Although Thanksgiving was originally celebrated as a day to gather and, as the name would imply, be thankful for the season’s harvest, good health, and family, that meaning can sometimes get convoluted amidst the craziness of prepping for family gatherings, eating our way through a truly extraordinary quantity of mashed taters, and readying checklists for Black Friday sales that seem to be starting earlier every year.
This year, we’ve designed 23 Days of Gratitude to help all of us recenter and refocus on abundance as we head into the holiday season. It’s well-researched that those who take time to identify things they’re thankful for each day not only report experiencing more positive emotions and overall well-being, but also exercise more and visit the doctor less often! We could all use a little more of that – especially when this joyful time of year can often be stressful, emotional, or downright chaotic. This simple exercise, or challenge if you will, will drop us right on Thanksgiving so your holiday can be a little more full of, well, thanks! You’ll be super prepped when the family goes around and says what they’re grateful for on the 23rd, and bonus – they say it takes 21 days to cultivate a new habit so you’ll be able to continue the exercise if you choose.
23 Days of Gratitude Challenge
The premise is simple: Grab a notebook or even your phone and write down whatever comes to mind from the prompt for each day. It can be one word, a few sentences, a list of 20 things, you decide. Some days won’t even involve writing. At the end, you’ll have a record of great things to look back on from this month.
5 good things – small or big – that happened today.
Things you appreciate about yourself.
Something(s) you enjoy about your work.
“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” – Marcel Proust. Who is someone in your life you’re especially grateful for?
What you love about the place you live.
Hobbies or activities that bring you joy or contentment.
Call, text, or write a thank you note to someone who has been a good friend or mentor to you recently.
Foods or meals that make you truly satisfied, energized, or happy.
A place you’ve visited that made you happy or inspired.
A positive feeling you’ve had today – maybe it’s hope, contentment, coziness, peace, anticipation, motivation, etc.
“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorns have roses.” – Alphonse Karr. Think of something challenging in your life – past or present – and something good that came of it.
Music you’re grateful for.
Think of the people you have the hardest time getting along with and write down at least one positive thing about each of them.
Take 10 minutes today to practice mindfulness and meditate on gratitude or abundance. If you need help getting started, a Youtube video like this can be helpful.
Something that motivates you.
Simple pleasures that make you happiest.
Material items that you appreciate most.
Spend time outside today (even just a couple minutes) – no matter the weather – and think about what you appreciate about your natural surroundings or the weather.
Who might you take for granted who does something important for you? A customer service rep, a janitor, a security guard or officer, a veteran?
People who make your everyday life better. Consider telling them or doing something simple to show your appreciation for them.
Something you’re looking forward to.
Give someone a hug today. A friend, a family member, a coworker (within reason), that mom in the grocery store with a screaming toddler who looks ready to snap, anyone who looks like they could use it – give them a hug and tell them they’re doing great.
You made it through the 23 Days of Gratitude Challenge! Read back through what you’ve written over the past three weeks. If you’re celebrating Thanksgiving, appreciate the food, fellowship, and abundance of the day. If you want to continue the practice, the easiest way is to continue to take a moment each day and write down anything you’re grateful for! You can also check out our post on Practical Gratitude for other ideas.
We’re grateful for all of you who share in this journey with us!
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