Gifts of Gratitude: A 31-Day Challenge!

Nov 20, 2023 | Blog, Emotions, Featured, Five Elements, Gratitude, New, Uncategorized, Water Element, Winter | 25 comments

My Eighth Annual Gifts of Gratitude starts Dec.1! Will you be joining me?

During times of turmoil or challenge, it’s easy to let the difficult times take over our lives. Difficult times are hard; good times are easy. By focusing on difficult times we allow them to become all-encompassing.

This time of the year can also evoke joy and love; which is what I am choosing to focus on this year. It’s also a time to nest in my home and get to know myself better; to connect with myself on a deeper level.

For those who celebrate Christmas, December brings with it a sentimentality that is not experienced at any other time of year. We become reminiscent of tradition and times spent with loved ones. We have memories of Christmases when we were young, the excitement and joy of baking, wrapping, family, and gifts. This tradition of gathering with those that are close, be it friends or family, can also bring up emotions of sadness and regret. If you have lost someone special and/or have conflicts with family, Christmas can be a difficult time (for many other reasons as well).

To help stay present and focused on all that is good in my life and in the world, I practice being mindful of my days and moments. I also turn towards more self-care during times like these.

Without self-care, my emotions can become challenging. And for me, the most effective form of self-care is qigong.

When I am taking care of myself, feeling good and sending out high vibes, it affects everyone around me in a wonderful way. It follows then, that more good things come my way. But self-care comes much easier when my vibration is higher. Have you noticed that when things are not going well, it’s easier to let the self-care slide? I have noticed stress creeping in to my life recently, and I don’t think I even realized this until I slowed down enough to observe and reflect how I was feeling and how that influenced my family, home, sleep, and outlook. I was missing a lot of good things while I was focused on work or worry.

What can raise my vibration? Feelings of gratitude can instantly raise the vibe! Focusing on what I am grateful for, and sharing it with someone or writing it down, can get me out of a negative thought process. According to Wikipedia, “Numerous studies suggest that grateful people are more likely to have higher levels of happiness and lower levels of stress and depression.” As I prepare for our upcoming Love your Bones workshop, I’m reminded of how fear is a major determinant of not only bone health, but immune system health as well.

According to the Five Element Theory of Chinese Medicine and teachings, the negative emotion associated with the season of winter is fear and the positive emotion is gratitude. If you are feeling fearful, gratitude is the antidote. Because we are coming into the season of winter, the energy of fear can be strong, but so is the positive emotion of gratitude. What this also means, according to the Five Elements, is that by feeling gratitude we can also help to heal and support our kidneys, bladder, ears, reproductive organs, feet, and bones and bone marrow.

December is the perfect time to focus on gratitude!

Eight years ago I created the Gifts of Gratitude Challenge for the month of December. It became a bigger gift to me than I could have ever imagined! Many of you joined me, and for that I am grateful. Reading what others are grateful for instantly boosted my mood and made me smile each day.

Want to join in the fun? The challenge is to find three things you are grateful for each day throughout December.

Expressing gratitude always makes me feel good. By sharing my gratitude with others, and hearing what they, in turn, are grateful for, we collectively raise all of our vibes even higher. In addition, by publicly declaring to such a “challenge”, we are all supported and accountable. Daily gratitude sharing can serve as a touch point to ground us to the here and now; to keep us focused on all that is good and right with the world; preventing us from getting swept away in stress, fear, sadness, uncertainty, or grief.

Here is how you can participate in the Challenge that runs which from December 1­–December 31:
  1. Find three things you are grateful for each day.
  2. Post them publicly on Facebook and then share them in our closed Facebook Group. Use the hashtag #giftsofgratitude2023. By posting them publicly, you will encourage others to join in on the fun and also raise their vibration as they read your post! If you are not on Facebook, use a journal and/or share it with a friend.
  3. If you are on Instagram, take a photo each day representing one (or all three) thing(s) you are grateful for. Use the hashtag #giftsofgratitude2023 and tag me in your post or photo (@suecritesqigong). By adding a hashtag to your post or photo you can search all other posts that are part of the same challenge. You can follow me on Instagram here.

Consider this a gift you are giving the world. Imagine if your news feed was more about gratitude and less about politics and complaints. Don’t underestimate your ability to influence the collective consciousness of our planet. Together our energy is very powerful! I am excited to experience a December with more happiness, joy, and gratitude than ever before! I hope you’ll join me!

I’d love to hear in the comments how gratitude has helped you overcome a challenge or how it’s made a difference.

Love and light,

Sue Crites MSc, NCP
Holistic Healing and Qigong

P.S. Love your Bones is on Friday Dec. 1 and there’s still time to join! Learn how to strengthen your bones through qigong, acupressure, nutrition, visualization, and meditation!


  1. Helene Malo

    WOW !!!! Sue this resonates so much with me at this specific moment. All I can say right now is thank you for sending this out ………..

    Been practicing gratitude journal since…let me look…..July 18 2018 I write 5 things I am grateful every morning and what a difference it makes in my life.

    The five elements help me understand the flow of emotions and the physical as the seasons flow

    • Sue Crites

      Hi Helene! Thank you for your commenting. Congratulations on your gratitude practice! I would love to hear more about what differences you have noticed in your life. It’s interesting how this emotion supports the water element and our kidney and bladder meridians. Gratitude creates a powerful positive vibration in the body, doesn’t it?

