By Anna Valdez
Web Content Contributor
With Thanksgiving break drawing near, students are bustling to get assignments completed and making arrangements to spend time with friends and family. Due to busy schedules, it’s often difficult to find the time to reflect, as in taking a minute or two to look beyond the stress of everyday life, finding what is meaningful in our lives and expressing gratitude. Whether you are thankful for a partner, a heartwarming interaction with a stranger or a career opportunity, studies show that feeling thankful and showing appreciation is essential to our health and wellbeing. So what exactly does it mean to feel thankful?
The word ‘thankful’ is pretty self-explanatory. It means being conscious of a benefit received and expressing gratitude. There is no limit to what we should be thankful for. Simply acknowledging the good in our everyday lives can have a profound effect on our mood and attitude. Think back to a time when your day was not as great as it could have been. Despite having a lousy day, was there anything positive, no matter how big or small, that happened that day? Often times, we become consumed by our daily tasks that it becomes easy to ignore the positives in our day. Taking the time to think about and appreciate the positive aspects of our lives is essential to living a wholesome life.
There are many resources on how to effectively express gratitude, but some of my favorite tips can be found on the University of Minnesota’s Taking Charge of your Health & Wellbeing web page. Here, users can find a list of ‘10 tips to fit gratitude in your life.”
Based on this list, I have thought of ways a person can express that feeling of gratitude. Synonymous to that of the University of Minnesota’s tips for gratitude, I would recommend simply taking a few minutes to think about the people in your life that have made a positive impact on who you are as a person or even the delicious meal you had for lunch. Whatever the case, understand what it is you are thankful for and appreciate it.
Moreover, I have heard wonderful things about journaling and how it is a useful resource to collecting and keeping track of one’s thoughts, moods and more. If this sounds like something you would be interested in, then I would highly recommend having what the University of Minnesota refers to as a gratitude journal. You can make notes of things that had an effect on you throughout your day and look back on them when you feel like you’re in a rough patch to remind you of previous positive moments.
Another tip for expressing gratitude is to simply thank others. Showing gratitude to other people can make them feel appreciated, and it also shows courtesy and respect. It also doesn’t hurt to thank yourself for adopting healthy habits or doing something you feel proud of.
Lastly, try to be conscious of the good moments and revel in them. We all have down days and will continue to face them throughout our lives, but that doesn’t mean we should forget all about the positive ones. A lot of this has to do with finding those silver linings within the most difficult life challenges.
Giving thanks has always been a part of the Thanksgiving season, but why not incorporate this way of thinking into our daily lives? Use this time to practice being thankful for people and things that are meaningful to you and see how this practice can impact your life for the better.
What are some things you are thankful for? Let us know on Twitter @KTSW_899.
Featured photo by Anna Lizette Valdez.