Category Archives: Hate-Loss Challenge 2013

Challenge Wrap-Up

Today is the last day of this year’s HL Challenge and there’s much to say in this wrap-up post.  First of all, I’m so proud of every one of you who worked so hard to complete the exercises.  Having such a great group to learn from and connect with was a real treat for me.  Thank you all for your commitment.  I hope each of you found something useful from this year’s challenge with the goal being that you’ve learned something new about yourself and how to navigate through this world a bit more easily.

This was my jar entry on the day that I wrote about my break-up with running:


Even though I was upset, frustrated and clearly feeling the ‘Poor Me’ syndrome, I had a long talk with myself before bed that night after reading through all of your supportive comments.  You were right of course, and I realized that giving up something could either lead me to a dead-end, or to another opportunity.  It’s easy to feel defeated when you can’t see your new path laid out clearly in front of you, but that’s precisely the time to have faith that things will unfold the way they are supposed to.  It was/is up to me how I see my world and I chose to look beyond the things I can’t do and focus more on the things I can. 

Two days after I wrote my post and put the note in my Jar, I received a call from the owner of the store where my artwork is on display.  She was calling to let me know that two of my paintings had been sold that day.  I cannot allow myself to feel bad about my ending love affair with running when I have so many other things to be thankful for.

Today I am grateful for opportunity. 

This is one note I will keep referring back to when I don’t know what lies ahead.


When I’m in yoga class and it’s time for shavasana, or final resting pose – my yoga instructor performs a short reading for us. A few times she has read a piece called Be Thankful, which I always love to hear. I was able to locate it online and wanted to end this year’s challenge by sharing it with you.

Be Thankful
Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire,
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be thankful when you don’t know something
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge
Because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes
They will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you’re tired and weary
Because it means you’ve made a difference.

It is easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are
also thankful for the setbacks.

GRATITUDE can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles
and they can become your blessings.
~ Author Unknown ~


I’d love to hear what/if you got anything out of this month’s challenge.  What was your favorite 31 Days of Gratitude entry this month? 


Stop by tomorrow where I’ll be announcing the winner of this month’s giveaway for the print of one of my paintings!

Group Therapy Thursday: Acceptance

Since my surgery last June I’ve had a vision of life post hysterectomy.  I saw myself as a new woman, capable of doing anything I wanted with no fear of pain holding me back. 

Roughly eight weeks ago I started running C25K.  It was the best feeling and life was good.  I felt strong and hopeful.  Hopeful as in, ‘Hey; maybe there IS a runner inside of me somewhere. Maybe my back will work with me this time and as long as I take care of it (stretching before and after runs, and icing/heating when needed) then it will take care of me.   Dare I say that maybe, running could be a new and exciting chapter of my life.’  This seed has grown because of bloggers like Laura (LauraLivesLife) and Katie (Runs For Cookies) both of whom run and have, like me, lost and maintain a 100+ pound weight loss. 

I started reading Runs for Cookies well over a year ago.  I’ve watched Katie go from a woman who never thought she would enjoy running into a strong, courageous lover of the sport.  A few weeks ago Katie posted on her blog that she was holding a virtual 5K for her 31st birthday which is tomorrow.  Anyone could sign up and participate from wherever they were in the world (she even had a bib printed up for participants to wear – isn’t that clever?)  You didn’t have to run it, either.  She wanted to include everyone, including walkers.  The completion of my C25K program coincided with the race so I decided that I would sign up and run my first race ever, then post my milestone here on my blog.    


A couple of weeks ago my lower back started showing major signs of unhappiness.  I decided that I would simply work through it by using pain meds and doing more stretching, followed by more ice/heat compresses.  No big deal, I thought.  This time things will be different.  I can make this happen. 

