Taking a second to reflect on what you’re thankful for each day, even if it’s something small, like spending time with friends or getting a good grade on a test, has numerous benefits. Improved sleep, mental and physical health, self-esteem and relationships are all linked to people who regularly express gratitude.
"It is important because it gives you a moment to reflect on how your life is going and see how you’re doing," says Abigail Flynn ’21. "If you see something that you aren’t really grateful for you, can change it. It is beneficial because it can remind you of all the good things you have and can make you happy."
With Thanksgiving fast approaching on Nov. 23, it’s a good time to reflect on gratitude.
Unsure where to start? Try keeping a gratitude list by writing down (or thinking about) what you are grateful for and why. Do this occasionally — every day, every week, whatever works for you. According to Robert Emmons, gratitude is "an affirmation of goodness" that is outside of ourselves. We each have our own understanding of gratitude and reasons for which we are grateful. Everyone, however, can gain something from a little reflection.
"Gratitude makes you think about people’s actions and your own," says Cassandra Townsend ’21. "I try to think about what I'm thankful for a few times a month."
To Rose Marston '18, gratitude is being happy with what you have. She sees it as the opposite of greed.
"If we weren't grateful, we would never find satisfaction. Consciously thinking about gratitude allows us to really think about what's important to us," says Marston.
"Everyone has something to be thankful for — even on their worst days," says Kirsten McDonald '18.
"If we as humans expressed gratitude and appreciated our lives, I believe that the world would be a much more beautiful and wholesome place," McDonald adds. "I am most grateful for my family and good health."
"I am grateful for being able to go to college as well as having a family that supports me," says Jake Hewins ’21.
What are you thankful for?