When we get stressed and overwhelmed, our brains are very good at focusing in on those negative aspects of our lives. Unfortunately, this increased focus on the negatives usually isn’t helpful for actually solving any problems. Deliberate gratitude practice helps to pull our minds away from this unhelpful focus, and notice the more positive aspects of our lives. Gratitude has been shown make people happier, less stressed, less depressed, and to help them sleep better. There have even been studies showing that it can help reduce blood pressure!

Flourish Challenge: Gratitude

  • Jot down Three things that you are grateful for today. They can be big or small, profound or mundane.
  • Think of one person you feel grateful toward who you can reach out to today. It can be a brief text or email, or a long heartfelt card or letter. Who could you reach out to, and why? Commit to doing this today!

Consider posting on social media ‘what are you grateful for?’, or ‘what was the best thing that happened to you today?.’ Seeing the way that others express their gratitude may inspire and encourage you. This exercise can also provide a welcome positive presence on social media in the midst of the complaining and filtered perfection that can so often dominate. Not only may this activity benefit you, but you are also prompting everyone who sees it to consider their life from the mindset of selecting positive memories. Through your responses to what others say, you also gain an opportunity to connect, strengthen relationships, and provide encouragement or support directly.

For the final 4 days of the Flourish Challenge, you will again be prompted to write down your 3 gratitude items each day. You may like to keep an eye out for things as you live each day. This act of focusing your brain on searching for positive things helps to shift background mental processes to boost overall positive emotions.