Most of you who read my blog regularly know that I have degenerative disc disease, which is not really a disease but rather a fancy name for bad disc(s) in the back.  With diligence and care, I can go months with very little back pain, but when I had surgery last year, caring for my back took a backseat while I recovered.  With my recovery long and severed stomach muscles slowly healing, I’ve had to burden my back.  As a result I’ve pushed through – and let’s face it: ignored – the increasing pain over the past 7 months. 

No matter.  I can still do this

Last week shortly after my run I felt a stabbing pain shoot down my leg. By that evening my toes were completely numb and I was unable to sit or stand still; relief came only if I walked or lay on my side; not very helpful when one paints at an easel and writes at her computer for a living. 

My husband felt it was time to intervene.  He read me the following from a website: 

Over time, the water between the bad disc dries up and cannot absorbs the shock that comes from the repetitive pounding/jarring that occurs when running. 

‘By running, you’re doing more harm than good,’ he said.  I pretty much knew at that point that my running days were over ~ this time, most likely for good. 

You might be thinking right about now, “What’s so important about running, anyway?”

A great question.   This may sound silly but I guess that for me, I thought it might be a place where I could fit in. I’m not good at sports; running doesn’t require me to be. I’m introverted and quite shy (truly, I am!); running doesn’t put any pressure on me to interact with other people. Plus, I’ve always seen runners as strong individuals and admired their tenacity. Hey, I’ve lived in a college town all my life where EVERYBODY runs. Maybe I associate it with youth….hmm; I’m going to need to let that one marinate in my head for a bit.

Today’s group therapy is about acceptance.   I’ve been fighting the need to accept that running – even jogging, is bad for my current health.  For the past several weeks I’ve been doing everything in my power to ignore the obvious, and now I’m paying the price.

If I can let go of the idea that running is imperative to my health and actually focus on the reality of my well being (like the simple pleasure of sitting through a meal with little to no pain) only then will I be free to make other choices that’ll actually serve instead of hinder me. 

By the time you read this post, I will either be in the middle of or just finishing up my first appointment with an acupuncturist.  This is my first step in acceptance.  I will still be doing Katie’s 5K tomorrow, but not as a runner like I’d hoped.  Part of my acceptance will be following through with my plan to participate, but as a walker.  To repeat last week’s quote as it now pertains to me:

“When I release my death grip on control, I will gain a greater sense of accepting what is; only then can I make the decision to change.” 

What did you learn to accept this week? 


**This is our last official exercise of this month’s HL Challenge.  For our last week together we’ll continue our focus on 31 Days of Gratitude and meet back here one last time next Thursday to discuss the past month.  It will be your time to share the good and the bad of the challenge and what, if anything, you’ll be taking with you as part of the experience.  We’ll wrap up our meeting with photos of your gratitude jar (if you’d like to send them to me, I’d be most happy to post them here) and pick our favorite Gratitude Moment of the Month. 

So, it’s a date?  See you back here next Thursday Smile

Hate Loss Challenge Week Three: Acceptance


This next exercise is more of a topic for you to think about and ponder for the week.  The subject is Acceptance. 

There are several types of patterns that low self esteem allows into our lives:

1. depression

2. mood swings

3. eating disorders

4. loneliness

5. withdrawal

6. anxiety

7. stress

8. unhealthy relationships

Having a healthy sense of self esteem brings happiness, contentment, peace, pride and joy. We can learn to create a healthy sense of esteem if we choose to have acceptance in our lives.

Acceptance is a controversial word for some in the weight loss community. To some, acceptance means ‘resigning to what is’.   Example:  Being asked to accept myself is like saying I should never strive to improve upon areas I see as a problem..  To me, that means the same as giving up. 

A good description regarding Acceptance comes from a book 10 Simple Solutions For Building Self Esteem by Glenn R.  Schiraldi, P.H.D.  In it, the author states:

“Acceptance means ‘to take in or welcome’.  To accept then, is to see clearly and with full awareness the good and the bad, suffering and joy as part of life, and to experience life without battling, insisting that things be different or immediately trying to change or fix or get rid of the present distress.  When we accept guests into our home, we receive them with pleasure just as they are.  When we accept ourselves, we experience ourselves with a similar, welcoming attitude.” 

