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A Call to Extend Thanksgiving: The Link Between Gratitude and Wellness

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  • Choosing to be thankful only when circumstances are ideal runs the risk of spending most of our lives waiting around for a moment good enough to be grateful for.

    As we return from Thanksgiving break most of us have our eyes set on one big, beautiful prize: saying goodbye to 2020. This year has mercilessly thrown one curveball after another, nudging each of us closer and closer to a breaking point. We’re exhausted, we’re lacking focus, and we left our motivation and daytime clothes somewhere back in April or May.   

    In a time where we have every excuse in the world to be thankless, why would we extend Thanksgiving?

    For the sake of our wellnessResearch has found that gratitude is closely related to well-being, and that “grateful people tend to be happier, healthier, and more resilient…” – all attributevital to persevering through finals and pandemic-stricken holidays.  

    Happier, healthier, more resilient students are able to spend less time recovering from emotional or physical burdens and more time focusing on being present day-to-day. They aren’t exempt from bad moments or pessimistic thoughts, but they are practiced in seeking out the good despite the bad, and thus able to overcome obstacles more efficiently and resume activities as planned, such as studying for a final or finishing that paper. You can see how this mindset could be beneficial during high-stress times, like the last two weeks of the fall 2020 semester.  

    We’ve spent most of this year wishing away time and willing 2021 to get here faster. And yet, as 2021 approaches, we’re all beginning to notice that at least in the beginning, it may not look much different than 2020. Choosing to be thankful only when circumstances are ideal runs the risk of spending most of our lives waiting around for a moment good enough to be grateful forLet’s reverse that method and develop a habit of year-round thanksgiving. 

    Beginning now, regardless of my circumstances, for the sake of my wellness and productivity, I choose to express gratitude for five things daily. Will you join me? 

    1. Mulled cider 
    2. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel  
    3. A time change that justifies going to bed an hour or three early  
    4. Lunchtime walks with my husband  
    5. Microsoft Team Chats