Finding what you’re grateful for

December 15, 2020

As the weather gets colder, we are finally ready to kick off the holiday season. As quarantine persists, it is easy to feel isolated and frustrated at the current situation. People may even be feeling overwhelmed or down at this time of year so it is important to acknowledge and recognize things to be grateful for. 

According to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, gratitude can drastically improve someone’s mental health as well as improve bonds. Gratitude has shown to lift spirits, especially during such unpredictable times. It is important to acknowledge the positive aspects and goodness within our lives. In doing so, we are able to recognize things to be grateful for. There is much more to be grateful for than just materialistic items. It can truly be anything, such as relationships with good friends or having good health.

“Although things have been different and frustrating with the pandemic, I always make sure to acknowledge things I am grateful for. Although it sucks to not be able to return to school or see my friends, I always try to look around me and put everything in perspective. No one in my family has gotten sick or lost their jobs. I know a lot of people cannot say the same now. I always try to remind myself of things like this. I feel like reassuring and acknowledging [my] gratefulness helps me realize that a lot of my problems are not as significant as I might have thought at first,” said senior Ariana Torres.

A study directed by the University of Pennsylvania showed that expressing feelings of gratitude has been linked with greater levels of happiness. Dr. Martin E.P. Sleigh compared two groups of people. One group wrote a letter of gratitude to someone in their lives, while the other group was the control. The studies showed that the group that expressed their gratitude to someone in their lives experienced a major increase in happiness. Not only did it increase their happiness at that time but it was found that the benefits lasted for a month. 

“I typically tend to express gratitude towards even the littlest of things. Whether someone answers a question I had or compliments something I’ve done, saying thank you is such an easy task that could mean a lot to someone. Personally, it makes me feel proud of myself. Although it truly is the bare minimum. I enjoy knowing that my acknowledgment towards them going out of their way to do something for me may make them feel better about doing it,” says sophomore Lavinia Vaipulu.

An easy way to express gratitude is by doing simple things within our regular lives. Whether this is writing a letter, speaking to a friend or simply thanking a waiter or convenience worker, we are able to recognize a source of goodness or happiness outside of ourselves through completing these small tasks. In doing so, we are able to appreciate and take comfort in something bigger than ourselves, whether that is other people, nature or our surroundings.