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Life > Experiences

StoLife: What are you Thankful for? 4 Valuable Gratitude Exercises

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at St Olaf chapter.

Thanksgiving is a holiday known for…well, giving thanks! We post sentimental Facebook statuses about how blessed we are, we go around the dinner table and share what we’re thankful for and we acknowledge the rare and forgotten feeling of gratitude. In the midst of our insanely busy lives, complaining and being overwhelmed is often easier than feeling thankful for the good things. To make the point that gratitude is not seasonal like your pumpkin spice latte, here are a few gratitude exercises to start over Thanksgiving break and carry with you in the future.

1. Gratitude jar

Find a mason jar, finish your grape jelly, whatever you gotta do. Every time you feel grateful, put a note in the jar. Whether it’s one word, a story or a picture, add it to your gratitude collection. When you’re having a tough day, shake up your jar and take something out to shift your perspective and cheer you up.

2. Gratitude journal & “What I’m Thankful For” lists

Every night before you go to bed (or whenever you remember), write down three things that happened that day that made you feel gratitude, joy or anything remotely positive. Some days, you’ll be excited to write down your three things. Some days, little things like breathing and Nutella will make it on your list because nothing else went right. Try it out and see how your daily attitude changes for the better.

3. Notes/Letters to Loved Ones

Extend your feeling of gratitude to others. Let your friends, family or favorite prof how awesome they are and how they add light to your life!

4. Attribute weekly gratitude time to balance perspective 

After weeks of writing papers, getting less than 6 hours of sleep and crappy weather, everybody needs some time to regain a less stressful perspective. Set time aside for yourself every week to take a walk, meditate, listen to your favorite music, have a one-on-one chat or phone call with someone important, etc… Perform these activities mindfully and intentionally to clear your mind from the daily routine.

Gratitude Jar, Journal, Squirrel sending Grateful Mail, Reading