Dr. Schiraldi makes an excellent point.  Acceptance does not mean resignation.  It simply means that we see things as they currently are, and here is the most important part: when the decision to act becomes clear then we can also act with acceptance and without resistance. 

When we release our death grip on control, we gain a greater sense of accepting what is; then we can make the decision to change the things that no longer serve us. 

This next week I challenge you to think about what it is you accept in your life.  If you are able, put it into words for next week’s group therapy. 

Some motivational quotes to help you along the way this coming week: 


“My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportion to my expectations.”
~ Michael J. Fox


“Acceptance means events can make it through you without resistance”

~Michael Singer


“Love is made up of three unconditional properties in equal measure:
1. Acceptance
2. Understanding
3. Appreciation
Remove any one of the three and the triangle falls apart.
Which, by the way, is something highly inadvisable. Think about it — do you really want to live in a world of only two dimensions?
So, for the love of a triangle, please keep love whole.”

~ Vera Nazarian


Also, how is the 31 Days of Gratitude coming along?  We are 2/3 of the way through and I’d love to hear how it’s affected your January so far!

Have a great weekend!


Group Therapy Thursday: A Piece of You Discussion

Last week’s exercise had us choosing a part of ourselves to take special care of for one week.  How many of you knew right away which area you’d been neglecting and were going to tend to?  I’ll admit, I knew immediately what area I’ve been neglecting and to be even more honest: this exercise, for me, was pretty difficult.  In fact, I had to force myself to do it.  Read on for my update….

A Piece of Me. 

Spend the week tending to a part of the remarkable body thathatelossbadge serves you. Beginning today, choose a part of your body that you’ve been dismissing or have been neglectful of and pay special attention to that area for the next week by nurturing it every day.

The part I chose to pay special attention to was an area on my stomach.  Specifically, the scar that stretches from one side of my abdomen to the other – the permanent reminder of my abdominal hysterectomy last year. 

After arriving home from the hospital last June there wasn’t much I could do with my belly other than keep watch over my incision and make sure it didn’t get infected.  It’s been over 7 months since surgery and even though my incision has healed, it’s unfortunately turning into a keloid scar.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with that term, it’s basically an excess growth of scar tissue, so instead of having a smooth, flat line where my incision was, it is raised and rigid.   As a result, I find myself avoiding my stomach in general at all costs.   The whole thing looks like a major train wreck.  It’s unsightly and makes me feel less attractive.   I still have major swelling in my belly on days when I run. My clothes still don’t fit properly and maybe, never will again. Neglected body part?  Um – yes, and I really don’t want to feel this way about myself. 

So, what does a girl do with an area that brings about so many negative emotions?  I had to think about that for a bit.  First, I knew that I needed to become more comfortable with my scar in general, because let’s face it, it’s a part of me ~ like it or not.  So, I started my week by forcing myself (I hate to use that word but yes, I literally had to force myself) to actually look at it every day.  I also forced myself to trace the scraggled line with my finger, again every day, in an attempt to desensitize myself from it.  Finally, I began massaging Vitamin E oil into my scar, which I bought a long time ago but never used because I simply wasn’t ready to ‘deal with it’.

My thoughts now that I’ve been attending to my scar for a full week:

I wish I could say that I was confident and feeling most comfortable with my belly and more at peace with my scar, but I’d be lying.  Rome wasn’t built in a day after all, and my attitude over the whole thing is simply going to take more effort on my part.  The difference though, is that now I’m actually willing to work on it instead of ignore it.  This week has shown me that I need to develop more compassion for my body as a whole and what it’s been through instead of what it looks like.  It is healing the only way it knows how and I just need to be more understanding to that fact. 

How did you do? 

