As we get deeper into November and Thanksgiving nears, high school students are pervaded with thoughts of mouth-watering turkey, decadent pies and most importantly, a break from school. However, this holiday offers something much more valuable than any of these things, something that should not just be celebrated once a year, but instead carried with people throughout their everyday lives: Gratitude.
The Teenage Struggle
For teenagers who are passing through a period full of confusion and change, achieving a grateful state of mind can seem difficult or even impossible. Stress factors such as school, family, relationships and personal issues can lead them to develop a negative perception of their lives and forget about all about the little wonders around them.
The romanticizing of mental illness, suicide and other contributing factors also play a great part in the commonality of negative teenage mindset. Teens actually feel pressured to act in these manners in hopes of “fitting in” among their peers. Not only does this take away from the severity of these topics, but it stunts teen’s own personal growth and prevents them from feeling grateful for the things that they do have.
Benefits of Gratitude
Relationships- Showing the people in your life that you care about them is necessary to form or maintain strong social bonds, and what better way to show this than with a little appreciation? A relationship without gratitude is a failed one. Remember, even if you know that you are grateful for a person, they might not know or feel it. Take the time to remind your loved ones that you appreciate them, both of you will end up feeling better and closer than ever.
Health- While the connection between physical health and gratitude is still being researched, there is a great possibility that it does exist. In a study done by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkley, participants who displayed grateful habits were more likely to partake in an overall healthier lifestyle (eating well, exercising, not smoking, etc.) These participants also showed to have better sleeping patterns than those who did not follow grateful habits. The overall positive emotions that gratitude brings reduces stress, which reduces the possibility of stress induced illnesses or pains later in life. Although teenagers do not seem to worry about this aspect of life so much, as their young bodies make them feel invincible, it is never too early to onset a stable healthy life.
Mentality- Gratitude plays a huge part in establishing ones mental strength. When a person has the ability to be appreciative of what surrounds them even in their most challenging times, they are able to conquer almost anything. Self esteem, compassion and patience are all heightened and produce a joyful person with a more positive life.
Things To Be Grateful For
One of the biggest thing that hold people back from practicing gratitude is their belief that they have little to nothing to be grateful for. Here are some examples of every day things to say thank you for:
The clothes you wear
Oxygen (it keeps you alive)
Nature (it’s beautiful)
The food you eat
Little acts of kindness (such as someone opening a door for you)
These are just some of the many things that so many people take for granted that they could choose to appreciate instead.
This season, whether you spend your time snuggled up on the couch, laughing with family and friends, or filling your stomach with holiday treats, take the time to look around at the things your grateful for, and carry them with you throughout the rest of your life.