2023 Gratitude Challenge Wrap-Up

December 01, 2023

Courtesy Positively Present

I was pretty haphazard with my participation in the Gratitude Challenge this year. Some days it felt too hard to come up with something to post. Not that I’m not grateful for many things—it’s just that I couldn’t gather the mental energy to formulate a thoughtful post that anyone would be interested in seeing in their Instagram or Facebook feed. Sometimes feelings are too deep for words, and I’ve been feeling A LOT of feelings. Still, I’m always glad to take some time to ponder what I’m grateful for.

Here are a few of my favorite prompts from 2023 (click here to see all my posts on Instagram):


Lately I've been trying to slow down my bad habit of rushing through everything I do to get to the NEXT thing. I feel so much better when I let things take the time they take. This sundial reminds me to be grateful for the time I have.


Even during the hardest times, I'm grateful for beauty (especially the beauty of the natural world) to remind me that there's more to life than the mundane, the painful, the annoying. So the next time you (or I) need a lift, look for something beautiful.


To "inspire" also means to breathe in... I'm grateful for places like this that encourage me to do just that. And maybe, once I have taken that breath, the creative inspiration I long for will also find me.


On the last day of the 2023 Gratitude Challenge, I want to express my gratitude for how growth (today's prompt) can sneak up on you. While you're preoccupied with doing your best to survive whatever life throws at you, suddenly you wake up to find you have the capacity to do more than survive. Maybe you have a clearer idea of what's important, or you're not as scared to do something you've always wanted to do. Maybe you feel stronger, just for a moment. Those moments are worth noticing and holding on to. Why did I choose this photo to illustrate this post? Because this plant, which I bought last year, surprised me by growing several red bracts. I've never even been able to keep a poinsettia alive for a year, let alone have one turn red. (It's the little things... šŸ˜)

Thanks to @positivelypresent for the prompts, and to all who have commented and shared their own thoughts on these concepts. On to December!



Practicing Gratitude: Join the 2021 Gratitude Challenge!

November 05, 2021

Photo by Gabrielle Henderson on Unsplash

Practicing gratitude is a time-tested way to boost happiness. That’s one reason why I look forward to Postively Present’s annual Gratitude Challenge, which runs for the month of November. I’ve participated in this challenge since 2014, and every year I’ve loved taking that extra time to think about what I’m grateful for. Many people, including myself, post a photo and caption on social media sites like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, labeled #Gratitude30, but of course that’s optional. If you want to check it out, click here for the 2021 prompts. Even if you don’t choose to share what you’re grateful for publicly, you’ll probably find that it makes you happy just to spend time thinking about it. 

At the end of November or the beginning of December, I’ll post a round up of my favorite prompts here on Catching Happiness. I post on Instagram, and if you’d like to follow along, you can follow me by clicking here.

What’s one thing you’re grateful for today? Please share in the comments below.

Interested in past challenges? Click on the year to see the applicable Gratitude Challenge round-up post: 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020. (I participated in 2015, but didn't write a round-up post!)


2020 Gratitude Challenge Wrap Up

November 30, 2020

No surprise, this year I found the Gratitude Challenge…challenging. But I managed to post photos on Instagram 15 days, if I include today’s post, which will go up later. It’s not that I don’t have as many things to be grateful for—in reality I have more, including the fact that so far to my knowledge, none of my loved ones has contracted the coronavirus. I think it has more to do with my being mentally exhausted. Some days it was just too much for me to search both my photos and my brain for something meaningful to post. Pandemic brain is A Thing, people.

Once again, thank you to Dani DiPirro of Positively Present for sponsoring this annual challenge. Even though I didn’t post as much this year, I did really appreciate the chance to take an entire month to think about what I’m grateful for. Here are a few highlights from this year’s Gratitude Challenge:


The first prompt in @positivelypresent’s annual Gratitude Challenge is “health.” I'm very grateful that I do have good health overall, and that I have the resources for self-care, including healthful food, easily-accessed exercise options, and the therapeutic benefits of my Sunday lavender bubble bath ritual. Ready for a good night's sleep!