Which piece of you did you choose, and why that particular area?  Did you feel more compassion for your body and/or less critical of it while doing this exercise?  Did you have to remind yourself not to rush through your general care routine, or did it help you slow down and become more attentive to your body’s needs?  Did it improve your overall attitude about yourself? Please feel free to add anything you like to this discussion, either in the comments section below or on your own blog – just make sure to link to your post from here so we can all visit you! 

Thanks for participating this week, everyone.  Drop by tomorrow for some topics to think about for our next exercise.  Have a good session. 


Book Giveaway Winner!

Hey there, everyone!  I know you don’t mind the chit-chat, but you’re probably wanting me to keep it to a minimum until I announce the winner of Karen’s book, so………

By use of a random number generator that I found in the ITunes App Store (here is where you’ll find the one I used in case you’d like one of your own) the winner of Karen Anderson’s book: After (the before and after) is Brandi!  Congratulations, Brandi.  Email me with your address and we’ll have your book out to you ASAP!


We are almost half-way through this month’s 31 Days of Gratitude.  I hope you’re all finding this year’s Challenge exercises helpful.  It’s certainly helpful to me knowing that I have such a supportive group of gals this year.  We’re already almost half-way through! 

Today my plan was to catch up on blog reading and reorganize my Etsy shop.  So far none of this has happened.   Yesterday, my husband and I returned home from our trip to Lilly’s Soap Kitchen and Artisan Market in Indianapolis where my note cards and over 40 original paintings are now awaiting new homes.  The last two weeks have literally been a blur as I’ve painted and polished up my pieces for the trip.

This was the last painting I finished:

I wasn’t sure exactly how I was going to frame it, but then noticed THE perfect frame while out shopping and had to have it!

My apologies for the lousy photo, but the frame really does look like it was made for this painting.  I’m thinking that I may switch from trees to birds for a while.  They are so relaxing to paint, and this little guy was inspired by at least 10 cardinals that were hanging out in my backyard last week. 

Have a great Monday, everyone.  I am off to take a long, overdue nap!  Looking forward to seeing participants of the HL Challenge back here on Thursday to discuss our latest exercise Smile



Hate-Loss Challenge: A Piece of You



When I came home from the hospital after my hysterectomy last year, I felt pretty beat up.  I could barely walk, slept very little, and had a 4 inch incision across my lower abdomen which was terribly sore and swollen.  As the days slowly worked their way into weeks, I felt less and less happy with my body.  It felt like someone had swapped my formerly healthy self with a broken, scarred, slow-moving half-wit.

Wanting to see the person I had previously known in the mirror, I made several attempts to put on makeup and do my hair, but it just wasn’t in me.  Showering took so much effort, it was all I could manage to do. Because I moved so slowly and became so tired after my showers I stepped out, wrapped myself in a towel and immediately sat down on a nearby chair until I mustered enough energy to put on some clothes.  I did however give myself a gift during that time. While sitting on that chair I tended to my feet which, under normal circumstances I would have likely neglected as I usually did. 

I’ve never particularly liked my feet and since they are the farthest parts from me, I honestly forget about them a lot of the time.  But during that first month post-surgery I lovingly dried each toe, softened my heels with lotion, trimmed and filed my nails and even put cuticle oil on them.  Later, when I could reach for a longer period of time I’d put on a pretty coat of nail polish.

By the time I started feeling stronger, my feet looked better than they ever had in my life and honestly, I was quite proud of them. Every time I looked down at my swollen belly, I couldn’t help but look past to see my two feet staring back at me; it somehow made me feel better about myself. Who would have thought that by doing one small thing: attending to my clown feet (endearing term, isn’t it?), I could improve my overall attitude? 


Most of us know this already but it bears repeating:   when low self esteem finds a place to settle in our lives it doesn’t come alone.  It welcomes all kinds of ‘friends’ along like depression, mood swings, eating disorders, loneliness, withdrawal, anxiety, stress, and unhealthy relationships.

