Staff writer explores with gratitude experiment

What makes you thankful for each day? Being able to keep on living your life in the way you choose?

When asked to write down what I was most thankful for each day, I thought it was going to be a breeze. However, each day that I was presented with the question, it actually got me thinking, what am I truely the most thankful for?

On Monday, after a shortened day of school I decided to contemplate what I was most thankful for. The first thing that instantly came to my mind was the education system that I have grown up with. I have been given the opportunity to learn so much from amazing teachers that actually care about my future. Some people do not get the chance to challenge themselves mentally, but with the Cedar Falls education system, I have been challenged almost every day, and have been able to learn a massive amount of information.

Once it was Tuesday, I was again faced with the difficult question. I began to think about how great of a city Cedar Falls is. With so many friendly people, I realize how thankful I am to have grown up in such a good city. Having visited other cities, it has made me take a step back and realize how different Cedar Falls is, in a great way, and I am very thankful for that.

For Wednesday, I thought of how I am very thankful for the people who have been involved in my life and have made an impact on me. Every person that I have been close with or that I am close with has taught me something about myself, and I would say has just improved me as a person overall.

On Thursday, I was most thankful for the close friends that I have made recently. I know that they always will be there for me, and it’s nice to know that I will have someone there for me if my family is ever unable to be. They also seem to make me a happier person because when we are together, there never seems to be a dull moment.

Finally, on Friday, I thought of how I am thankful for the fact that my mom stayed at home when I was born and raised me and taught me many valuable life lessons. So, overall, I can say that I am the most thankful for my upbringing and the experiences that I have faced that had built me into who I am today. Without being raised in the way that I was, I don’t think that I would be where I am today, and for that I am grateful.

Easy ways to practice gratitude

1. Right before you go to bed, write down and describe the best moment of that day. Write why you are grateful for it. Even on the worst days, there is something to be grateful for, and this excercise helps you focus on the good.

2. When you wake up, make a list of all the things you are grateful for at the start of that day. They can be as simple as being grateful that you have release right before your big test so you can study, or as deep that you are grateful for all the support your family gives you.

3. Make a pact with a friend to text each other one thing you are grateful for each day. This is a good option if writing/journaling doesn’t really float your boat.

4. Write a thank-you letter to someone you love. Call them, and read it to them. Of course you can always text it to the person you choose, but if you don’t want to call, snail mail can also be a good option because it gives the person something to keep.

5. Simply say thank you and mean it. Thank the lunch ladies, thank your teachers, thank your parents.

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