Personal Growth

This Super Simple Gratitude Challenge Can Make Your Life Better!

Did you know that gratitude can improve your physical health, make you happier, and improve your relationships? If you want simple ways to increase your gratitude, then look no further than the 30 Day Gratitude Challenge!

Gratitude Challenge To Combat Worry, Fear, And Negativity

Did you know that the average person has between 12,000 and 60,000 thoughts each day?! Sadly, it is estimated that 80% of our thoughts are negative.

Those negative thoughts often lead us to feeling worried, fearful, or angry. Chronic stress and a decreased life-span are bleak outcomes associated with years of negative thinking.

I most definitely have struggled with the negative emotions that are connected to negative thoughts. The reality is that if we choose to let our emotions dictate how we live, our relationships, health and happiness will most definitely suffer.

The amazing news is that there is another option! Instead of focusing on all that is wrong or all that could go wrong, we can choose to be grateful for all that we have and all that God has done. More than 2,000 years ago, authors of the New Testament told Christians this:

Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

So then, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to walk in him, being rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing with gratitude.

Colossians 2:6-7

 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful. By it, we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and awe

Hebrews 12:28

That is some great wisdom found in Scripture! Did you know that these words were penned during a time that Christians were being persecuted for their faith? Yet, what was the antidote time and time again? Gratitude.

Life does has very real challenges so how are we actually supposed to live gratitude out in the midst of them? Before we get to the gratitude challenge, let’s look at what a few people in history did, when they faced hardship.

Gratitude In The Midst Of Hardship

In September of 1620 a group of 102 people, seeking religious freedom, left England and crossed the Atlantic ocean by ship, for the Americas. Just months later, by the spring of 1621, half of them had died from the journey or from disease.

The surviving pilgrims were malnourished, and if local native Americans had not taught them how to live off of this new land, they likely all would have perished.

Although they had lost so much, they were grateful for God’s provision. In the autumn of 1621 the Plymouth colonists gathered together with the Wampanoag to give thanks, and feast for three days.

The American colonies continued to celebrate Thanksgiving year after year, but it wasn’t until the height of the Civil War, that President Lincoln made Thanksgiving a national holiday.

I will bless the Lord at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips.
I will boast in the Lord;
the humble will hear and be glad.
Proclaim the Lord’s greatness with me;
let us exalt his name together.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me
and rescued me from all my fears.

Psalm 34:1-4

President Lincoln’s Gratitude Challenge

Abraham Lincoln was elected as president in 1860. Just months later, on April 12, 1861 the Civil War began. It is estimated that 620,000 Americans died as a result.

At the height of the Civil War, in 1863, President Lincoln Abraham announced that Thanksgiving would be a new national holiday. In making his announcement, he asked all Americans to seek God to “commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation.”

As broken as our nation was, the call to express gratitude to God in the midst of tragedy, should remind us to do the same today.

Science Also Says A Lot About Gratitude

It’s always so fascinating when science catches up with the truth of Scripture. It turns out that gratitude is full of wonderful benefits.

Studies have shown that by simply writing down what we are grateful for, our life satisfaction greatly improves. Our circumstances do not have to change in order for our mindset about our circumstances to change, for the better. The solution is gratitude.

A study at the University of Miami compared a group of people who focused on gratitude for 10 weeks to group that focused on their aggravations. Amazingly, the group that practiced gratitude exercised more and visited the doctor less often! So, there are very real health benefits to being more grateful.

Yet another study, at the University of Pennsylvania, had a group of people personally deliver a note of gratitude to someone in their lives. The criteria for the note was that the recipient had to be someone who had shown kindness in the past, but had never been properly thanked.

Although I’m sure the recipients of the notes benefited from this act, the participants had a huge increase in their personal happiness score. The positive impact in happiness lasted for more than a month!

Gratitude studies that have been done to look at impact on relationships found similar, positive outcomes. When couples express gratitude for their partners, the relationships improved.

As well, when managers consistently expressed gratitude and said thank-you to their staff, the employees were motivated to work harder.

If you would like to have improved health, happiness, and relationships, express gratitude!

The Gratitude Challenge

Alright. We now know that throughout history, followers of Jesus have chosen to be grateful in the middle of their darkest challenges. We aren’t told to pretend that life isn’t hard or that deny that fact that we are facing challenges. Yet, no matter what we are up against, we are reminded that there is always something to be grateful for.

Are we ready to put gratitude to the test and take on a 30 day challenge? I know I am! I encourage you to invite your family or a friend to take the challenge with you.

Daily Gratitude Challenge

Every single day for the next month, write at least one sentence of gratitude in a journal, or say a prayer specifically thanking God, for something you are thankful for.

We are going get inspired by some of the gratitude studies listed earlier and take the 30 day gratitude challenge a step further. In addition to writing a sentence, or saying a prayer of thanksgiving, each day of the week we will express gratitude in other ways.

Monday’s Gratitude Challenge

Call, text, or write a note to a friend, telling them why you are grateful for them.

Tuesday’s Gratitude Challenge

Express gratitude to one of your neighbors or co-workers with a conversation, text, or note.

Wednesday’s Gratitude Challenge

Find a way to express your gratitude to your spouse or loved one. Ideally this can be done with both action and words.

Thursday’s Gratitude Challenge

Call, text, or write a note to someone at least 10 years older or 10 years younger than you, telling them why you are grateful for them. This could be an older mentor, parent or grandparent. Maybe it’s to one of your children or another young person that you know.

Friday’s Gratitude Challenge

Find a way to express your gratitude to someone who has served you well in the community. This could be your mailman, a first responder, a grocery store employee, the receptionist at your doctor’s office, the options are limitless.

Saturday’s Gratitude Challenge

Look for the good in someone that bothers you. Let them know a reason that you are grateful for them, or journal a paragraph about it.

Sunday’s Gratitude Challenge

Find a way to express gratitude to someone who has made a positive impact on you, spiritually or in your personal growth. Again this could be a mentor, a life group leader, a pastor, or someone else who’s helped to shape you.

To make this practice as simple as possible, here is a free PDF download of the daily gratitude challenges.


The opportunities to be negative, worried, or fearful are endless. Statistics say that the majority of our thoughts are negative, but we have an option to choose gratitude instead! Over the next 30 days, lets practice gratitude by participating in the gratitude challenge. Repeat the challenges everyday for the next four weeks and just see how your life improves for the better!

Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.

Zig Ziglar