Finding thankfulness in everyday life

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Gratitude is an emotion indubitably correlated with happiness. Although it is one of the healthiest emotions, it can also be one of the hardest to feel when things seem to be at their worst. I have experienced — and constantly remind myself — that when things aren’t going as I had planned, if I am thankful, it all works out. Thanksgiving is a blissful holiday that reminds us to be thankful for what we have, but the positive vibes and feels of the holiday can transfer to our everyday lives if we change our attitudes to be thankful. Here are ways to find gratitude through everyday life so that you can give thanks for 365 days of the year.

You have access to information and creativity

If you are reading this, you have access to a newspaper, an inventory full of diverse perspectives and updates on current events. You have the privilege to know what’s going on, to hear what others think and an opportunity to learn new things. With this access, you most likely also have access to media — music, books and entertainment that can nourish your creativity and allow you to discover your interests and gain wisdom. It feels so natural to be given the chance to satiate your intellectual curiosity, but it’s a privilege not many have.

You can talk and think

We don’t think about it often, but it’s usually only when we lose our ability to perform daily tasks that we realize how much we take our abilities for granted. A few months ago, I learned to appreciate my ability to walk so much when I sprained my foot and couldn’t walk for two weeks. The fact that you may be able to move, communicate, eat, listen and have thoughts of your own is a miracle in itself. Regardless of whatever your specific abilities are, taking a moment to appreciate them can be very worthwhile. Use these abilities to their full extent!

You’re alive and breathing

Sometimes, we get so caught up in work and life that we forget about the most important things: our health and well-being. If you are here, alive, remember not to take that for granted. Even if things could be better, how amazing is it that you exist and have a chance to live? Since you are here, why not make the most of it? Cherish every moment, and be thankful for your existence. Take a break once a while, and acknowledge that you are alive and breathing.

You have the ability to be thankful

Gratitude is an emotion that can change our mood, along with our mindset, outlook and the action we choose to take. It can drastically change our future for the better. The ability to know such emotion and to be able to feel and practice it in itself is a blessing. Be thankful for your ability to be thankful!

I am thankful for UC Berkeley and the city of Berkeley as both have widened my horizons. I am thankful for a safe shelter and access to food. I am thankful for my family, friends and communities. I am thankful for technology that grants me access to stories and connections around the world. I am thankful for coffee. Thankful for Pink Sweat$. And thankful that I am writing this, right at this moment. What are you currently thankful for?

Contact Eunkyo Jo at [email protected].