Hello everyone! I hope everyone is enjoying their day, it’s a little breezy out there today but I can’t complain, fall weather is beautiful and just so happens to be my favourite!

I’m currently in my school library just waiting to attend a group meeting, but first I just wanted to talk about something I think people should become more aware of, and it is gratitude.

The word gratitude is emphasized especially during this time of the year, because of Thanksgiving, we often tend to list the things that we are grateful for. It is a really good way to recognize the things that we don’t often show a great amount of appreciation for on a regular basis, or maybe we do. But I think that gratitude shouldn’t be something that is used on occasion, it should be used throughout our everyday lives.

Image result for THANKSGIVING

I attended something called a Happiness Workshop today at my school. The hosts of the workshop happen to also be psychologists/counsellors and want to promote the meaning of positive psychology. They have a specific focus each week, the first one was mindset. This week’s was gratitude, which inspired me to write this post.

How do you feel when you receive gratitude from someone else?

In most cases, for myself I find that I feel a sense of validation, or pride. When I do something for someone else, and they express a sincere thank-you, I feel so so good. It lets me know that they appreciate something I have done for them, but at the same time we need to be careful because sometimes this leads to the attention craving idea. We don’t want to constantly be giving and giving and giving, because we also need to receive too. If I’m constantly buying my same friend lunch everyday, wouldn’t this lead to the expectation of me buying lunch for her everyday? She also might tell others that I buy her lunch everyday and how great of a friend I am for doing that, but that is almost a negative way of people realizing who you are as a person. You can’t buy anyone’s love, and you can’t buy happiness. For me, I have a hard time with this. I always feel a sense of goodness from my heart when I pay for somebody else even though I can’t afford to do it. Sometimes this is an okay thing to do, but if you’re constantly putting yourself at risk of being in debt or something that truly is affecting you, then don’t feel obligated to do it. You can choose to express forms of gratitude in many other ways that don’t cost a dime.

Call someone. It could be your friend, or a family member you hardly see. Receiving unexpected calls are some of the best ways of showing you’re grateful for someone.

Write a personal letter. I do this a few times a year, and it feels amazing. I’ll write birthday cards for friends that turn out being novels of how much I love and appreciate them as a friend and also just a way to reflect on some of our memories together. Christmas time is also a great opportunity to make personal letters and send them out, just to show your appreciation and love.

Create a gratitude journal for the week. It can be tough trying to list things every single day of what your thankful for, in fact in can kind of almost take a way the meaning if you keep saying it over and over again. Instead, write some things down that you’re thankful for 3-4 times a week. It helps you see things on a positive side, and helps you appreciate the good vs. the bad days. And if you are having a bad day, go back to the list. Change the way you’re thinking by looking at the list and saying “you know what, I might of had a tough day at work but I’m grateful to have gotten this job”, it works for school too, and trust me I have used it many times already this year and I’m already seeing improvements of on the way I look at things. “All my friends are at University, and I’m stuck in college doing the same things I’ve already been taught” But then I think, you know what, If I wasn’t in this program I wouldn’t be able to fulfill my dreams of becoming a nurse. Nor would I be expanding on what I already know”. I also used this when I was really upset about leaving my home city. I cried to my mom about disliking where I live now, and how badly I wanted and NEEDED to go back. I then shifted my way of thinking through gratitude. I thought, wait a second. I am LUCKY, to be going to school, to have a roof over my head, a provided home and bed, food, etc. from the people that I live with. They have been extremely giving since I moved in, and I am so insanely blessed to have come across this people during this time of my life, to have as supporters and to have there when I’m having a rough day and can’t talk with my parents about. Some who live in residence here don’t have that option, and it can really impact someone’s mental health if they don’t have that kind way of communicating with someone. So for my own sake, and for others, write a gratitude journal. It will help you see things on a brighter and happier side.

If you’re Happy, I’m Happy.

Make someone else’s day, everyday. If you see someone who looks like they’re struggling, do something courteous for them to assure them that there are good things in the world. When I was sick and stuck in the world of an eating disorder, I had people around me that knew I wasn’t happy with life at the time. But they didn’t stop from being kind towards me, to asking me to hang out, offering me a shoulder to lean and to cry on. They wanted me to be happy again and it helped me SO much, realizing the good things in life that were slipping from my fingertips. So many things are taken for granted, and sometimes it is too late to know what you have because it’s gone before you even realize it.

Wake up in the morning, write down or think in your head 3 things that fall under these kinds of questions.

  1. Who/what do I appreciate?
  2. How am I fortunate?
  3. What material possessions am I thankful for?
  4. What abilities do I have that I’m grateful for?
  5. What about my surroundings (home/neighborhood/city/etc.) am I thankful for?
  6. What experiences have I had that I am grateful for?
  7. What happened today/yesterday/this week/this month/this year that I am  grateful for?
  8. What opportunities do I have that I am thankful for?
  9. What have others in my life done that I am thankful for?
  10. What have others done that I am benefiting from in my life (even if I don’t know who those people are)?
  11. What relationships am I thankful for?
  12. What am I taking for granted that, if I stop to think about it, I am grateful for?
  13. What is there about the challenges/difficulties I have experienced (or am currently experiencing) that I can be thankful for? (e.g., What have I learned? How have I grown?)
  14. What is different today than it was a year ago that I’m thankful for?
  15. What insights have I gained that I am grateful for?
  16. What am I able to offer others that I am grateful for?
  17. What opportunities to help others am I thankful for?

Please let me know if this helps, I want to hear your feedback!

Until next time,

-S.R

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