College is a span of time that is filled with a million changes. When a young adult comes to campus, an entirely new sphere of life and influence is created. Within those changes come the struggles of life, and it can be easy for students to wrestle with some heavy issues, some rightly draining of attention and energy.
Gratefulness has been shown to be one of the biggest components for students to not only keep themselves afloat, but to thrive. However, this is not just “buck up and just be happy” advice – it is something that makes a gritty, tangible difference not only to stay afloat during classes and activities and life but grow as a student and an adult.
So, how do you start encouragement to do this? Often in counseling, people are told to make their gratefulness tangible – each time they see something that they appreciate, they are supposed to physically record it — and not with a computer, but with a pen and paper (it makes the process even more personal). Whether it’s in a sheet of paper, a designated notebook, or a sketchbook, pinpointing moments or experiences — not matter how small — that give happiness or joy can make all the difference.
It also begins with really seeing things each day — when someone hold open a door, gives up his or her seat in a public place, smiles at a stranger — all these things can be noted and truly appreciated. If this attitude is encouraged and practiced in the culture of the campus, the well-being of everyone is enriched: students, volunteers, staff, administration, professors/teachers, and many more.
Gratefulness helps more than we could imagine, and the take-back is lasting.
Weigh in! How would you encourage gratefulness on your campus?