It’s Day 1 of what is arguably the best month of the year to think about gratitude.
Here in Houston, we have so many reasons to be thankful — after the last few months of devastation and rebuilding from Hurricane Harvey, most (if not all) of us have received some kind of help from someone else.
But you don’t have to wait for Thanksgiving to show your appreciation. Every day is an opportunity to express your gratitude for gifts big and small. Here are some of our tips for making gratitude part of your everyday routine.
Keep a Gratitude Journal
In the moment, when you’re experiencing stress or hard times, it’s easy to feel like nothing ever goes right. Try keeping a gratitude journal so that every night, you can write down at least one thing about the day that you’re thankful for. Then, you have a collection of positive reflections to keep you on track. You can use a basic notebook, a formatted Gratitude Journal like this one or even the Notes app on your phone.
Good Vibes Only
It’s a digital age, whether we like it or not. Most of us check various social media sites at least once a day, and it’s more likely that you’ve texted someone more recently than you’ve spoken to them by phone or in person. Unfortunately, social media sometimes makes it more easy to complain (who hasn’t posted a rant status at least once before?). Try using tech for good by intentionally using your online platforms only for positive posts. If you’re a goal-setter, challenge yourself to share three messages of gratitude electronically a week, whether it’s a DM or text to one person who’s especially awesome or a general post for your entire feed, guaranteed to get all the likes.
Give Back (And Then Give Back Again)
No matter your circumstances, chances are there’s someone out there who has it worse. And right now, there is no shortage of opportunities to volunteer in our area. Give back through service to an organization like the Houston Food Bank, rounding up winter clothing and blankets to donate to a shelter, or make a financial contribution (no matter the amount) to support a cause you find worthy. You’ll find that even when you’re in need, helping others has a way of healing what ails you.
We get it. You’re right in the thick of the semester, and you’re BUSY. But trust us when we say that making time for friends and family can not only improve your mood but remind you why you’re working so hard.
Get Some Fresh Air
Along those lines, take some time from your busy schedule to get outside and exercise. While this might not seem like a direct path to gratitude, an outdoor hike or run gives you the opportunity to appreciate things you might not otherwise see, like a cool breeze at just the right time or a blanket of colorful flowers in the midst of concrete and buildings.