American society encourages movement all the time. Always striving for more and never stopping. It often means that one is planning for the future, thinking about what will happen a year from now, and it gives no time to appreciate what is going on in the present. There are so many things people overlook due to the nature of our society. Whether it be certain individuals, a roof over our heads, or even the ability to attend school. We need to take a couple of minutes of our day to reflect on what we do have rather than focusing on what we do not have. Now, many of you are probably wondering, “Why should we care?” Well, several studies have proven that those who carry out gratitude are happier. Harvard Medical School published an article in 2021 titled “Giving thanks can make you happier” which details the science behind being grateful. Essentially, those who practice this ideology are more likely to produce other good habits like exercising and attending work more regularly.
Nevertheless, showing you are thankful does not have to take up the entire day or your budget. It can be as simple as keeping a gratitude journal, taking the time to reflect on the positive things you have in life, and sending out a thank you text or letter. Moreover, prayer or meditation are often good outlets to appreciate the things you have in life. Now, if you do have more time, going to visit those who play a big role in your life and spending quality time with them can mean a lot. Catching up over a cup of coffee is my favorite way to remind myself just how lucky I am to have certain people in my life. Another way to show gratitude is by giving back. Whether it is to specific individuals or an entire community, volunteering tends to ground people and prompts us to not take advantage of what we do have. Lastly, if you want to give an item to show your appreciation, a thank you basket is an efficient option- filling it with an individual’s favorite goodies. It should be noted that many of these exercises are targeted toward showing thanks to people but gratitude knows no limits.
Again, being gracious with yourself is something many of us tend to overlook as well. So, with the holidays coming up, be kind. Not only to others but to yourself. Taking time away from the chaos may be hard, you may even feel like you are losing out, however, let us not forget the little things. What we have at home. For some, it can be an amazing family, a support system at work, a pet, the ability to purchase your much-needed Starbucks drink, or even the food we get to indulge in every day. Take the time to breathe. Reflect. Relax and give thanks. Try not to stress about tomorrow and emerge yourself in the light you have in your life. Regardless of what it may be and if you struggle to find it, the imperative thing is that you do.
“Giving Thanks Can Make You Happier – Harvard Health.” Harvard Health Medical School, Harvard Health, 22 Nov. 2011, https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier.