One of the best ways, they say, to lose weight is to write down everything you eat--every single bite. Did you pop an M&M into your mouth at the receptionist's desk? Write it down. Did you swipe some peanut butter into your mouth whilemaking your kid's lunch? Write it down. That sugar in your coffee? Write it down.
You don't even have to count calories, I've heard, to make this technique work. The simple act of writing down your intake throughout the day, every day, will make you infinitely more aware of what--and how much--you eat.
This Thanksgiving Day I challenge you to do much the same. No, I don't expect you to record every forkful of stuffing that passes your lips this holiday. That would be cruel and unusual. Instead, I challenge you to write down all the things your are grateful for on Thanksgiving Day.
The task is a simple one: Grab a piece of paper and a pen and keep it on you for the entire day. Each time you think of something you are thankful for, write it down. Mom's amazing monkey bread? Write it down. That you had hot water when you showered? Write it down. Make a list of all the good things in your life on the day of giving thanks, and see how many you can come up with. Ten? Twenty? I bet by day's end you can make your list fifty items long. The more things you are consciously grateful for, the more of those things you will notice.
Why should you take the Write It Down Thanksgiving Challenge? Because it just might make you happier and healthier overall:
- Those who kept weekly gratitude journals performed more regular fitness training, reported fewer symptoms of physical pain, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week.
- Participants who kept gratitude lists were more likely to have made progress toward important personal goals.
- Self-guided gratitude intervention resulted in higher reported levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness, energy and improved sleep.
Overall, Emmons found, "The practice of gratitude can increase happiness levels by about 25 percent."
Are you up for the challenge? All it takes is a pencil, a scrap of paper and a willingness to have your eyes opened to all the wonderful things your life has to offer.
It is when we acknowledge what we have that we can open our arms to others.
[Photo by Crystal]