Thursday, November 21, 2013

It's All About Perspective: The Gratitude Shift {21 Days of Gratitude}

Inspired by Inspired by Familia: A Reflection on #21DaysofGratitude

Today is the final day of Inspired Familia's 21 Days of Gratitude Challenge. (Psst. You should also check out these gratitude free printable prompts she shared.) I participated last year and loved the way it prompted a series on my blog about teaching gratitude, including one of my most popular posts ever -- gratitude postcards, which are perfect for young children. This year, I wanted to share about how the practice has affected me personally. My gratitude practice hasn't been as visible on my social media this year (mainly because I've been reducing social media time to focus on family), but I have focused daily on gratitude. This has inspired me to focus on adjusting my perspective and successfully embracing what I call "the gratitude shift." 

Here's how the gratitude shift works: 

Sink full of dirty dishes? Instead of mentally complaining about not having a dishwasher, I flip the switch and think "I am grateful that I have food to cook and feed to my family." 

Fighting kids? 

"I am grateful that I have two healthy boys and that I have the ability to help them learn to get along." When I start with that phrase in my head, 
I can more affectively respond to them. 

On a rare occasion, that extra moment to stop and focus and make the gratitude shift has allowed them to work it out themselves. 

This is the benefit of a daily gratitude practice - a positive perspective shift. It's still very much a work in progress for me, but I'm happy to have begun this process. It encourages me to recognize the blessings in my life and to realize that these blessings are everywhere. So, on this the final official day of 21 Days of Gratitude, I encourage you to consider continuing the practice. Look around you right now and find an opportunity for a gratitude shift. Perhaps it's a pile of laundry that needs to be folded and put away or that needs to be washed: "I am grateful that our family has clothes to wear." Or dirty floors that need to be mopped (that's my house today): "I am grateful that our family has a home." Or a co-worker that drives you crazy: "I am grateful that I have a job that allows me to provide for my family." etc. etc. 

It's not always easy, and they're may be some situations where making the shift is quite challenging, but I believe it is possible and I believe that the shift empowers us and those around us to move toward more and more positivity in our lives. 

Think it's too late to join? It's not. 

Share what you are grateful for today and use the hashtag: #21DaysofGratitude. 

Revisit the schedule here and read through what other bloggers have shared through the project for inspiration to keep gratitude at the center of your holiday focus. I've noticed amazing benefits when I shift my holiday to a focus on appreciation rather than I wants. I wrote about that benefit last year in a piece called "Making the 'I Wants' Fall Away" and I revisited that idea as I shared my first 17 Days of Gratitude in "Appreciation and I Wants 2013." I've shared the prompts from the month below, you can always start with Day 1 today or on December 1st if you missed it this month. What I've learned is that taking a gratitude challenge is beneficial any time of year, and that I always appreciate this annual reminder. Oh, and real quick, here's Days 18-21 from me:

Day 18 - A book: True Love by Thich Nhat Hanh, a book I go back to time and time again. I shared a favorite passage from the book and its meaning to me here.

Day 19 - A gift you received: my piano. Family friends gave us their piano, which was truly an amazing gift.

Day 20 - What you do everyday: I am grateful that I get to work with my husband to raise a family together and build a production company together that is committed to making engaging films around important topics and empowering youth to create media as well. I am also grateful that I do this work from home so that I can focus on our sons.

Day 21 - Something you can't live without: My family. Of course. 


  1. That's a wonderful way to look at things. That's a shift I think we could all take! :)

  2. I read this earlier this week and it keeps replaying in my mind. Thanks so much for your thoughtfulness!