The Art of Being Thankful

Grace Berbig, Opinions Editor

Grace Berbig
Opinions Editor

As we embark into January, the expectations of a peaceful, exciting and happy holiday season are increasing by the day. Although there are many joy-filled events during this month, such as giving, seeing family, receiving presents, ice skating, and watching Elf, there is also an extensive amount of stress at this time. The holidays often stimulate feelings of warmth and joy, but for many, the season can evoke feelings of depression, anxiety, and loneliness.

This feeling is called the seasonal “blues”. Seasonal blues affects roughly 20 percent of the population during the holiday season, according to a study by The National Mental Health Association. These “blues” can be caused by several things, such as increased stress and fatigue, unrealistic expectations instilled by social media and overcommercialization, and family issues.

“My parents recently separated this fall, so my mom is still trying to figure out how we’re going to do Christmas. I try to take the pressure off of her, but I can see how stressed and sometimes sad she is,” freshman Gwen Roux said.

One way to avoid the blues this holiday season is by practicing mindfulness and gratitude. Being thankful is one of the most beautiful things humans can do, but it is much easier said than done. The prevalence of social media creates an environment where comparison and loneliness are constant, which arguably affects the mental health of teenagers more than any other age group.

“[To practice being thankful] I think about how fortunate I am to have a great life,” sophomore Matt Kleve said.

Being thankful is a big part of instilling happiness into life. In order to truly show gratitude, realizing the gifts that life has given, the opportunities and privileges that are available is vital. Creating a routine of being thankful is the best and arguably the most successful way to have a fulfilled and happy life.

“It is nice to see my family during the holidays, it reminds me of how thankful I am to be with them and hang with them and celebrate with food and giving to others. It helps me be thankful for what I have,” junior Kali Underdahl said.

In the past couple of years, senior Jack Myhre has learned to value the art of being thankful, happy and relaxed. Creating a graphic of a smiling face with two X’s underneath, the “happy or dead”, which he draws on just about anything, helps remind him to be happy and thankful for the life that he has been given.

“Snowboarding and having the right state of mind keeps me positive during the holiday season,” Myhre said.

To speak candidly, it is easy for us to forget that life itself is a gift. We could have been born at any time or moment, anywhere in the world, but we are here, and for a reason. The majority of our peers are lucky enough to wake up in a bed with a roof over their heads, are able to a kitchen with a fridge full of food and receive a free education, something that millions of people around the world could only dream about.

Senior Nick Larsen shows gratitude for the smallest things by playing some funky music.

“I listen to some good disco music, and it has me on my feet and disco dancing in no time,” Larsen said.

The secret to being thankful is not necessarily through presents or material objects, but to realize and cherish all of the minuscule gifts that we are so lucky to have but often overlook.