By Ashley Berry, Campus Life Fellow
Adjusting to the new normal isn’t easy. It has forced us to think about how different life was before the pandemic and how important small, everyday things were to us. With masks, physical distancing, and an overall lack of social events and connections, it can feel difficult to find things to be grateful for. But, things do not have to be going perfectly to practice gratitude. In fact, practicing gratitude can help you appreciate the new normal and find joy in even the smallest things.
Science shows that practicing gratitude over time can have lasting effects on the brain and mental health. A study conducted by UC Berkeley found that, compared to participants who did not practice gratitude, those who did had more active brains and were more sensitive to gratitude in the long run. Finding things to be grateful for can also improve your emotional wellbeing and remind you of all the small joys of life even when it feels like the world is falling apart around you.
Practicing gratitude can happen in a few different ways. My personal favorite is to keep a gratitude journal or running list where I note what I’m grateful for each day and have the list to look back on. You can also speak your gratitude out loud or repeat it in your head to remind yourself of all the reasons to smile and be thankful.
YOU are loved. YOU matter. Each day is a new beginning and YOU are capable of more than you know!