Posted on October 10, 2017
“Practicing Gratitude” by Avery Beer
Each day it seems as though we wake up and the world has some sort of bad news to offer. Any time I check the news app on my phone, I am immediately swarmed with negative stories—whether it’s about politics, natural disasters, or senseless human acts, it seems as though we cannot escape it.
Being in college is the most liberating experience that most of us have had in our lives so far, yet sometimes I know I personally can feel a bit helpless. As college students, we are truly in a bubble. We are in our own world of academics, of finding our passions, of playing sports or joining clubs. I know I am not alone in thinking that, sometimes, we forget that we are human, too. We forget that these horrible things in the news can happen to us, we are not protected even in our bubble. Although it is scary, we are no longer too immature to understand this concept. So, now to my point, it is incredibly important to practice the act of gratitude. When all of this negativity happens in the world, practicing gratitude is a way to bring humanness back into the world, to bring positivity and light when it is dark.
According to the google dictionary, gratitude is “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and return kindness.” I think we all hear gratitude and immediately think about being thankful, but the fact of the matter is that we are all a little bit inherently selfish. It is so easy to get caught up in our own lives that we forget to display kindness and positivity to others, even when others may need it most. Recently at one of my sorority chapter meetings, one of our members stood up and had a chat with us about the importance of smiling to other people. It is something so small, but it really means something to others. Some people may think it’s creepy, but that is because we are so used to just passing by people without really noticing each other. Honestly, I have been trying to do it (just a little soft smile as I’m walking by) and it really is such an effortless way to, again, bring back the humanness. Also, according to psychology, if you force yourself to smile even if you may not be feelin’ it, you generally will feel happier. Actually, where this all came from is my practice of yoga. I started doing yoga in high school and have kept up with it, but recently decided to enroll in an 8 AM yoga class for a credit this semester. I am not a morning person AT ALL. I did this to force myself to get up early, but it really has been an eye-opening (literally) experience for me on and off the mat. Whether you do yoga or not, find something that you are passionate about, and do it when the world is quiet, because it makes you appreciate it more. It is a simple thing that we can all do to make us put everything back in perspective.
Sometimes we just need a little reminder that we should practice gratitude in this crazy world we live in. Hopefully after reading this you feel a little bit more inspired to smile at a stranger and practice what you love to do, because it will pay off in how you view the world even when it seems like everything is negative. Be thankful and humble!
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