This Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving, I want you to gamify your gratitude. Yes, you're going to be a gratitude gamer!
Another way that we can keep our gratitude practice fun and frequent (and to get our loved ones involved) is to gamify it.
Not only does being a gratitude gamer help our own practice stay interesting, but it also is a great way to involve others and reap the benefits of what psychologists call, the upward spiral of positivity.
The upward spiral is contagious, meaning the energy from others' gratitude can greatly increase our own and vice versa.
This next gratitude activity is an easy way to spark your specificity, get you moving and keep you laughing …
Plus, it’s a great gratitude icebreaker, and we all need to move around before or after the tryptophan hits the bloodstream...
Gratitude Gravy Practice #9
Gratitude Ping Pong
This game was invented by my mentor in positive psychology, Emiliya Zhivotovskaya.
It's very simple. You just take a ping pong and throw it to a partner and each time you catch the ping pong, you need to say something different that you are grateful for. You can't say "same" or "ditto" or repeat the other person's gratitude. Each person comes up with something original. You go back and forth until a timer goes off - thinking up as many gratitudes as you can in whatever time frame you've chosen for the game.
No paddles required for gratitude pingpong, but I'm grateful for this human, Summer Johnston, and those years we took last place (yes, last place) in an annual ping pong tourney fundraiser for our schools.
Don't have any ping pong balls? Buy some here. In a pinch, you could use a nerf ball, a whiffle ball, a crumped up piece of paper or even a ball of tape. You could even just pass a pen or other object back and forth, but that sounds kind of lame and tossing the ball has its own upward spiral of positivity.
You only need one other person to play it with, but it could also be a great one to play with the whole crew at a holiday get-together instead of the usual yawn-worthy placemat proclamations.
One of our teenage gratitude gravy’ers, Madeline Maginnis, upped the ante of her family’s gratitude ping pong by adding in her metronome app.
Her rule, the ball (and the gratitudes) had to move as fast as the metronome - increasing the speed after every a few rounds.
Her mom said everyone at their Thanksgiving celebration played along aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins. They were all speed shouting their specific gratitudes at the beat of the metronome, laughing hysterically enjoying one very big upward spiral of positivity.
Last year, my teen twins invented their own version of gratitude ping pong. It was a cross between a carnival game and beer pong and we had a ball (all puns intended!) playing it.
The twins' rule was that we would be awarded various points depending on what cup we could throw the ball into. My rule was that we had to start with a specific gratitude and we couldn't repeat someone else's.
After 5 rounds with 8 balls x 4 of us (160 gratitudes), we definitely got creative in what we were thankful for.
My husband and the girls started with general ones like, "I'm thankful for air and water" to "I'm thankful for the noises I can make" (lovely!) and other hilarious (yet much more specific) gems.
Even though I got a big goose egg on the scoreboard (I'm pretty terrible at games), I won big in the upward spiral of positivity (and fun).
Want more gravy?
A few other gratitude game ideas for Thanksgiving.
Turkey Day and Technology
If you’re worried about screen time vs family time at Thanksgiving with your kids, turn technology into a gratitude game (instead of a family battlefield).
Assign them a creative digital project. Instead of a forced tech fast, put their phone skills to good use for some portion of the day.
Make a GratiTube
Have teenagers wrangle up the threenagers and make a thank you movie. They can pull each person aside for a 30-second gratitude recording and then edit it all together into a mini family and friends movie and show after your meal.
Here's a little inspiration for you.
You'll love having a thank you movie years from now when your kids are all grown up and fighting with their own kids about spending too much time on technology ;).
Ok, I write this one as if I know what the heck I'm talking about on TikTok (which I don't), however, you could get input from your favorite Gen Z'er.
Have everyone do a TikTok inspired lip-sync of a snippet of their thank you song and put it together. Grandpa's rendition of Sly and the Family Stone's Thank You Fallettinme Be Mice Elf, Agin mixed in with Grandma's Led Zeppelin's Thank You might surely impress the millennials.
Here's an example of a TikTok (not a Thanksgiving one, but just to show you what I'm talking about if you were born later than 1994!).
You might hate or be appalled by the music in here, it's fairly clean, but just be open-minded, choose Thank You inspired songs for every generation and let the teens choreograph and direct.
See? It's not just for the teenagers!
Try some easy group dance moves like this. Add to those classic rock favorites a mashup with a little 90's Alanis Morrissette's Thank You, and then Ariana Grande's current Thank U Next (songs for every generation!). Throw in a #turnupturkey (ask someone younger than me what this means) and it'll be a viral Thanksgiving memory everyone will want to re-watch. If you do one ----> please send it to me!!!
***I'll be bribing my own kids and my niece and nephew to help me pull this off!
Too much? Just do gratitude ping pong!
You have my permission to keep it simple. If you just read these more gravy ideas and thought they sound WAY too complicated, stick with gratitude ping pong. It's seriously tons of fun and very very simple to execute!
Rally on with your gratitude games-
Creator of Gratitude Gravy and The Life Feast
PS Post your game ideas in the FB group! If you've got twists on these ideas or crazy ones of your own, share so we can all have a grateful good time on Thanksgiving! And post your gratitude gamified Thanksgiving results on Friday or Saturday of next week - I'll giving prizes for #gratitudegravy inspired Thanksgiving and Friendsgiving celebrations!
Joining late? Need a reminder? No worries!
I'm grateful you're here. Rather than clog your in-box, here are the previous challenges. Catch up on old ones or jump in wherever. There are no rules for #gratitudegravy - just fun! Please feel free to forward to a friend or share the sign-up page. Anyone can join the free gratitude gravy challenge at any time.
Day 1---> Don't let your gratitude be bland (get the most out of gratitude)
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