From the Editor: Spread thanks this holiday season

It’s easy to go on with our lives without stepping back to realize how lucky we are. The start of the holiday season is a perfect time to pause, reflect and admire what we have in our lives and what it took for us to grow thus far.

This time of year should not be about surviving the busy holiday season, but soaking up quality time with loved ones and enjoying it. It is an important time to use as a reflection on all that is good in our lives or maybe even a time to recognize things that we’d like to change for the better in the upcoming new year.

As November kicks off the holiday season, there are high expectations of a festive and joyful time, but this can be hindered by our stressful, anxiety-ridden schedules. It is time to put those stressful situations aside and focus on what is psychologically proven to make us happier: being thankful.

Sitting around the dinner table on Thanksgiving saying what you’re thankful for may be a cliché tradition, but it shines a light on your life and everyone around you. Everything that was once hectic before that moment seems to come to a sudden halt. Even just taking a glance at the people around the table can help you appreciate all of the great things life has to offer.

Gratitude shifts from what is lacking in your life to recognizing what is already present. According to Psychology Today, studies show that from deliberately cultivating gratitude, we become happier and improve our well-being. Expressing this gratitude to others is linked to an increase in empathy, energy and optimism.

It isn’t always easy to put everything at a standstill and acknowledge the things that make life great, especially during times when you feel like the world is collapsing on top of you with the intense stress, finals and homesickness, but it needs to be done for the benefit of your mental health.

University of California Davis researcher Robert Emmons said that being thankful amplifies the good things in our lives, the good people in our lives and the goodness within ourselves. With Thanksgiving approaching, it is the perfect time to think about how grateful we are.

Rider’s counseling services is hosting a luncheon at Daly’s Nov. 15 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to reflect on what we are thankful for, as it makes for a happier mindset.

Especially as college students, we are used to living our lives at such a constant high pace, running from class to work to group projects and extracurriculars. We need to learn to slow down and savor what is good around us.

During the holidays, there is so much to enjoy — the music, decorations, holiday scents and loved ones. Why not take a moment to adore what the holiday season offers? Stopping to appreciate these simple things is an easy way to feel a sense of ease during this time of year.

Not only is it important to realize how thankful we are for things around us but it’s just as crucial to recognize how we became who we are today and the personal gifts that we hold dear to us. No matter how we’ve grown, whether it was from relying on parental figures or being solely independent, it’s essential to recognize how we’ve grown, especially during the holiday season.

During the drive home for the long-awaited Thanksgiving and winter breaks, I’m sure we all think about similar things — home cooking, our pets, sleeping in our beds, childhood friends. These are things that we learn to appreciate as we are away from home for months at a time.

Stop and take a second, just one to shed a positive light during the holiday season. Let’s not resent what we don’t have or what we wish we’ve done instead, but appreciate the relationships that truly enrich our lives.

As we indulge in turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce until we are practically crawling to the TV to binge-watch football and holiday movies, it’s important that we soak up each moment with our loved ones. We’ll bicker over touchy family conversations and fight over the last slice of pumpkin pie, but in the end, we are lucky to have those moments, and I plan to be thankful for every second.

The weekly editorial expresses the majority opinion of The Rider News. This week’s editorial was written by the opinion editor, Hayley Fahey.

Printed in the 11/15/17 issue. 

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