It’s almost that time again. November. It’s the time of year some people love, and the time of year some people dread. It’s the kickoff of the holiday season and a month known for gratitude.
The Oxford Dictionary defines gratitude as “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.”
When you live with mental illness, it is hard to find reasons to be grateful. It is difficult to maintain a positive attitude when your world is often falling apart all around you. As I wrote about in another blog post, when you live with mental illness, you must plan to be positive.
I always say that cultivating an attitude of gratitude changes everything. If you look at the world through the lens of what is right instead of what is wrong, it changes your worldview.
It does not mean you put on rose-colored glasses and pretend that there aren’t obstacles and challenges in your life. No, it means that you make the choice to be grateful despite your circumstances.
Cultivating an attitude of gratitude has several benefits:
- You are automatically more content because you are focused on the things that are right in your life.
- You are kinder because you see the hope and possibilities in the world instead of just the complications and challenges.
- You feel better physically because a negative mindset is no longer affecting your health.
- Your mood improves because symptoms and daily struggles are not your only focus.
I know what you are thinking. This sounds great, but how do I practically cultivate an attitude of gratitude in my life while I am overwhelmed by symptoms and difficult circumstances.
It is not easy, but it is doable. All of us have habits. We have habits that enhance our lives, and we have habits that weigh us down.
I have heard it said that it takes 21 days to form a habit. You must make living with an attitude of gratitude a habit in your life. You must bump developing your gratitude habit to the top of your priority list.
Any achievement in life occurs because of a decision and a set of steps taken to get from here to there. It is no different with cultivating an attitude of gratitude.
To cultivate an attitude of gratitude, you must wake up every morning, and you must find your personal piece of gratefulness in that day. Before you climb out of bed, pray or meditate on the idea that if nothing else, you are grateful because you woke up on this side of heaven.
When you set a goal, it is important to have actionable steps that lead to results you can measure over time. Anyone can say that they will cultivate and maintain an attitude of gratitude, but without a plan, it is easy to get sidetracked by the everyday struggles of life.
Welcome to 30 Days of Gratitude
Welcome to 30 Days of Gratitude. For the next 30 days, I challenge you to jumpstart your gratitude habit.
Every day, I ask that you spend a few minutes writing in your gratitude journal. No one is watching you. If you spend three minutes one day and thirty seconds the next, you won’t get a bad grade. What I am looking for is consistency.
I bet you are wondering what in the world you will write about every day for the next 30 days. I’ve got you covered. I am providing you with thirty journal prompts to help jumpstart your gratitude habit. They are listed below, or you can click here to download the free 30 Days of Gratitude journal prompt printable.
These are not groundbreaking existential questions. These are simple journal prompts with one thing in common. They all make you think of something you love, something that makes you happy or something to aspire to.
Don’t get caught up in trying to come up with the “right” answer for each prompt. Honestly, if you stuck with the first journal prompt for the entire 30 days, you would still do your part to create a gratitude habit.
You don’t need a special journal—any notebook will do—but if you are like me and love the blank canvas of a new journal or notebook, you can choose a beautiful one that inspires you.
Here are 30 journal prompts to jumpstart your gratitude habit:
- What three things are you grateful for today?
- What is your favorite childhood memory?
- Who is the one person you can count on?
- What is your favorite hobby?
- What is your most prized possession?
- Name three reasons you are a good friend and three ways you can become a better one.
- What is your favorite television show, and why do you love it?
- Describe your perfect day.
- What are your three most positive traits?
- What is the kindest thing someone ever did for you?
- What is the kindest thing you have ever done for someone else?
- Describe your favorite meal.
- What is your go-to activity to relax after a bad day?
- What is your favorite song, and why do you love it?
- Describe a bad season of your life that ultimately led to positive personal growth.
- What made you smile today?
- What is your favorite travel destination? If you haven’t visited there yet, explain why you want to.
- What is your favorite book, and why do you love it?
- How can you encourage someone today?
- Who do you admire? Name three reasons you admire them.
- What personal accomplishment are you most proud of?
- What is one thing that always makes you laugh?
- What is your favorite movie, and why do you love it?
- What is your greatest talent?
- Describe your perfect night out with your significant other or your friends.
- What is your favorite day of the week? Why is it your favorite?
- What piece of clothing or accessory makes you feel confident?
- What is your favorite scripture verse or inspirational quote, and why do you love it?
- What is your favorite holiday tradition?
- What you can do to make someone else feel less alone during the holidays this year?
Social Media Challenge
Will you join me on social media to jumpstart your gratitude habit? Starting November 1, I will share a journal prompt on social media at 10 a.m. every morning. Even if you can’t commit to consistent journaling, I hope you will at least think about your answer and share it in the comments, so we can cheer each other on as we take this gratitude journey together.
There are three ways to connect with me on social media. You can follow my blog on Facebook and Instagram, or you can become a member of my private Facebook community, The Light Brigade. I can’t wait until each of us makes gratitude an everyday habit.
Don’t forget to download the free 30 Days of Gratitude journal prompt printable.