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At Wholeheartmagic we are big believers in the psychological and spiritual benefits of gratitude and want all of our readers to experience them.  We feel that November is the perfect time to issue a challenge to ourselves and our readers to begin a gratitude practice.

Jessi from Wholeheartmagic has written a beautiful article on gratitude Here that will help you get motivated for our challenge. 

Here are some other gratitude tidbits to help you in starting our challenge:

Gratitude is defined by one of the leading experts on gratitude Robert Emmons as two things, “it’s an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received,” and “we recognize that the sources of this goodness are outside of ourselves. … We acknowledge that other people—or even higher powers, if you’re of a spiritual mindset—gave us many gifts, big and small, to help us achieve the goodness in our lives.”

Research has shown time and time again that gratitude has a multitude of benefits for physical, emotional and spiritual health.  Here is a list of some of the benefits of gratitude that researchers Robert Emmons, Sonja Lyubmirsky and many others have found:

Increasing happiness

increasing life satisfaction

Boosts feelings of optimism, joy, pleasure and enthusiasm

Reduces anxiety and depression

Strengthens the immune system

Lowers blood pressure

Reduces symptoms of illness

Increases quality and quantity of sleep

Helps recover from traumatic events

Strengthens romantic relationships

Promotes forgiveness

Causes us to be more helpful to others

Helps us be more generous to others

Every spiritual teaching talks about gratitude as a powerful force to connect us with our higher power and with ourselves.  Deepak Chopra says, “When we’re appreciating something, our ego moves out of the way and we connect with our soul. Gratitude brings our attention into the present, which is the only place where miracles can unfold. The deeper our  appreciation, the more we see with the eyes of the soul and the more our life flows in harmony with the creative power of the universe.”

Gordon B. Hinckley said, “Gratitude is the beginning of wisdom.  Stated differently, true wisdom cannot be obtained unless it is built on a foundation of true humility and gratitude.”

Now that I have given you the “why” for starting a gratitude practice, lets talk about the “how.”  Gratitude can be practiced in a multitude of ways.  The challenge we are giving is backed by research as one of the most simple and effective ways to start a practice of gratitude.  The challenge is to write down three things you were grateful for each day.  Try to write in detail about them and write how each thing made you feel.  You can keep a list on a notepad on your phone, or you can write with pen and paper in a journal.  Research shows that writing is much more effective than simply thinking about what you are grateful for.  It may be helpful to take the challenge with a friend so they can keep you accountable, or to set a daily alarm reminding you to write.

When I have been consistent with my list it has not only made a difference in my life, but has served as a great journal.  I love looking back on my gratitude lists years after I have written them and reflecting on all the joy that has been in my life.

We are excited for our readers to take the challenge with us and for us to all watch our lives transform this month!  Let us know what you are grateful for.