The Gratitude challenge.
Hey Biba Friends, fans, readers and website visitors. Happy February 2018!! Congratulations on surviving January, how did it go for you? If you come from my corner of the world, January is always a very long and dreadful month, People are broke as a result of the December festivities and I guess as a way of relieving stress there were very many funny memes circulating on social media with people wishing for January to end already. To make matters worse, your January earnings are already tagged to school fees as the first week of February marks the start of the school year (in Uganda) – if you are fortunate enough to have school going children or if you have dependents.
Anyway back to the subject of this post, A while back I was feeling very low, I was demotivated and generally feeling inadequate. There were days when I felt an overwhelming sadness and dread of I don’t know what, it felt like my spirit had left me and I was just going about with no substance in me. It felt like nothing was going in my favor, especially taking note of the goals I have set over the years, it felt like I was moving backwards and not forward, I felt like a horrible friend, mother and daughter. You know when I am in this horrible zone, I sort of shut down and barely communicate with anyone – I cannot even bring myself to answer my phone calls and literally just want to switch off from the world around me.
My feeling of inadequacy mainly came about as a result of me comparing myself to other people, forgetting that we all have different journeys in life and that we are all different. The timing of events and milestones in our lives is unique to each one so you can’t go about coveting and envying other people’s successes, rather, it should be a joy to celebrate the successes of others. Comparing oneself to others is a joy stealer and leads to one feeling demotivated and not feeling good enough.
So, as this blanket of deep sadness engulfed me, I got so sick of it. I got so sick and tired of feeling this way and I was willing to do anything to stop it, I felt horrible and didn’t like me and was feeling sorry for those around me who were dealing with my withdrawn self. A thought then came to my mind that I should try gratitude, I have been reading a lot about mindfulness and its impact on our overall well-being – mind body and soul. I determined that for every negative thing I was feeling or experiencing I would find something to be grateful / thankful for. As I started out, the idea came to me that I should make it a twenty one day challenge and I promise I had no idea that there was something similar on the web but as you know there is lots of information if you search google and sure enough I found something very helpful – the Gratitude Challenge, a twenty one day program designed to help you take note of the brighter side of life. I also found some helpful tips in an article on Huffington Post.
Gratitude is an attitude of being thankful, the readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness and also being able to see the positive aspects in every situation.Gratitude as proven by credible research has been found to reduce the negative effects of stress, improve sleep, and cultivate positive emotions.
So I challenge each and every one of you reading this to take on the gratitude challenge, record it in a journal, share it on your wall in a social media post (Facebook, Twitter, Instragram etc) share it with your friends and challenge them too and let us have a community of grateful people. At the end of each week we shall take stock of how practising gratitude has changed / impacted our perspective on life.
Please use this guide for daily ideas on what you are grateful for. You may be wondering why 21 days, why not 30 days or 10 days….. well, aparently it is because this is the length of time it takes to establish a new habit, such that after the twenty one days it will be natural for you to be thankful and have an attitude of gratitude, as you practice and learn gratitude even on a very difficult day please do remember that there is always something to be thankful for… so go ahead and give thanks.
And finally in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, the Bible tells us… “ in all things give thanks” and I am also reminded of this age old hymn……… Count your blessings, name them one by one.
When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God has done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your many blessings, see what God has done.
Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by.
When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings—money cannot buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.
So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.
Whether or not you are a Christian, the words of this song make good sense and you should heed to the wise counsel therein.
I do hope you join in on this challenge, also challenge your friends and loved ones and let us come back here to share the achievements and lessons learned.
Thank you for coming by