Just in time for Thanksgiving… You are hereby invited to a 29-Day POSITIVITY CHALLENGE, aimed atIncreasing happiness; Reducing stress; Easing anxiety; Limiting negativity; and Providing an overall life boost!

Feel free to ACCEPT RIGHT NOW, or read on for a little persuasion…

My children and I are participating in a 30 Day Plank Challenge, an effort intended to promote strength, health and fitness. Each morning we spread out on the family room floor and assume our positions. We set the stopwatch, play some music and – with grunts, groans and giggles galore – Get. It. Done!

Participating in this challenge has done far more for me than strengthen my core. Setting the intention to do something brief but meaningful, each and every day — and to know I am among family and friends who are all sharing the experience — has provided a mental and emotional lift as well.

On the other hand, there are the daily headlines.

People are devastated and suffering across the globe. Our congress is halted by dysfunction and mistrust, our Presidential election is as bitter and divisive as any we have ever seen and there is no end in sight to the world’s terrifying problems. Closer to home, I talk to people every day who are facing serious personal challenges and stressors – everything from illness to financial worries to struggling children.

It can be hard to feel optimistic or upbeat, and happiness can feel like an elusive goal.

This is where YOU and your intentionality come in. (Cue the triumphant Rocky music here).

Most people tend to think that it is the circumstances of their lives which dictate their level of happiness. According to scientific studies, however, our happiness levels depend 50% on our genetics, ONLY 10% on our personal circumstances and a whopping 40% on our intentional daily activities – those thoughts, behaviors and activities which we choose with our own volition. (You can simply take my word for this, or for a more thorough explanation, check out The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want, by Sonja Lyubomirsky, Professor of Psychology at The University of California, Riverside.).

What’s positivity got to do with it?

We can’t change our genetic set point. Occasionally we can change our circumstances, but more often than not, we have the most control over our attitude and outlook. And the great news? Current research proves that happiness is achieved and sustained through intentional habit changes, even more than circumstantial changes. One of the easiest of these habit changes is a daily practice of focusing on the positive aspects of life.

WHICH IS WHY I AM INVITING YOU – ALONG WITH ANYONE AND EVERYONE YOU MIGHT LIKE TO INCLUDE – TO JOIN ME IN A 29 DAY POSITIVITY CHALLENGE.

We all have struggles, we are all busy and often consumed by work and other demands, but we also all have many things in our lives for which we can be grateful. Noticing and focusing on those positive aspects of our daily lives is the key! You can cultivate an attitude of gratitude, which science proves, makes us happier.

Do you doubt me? TAKE THE CHALLENGE, then let’s talk.

For 29 days, I am asking you to notice, acknowledge and appreciate – and ideally, to share right here – the things in your life for which you feel grateful, all the things large and small that put a smile on your face, or would, if you took the time to notice them.

My prediction? Intentionally focusing on the good stuff will boost your overall mood, and your feelings of positivity will only grow.

It can be a smile from a stranger, reading a great book, taking a long walk on a beautiful day or arriving home safely on a cold and rainy one. It can be your favorite song on the radio, a belly-deep laugh, a healthy report from the doctor, the perfect cup of coffee or an unexpected call from an old friend.

My personal list goes on and on. I am challenging you to come up with one of your own. You only need one for the first day, two on the second, three on the third … all the way up to 29. Ideally, you will notice new and different things each day, and by the time you we get to Thanksgiving, you will be oozing gratitude!

Much like the plank challenge, this will take a bit of commitment and a solid intention, and hopefully lots of giggles, too. No grunting or groaning required.