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

The holidays can be a bittersweet time for students. While trying to embrace the coziness and holiday spirit of November, final exams, projects, and papers are all lingering in the back of our minds. Instead of exploring holiday lights with friends, we’re cooped up in the library trying to submit final assignments, running on three cups of coffee each. 

When final exams overlap with the holiday season, it can be especially difficult to find gratitude and appreciation for where you are. I find this particularly hard; some days, the only thing I can think about is my to-do list that seems to only increase as the days pass. Practicing gratitude can feel alleviating, as it deviates your mind from negative emotions. Gratitude can also lessen stress and improve sleep and focus, all necessary to persevere through finals!

Practicing gratitude is more than simply being thankful; it goes far beyond that. Here are a couple tips to help you begin!

Be specific about what you are thankful for

It can be easy to offer up general claims about what we are thankful for. It’s extremely common for people to be grateful for friends and family. Try being more specific about what/who exactly you’re thankful for. For example, instead of thinking, “I am thankful for my best friend,” I could try “I am grateful to have a best friend who indulges my interests and reminds me to treat myself.” This can help us think through not only who/what we’re thankful for but also why!

Begin a gratitude journal

You don’t need a physical journal for this! Your gratitude journal can be a notes file in your phone or a document on your computer. You can operate your journal however you would like; its main purpose is to draw out gratitude daily. This is how I use mine: I journal three (specific) things that I am grateful for – depending on how I feel this could be daily or weekly – and then I journal about three things I’m looking forward to because I am grateful that I have something to look forward to!

These are just a few tips on how to practice gratitude during such a busy season, when it is easy to lose sight of the things that matter. I am guilty of it myself! Additionally, there is no wrong way to practice gratitude; these tips are just a few ways to get you started if you are unsure.

Hello! My name is Rachel and my pronouns are she/her. I am an English student at the University of South Florida who loves to write and talk about fashion, art, and wellness! I am an avid Swiftie, boyband listener, foodie, and reader.