    • Norm Roach

      Sue, your challenge is really meaningful for me. Carol and I are seniors (I, more than she) and have had some health “alerts”, of late; in addition, someone stole our travel trailer in the wee hours of November 20, promoting serious alignment of our plans and priorities. I was lucky … recently having become aware (thanks to Master Lin) of the gratitude exercise, I had begun to incorporate it into my daily practice. Each day, my list of things for which I am grateful reminds me to SMILE, so adding my teachers, the thieves, was natural, even if difficult. Grateful for you, Sue Crites!

      • Sue Crites

        Hi Norm,

        Thank you for your inspirational comment! That is a great lesson for us all. There are many more benefits in sending gratitude to those who hurt us than there are wallowing in anger and resentment, as you well know. Thank you for the wonderful lesson. I am grateful for you Norm Roach!

        • Mary

          Wow, Norm Roach, what an important and powerful reminder to experience gratitude for those who have caused us hurt, which completely shifts the energy field. Gratitude to you and the thief/thieves!

  2. Lorella Luccarini

    I like this gratitude challenge. I realize I ve got more than 3 things daily i n grateful for. I realize I m lucky but when I ve got to deal with my inner sorrows I forget everything.
    Thank u to have reminded me to focus on good things.

    • Sue Crites

      Thank you for your comment Lorella. It is easy for the sorrows to take over. Starting a journal dedicated to daily gratitude may be helpful. I find it gets you thinking grateful thoughts more often. Also going back and reading my past gratitudes is very uplifting, as is reading others’ gratitudes as in our Facebook Group.

  3. Janet

    I am so grateful for this gratitude challenge. And you and our Energy in Motion Qi-Gang! It’s been a full year since I (virtually) met you and joined your challenge and qigong practice. It’s been life-changing. So happy to participate once again. ? Janet

    • Sue Crites

      Thank you Janet! I am so glad you are part of my community and that we got to meet in person! I am grateful to know you! xo

  4. Becky Kane

    Sue — I’m so glad you are doing this again this year. Is there a way for people who don’t have smart phones and social media to participate in the public sharing? I am quite grateful that my doing qi gong and your various writings have changed my experience of the word “gratitude” and I have, therefor, been able to explore and expand my experience of gratitude.

    • Sue Crites

      Thank you Becky! It’s wonderful to know you! You are so inspiring. In the blog post, I suggest people journal the gratitude or have a group of friends or partner to share their daily gratitude with. I welcome other suggestions you have to support others outside of social media. xo

  5. Claire

    I was introduced to the #giftsofgratitude challenge a couple of years ago & since then I have kept a gratitude journal off & on for over a year with 3 things I am grateful for each day. Reading back is very uplifting. There is nothing like reminding yourself about all the things there are to be happy about in this life! I even find myself asking my friends what they are grateful for when they are having a tough day. Always seems to help them feel better.

  6. Sue Crites

    Claire that is a great story! Thank you for your comment. I am so glad you have developed your own gratitude practice and feel the benefits! xo

  7. Linda Glass

    Dear Sue,

    Thank you for reminding me of the importance of a daily gratitude practice. I had been using a gratitude app for this purpose until it became full and stopped prompting me.

    Consciously recording what I was grateful for every day was a huge gift, as was reading my earlier entries from time to time. Since I’ve lost this practice, i am noticing I tend to dwell on heavier subjects, and consequently I feel less energy and aliveness. Thank you for offering this December Gratitude Challenge. I feel my mood lifting and my face relaxing into a smile as I anticipate this new daily commitment.

    With Gratitude and Wild Blessings,

    • Sue Crites

      Yes, so happy you will be joining us in the practice of gratitude this month! Sometimes we all need a tune up!

  8. Margaret Meyer

    Sue, thank you for the challenge. My sister gave me the book the Magic by Rhonda Byrne in 2013. The first chapter is on gratitude, and I kept a journal for many years, listing my ten blessings stating why I was grateful . That practice has been sporadic this year in 2020. I have allowed fear and anxiety to creep in, what with Covid-19 and our election, and even after the election. I will take the challenge in December. Posting on my page feels a bit daunting, but I will trust and put my focus on gratitude.

    • Sue Crites

      Great job Margaret! It makes such a difference to stay consistent with gratitude, especially during challenging times. It sounds like your sister gave you a wonderful gift. I will have to look that book up!

  9. Lisa Berman

    Thank you for doing this. With everything that’s going on now, I definitely need to concentrate on what’s wonderful in my life and not on what’s not. It keeps us healthy all the way around.

  10. Caroline Dacey

    I have been thinking lately how I HAVE to get back to a gratitude practice! And voila! Thank you thank you!

    • Sue Crites

      YAY! Perfect time then!

  11. Jan Ontano

    When I was younger (much) I never paid attention to gratitude. It was only later in my life when I learned mindfulness, gratitude grew in my life. Gratitude for me is like I pulled back the curtain and the difference is like a black and white photo vs color. There is always something to be grateful for and the appreciation of those gifts heals me, on a level I continue to marvel at daily.
    Thank you for asking. I am grateful for you also.

  12. Janet

    I will definately join again this year! I looked forward each day to reading others gratitude list.
    The more gratitude I am around the more gratitude I find in each day!
    Thank you for hosting this again!

  13. Bev Braun

    Count me in. I have thought of doing this for too long, Time to share joy.. I have found so much more joy in life as I go deeper into SF Qigong! Thank you for this challenge.

  14. (Marlena)



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