Opinion: Gratitude Is Good for You
It’s the perfect time to thank the people in our lives who never get enough recognition
Every day we go through life, doing our daily routines, completing our tasks, and just getting through the day. Sometimes we get so caught up in our lives that we don't get a chance to pause for a second, take a step back, and thank the people we interact with every day whether we know it or not, people who work hard to make our lives better, even if we don't directly see them.
So, let's take a moment and shine a light on those who sometimes end up unnoticed in the backseat. Let's celebrate some of the people who make a tremendous difference in our lives and who we depend on to function, but forget to mention and appreciate.
The convenience of being able to buy something from the comfort of your couch has drastically changed the way we shop. All of those online orders are fulfilled by tons of workers who package purchases or drive the trucks for our benefit. They work tirelessly every day for our convenience.
Every week, full trash cans line the road waiting for the big garbage truck to come and pick up the waste that we have created. Almost like magic, our waste disappears. But it isn't magic. Someone drives that truck every time, helping us keep our houses and neighborhoods clean.
A hospital needs a finance and accounting staff to assure it runs smoothly. Without it, doctors wouldn't get access to good medical equipment, and patients wouldn't be able to get the medicine they need. The building itself wouldn't be able to stay open. From planning the budget to educating people about their health care costs, a financial staff is needed to make sure money is being handled properly so that the hospital can most effectively treat its patients.
And what about the people who aren't paid, but still work hard for our best interests, our parents or siblings or children, who are with us every day? Because they've lived with us our whole lives, we sometimes take them for granted, but we shouldn't forget to thank the ones who support us through breakups, job interviews, birthday celebrations, new relationships, and all of our ups and downs. The people who are with us no matter what.
Research has shown that gratitude naturally stimulates strong bonds between people. These bonds lead to stronger relationships between the important people in our lives. Additionally, Harvard's longest study on happiness shows a strong connection between good relationships and happiness. According to the project director, Dr. Robert Waldinger, personal connections create mental and emotional stimulation, which result in a boost in our mood.
The point of this is to think about these seemingly "small" gestures that we take for granted and to think about all the people who must have been involved in making it happen. Be thankful for them. Let them know that you care about them and are grateful for all that they do. It might seem cheesy, but it does make a difference to the other person, and to yourself.
In fact, according to neuroscientist Glenn Fox, expressing gratitude can have beneficial effects on the brain, reducing the body's level of stress and ultimately improving overall health. Specifically, the Greater Good magazine by the University of California, Berkeley, states research has proven that gratitude leads to better sleep and improved heart functions. Additionally, those who express gratitude are more likely to do activities that benefit their health, such as eating well, adhering to doctor recommendations, etc.
The single phrase "thank you" has so much power in it. It can make somebody's entire day better. With so many benefits to society, and to yourself, why not use it?
Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this.
Kriya Handa is a sophomore at Westwood High School. She is passionate about making the world a kinder place. She hopes to bring people together and celebrate everyone.
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