How to Stop Being So Grumpy: the 21 day gratitude challenge

Updated: Oct 28


Humans are naturally pessimistic. Think about it…

Millions of years ago, it didn’t exactly serve our ancestors well to be cheerful, curious and unassuming.

Humans who weren’t pessimistic didn’t last long in the age of our prehistoric ancestors because back then, it only took one instance of poor judgement to end up as a saber tooth tiger’s lunch.

Because the stakes for survival used to be much higher, most of our ancient relatives had to survive by keeping one eye focused on what could go wrong at all times.

Up until recently (in terms of human evolution), this pessimistic attitude was necessary for survival and therefore, it has been genetically passed on you and I!

Meaning, we are the lucky descendants of the most anxious and pessimistic humans in our history.

Modern stress

Today though, the stressors of life are much different than they used to be and unfortunately, we humans still don’t know how to cope.

On average, today’s world is much safer than that of the past. In most countries poverty is at an all time low, food has never been more accessible, and people are living longer and healthier lives.

Yet, here we are in 2018 with record highs in reported depression and anxiety.

Why is that?

Why do so many of us feel like crap all the time?

Why is it that in a world with so much seemly going right, all we can see is what’s going wrong?

Now, before I get on my high horse here I want to say this:

I get it…

It’s hard not to compare yourself to others in a world that’s always connected.

It’s hard to be happy when the news bombards us with daily doses of fear.

It’s hard not to feel inferior when advertisers know how to manipulate our feelings just so we will buy their products.

In other words, just because we don’t have wooly mammoths chasing us anymore doesn’t mean that life isn’t hard.

The truth is, there really is a way for us to manage our doubts and inner Jerry Seinfeld’s and it only takes a few minutes of conscious efforts each day to make us happier people.

Now, back to my high horse:

Just because life is hard doesn’t mean we have to be eternal pessimists!

Just because life is challenging doesn’t mean that life is void of beauty!

Just because we feel stuck in our lives today, doesn’t mean there isn’t a way to appreciate what we have now!

The key to happiness in life is GRATITUDE and the key to living life in abundance is to be grateful for where you are and what you already have.

NO more excuses

Now before you say, “But JC, my life is so hard and I have nothing to be grateful for so how is this going to help me?” Let me interject:

STOP HOLDING ON TO YOUR PAIN!

In my honest opinion, there is no such thing is a person who has nothing to be grateful for.

No matter how bad things are, we can always find things to appreciate about our lives—even if it’s the mere fact that we are alive and conscious.

In moments of severe pain or crisis, we humans tend to obsess on the negative but if we look close enough, we will see that there is indeed always something to be thankful for.

How else would you explain those people who have lost everything—including their health—but who still remain cheerful and positive?

If just being alive isn’t enough for you to feel grateful, maybe rejoice in the fact that you are not suffering alone and there are thousands of other people out there who understand what you are going through.

The point is, none of us have the excuse that our life is too hard to be grateful.

The right way to be grateful

It’s no secret that those who express an attitude of gratitude tend to live happier lives.

Countless books and articles have been published in order to teach us how to be more grateful and yet, most of us have no idea how.

So, how do we start?

If you really want to get into the weeds on how to be more grateful in your life I recommending doing some research online or reading a few books on your own to better understand the practices.

If you don’t have time for that then you can always try the 21 day gratitude challenge which only has three rules:

  1. State 3 things you are grateful for each morning before you get out of bed and before you check your phone

  2. You cannot repeat your items of gratitude for at least 30 days

  3. You must state why you are grateful for each item (i.e. I’m grateful for my spouse because…)

The reason this challenge works is because it reprograms your brain.

Trust me, if you know that each morning you have to come up with 3 new things to be grateful for, your mind will subconsciously go to work and begin seeking out the good in your life in order to have them ready for the next morning’s gratitude session.

Furthermore, by not repeating what we are grateful for we can’t cheat the processes by simply restating memorized items of appreciation. With the 30 day no repeat rule in place our brain has to expend some mental effort to come up with 3 new things to be grateful for daily.

Lastly and perhaps most important, by stating why we are grateful for the things in our life, we tap into another level of our being—that is, our emotions.

When we know exactly why we are grateful for something our body responds and we can actually begin to feel the feelings of grartitiude.

The more we know how it feels to be grateful, the easier it is for our bodies to slip into the feelings of appreciation.

In other words, there’s a huge difference between stating “I’m grateful for my mother” versus “I’m grateful for my mother because she is always there to support me during tough times.”

As you can see, the former is nice but the latter really sticks because it’s specific and the more specific we can get with why were are grateful, the more gratitude we feel.

Conclusion:

The great thing about this 21 day challenge is that it runs just long enough to help you start a habit. Although there is no such thing as the optimal number of days to make a habit stick (since the definition of habit is something that’s ongoing), 21 days is just enough time to get you used to the practice and on your way to building a lifetime practice of appreciation.

So, if you are feeling a little down on your luck lately, JOIN ME for this 21 day gratitude challenge and I promise you will start to see the light in your life.

Follow the rules and watch how your mind begins to change. Trust the process and trust the power of gratitude!

Thank you as always for reading this week’s blog post. We hope you enjoyed the content and we would LOVE to hear how your 21 day gratitude challenge is going!

Drop us a line on social media or leave us a comment on this blog! We can’t wait to hear from you!

Until next time,

Many many blessings

#gratitude #mindfulness #meditation #grateful