This is the season we always hear and talk about “blessings” and “thankfulness.” What does that even mean? Let’s start by defining gratitude. Gratitude is an emotion expressing appreciation for what one has—as opposed to thinking only about what one wants or needs. Studies show that we can deliberately cultivate gratitude by simply counting our blessings and expressing gratitude through words, lists, or written letters of thanks. When gratitude comes from deep within us and is meaningful, it is a proactive acknowledgement that can increase our overall well-being, health, and happiness. Being grateful—and especially expressing it—is also associated with increased energy, optimism, and empathy.
We could all use these benefits in our life! This is why I have put together and am sharing a little activity that I did recently. It really is not difficult to sit down and think of a few things we are grateful for. No matter what each of us have been through, we have things to be thankful for!
If I were to tell you to take a paper and number 1-100 and and write 100 things you are grateful for, it might take you a little while and seem slightly overwhelming… Instead, I have a challenge that will make you think about specific things, people, places, and experiences for which you are profoundly grateful. Let’s get started.
What I want you to do is take a paper and number it one through ten, ten times, leaving a space in between each grouping. Then, insert the following topics in the space you left, as headings:
- Write 10 physical abilities you are grateful for.
- Write 10 material possessions you are grateful for.
- Write 10 people (living or dead) you are grateful for.
- Write 10 smells and sounds you are grateful for.
- Write 10 things about nature you are grateful for.
- Write 10 things about today you are grateful for.
- Write 10 places on earth you are grateful for.
- Write 10 modern inventions you are grateful for.
- Write 10 foods you are grateful for.
- Write 10 life experiences you’ve had that you are grateful for.
This gratitude challenge is the perfect introduction into Thanksgiving, and will surely help us keep a positive perspective and a grateful heart. The hustle and bustle of the holiday season can often get us feeling discouraged or less-than. Instead, let’s acknowledge and enjoy the beautiful blessings that surrounds us. This activity has helped me remember how much I have to be grateful for. I know that when you do this challenge, you will feel grateful, too! Make time today for this activity!
Melissa Cluff is a licensed marriage and family therapist based in Lewisville, Texas, personally seeing clients in the North Dallas area.
- Cluff Counseling: “Gifts of Gratitude”
- LDS.org: “Take a Gratitude Challenge”
- Psychology Today: “Gratitude”
- Psychology Today: “The 6 Things We All Need to Be Thankful For”
- Shutterfly: “Gratitude Quotes”