect on the things she was grateful for, and write them down. This activity led her to notice moments and objects she’d have otherwise missed. At the end of 10 days, she decided she wanted to continue — but with an important twist. “I needed a lot more of that,” she says. “Being a photographer, I decided I was going to do a photo a day for a whole year.”

Bartholomew took photographs of the sights that stirred her gratitude — the color green, her favorite umbrella, weeds blowing in the wind, a bug perching jewel-like on her daughter’s shirt. But when she zoomed in on an object and the appreciation it aroused in her, something else happened in her: She found herself looking beyond her preconceptions and stale stories.

Take her husband. She felt he wasn’t romantic — he didn’t take her on dates, buy her flowers, or enact other known tropes. One day, she was trying to figure out the subject for her daily gratitude photo. “I was looking around the room, and then I saw my husband serving dinner,” she says. “In the corner of my eye, I watched as he put the biggest piece of pie on my plate, and I was like, ‘Whoa’ … And he was doing that every day — he was putting me fully first. But I was not seeing it because I was not looking.”

What good things in your life would you see if you just took the time to look? This particular challenge has an obvious perk: Whenever you need a reminder of what really matters to you , you’ll have your photos to look back on.

Challenge #2: In your transactions with cashiers, baristas and others, take the time to look them in the eye and really thank them.

“Gratitude is not an emotion that comes naturally to me,” writes Aj Jacobs in this excerpt from his book Thanks A Thousand. “My innate disposition is moderately grumpy, more Larry David than Tom Hanks.”

A few years ago, Jacobs — who is based in New York City — set out on a quest to thank everyone behind one thing in his life that he couldn’t function without: his daily coffee. He thanked the farmers, the person who designed the disposable cup, the truckers who transported the beans, and many, many others.

Early in his journey, Jacobs went to his local coffee shop to thank Chung, the barista who served him most days. In a TED Talk, he says, “Chung has had people yell at her until she cried, including a nine-year-old girl who didn’t like the whipped cream design that Chung did on her hot chocolate … But Chung said that the hardest part is when people don’t even treat her like a human being. They treat her like a vending machine. They’ll hand her their credit card without even looking up from their phone. And while she’s saying this, I’m realizing — I’ve done that. I’ve been that a-hole. At that moment, I pledged: When dealing with people, I’m going to take those two seconds and look at them, make eye contact … That little moment of connection is so important to both people’s humanity and happiness.”

Note: Jacobs says both people. Because when we’re busy treating someone like they’re a vending machine, we’re not experiencing our own humanity either. The next time you get ready to make eye contact with a barista or cashier and thank them, consider also doing one or more of the following: remove your headphones or earbuds, smile, offer a sincere compliment…

…keep reading the full & original article HERE