While many of us will gather around a table full of family and food for Thanksgiving, it’s important to keep in mind that not everyone is as fortunate. Everything from the food we’re eating to the music we’re listening to is a blessing. Instead of one day of thanks or listing everything we’re thankful for, we’ve created seven gratitude challenges that include writing prompts. This will help extend that feeling of appreciation throughout the whole week. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to seek a long-lasting attitude of gratitude.
7 Days of Gratitude Challenges and Prompts
Day 1 – Write down everything you eat or drink today. Consider how many farmers, factory workers, truck drivers, grocery store clerks, and even animals helped provide you with the nutrients you need to survive and the sweets you enjoy consuming. Thank them for their service.
Day 2 – Stay off social media. No Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. for 24 hours. After the social media blackout, how do you feel? Write in your journal about whether watching only the best parts of other people’s lives impacts how you think about yours. Keep that in mind when you get back to scrolling through the feeds on social media so that you are thankful for your life – blemishes and all.
Day 3 – Think back to an experience where you were unhappy with the outcome. Maybe you didn’t get that job offer or you forgot the words to a song when it came time for your solo. How has this disappointment turned into a blessing in disguise? Reframing a past disappointment into a positive memory releases the negativity that we’re holding onto. Let it go.
Day 4 – At dinner, go around the table and have each family member talk about one thing they’re thankful for. Ask them why they chose that example so that you can understand the way they think. Are you surprised by what you hear? Write down their answers in your journal and ask the question again in a few months. How have their answers changed?
Day 5 – Think about a cause that you are passionate about. Why does this cause resonate with you? How can you give to this initiative? If you cannot make a donation, they often need people to volunteer for events or making phone calls. Write about how you’ll contribute to this cause.
Day 6 – Go for a 20-minute walk around your neighborhood and leave your phone at home. Observe the trees, the sky, the wildlife. When you get back home, write down everything you remember and how it felt to disconnect.
Day 7 – Wake up and say, “Today is going to be a good day!” Whether you work at an office or inside the home, it can be challenging. Be thankful for the opportunity to provide for your family. Recognize how valuable you are to them. Write about any tough situations and what you learned from it.
Those who practice gratitude on a regular basis experience emotional and physical benefits including a reduced risk of depression and 23% lower levels of stress hormones. That’s not a small number! Imagine feeling less stressed simply because you’re thankful. Appreciating the people and things in your life can truly make a difference.
For more benefits of writing in a gratitude journal, check out last week’s blog post: 8 Benefits of Keeping a Gratitude Journal.