Posted on behalf of Justis Lopez, Guest Blogger.
The holiday season is a time of celebration: it allows us to express our gratitude and to be thankful for what we have in life. While much of the holiday season revolves around gratitude, it can be easily lost and overlooked. Take Black Friday as an example. The news portrays images of individuals waiting in line and trampling over others for sale items, one day after giving thanks for what they already have. This conflict serves as a continuous cycle with the holidays, and New Year’s holds no different. It is repeatedly dedicated to resolutions that often become unfulfilled a month into the New Year. Take the gym as an example. January 2nd is often the busiest gym day of the year, filled with individuals exercising their commitment to staying in shape, and by the end of the month many become too busy and no longer have the time to go to the gym, often cutting it out of their day. This frequently becomes the story of many individuals, myself included.
This New Year I want to change the story and exercise something that I would never be too busy for. So instead of becoming busy and forgetting about what is important, I want to make time, and learn to exercise the art of appreciation.
Psychologists have scientifically proven that one of the greatest contributing factors to happiness is a person’s gratitude. While I have understood this concept to be true, after watching the video clip below, I began to reflect on practical ways to practice the art of appreciation.
Here are my top five ways to practice the art of appreciation this New Year:
1) Keep a journal
Keeping a journal will capture the miracle of being alive and will help to increase gratitude. Write down several things that you are thankful for each day. An individual can even create multiple journals. I recently created an online Penzu account and have a daily journal, quotation journal, article journal, book journal, and even a food journal.
2) Write thank you letters
Letters often seem like a lost thing of the past, especially with email. Reflect on a few people who have had a significant impact on your life this year and write them a letter expressing your gratitude. You can give it back to them when school starts or at the end of the spring semester.
Create “gratitude appointments” with yourself in which you reflect on the things you are thankful for. This is most commonly done in the morning, before a meal, or before bed.
The biggest thing a person can give is their time. Dedicate some of your time to organizations or clubs that have helped shape who you are.
5) Create meaningful moments with individuals who are close to you
Harvard recently published one of the longest-running longitudinal studies of human development.The study concluded that creating meaningful relationships is a key factor to a person’s happiness. This further ties in with gratitude. Creating meaningful relationships in our lives cultivates an attitude of gratitude.
These are just a few practical ways to exercise the art of appreciation this New Year. May we all continue to practice an attitude of gratitude for the rest of our lives. If you have any other ideas on how to exercise the art of appreciation please comment below!
Here are some additional sites if interested:
Justis Lopez is a current UConn senior pursing a degree in History and Education. Justis’s hobbies include dancing, making music, and emceeing events. He was crowned this year’s homecoming king and in the future he wishes to travel the world and become a global educator.