Written by Sarah Joseph
I don’t know about you but this year has gone by fast! Somehow Thanksgiving is only a week away and soon it will be the end of another year. As a senior, this is frightening. However, as I have been pushing myself to finish my senior seminar class–insert a 20-25 page research paper and a 20 minute defense presentation here–, working three jobs, applying for post-grad programs and jobs, and making sure I don’t fail the rest of my classes, I have not given myself a moment of breath. I feel like I am always on the go. I keep telling myself “just get through this week, then next week you can breathe.” But… then next week is worse than the previous. So how do I sleep at night and keep myself from falling apart? Well, I practice mental health exercises.
To keep in the spirit of Thanksgiving, one of the several mental health practices I employ is a gratitude journal. I often like to mentally make a list of things I am thankful for. (You can physically write it down too, but who has time for that?) Right before I go to bed, in an almost meditative state, I think of the good things that happened in my day or what I am thankful for that day. It often sounds like a mantra in my head and it lulls me to sleep. In fact, according to Psychology Today, showing gratitude and having a gratitude journal helps you sleep longer and better.
If you want some inspiration or generic thankful statements, the following are a few things that I am thankful for:
I am thankful for a meal plan so I don’t have to stress about cooking or grocery shopping or affording vegetables (THANK YOU SALAD BAR).
I am thankful for the cleaning ladies who make sure my dorm is not as gross as it can be (because BOY it can be nasty).
I am thankful for my friends for understanding that when I don’t see them often, it’s not because I hate them but because I’m probably in the library doing homework…or sleeping.
I am thankful for the gym because,dang, Belk Fitness Center is so much better than my Planet Fitness back home.
I am thankful for Mill Mountain for fueling my education and my body.
I am thankful for Mondays, because although it may be the worst day of all, it is my movie night with my girls.
I am thankful for my parents who randomly buy me sweaters because they know I never dress for the weather.
I am thankful for Disney+ for putting my favorite D-COMM movies (Zenon,Halloweentown, the Cheetah Girls, High School Musical— Say whattt!), Kim Possible, and the Suite Life of Zach & Cody in one place
I am thankful for my sister for letting me use her Disney+ subscription.
I am thankful for my friends–when I see them–for always making me laugh.
Being thankful frees you from toxic emotions like envy or anger and reminds you of the good things in life, even when it doesn’t seem like there is anything good. In addition, it provides necessary self-reflection that is often missing in our everyday lives. If you want to pay it forward, tell people what you are thankful for because that forges stronger bonds within relationships, and having strong relationships are essential to a balance and well-lived life.
So as you spend Thanksgiving with family and friends, don’t forget to say what you are grateful for… After all, a little can go a long way.