How Gratitude Changed My Life

How A Daily Gratitude Practice Changed My Life

Expressing gratitude every day can have profound effects on your outlook on life.

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For the past couple weeks, I have been building the habit of a daily gratitude practice. I had been hearing about gratitude as a healthy habit for some time and, because I'm always trying to better my life and my inward and outward health, I decided to give it a try. Every night, I write down five things I am grateful for, sometimes things I noticed throughout the day or sometimes things that have just been on my mind.

I always write out the full sentence, "I am grateful for..." and vary what I write about. Maybe one day I have a really nice conversation with my mom so I write, "I am grateful for my mom and the connection we have." Or I just notice how beautiful it is outside as I am walking to class so I write, "I am grateful for the sun and the world's natural beauty." It all depends on what I am experiencing, but I try to be as specific as possible.

I have only been doing it for a short amount of time but I have already noticed differences in the way I approach daily living. For example, the other day it was raining and everything felt like a struggle to me. But I immediately stopped, before getting upset about it, and said to myself, "This is okay. Everything works out in the end and I am okay." And I proceeded to write down the things I am grateful for, even in the face of a stressful day.

We tend to get so caught up in the negatives of life. Academic stress that feels all-consuming, not getting the anticipated response from a friend or partner, getting stuck behind slow walkers when you have somewhere to be... It can make us feel like our lives are terrible and everything sucks. What gratitude does is it puts everything into perspective and gets us to step back and view the bigger picture of our lives and the world.

Yes, bad things will always happen, but a bad day doesn't equal a bad life. Because of taking the time to express gratitude for all the good things I have and all the beautiful things I experience, I pull the focus away from the negative and am able to get through a bad day without sinking into a pit of despair. I can get through what normally would feel like the end of the world and still appreciate the little wonders of life. I can move on.

I encourage everyone, especially those pessimists out there and the people who are going through a tough time, to just take a step back and think about all you have. There are people in this world that experience exorbitant amounts of pain and suffering, but chances are, if you're reading this article, you have something to be grateful for. Even if it's just internet access and the time to read.

Try writing down a couple things you are grateful for, even in times of struggle, and I promise, you will feel a little better. Keep practicing gratitude and you will find your outlook on life can shift to a more positive life.

Lastly, I am grateful for you reading this article and taking the time to hear what I have to say.

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To The Nursing Major During The Hardest Week Of The Year

I know that no grade can possibly prove what kind of nurse you will be. I know that no assignment will showcase your compassion. I know that no amount of bad days will ever take away the empathy inside of you that makes you an exceptional nurse.

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To the Nursing Major During Finals Week,

I know you're tired, I know you're stressed, and I know you feel like you can't go on. I know that no part of this seems fair, and I know you are by far the biggest critic of yourself. I know that you've thought about giving up. I know that you feel alone. I know that you wonder why in the world you chose one of the hardest college majors, especially on the days it leaves you feeling empty and broken.

But, I also know that you love nursing school. I know your eyes light up when you're with patients, and I know your heart races when you think of graduation. I know that you love the people that you're in school with, like truly, we're-all-in-this-together, family type of love. I know that you look at the older nurses with admiration, just hoping and praying that you will remain that calm and composed one day. I know that every time someone asks what your college major is that you beam with pride as you tell them it's nursing, and I know that your heart skips a beat knowing that you are making a difference.

I know that no grade can possibly prove what kind of nurse you will be. I know that no assignment will showcase your compassion. I know that a failed class doesn't mean you aren't meant to do this. I know that a 'C' on a test that you studied so. dang. hard. for does not mean that you are not intelligent. I know that no amount of bad days will ever take away the empathy inside of you that makes you an exceptional nurse.

I know that nursing school isn't fair. I know you wish it was easier. I know that some days you can't remember why it's worth it. I know you want to go out and have fun. I know that staying up until 1:00 A.M. doing paperwork, only to have to be up and at clinicals before the sun rises is not fair. I know that studying this much only to be failing the class is hard. I know you wish your friends and family understood. I know that this is difficult.

Nursing school isn't glamorous, with the white lab coat and stethoscope. Nursing school is crying, randomly and a lot. Nursing school is exhaustion. Nursing school is drinking so much coffee that you lose track. Nursing school is being so stressed that you can't eat. Nursing school is four cumulative finals jam-packed into one week that is enough to make you go insane.

But, nursing school is worth it. I know that when these assignments are turned in and finals are over, that you will find the motivation to keep going. I know that one good day of making a difference in a patient's life is worth a hundred bad days of nursing school.

Keep hanging in there, nursing majors. It'll all be worth it— this I know, for sure.

So, if you have a nursing major in your life, hug them and tell them that you're proud of them. Nursing school is tough, nursing school is scary, and nursing school is overwhelming; but a simple 'thank-you' from someone we love is all we need to keep going.

Sincerely,

A third-year nursing student who knows

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To The High School Graduating Seniors

I know you're ready, but be ready.

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Seniors,

I am not going to say anything about senioritis because I was ready to get out of there and I'm sure you are too; however, in your last months living at home you should take advantage of the luxuries you will not have in a college dorm. The part of college seen in movies is great, the rest of it is incredibly inconvenient. It is better to come to terms with this While you still have plenty of time to prepare and enjoy yourself.

Perhaps one of the most annoying examples is the shower. Enjoy your hot, barefoot showers now because soon enough you will have no water pressure and a drain clogged with other people's hair. Enjoy touching your feet to the floor in the shower and the bathroom because though it seems weird, it's a small thing taken away from you in college when you have to wear shoes everywhere.

Enjoy your last summer with your friends. After this summer, any free time you take is a sacrifice. For example, if you want to go home for the summer after your freshman year and be with your friends, you have to sacrifice an internship. If you sacrifice an internship, you risk falling behind on your resume, and so on. I'm not saying you can't do that, but it is not an easy choice anymore.

Get organized. If you're like me you probably got good grades in high school by relying on your own mind. You think I can remember what I have to do for tomorrow. In college, it is much more difficult to live by memory. There are classes that only meet once or twice a week and meeting and appointments in between that are impossible to mentally keep straight. If you do not yet have an organizational system that works for you, get one.

I do not mean to sound pessimistic about school. College is great and you will meet a lot of people and make a lot of memories that will stick with you for most of your life. I'm just saying be ready.

-A freshman drowning in work

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