Are you taking care of yourself? Get a little help with the School Counselor Voice, a monthly newsletter for school counselor self-care. Here is a section from the November edition, find more information on the Newsletter page. You can access an editable Google doc version when you subscribe to the newsletter.     

Remember the last time you felt incredibly grateful? Was it a significant event? Were you simply happy with eggs for breakfast? Did you linger in the moment you felt appreciation?

Gratitude and its benefits are having a noteworthy resurgence in popular culture, a simple search will return thousands of articles from mainstream media to scientific journals. However, humankind has known about “being thankful” for quite a long time; reference any major religion and you will find foundations built on gratitude.

If gratitude works, why do we so often “forget” about being grateful? One reason, I believe, is that we get so used to having certain things that we take them for granted. Plus, we’re busy and distracted.

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” —Robert Brault

Hedonic treadmill is the unending desire for more. It’s the idea that the more you get, the more you want. New phone? You’ll want the newer model next year. Not that you didn’t appreciate it and ooh and aww over its features when you got it, it just became the new normal.

Wanting more is not a bad thing. Motivation to do more can be a good thing. Becoming overwhelmed with getting more just to get more, can lead to unhappiness. Slowing down, taking stock of your life and realizing, “I’m in a pretty good place right now and thankful for what I have” is uplifting.

So what can you do?

Slow down and really savor the feeling of appreciation. When you drink your coffee, smell it, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Pause and linger on that feeling.

Journal your gratitude. I think journaling works because it also makes you slow down and think on a deeper level. Make time to do this when you are relaxed and open-minded. Maybe first thing in the morning or just before you go to bed. Go old school, use paper and pencil.

Stop comparing. Just stop looking at your neighbors, your friends, the posts on social media and thinking they have something you don’t. Remind yourself you have enough. You are enough.

You can also access last month’s newsletter, which featured stoicism.

Please take care of yourself.

K. M. Sheldon, S. Lyubomirsky, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Vol 38, Issue 5, pp. 670 – 680.

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