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MCC Daily Tribune

Finding Moments of Gratitude

Amidst ongoing racial, social, and political unrest, a global pandemic, and other individual vulnerability factors, it is no surprise that many people are struggling with mixed emotions and feelings of loss as we head into the holiday season. The holidays, and the changing of seasons, leaves many Americans feeling vulnerable and a little down, even during "normal" years. You've probably heard that gratitude practice has been proven to be beneficial in promoting positive mental health; for that reason, we wanted to share some simple steps for you to consider practicing in an effort to increase gratitude this holiday season:

  • Write a letter to someone and tell them how much you appreciate them
  • If you are religious or spiritual, lean into extra prayer this season
  • Avoid gossiping/speaking poorly of others
  • Go outside and take a walk to notice the beauty in nature
  • Practice a random act of kindness
  • Watch inspiring and motivational shows/movies/videos
  • Fill your social media feed with positive news and images
  • Try to find the other, more positive, side whenever you think a negative thought
  • When you make a mistake, find the opportunity to grow through it
  • Set up a Zoom call with friends/family in order to stay socially connected
  • Keep a gratitude journal: write down one thing each day that you can identify feeling grateful for, or choose one day of the week to be your weekly gratitude reflection day
  • Choose or create your own gratitude phrase for the month, write it down, and post it somewhere in your home where you will see it often
  • If you notice yourself feeling happy or grateful, practice grounding in that moment: What physical sensations are you feeling in your body while you are carrying that positive feeling?
  • In order to elevate it's importance in conversation, speak more often about gratitude with your colleagues, friends, and family members
  • At the end of the day, quietly reflect and give thanks to those people, places, or things that brought a little bit of joy into your life recently
  • Thank an essential worker (even if that means thanking yourself)!

Gratitude allows you to find acceptance and be content with what you have, instead of feeling as though you cannot be happy and satisfied until all of your material needs and personal goals are met. It also encourages you to stay grounded in the present moment, which can help you maintain an internal sense of stability and balance when outside events feel threatening. With practice, it is possible to grow mentally and emotionally stronger through the practice of gratitude.

The team at the Counseling Center and Disability Services office wishes you well during this time of year.

Morgan Kennell
Counseling Center & Disability Services