Practicing thankfulness throughout November

By: Miranda Mowrey, Columnist

The word “thankfulness” is thrown around a lot in November. Usually, the only time you think about the things you’re grateful for are when you are asked at the Thanksgiving dinner table, when you’re too focused on the intoxicating cinnamon smell wafting from your sweet potato casserole to come up with a legitimate answer. So, you end up saying something quick and easy like “my family” or “my health” and then proceed to stuff yourself until the button on your jeans is forced to dislodge itself from your waistband.

If you’re reading this column, chances are that you are among the luckiest humans on Earth. If you have a warm bed to crawl into at night, food to silence a rumbling stomach, and the opportunity to receive an education, you have a lot to be thankful for.

When you stop to really think about it, some of the issues that we deal with every day are really blessings in disguise. Does your week consist of back-to-back exams? Instead of thinking, “Why me? This is so unlucky!” or reference the fact that your horoscope warned you of a bad week ahead, think about how awesome it is that you have the opportunity to attend college in the first place. Although sometimes things can get stressful, isn’t it great that you are receiving an education, and have the brains to study, and possibly excel, on an exam?

My advice for you is, at least for the rest of the month, attempt to reframe your “Why me?” thoughts to thoughts of appreciation for what you do have.

One way you can practice gratefulness is to tell those around you how much they mean to you.

Think of someone in your life who has genuinely made your life better and more enjoyable and let them know of your appreciation through a note or kind gesture. Has a professor been extremely understanding of your recent absences? Has the custodian’s warm smile and daily act of opening the door for you brightened your day as you entered a dreaded three-hour lecture? Let these people know that they are appreciated and valued – I am positive it will make their day, week, month.

Kindness and positivity can cause a chain reaction. By a simple note or comment, you can turn someone’s entire day around, and that person will take their good mood and rub it off on another person. Especially nowadays, it is common that people victimize themselves and focus on what they don’t have. Be the change you wish to see this November and start using your thoughts, actions, and words to appreciate, thank, and brighten; the world really needs it.

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