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Gratitude Challenge for Pole Dancers

By on November 16, 2015

The Power of a Gratitude Journal

I discovered the power of a gratitude journal during a few dark years in my early thirties. After experiencing three miscarriages and the death of my father-in-law, my husband and I moved across the country for his job while I was still working on my dissertation. His company made him promises they didn’t keep. I worked for a pharmaceutical company, where my worst fears about their research and marketing practices were confirmed.

IMG_2828After several months, I missed San Francisco so much that when a dense fog blanketed the office park where I worked, I ate my lunch outside in it. A bumper sticker I hung over my desk summed up my feelings: “I’d rather be upside down in my kayak than right side up at my desk.”

I didn’t see how keeping a gratitude journal could help, but I gave it try since I hated being so miserable.

The practice was simple: List three things you feel grateful for every day before bed.

At first it was hard. More days than I care to admit, I relied on things like a warm bed, roof over my head and hot shower. Despite this, I kept at it because of the promise: You’ll begin to notice things during the day to record at night.

And one day it happened. Driving to work I witnessed a horrendous accident a few car lengths in front of me. In that moment, I felt incredibly grateful to not have been involved.

Something shifted and I began to notice more. Soon after I had trouble choosing which three things to list.

I kept the practice going when we moved back to California. The gratitude journal morphed into a joy journal. Eventually gratitude, appreciation and joy become such a part of my daily life, I didn’t need the journal any more.

Revisiting Daily Gratitude During Fall Funk

IMG_0775One of my favorite things about October in California is how sunrises and sunsets become a regular part of my day. I hate when this ritual is rudely interrupted when we reset our clocks and ‘fall back.’

Last year, I awoke in a funk after celebrating my husband’s Halloween birthday with a long weekend on the Mendocino coast. I decided to focus on gratitude to bring me back to joy.

Excerpt from the first four days

11/4:  This morning I’m grateful for dawn and dusk light, photography and the Ace pumpkin ale that Brian hunted down and surprised me with. Drinking it will remind me of the Mendocino headlands and our relaxing Point Arena sunsets.

11/5:  I’m feeling grateful for Brian’s kisses, smooth cheeks, young heart and old soul. Peet’s Holiday blend. Golden morning light. Glass Pear’s new song: Made of Gold. Writing templates. Daily dance.

11/6:  Silver linings abound today! I’m grateful I found an interview about dance to stream on my phone and enjoy during the congested Bay Bridge drive to pole dance class (after my three-month-old iPod tape converter died.)

Sigh… Ikea was a bust, except for making me feel like a mouse trapped in a maze—they’re great at that. On to plan B.

Later:  My dog-with-a-bone persistence. Plan C desk created for free, with laptop on chest of drawers!

11/7:  Feeling incredibly grateful for glimpse of full moon through the fog, an inspiring podcast, bridges, sand, waves, the ocean, dance, play, laughter, learning, Polartec (and its water repelling properties)… and a SEAL, my first at Baker Beach.

I’m so grateful for gratitude: The last few days of expressing and savoring gratitude turned my ‘fall back’ dread into fall back bliss. I’m actually happy and grateful to be waking up at 5ish in the morning. I’m going to experiment with using the extra pre-dawn time.

Photos by Michelle Hayes

Photos by Michelle Hayes

I’m still amazed at how quickly appreciation and joy filled me and became my go-to, even on a day when things went wrong. Somehow the choice to focus on gratitude helped me be creative and shift my perspective without getting sucked into the muck of frustration.

I kept it up for the whole month. Without fail, on Thursdays and Fridays I felt overflowing gratitude for my pole dance classmates, teachers, studio owner and the sisters who’d introduced me to the songs I danced to. So much so, I even wrote a love letter of gratitude to pole dancing.

Benefits of Gratitude

Studies have shown the benefits of keeping a gratitude journal include more health and happiness.

It’s particularly important to feel and express the gratitude, not just list the items. One study concluded that writing in a gratitude journal once a week for six weeks was more effective at increasing happiness than writing three times per week. One gratitude researcher explained it’s because we adapt to positive events. This may be true, but the study didn’t compare weekly gratitude to daily gratitude. I suspect it’s more likely that weekly and daily practices are both more effective than three times per week because of their regularity.

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Furthermore, it may be that weekly is better for some, while daily is better for others. Behavior change research tells us that some of us do better with big, sweeping changes while others find small incremental steps more effective.

Which is best for you?

Join me in a six day or six week Gratitude Challenge. Feel free to do both if you’re not sure which approach is best for you.

Gratitude Challenge for Grateful* Pole Dancers
(*Or those who want to be)

IMG_3018Grateful people share six habits.

1. Savor experiences and express appreciation
2. See the good as gifts not rights
3. Cultivate bonds of connection with thanks
4. Acknowledge specifics
5. Transform obstacles into opportunities
6. Contemplate death and loss, occasionally

The #BKGratitudeChallenge will run for six days from 11/22/15 to 11/27/15 and six weeks on Sundays from 11/22 to 12/27.

Each day/week I’ll post a photo, prompt and example of how I practice these habits in my life on Instagram (@lisa_faulkner)and Facebook. Join me either place to play along.

I’ll include suggestions to inspire you to play and experiment with that day’s practice to feel and express gratitude, with pole specific ideas.

Use the hashtag #BKGratitudeChallenge so we can find each other, cheer each other on and be inspired. Appreciation and joy are contagious.

Questions? Ask them below.

See you on Instagram and Facebook beginning Sunday November 22!

I can’t wait for us to spread the appreciation and joy!

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Lisa Faulkner
Frolic w/ me

Lisa Faulkner

Founder at Siren Institute
Lisa is a feisty tiger who frolics in the sand + around the pole when she's not inspiring others with her educational roar. Play and learn with her at poledancingprofessor.com.
Lisa Faulkner
Frolic w/ me

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