How do we go from having a low opinion of ourselves to being in control of our thoughts and emotions and feeling genuinely happy? It can be done but it takes discipline, just like anything else that’s worth having in life.


This week’s challenge:  A Piece of You:  be kinder to your body

What part of you have YOU been neglecting lately?

Challenge:  Spend the week tending to a part of the remarkable body that serves you. Beginning today, choose a part of your body that you’ve been dismissing or have been neglectful of and pay special attention to that area for the next week by nurturing it every day.

Why this exercise is meaningful: We are just as beautiful as the people we admire. We are worthy of the same nurturing love and affection that we give to others. By concentrating on a specific area of our bodies and treating it with compassion and kindness, we realize that our body is not our enemy but something amazing and worthy of gratitude and appreciation.

Examples: Do you have hands that always seem to be dry? Heels that are always cracked?   Do you tend to care for your hair or always pull it back into a ponytail or hide it under a hat? Do you splash water on your face at night or do you gently cleanse and moisturize?  When we feel unhappy about our looks, sometimes it’s easy to ‘unplug’ from our bodies and ignore everything but the basics. We simply don’t want to be reminded of the areas we dislike. The trouble with this concept is that when one area suffers, others can suffer as well which can lead to a further lack of self confidence.  Work together with your body. Be compassionate and loving to it. It’s the only one of it’s kind.  


Helpful quotes for the week:

Everything has beauty but not everyone sees it.

~ Confucius

Beauty is not caused.  It is.

~ Emily Dickinson

Yours is the energy that makes your world. There are no limitations to the self except those you believe in.
Jane Roberts


This challenge will run until Wednesday night, January 16th.  We’ll discuss it next Thursday.  Some questions to consider for our discussion next week:

Which area did you choose to work on? Was it difficult to nurture yourself every day? What did you learn about yourself during this time? Did you grow more compassionate towards that area of your body and/or less critical of it? Were you able to see other parts of your body with more compassion?

NOTE:   If you haven’t posted about the Mirror Exercise yet, you can do that here at any time, but in order to entered into the drawing for Karen’s book, you’ll need to have it posted by Sunday night at Midnight EST.  A winner will be announced Monday morning!

Have a good weekend, everyone!


Group Therapy Thursday: Mirror Exercise Discussion


hatelossbadgeHappy Thursday everyone, and welcome to our first day of group therapy for the Hate-Loss Challenge.  Last week we all downloaded a copy of Karen Anderson’s Mirror Exercise.  Today, we’ll share our thoughts about it.  Also, I’d love to know how your Gratitude Jar challenge is coming along; can you believe we’re 9 days into it already? 


If I’d read through this exercise a couple of years ago I would have thought it too simple a task to really change any perception I had about myself.  Clearly, I knew nothing about mirror work. Having done quite a bit of self esteem exercises since then, I knew this was definitely going to be a challenge. We’re all so used to seeing our reflections, it’s easy to get disconnected from what’s staring back in the mirror unless we work on it regularly (which personally I haven’t since before my surgery last June). 

I have to say, I think it’s interesting that a couple of you opened your eyes and found your mother’s image in the mirror; fascinating.  Although this didn’t happen to me, I did have trouble carrying out the exercise the first several times I tried it.  Holding onto it and projecting that emotion while gazing at myself was the most difficult part. I was able to gather that warm, safe, powerful feeling deep inside, but when I opened my eyes I’d lose it immediately.   Last year at this time I was practicing mirror work every day and getting pretty comfortable doing it, actually.  In fact, I continued to do it long after the challenge was over but after surgery, I never really picked it back up.   It’s obvious to me how much one can regress in a few short months.  I’m now learning to accept this ‘new’ body which has been very challenging at times.  I am getting better at it, however as with any exercise – be it training for a half marathon or doing self-esteem work, it all takes practice and diligence in order to see progress.