My favorite season is autumn/fall (not the “hot-umn” we've been having, though). The first cold front after Florida’s seemingly endless summer, pumpkin spice everything, bright flowers instead of fall leaves. Today, I’m grateful that the high was only 75 degrees. Well see how long that lasts.


During the past what feels like 150 years of pandemic madness, I’ve maintained what little sanity I have by going to the barn to be with my horse, and walking on our subdivision’s nature trail. Looking at that sky, breathing in the scent of warm horse, and catching deer at breakfast...just a few ways nature has provided balm for my soul. I know how lucky I am to have easy access to nature, and I'm grateful.


Here’s the poster child for #fun right here, posing with one of her much-loved and chewed-upon toys. She’s been a bright spot during this hard year, and I’m grateful for the many times she’s made me laugh.


I’m a day late on the prompts for the Gratitude Challenge, but I can’t let day 9’s, friendship, go by without sharing something. I am truly grateful for the friends who enrich my life with adventure, fun, laughter, shoulders to cry on, and listening ears. I’m grateful for the ones I’ve been able to see safely during the pandemic, and for those I miss SO much (may we be together soon). I’m posting this pic of barn friends Trixie and Jet since I don’t have any recent ones of my human friends!


Today’s Gratitude Challenge prompt is creativity. And while I’m unquestionably grateful for it, I myself have not felt very creative for a while. My art journaling practice, which started well this year, has fallen by the wayside. My writing feels dull and uninspired. Even this little wreath project from spring remains unfinished. I’d like to blame The Year That Must Not Be Named for this, and I know that it has affected me. But I don’t want the rest of the year (and beyond) to continue in this same fashion. I’ll be searching for inspiration and ways to support my own creativity more actively, starting now. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the fruits of everyone else’s creativity!
What do you do to nurture creativity?


I have the perfect post for today’s #gratitude30 challenge prompt, kindness. When I came out for our walk this morning, I found that a tree from our backyard had fallen over our fence and was blocking our subdivision’s paved trail (thank you, Hurricane Eta). While my friend and I were pondering this situation, a man we frequently run into walking his dog approached us to see what was happening. When he found out the tree was ours, he offered to bring his chainsaw over and cut it so that it would no longer block the trail. I accepted his offer gratefully, and he came over a short while later and made that happen.


Remember when we used to go places and have fun? When it didn’t feel like a risk to go to the grocery store? Today I’m grateful for the memories of trips to beautiful places (like Maine, pictured here). Looking back at photos like this one reminds me of a happier, freer time—I hope it will come again.


Today’s #gratitude30 prompt is color. One of the things I appreciate most about color is its ability to influence mood. We choose paint colors and clothes and even coffee mugs to feel calmer, more confident, happier. Or is that just me? Case in point: doesn't looking at this colorful little guy make you feel more cheerful?


For today’s gratitude challenge prompt, curiosity, I flipped back through my photos to these pictures of a flowering cactus I saw on a walk a few weeks ago. I’d never seen it before, so I looked it up...and I think it’s called a queen of the night. What a lovely name! I’m grateful for being able to follow my curiosity where it leads.

One more thing…I’m grateful today and every day for you! Thank you for being part of the Catching Happiness family.









Happy November—Time for the Annual Gratitude Challenge!

November 01, 2019

For the past nine years, Dani DiPirro of Positively Present has hosted an annual Gratitude Challenge in the month of November—and I've joined in most of those years. I can honestly say I’ve been looking forward to this year's challenge—as a way to remind myself to think about and appreciate both the large and small things I’m grateful for
According to the experts who study positive psychology, “…gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships."
I'll have what they're having!
I’ll post my daily responses to the prompts on Instagram, and I’ll do a review post on Catching Happiness at the end of the month. Let me know if you want to join the challenge, and we can follow each other’s progress! Use the hashtag #Gratitude30. And, of course, you may choose to participate privately if that feels more comfortable. 

What are you grateful for today?