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How To Bring A Full Course Of Gratitude To The Table This Thanksgiving

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Cal State Chico chapter.

When it comes Thanksgiving, your mind probably goes straight towards the turkey on the table, the family gatherings, the MUCH-needed week off of school, and the nostalgia of returning to your hometown and seeing your old friends, maybe even your old high school sweetheart!

While Thanksgiving would undoubtedly not be the same without these components, I also always try to ground myself and take time out of the day and the week to practice some extra gratitude. This can be done in so many ways, but I’ve got some go-to’s that are low maintenance and perfect for the likely busy schedule and lower bank account of the typical college student.

Gratitude Journaling

This is a practice I carry out year-round, but I find that it carries extra meaning this time of year. You can keep it as simple as writing out a list of ten things you’re thankful for, or I’ve compiled some gratitude prompts you can start with if you prefer to have a question to guide your writing:

  • What do you appreciate about where you live?
  • What family member are you extra grateful for today? 
  • Who’s someone in your life that brings you instant comfort?
  • What’s something that you appreciate about your body?
  • Who’s someone who never fails to make you laugh?
  • What’s a memory that you’re really grateful for?
  • What’s something you see everyday that you take for granted?
  • What book, movie, or podcast changed your mindset for the better?
  • What are you proud of yourself for?

Reach Out To Your People

On paper, your notes app, or just in your head, make a list of every single person in your life that you’re grateful for. From your childhood best friend to your favorite teacher to your closest family member, think about how they have shaped your life and the person you’ve grown into. Now, tell them! I honestly don’t think there’s anything better than being told how much you mean to someone, and you have the opportunity today (and every day) to do this for someone special to you.

Show Appreciation For Everyone

Kindness is needed in the world. The holidays can evoke feelings of loneliness, stress, and chaos, and a simple act of kindness and appreciation can go a long way. A great way to practice gratitude is to show some extra appreciation for others, even when you don’t know them. This might look like tipping your server or barista a little extra, paying for the car behind you in the drive thru, giving out compliments to strangers, or even just something as simple as a smile. A little can go a long, long way.

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Connor Surdi

Thank Those Putting Food On The Table

Whoever’s cheffing up your Thanksgiving feast, consider getting them a thank you card with a gift card to their favorite store and/or some flowers. As you know, cooking for this occasion often takes hours and a little appreciation can mean the world to someone, even if it’s just a simple thank you. Bonus points for offering a helping hand in the kitchen, making last minute grocery store runs for them, or offering to contribute a dish or two of your own.

No matter how you decide to practice gratitude this week, know that it all comes down to the fact that we as people deserve to feel appreciated, loved, and seen. This includes you! In the midst of your gratitude rituals this week and moving forward, remember that self-care and appreciating your own body and mind are not only just as valid, but highly encouraged! Happy Thanksgiving!

Marisa Cala-Keck

Cal State Chico '24

Marisa is the Founder of the Her Campus chapter at Chico State and served as the 2023-2024 President and Editor-in-Chief. Equally passionate about mental health and writing, she graduated from Chico State in May 2024 with Honors in General Education and a 3.9 GPA. She served as the 2022-2023 President of her sorority, Alpha Delta Pi, and was on the Dean's List eight out of eight semesters. Marisa worked in a variety of mentorship roles on campus, including as an Academic Advising Intern. In her free time, Marisa loves spending time with her family and best friends, being around animals (especially her 3 cats and 2 dogs), binge-watching her comfort shows (the current top two include Pretty Little Liars and Gilmore Girls), reading novels, traveling, and singing! She loves Taylor Swift, spicy foods, Trader Joe's, Pinterest, and all things chocolate. Her next step is following her dream of moving to New York City and pursuing her Master of Education in School Counseling at Teachers College, Columbia University! She is excited to join the field of education, through which she aspires to reframe health and sex education programs to be more inclusive and to open in-school conversations surrounding mental wellness.