Other than the exercise itself (to give you a chance to see where you are on the self-acceptance ladder in your life), I felt that it was equally important to understand what physically happens to our bodies when we neglect our mental health.  Physiologically, we react negatively to stress – specifically stress that we bring onto ourselves when we direct negative and harmful words inward.  We all have the ability to rid ourselves of this kind of self inflicted abuse.  We are all worthy of praise and love and acceptance, aren’t we?  It is well within our control to change the way we feel about ourselves.  I hope you’ll consider using this exercise or other kind of mirror work after today.  It really can make a difference.  

How did you do? 

Did you run into any obstacles when trying to complete this exercise?  If so, were you able to work around the obstacle in order to finish it?  What are your thoughts on the scientific explanation of why it’s so important to have a healthy attitude? 

Remember, Karen is giving away a copy of her book to a lucky participant and in order to enter you must comment in THIS post about your experience in doing the Mirror Exercise.  If you have a blog and write a post about today’s exercise, please link your post in the comments section below so that other group members can read and share their thoughts with you.  If you don’t own a blog, please use my comments section for this week’s update and you’ll be automatically entered for Karen’s book giveaway.  A winner will be announced at random on Monday, January 14th.

Tomorrow I’ll be posting our next exercise for discussion on Thursday, January 17th.  Thanks for participating everyone, and have a good session!



Welcome to Day One of Hate Loss 2013

Happy New Year, everyone – and WELCOME to Day One of the Annual Hate Loss Challenge. I am so glad you’re here!  Taking this first step to being attentive of the way you treat the most valuable person you know – YOU – is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. It is my hope that by the end of this month you’ll be well on your way to:

Being mindful, which will allow you to meet each moment with full awareness. 

Becoming more compassionate with yourself.   

Eliminating insecurities that are weighing you down by giving yourself the love and respect you deserve.

These may seem like trivial exercises at first but if you aren’t used to reinforcing the goodness within, they can be quite tricky to downright difficult to do.  Pick up any self help book or simply Google the words self-esteem and you’ll find study after study which proves that having a non-judgmental, appreciative opinion of yourself is crucial to your overall well being. 

To show my appreciation to everyone who completes the 31 Days of Gratitude and attends all of our group therapy Thursday sessions, you will be entered into a drawing to win an 8×10 print from one of my paintings:


I wrote a quote which reads: “I am both imperfect yet, perfect. My branches may bend and twist, but I am beautiful, still.”  I think this is a perfect reminder of what this challenge is all about.  If you’d like more information on this print, head over to my Etsy shop.  Please note that if you are interested in this drawing, you’ll need to officially enter your intention of committing to the challenge in the comments section of this post to be considered. It’s my way of keeping track of everyone Smile 


Thirty One Days of Gratitude begins today!

By now you should have your Gratitude Jar in place; by bedtime tonight you should have a slip of paper in your jar or container with a sentence or two about what you were thankful or grateful for today.  

For my gratitude container I decided to use a large flower vase I had in storage.  I dressed it up a bit with ribbon and a pine cone, and put it on my night stand, complete with a pen and note pad:



There is only one rule for this exercise: Please try to remember to add to your gratitude jar daily. If you forget a day, no worries – just add when you can so that you get the most of what this challenge has to offer. Remember, you’re attempting to create a habit with the intention of enriching your life!   What you write this month is completely up to you, and there is no wrong answer.

What if you should have a day when nothing goes right and it’s been a completely awful, terrible, horrible I hope to never, ever have another day like this again! kind of day and you’re in such a state that you simply can’t get past it to be grateful for anything? Well, I have an answer for that, too!  Ask yourself this question before you write your moment of gratitude: 

What didn’t happen to me today? 

Answering that question will provide you with a moment of gratitude.  Right now I’ve got three things in mind that I could put into my gratitude jar:  a) I didn’t have to bathe my dogs today.  b) I didn’t spill any tea on my clean shirt today (something I do ALL of the time!) c) I didn’t come down with the cold that’s been going around today.  ALL things to be grateful/thankful for. 

