Rushing to the plane last week, on January 21, 2016, Ben Belnap and I were sure we would miss our flight home. Yes, we were those people running through the airport, bags flopping by our sides, viewers cheering us on for moral support, while we were nearly out of breath running on adrenaline. By the skin of our teeth, or should I say by the skin of Donna’s teeth, we made it. Our seats on the plane were next to Donna, a spunky woman in her 70’s headed to Las Vegas to take care of her aging 93-year-old parents. Because Donna had not flown in more than 30 years, she had difficulty navigating the airport and was the cause of the prolonged boarding time, resulting in Ben and I not missing our flight. I silently recognized this as my positive for the day on the last day of Sunrise’s 21 Day Positivity Challenge.
As we were in the air I discovered that Donna had no ride set up to get to her parents’ home. I insisted that we take her, knowing that this would cause me to arrive home after my children were in bed. Random act of kindness on the last day of the challenge. After experiencing some bewilderment at the offer, Donna accepted. Thank goodness she did. We landed in the Las Vegas airport at the D gates – the gates that require a tram ride to the main terminal. Donna also had checked luggage, so we had to make a trip to the baggage claim. As we accompanied her, my eyes were opened and heart softened as I realized this spunky woman would have been completely lost and unable to navigate the airport which would have resulted in an unnecessary long night for her.
That night, as we dropped Donna off, an hour after our plane landed, at her parents’ dark and humble apartment in the city of Las Vegas, I realized on the last and final day of our 21 Day Challenge what this challenge has done for me. I am more aware of the world and the people around me and if I take the time to give of myself, I always end up being the one receiving.
Please enjoy some personal stories below of the 21-Day Challenge from a student and a few employees.
Zoe, Student Field’s Campus
I think the 21-Day Challenge did a lot of good for my attitude and perception. I loved keeping a journal and being organized every day. My mom did it too so we were able to talk about what we were grateful for on the phone. Going back and reading some of the things I wrote for gratitude is so crazy because I haven’t been grateful for that stuff for a while; since I got out of wilderness. The things I really appreciate having are so little as are the little things that make me happy. I find it helpful to look back at my positive experiences and remember the emotions I was feeling when I am having a bad day. I often wrote many positive experiences throughout the day and more gratitudes and did more random acts of kindness then was outlined because there was more each day. I’m helping people with having a good experience and being grateful for things. The best things that came out of this is that I realized when I help people I feel so much better about everything. It makes me feel great. There are a lot of negatives during the day but this just shows you that there are 100 more positives if you want to see them. I feel great, happy and super positive so something is working. I love everything about the 21-Day Challenge and would recommend doing it.
Mele, Youth Mentor, Field’s Campus
I’ve constantly tried throughout my life to look at the positive. However, due to the stumbling blocks that fall my way; I often feel overwhelmed with feelings of inadequacy. One of my FAVORITE parts of the 21-Day Challenge was writing down three things you are grateful for each morning.
When I feel that inadequacy smothering me; I’ll find myself repeating multiple things I am grateful for. This experience has been substantial enough that when my husband and I find ourselves complaining to each other about the stumbling blocks in our life; one of us will start with “you know what? I’m grateful for this drinking glass, and for the access we have to clean water.” or “I’m grateful for homework that allows me to learn more.”
These moments may seem so simple. However, they have changed my outlook on my day to day life. I find myself smiling more, and being able to handle stress better. The truth is this 21-Day challenge didn’t take away my trials, instead it has given me the ability to live moment to moment instead of complaint to complaint.
Melissa, Therapist, Hurricane Campus
I was excited about the 21-Day challenge, I have been wanting to find a way to combat some of those post-Christmas, winter blues that tend to creep up. The first day I did I could tell that this was going to be a good thing for me. I had a potential negative interaction that afternoon and with focusing on positive I was able to divert some negative feelings for myself and my boyfriend. It was pretty fabulous that the first positive experience I recorded was being able to overcome a negative pattern of mine.
As I continued with doing the challenge throughout the rest of the month, I didn’t always experience amazing things or have unusual insights, but I did start to notice that my overall perspective on current situations was a lot better. My gratitudes got a lot more detailed and I started noticing things that I don’t always pay attention to, and not just things like how amazing shoe laces really are, but also the small things that make relationships good, that keep me going to my job, that make me love the area that I live in.
The thing that I appreciated a lot was the push to get back into exercising more regularly. With a job that requires me to sit a lot, this was pretty refreshing and has given me the drive to also eat more healthy. What I really liked about the different foci, was that it really did seem to help me feel more well rounded; it helped me take care of myself while I also took a step outside myself more consciously. Now that it has officially ended, I haven’t kept up on everything, but a few of them I have continued and hope to make a part of my life
Leah, Home Office, InnerChange
This 21-day challenge made me increase my mindfulness. I was always thinking through the five items and seeing what else needed to be done. Even today I found myself looking around for a Random Act of Kindness I could do.
I also shared this challenge with my family. At dinner every night we would share our three positives from the day and our one gratitude. When I told them on January 21 that it was the last day of the challenge and that we made it, my 8-year-old son looked at me and said, “But mom, I like giving my positives and gratitude. Can we keep doing it?” That was really neat to see.