This November has been a busy month, but one thing I’ve tried to practice in my nightly and daily routines is embracing gratitude for the blessings and opportunities, big and small, that I receive each day. We find ourselves overwhelmed by negativity, by deadlines and never-ending to-do lists, by stress and hard work and traffic jams. It is beyond important to take time to be calm, reflect, and practice gratitude in our daily lives in order to maintain a positive outlook. However, being grateful can be done in big and small ways, at home and out in the world. Since coming to college, I have been actively working to practice gratitude in my day-to-day life.
Throughout the rest of November, the busy, festive season of December, and beyond into the new year, we should all do our best to practice becoming more grateful. Whether you stop on your daily commute to appreciate how beautifully blue the sky is, or whether you sit at night and write out all of the good that happened during the day, integrate gratitude into your daily life for a more happy, inspired lifestyle. Here are four brilliant ways to implement gratitude into your routine!
Volunteering is the perfect way to support others in your community, be a positive role model, experience the joy of giving to others, and more. I try to do one act of volunteering as a minimum per month, and I’d like to do more. This November, I went on a mission trip with the seminarians at my college along with some other students, and we delivered groceries for a Thanksgiving meal to families in need. Afterwards, I was so overjoyed, so overwhelmed with gratitude for all that I have and all I am able to give to others.
If you need some ideas on how to get involved, think about the non-profits and organizations in your community! For example, volunteer at a soup kitchen. If you can knit, think about volunteering to make blankets for children in hospitals. Visit a nursing home. Meeting people, spreading love and positivity, will shed serious light and gratitude for your life.
2. Keep a journal.
I’ve always loved journaling, but over the past year or so, have really become dedicated to spilling my thoughts across the page at night before I fall asleep. Recording memories, joys, and important memories is essential to reflection. I love not only the process of writing, but the peace that comes along with reading old entries. For example, reading over all of the small joys and good days I had this past summer with my sister bring me all the gratitude in the world.
Some people have devoted gratitude journals. Others write a line a day. Some write down only the good, only the bad, or even just the events of the day. No matter what you choose to do, try to incorporate some small reflection and gratitude into your lifestyle. Personally, I tend to write down a combination of “happy lists” (lists of everything I am joyful and grateful for), recapping my days, and capturing my thoughts and feelings.
3. Slow down.
In our fast-paced, busy lives, it is easy to become wrapped up in all of the stress, deadlines, exams, work, and more. Since I have come to college in such a beautiful place, I often pause, stopping to look up at the stars. I take a few moments out of my day to sit on the benches under the bright orange leaves, basking in the sunshine. Sipping hot chocolate in the dining hall for a few extra minutes, lounging under the covers for an extra hour, and pausing for a few seconds between classes all allow me to feel more grounded and grateful on a daily basis.
However you can, find time to be present, rather than flying through schedules. You won’t only feel more relaxed, but more able to be grateful for the opportunities and blessings you are given throughout the day.
4. Spend time with family.
Thanksgiving break has been a blessing and a much-needed opportunity to spend time with my family. For many people, family members are the most familiar and comfortable to be around. As the holidays draw nearer, life becomes rich with opportunities to cuddle up around a good film with your family.
As I sit under the twinkling lights in my dorm room writing this post, I cannot help but think of my family, miles and miles away. The reason I look forward to breaks from school is not the food, the freedom, the lack of classes. Rather, it is the time I will be able to spend with my family, giggling with my favorite people, sharing inside jokes and memories, and creating new memories.
However you can, begin to practice gratitude. Being grateful has transformed my outlook on life, and learning to find light within dark has become a beacon of hope in all areas of my life. If I get a bad score on an exam, I focus on the opportunity I have to grow and learn for the next one. If I hear bad news, I have to think of the good.
I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving holiday. For those college students in this rough three weeks or so before Christmas break, power through! You got this.
If you have any recommendations on being grateful, please leave me a comment down below!