Gratitude: A Simple Idea with Big Impacts

Submitted by Alivia Olson, First Vice-President

You have heard the word thousands of times. You have probably even heard about its benefits. Maybe you even told yourself you were going to start practicing it. But still, gratitude feels more like a concept than an actual habit. Don’t worry, you are not alone! By sharing what I have learned these past few years, I hope I can help you start practicing gratitude in your daily life!

What is gratitude?
The dictionary definition of gratitude is “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” In other words, gratitude is noticing things in your life that make you happy and acknowledging them! Seems simple, right?

How do I “practice” gratitude?
As soon as the word “practice” gets thrown in there, suddenly gratitude seems big and scary, like a task or competition. In reality, you already have everything you need to practice gratitude! Each one of you has something to be thankful for. Maybe it is the sunrise on your drive to school, the teacher who never gives homework, or that friend who is always making you laugh. Whatever it may be, when you feel that positive emotion inside, focus on it. Remind yourself that you are grateful for that person, thing, or moment. Soon you’ll realize how much you have to be grateful for!

What’s the point?
I know what you’re thinking, “Okay, I get it, but why should I take the time to be thankful?” Well, by practicing gratitude, you are not only focusing on the positives in your daily life, but you are being present in a moment. Without distractions, you are able to feel that positive emotion fully. This will not only improve your day, but your overall mental health, as well. Plus, big changes start with small actions. Saying one thing you are grateful for each day can lead to a complete change in your mindset! The important thing is that you are making the effort to be present in the moment and conscious of the things that make you feel good!

Expressing gratitude daily has been life changing for me. What started off as a small project in 8th grade has now become a part of my daily routine. I even keep a journal where I jot down things I am grateful for. Some days will be harder than others, but I challenge you to start now by thinking of one thing you are grateful for. Trust me, the results will be incREDible!