The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Recently I was inspired to carve out specific time to appreciate the little things in each day of my week. I began journaling about small, seemingly insignificant moments of my day every night. However, I soon felt myself needing a bit more focus or structure to my journaling–something with a daily prompt. So, I drove myself to Target and scanned the aisle with all the aesthetic journals, planners, and notebooks. I came across a journal that possessed exactly what I was looking for. It was Moments of Gratitude: A Guided Journal. This little journal decorated with paint brush strokes of warm colors and earth tones was beyond fulfilling. It stretched my mind and heart in a way that not only showed me the abundance of things I ought to be thankful for but also humbled me to possess more patience and express fewer complaints. Through this journal, I was presented with the opportunity to learn, explore, and cultivate the art of gratitude in my life towards myself, others, and my environment. The biggest takeaway for me was simply the fact that gratitude is not some insufferable challenge, but rather a habitual decision. Here are three benefits of the art of gratitude in your life alongside ways to implement them.
- PERSONAL BENEFIT
Practicing the art of gratitude positions us in a headspace and heart posture of thankfulness instead of dissatisfaction. Each of us have things, places, and people to be grateful for in our lives. The art of gratitude reminds us just how much we have and teaches us to be more mindful and appreciative of those things, places, and people. It must be noted that not all mental health situations can be solved through the art of gratitude; however, focusing on what we do have can oftentimes improve our attitude, emotions, and mindset. Instead of always complaining about school work, we can approach it with the attitude of gratefulness that we even get the opportunity to pursue education. Instead of allowing certain annoying or disappointing circumstances in our days to consume us, we can appreciate the reality that we have another day to live. Practicing the art of gratitude is not brushing real emotions like sadness, anger, disappointment, or insecurity under the rug. It is so crucial to address those things within us. Rather, practicing the art of gratitude helps us to be slow to complain and quick to be thankful. It is recognizing with more detail and appreciation the gifts of life and our own personal growth. This better prepares us for each moment of our day and teaches us to take hold of the fullness and potential of our lives. Taking the time alone to journal what you are thankful for lets you release the stresses of the day and embrace the positive moments.
- SOCIAL BENEFIT
Learning to be more sensitive to the blessings in our lives encourages us to grow in appreciation for the people around us. I am a big believer in expressing the love and thankfulness for the people in your life. If you love someone, tell them. If you appreciate what someone did for you, thank them. If you see someone struggling, help them. If you come across anyone in your day, encourage them. Bring warmth, unity, community, and love to your interactions with people. The reality is people need to hear and know that they are loved, appreciated, and seen. We each have a responsibility to ensure that the people in our lives know how we feel about them. Practicing the art of gratitude in your social life simply looks like treating and loving people well. I personally like to write letters to friends and family. These letters are oftentimes thank yous for what they have done for me or even for simply being themselves. Think of a time when someone went out of his or her way to tell you just how thankful they were for you or that they loved you. How did that make you feel? That feeling when someone personally reaches out to remind us of how important we are to them is such a pure, wholesome, and amazing feeling. Gratitude encourages us to create that feeling in the lives of the people around us.
- ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFIT
The world around us is a gift and each of us belongs to a specific community. One of those communities is Virginia Tech. Every student here adds something valuable to this campus, to this community, and to this world. When we grow in appreciation for the world and for the spaces we interact with we learn to take care of them. Practicing the art of gratitude in our environment looks like finding ways to better take care of our earth and making a positive impact in the communities we are apart of. When we are grateful for the world around us, we make it an initiative to positively contribute to its flourishing. This may be reflected in finding ways to protect the environment like the recycling and reutilization of items, participating in community efforts to clean up trash, or simply researching ways to raise awareness on toxic things that are negatively impacting our world. We can also get involved in our communities through joining clubs and organizations and bringing our own unique gifts and talents to those things. The art of gratitude teaches us that loving our environment goes far beyond simply appreciating it–it is also acting out of appreciation for it.
The art of gratitude teaches us to identify the things in our lives that we should be grateful for, reflect on those things in our day-to-day routines, and ultimately allow those things to help us bring warmth to our own lives, other people, and our world. I encourage you to start journaling about the things you are grateful for or carve out some time to simply reflect on them. The results will bring so much liveliness, fullness, and thankfulness within you that will radiate to those around you and the world that surrounds you.