Every once in awhile, usually on an early Saturday morning, over a warm mug and in the corner of my favorite coffee shop, the feeling washes over me. Unexpectedly, without warning, for no reason at all. Once it hits, it stays awhile, peering through my open eyes like a pair of rose-colored glasses. Abundant gratitude.
Similar to many feelings, it can be fleeting and slip out in the night. Usually when Iâ€™m not paying much attention, when Iâ€™m distracted by something else.
The practice of acknowledging and expressing gratitude can reveal silver-linings and optimism you never knew you had before. Here is a great article on the gratitude effect. Research shows the connection between practicing gratitude and increased happiness and well-being. To â€śpracticeâ€ť gratitude is to welcome it into your life with intention. It’s the capturing of the feeling before it leaves you. This can be in the form of meditating, writing thank you notes, journaling or even keeping a simple list.
During my senior year of college, I completed the Hundred Happy Days challenge, posting on Instagram each day for one hundred days about something that made me happy. Many days, the challenge wasnâ€™t all that much of a challenge, and for good reason. Other days, I really didnâ€™t know what to be happy about, which inevitably reminded me of the very purpose of the challenge. I really had to think about the moments in my day that made me happy, the small and large forces that carried me through the week. The habit of posting turned into a habit of paying more attention and looking more carefully. Amidst the struggle of getting through the last days of academia and thinking about an uncertain future, the challenge always led me to a place of renewed perspective. For a moment, every day, there it was. Abundant gratitude.
In the spirit of the holiday season, I want to bring this feeling back. Enter, November Gratitude Challenge 1.0.
Through out the month of November I plan to shine a light on gratitude by posting on Sense of Sunny, Instagram, Twitter and/or Facebook using the hashtag #senseofgratitude. If youâ€™re wanting to put a little extra grateful in your day, follow along and join me!
Today, Iâ€™m grateful for you. For your urge to click on a post, link, or image, no matter how slight. I share myself in this way so that I may resonate with someone who needs my words or just a moment of distraction in their day. I do it because it brings me an indescribable kind and immeasurable amount of joy. It keeps me up late at night and wakes me up early in the morning. It sparks that fire in my heart. The truth-telling, list-making, passionately curious heart of mine that somehow manages to write the words, but rarely knows how to say them. Without you, I would feel a little less alive, my corner a little more lonely.