In a culture where our days are consumed by classes, work, meals, repeat, it’s hard to take a step back and find the small things within our days that get us through that daily grind. Even outside of our school life, we don’t often take that extra minute to reflect on all that goes well in our lives and the plethora of things we are so beyond lucky to have.
There are countless studies on the relationship between gratitude and wellbeing that prove focusing on the positives rather than the negatives in your life genuinely makes you happier. It takes something as simple as writing down something a friend did for you that made you smile or acknowledging your favorite type of coffee to lift your mood.
Over a year ago, I started putting this theory into practice by keeping a daily gratitude journal, in which I jot down three things at the end of each day that I’m grateful for. These answers range from the obvious (my parents and sister, my friends, etc.) to the specific like the grey candle I keep on my nightstand. It can be a person, a place, an experience, a gesture, an opportunity... anything that comes to mind.
What really made me fall in love with this idea of gratitude was the shift I noticed in my attitude. I found myself looking specifically for those little things I was writing down at the end of every day and giving them a lot more attention. I wasn’t complaining about the work I had to do or the lack of sleep I got the night before. I was, simply, happier.
This concept of gratitude is widely overlooked, especially in the bubble that college life is. We are so consumed with focusing on our work and social life that we're automatically inclined to discount all of these other beautiful, gorgeous things!!
I would like this column to become a platform for anyone to reflect on whatever keeps them going in their life in an effort to bring this idea of gratitude to the front of people’s minds. The first contributor is Michigan junior Emily:
“I’m definitely the most grateful for my family because they have definitely shaped me into who I am today and they are supportive of everything I do. […] I think the fact that I’m a middle child has played a lot of roles in the way I am: just my relationships with my siblings I think is unique and special to me. I have two siblings with super strong personalities... they are huge athletes and have played a really large role in my life. One, being that my siblings are such big athletes, so dedicated and motivated in sports, I feel like that has motivated me to put forward that same effort into other things that I’m interested in such as my school work, volunteering that I’m involved in, mainly my academics,because that’s kind of my strength versus how theirs are on the soccer field or what not. I would also say I have always been in the middle of two very strong personalities, so in that dynamic, I’m always the rational one. I’ve learned how to deal with a lot of different opinions, which I think I have been able to apply elsewhere too.”
For many people, family comes to mind when they think of something they are thankful to have in their lives. The opportunity to dig deeper into what specifically it is that your family has given you that you appreciate offers a different perspective on this simple idea. ~ Expressing gratitude specifically to those who you are grateful for is extremely rewarding, as it makes those people feel valued and reinforces their continued support ~ So take the time to say thank you to someone who is important in your life and tell them what it is they do that makes you feel better about yourself.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/30478819@N08/47469208302 https://www.needpix.com/photo/842990/grateful-thankful-appreciation-gratitude-thanks-thankfulness-thanksgiving-celebration-blessed https://www.flickr.com/photos/ktylerconk/1795416766