This week, we’ll all sit down with our families, enjoy a delicious feast, and celebrate the things in our lives for which we’re grateful. Maybe those college acceptance letters haven’t started rolling in yet, but you certainly have other things to celebrate.
But before we get to that, let’s discuss why gratitude is so important. As Benedictine Monk David Steindl-Rast says:
Happiness does not lead to gratitude. Gratitude leads to happiness.
Practicing an attitude of gratitude helps us to identify all of the good things in our lives, and leads to a more positive mindset. That attitude is attractive and contagious, and will impress everyone from teachers, to friends, to managers at work. And yes, it will definitely make an impression when you interview (for college admission, internships, and future jobs). Gratitude might even inspire a moving essay for a lucrative scholarship.
But how can you develop a more positive state of mind, if it doesn’t come naturally to you? Try these five tips this week, and continue the habits that suit you.
Say thank you. Even small acts, like holding a door for you or passing you the gravy boat at dinner, deserve recognition.
Remember that all people have difficult moments. Try not to define others by their worst moments; look for the best in them and you will find it.
Temper your anger, frustration, and disappointment. These are normal emotions, and you shouldn’t try to deny your true feelings. Just don’t allow yourself to dwell there permanently. Express your feelings, then follow up by stating something for which you’re grateful… and move on.
Keep a gratitude journal. Each night, write down one thing that was positive about the day. It could be something small that made you laugh, hearing your favorite song on Spotify, or earning a good grade on a paper. Every day has at least one good moment, if you look for it.
Pay it forward. Do something nice for someone else, without expecting anything in return. You will find that gratitude is contagious!