Stay grateful this Thanksgiving


Unsplash photo by Priscilla Du Preez

Being grateful can improve your quality of life.

Editorial Board

Thanksgiving is coming up fast. A lot of us are already looking forward to a turkey dinner with family and wondering which desserts will be on the menu.

But while food is a great part of the holiday, it’s not the biggest part. Being thankful is right in the day’s name—Thanksgiving—but sometimes we get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of planning the menu and visiting with family that we put our gratitude on the back burner.

Practicing gratitude can motivate people to make positive changes in their lives.  But with finals coming around the corner, it isn’t always easy to feel grateful. By the time Thanksgiving rolls around, students are more likely to feel burned out.

An idea: Consciously practice gratitude this Thanksgiving. Here are some ways to stay thankful as the holiday approaches:

1. Try journaling. Write about your day, every day if you can, even if it’s been a hard one. Then identify what you are most grateful for about that day. At first you may not think of anything, but there’s almost always something to be grateful for, even if it’s a very small thing, like a teacher’s smile or a classmate’s compliment.

2. Scribble the things you are grateful for on scraps of paper and drop them into a jar. Try to write something new every day and deposit it in the jar. When you have a rough day, empty the jar and read what you’ve written. This can be a lot of fun, because there’s room for creativity. Decorate your jar, buy some fancy stationery and get colorful pens to shake things up.

3. Count your blessings. Make a list of your blessings and add to it whenever possible. As with the jar, use fun materials to make the exercise meaningful and fun. Consider framing your list and hanging it in a place where you can see it every day.

4. Most important, practice positivity. Cut back on negative self-talk. Negative self-talk can lead to negative self-fulfilling prophecies. For instance, if you say you’re going to do terribly on your exams, you most likely will. Practice positive self-talk, which will lead to positive self-fulfilling prophecies. You’re more likely to be thankful if you see the cup as half full rather than half empty.

Have fun this Thanksgiving eating all the delicious foods we’ve been looking forward to all year. But don’t forget to count your blessings along with the number of plates you intend to fill.

And don’t stop after Thanksgiving, either. Long after the holiday has passed, continue to practice gratitude. Looking on the bright side is something you can do every day, not just the one day a year most people choose to give thanks.