Need more inspiration?  Here are some wonderful quotes on gratitude that I found which should totally put you in the mood for this exercise:


“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” – Epictetus

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”

– William Arthur Ward

“To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant. To enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch heaven.”  Johannes A. Gaertner


In addition to doing 31 Days of Gratitude, we will be working on self esteem throughout the month.  On Thursday, January 3rd, I’ll be posting information about our next exercise.   Don’t miss it! 



Thirty-One Days Of Gratitude: Hate Loss Challenge



Welcome to the official Introduction Page of our first Hate-Loss Challenge of 2013 exercise!

Above all else it is my pledge to you that by providing support and encouragement in a non-judgmental and loving environment will give you the desire to put positive energy in motion; build healthy habits; live a happier life. 

Lets make sure you’re all ready to begin:  If you are participating in the Challenge:

~ Please make your intention known in the comments section below.  This is a great way of introducing yourselves to each other; it also gives me the opportunity to welcome each of you!  (Anyone can join this challenge at ANY time, however if you participate for the entire month, you’ll be entered into a special drawing for my giveaway). 

~ On January 1st, briefly mention your involvement in the challenge and your commitment to doing the Thirty-One Days of Gratitude

~ Come back to Fat Girl Wearing Thin on Thursday, January 10th for your first Group Therapy Thursday. 


What is Thirty-One Days of Gratitude?

Thirty-One Days of Gratitude

Beginning Tuesday the 1st, write down a moment of gratitude at the end of each day and slip your thought into the jar.  Continue this practice of gratitude for 31 days (the entire month of January). Your vessel should be something visually appealing or sentimental that you don’t mind using solely for this exercise. Place it in a location where you will be reminded of it daily. A good location would be by your bedside table so you can reflect on the day’s events, then add your memory to the jar before settling into bed for the evening.

It might benefit you to have slips of blank paper and a pen alongside your Gratitude Jar as well, just to make things run more smoothly. Having everything easily accessible will make this exercise much easier and more fun to do. 

Why this exercise is important

Studies are constantly being done which prove that by routinely acknowledging things we are grateful for, we can shift our focus from what is missing in our lives to the riches we already possess. In return, we reap a host of benefits:  we become more confident, are less lonely, suffer less stress and anxiety.  In essence, by practicing gratitude we have the power to live a happier, more fulfilling life. 

What do I need to do for Group Therapy Thursday?

If you are a participant who also runs a blog: Write a post on your blog, sharing with your readers about your involvement in the Hate Loss Challenge and describe your thoughts on how the Gratitude Jar has been working for you since January 1st. 

 If you are participating but do not run a blog: Simply submit a progress report in the comment section of my blog.

Topic Ideas for Group Therapy Thursday:

What does gratitude mean to you?  Has it been difficult to add to the jar every day?  How do you feel about this exercise?  Are you forgetting to do it or eagerly remembering? Were you excited about this challenge or did you find it intimidating?  Do you feel a change in your attitude since beginning the exercise?

This would also be a great time to show photos of, or describe your Gratitude Jar and where you have it located. Any advice you can share with your fellow participants to encourage them through this challenge would be greatly appreciated here as well.

~After you post your update for the week, you’ll then visit my blog and leave a comment with a link back to your progress post so that other participants can read, visit, and connect with you on your blog.

You may write about the challenge on your blog as often as you’d like; just remember that everyone will meet back here at Fat Girl Wearing Thin every Thursday to ‘check-in’ with your Group Therapy Thursday Post.

Come back here this Tuesday and I’ll have some uplifting quotes, a beautiful writing about gratitude and some other goodies to help get you all started on the right foot – including more info on my giveaway.  Until then, get your Gratitude Jars in place and I’ll see you back here next week!