Have an attitude of gratitude this season

November is a time of busy schedules, heavy academic commitments and stretching ourselves to meet the needs of others. The colors of the trees changing and leaves falling reminds us that autumn is a season of transition. These little moments remind us to reflect on how we have transformed as individuals throughout the year. Our thoughts may be filled with observations of what we learned in our studies, what we accomplished as leaders or what we discovered about ourselves. 

During this time of contemplation, it is important to implement an attitude of gratitude towards our growth.

Expressing gratitude can result in several beneficial outcomes. Ryan M. Niemic, author of “Character Strengths Interventions,” places substantial emphasis on the overall perks of spotlighting a grateful mindset in our lifestyle. Niemic claims that gratitude positively correlates with “positive emotion, life satisfaction, optimism, prosocial behavior, increased cardiovascular and immune functioning, longevity, lower levels of anxiety and depression, openness to experience, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and low neuroticism.”

This means that with every effort to extend gratitude, each one of these aspects of our lives has the opportunity to increase. In other words, we have every reason to practice being thankful. This process can only transform us to have a brighter perspective on life.

During COVID-19 and a semester that may seem topsy-turvy, it may be more difficult to think of things to be grateful for. Luckily, gratitude is a muscle that all of us are capable of developing as long as we focus on fine tuning it. Student Wellness Services at UNI offers a variety of opportunities for you to exercise your gratitude strength. We want to help students find the strategies that work for them so they are able to feel the benefits of gratitude, including lowered stress, better sleep and stronger relationships. Below is a list of ideas to get you started:

Keep a gratitude journal

Mail a handwritten letter of gratitude to someone special in your life

Compliment a stranger

Reflect through mediation

Say three things you’re grateful for in the morning or right before bed

Check out our gratitude journal on our website to add a little challenge every day

Find out where you’re currently at by taking a gratitude quiz such as the one from Greater Good

Discover the power of gratitude by watching Soul Pancake’s “Experiment in Gratitude” video on YouTube

How are you practicing gratitude? What are you adding to your daily practices? Let us know by commenting on our social media posts this month! Check us out on Facebook (UNI Student Wellness Services), Instagram (unisws) and Twitter (@UNI_SWS)! Let’s work together to spread an attitude of gratitude around campus.

Need help setting goals for gratitude and sticking to them? Our Wellness Coaches are ready to help you explore what you’re grateful for and help you find ways to increase your gratitude practices! Sign up for a Zoom session at studentwellness.uni.edu/wellness-coaching today! Wellness Coaching draws upon your strengths to help you create and maintain your goals. Sessions are free to all enrolled UNI students, confidential and unlimited.