It seems like every day brings bad news — and whether it’s political or personal, there’s only so much that people can handle. After experiencing such a shift in “normal” these past few years, it makes sense that our mental health might not be the sharpest it could be. Give yourself credit for everything you’ve done up to this point to try to survive — it’s more of an accomplishment than you may think.
Back when I was growing up, my parents always told me to “count your blessings.” While I didn’t have a religious upbringing, there was still a lot I was thankful for every day. In fact, during these extended times at home, those blessings may make themselves even more apparent. Here are some of them that will make you feel grateful in 2022.
1. Be Thankful for Family
Family doesn’t necessarily mean blood relatives. While those families are given to us, other types of families — from friends to organizations to extracurriculars that make us happy — are formed. Having supportive people by your side is always helpful. Good people in your life are rooting for you to succeed, and there are plenty of individuals out there who love you — even if sometimes it’s hard to see them past the fog of our own emotions.
If you get along well with your parents and siblings, it’s even more of a blessing. Not everyone has that type of support in their lives, so it’s important to sit down and recognize that you’re lucky to have been surrounded by love and support from day one.
2. Cherish the Opportunity to Meet People Worldwide
One of the best things about the internet is that it can easily connect us to people all over the globe. It’s a great way to learn more about different cultures, and it’s also a wonderful opportunity to make new friends. Thanks to the internet, you can research any topic you want and learn about it. Back in the day, makeup tutorials on YouTube didn’t exist. Now they do — so take advantage of them and the many other videos meant to expand your mind and introduce you to new crafts and projects.
Of course, you’ll want to make sure you do it the right way. The sites you visit should be credible. Stick to the news sources and social media apps that you trust.
3. Be Thankful for Your Pets
Whether you have a dog or an iguana, chances are your pet enhances your life. Pets are great at keeping us company and reminding us that there’s always good in the world. They also don’t judge us. Their hearts are truly pure, and they’re incredible listeners.
Pets are a great way to remember how much life is out there. Sometimes, when it feels like you’re holding the world on your shoulders, it’s important to look at your pets and realize that they require fairly little of you. They’re just happy you’re here and love you for who you are on the inside.
4. Show Gratitude for Your Educators
Educators aren’t just in schools — they can also appear at your local gym or yoga studio, at work, and even on YouTube. Educating is a hard job but incredibly important. Without education, we can’t grow as people.
Take a minute to thank all of the influential teachers throughout your life. Perhaps it’s someone who encouraged you to follow your dream career or someone who got you excited about a topic you had little interest in before. A good teacher can have such an incredible impact, and their support might very well be remembered throughout your entire lifetime.
5. Be Grateful for the Amount of Information at Your Fingertips
Finding out information was much harder back in the day. You had to go to a library, look up a reference book, and then write that information down on paper in order to commit it to memory. These days, the internet allows us to look up anything we want at any time.
For kids, research has never been easier. Sites like National Geographic and NASA Kids’ Club have a lot of educational resources from trusted sources. But they can also learn more about hobbies online. Are they interested in playing guitar? They could literally start today.
6. Be Happy That You Have Food on Your Plate
More than 38 million people in the United States go without the proper amount of food, with 12 million of those being children, according to Feeding America. If you don’t need to worry about where your next meal comes from, you should be grateful.
If you’re in a good position, it might even warm your heart to pay it forward. Consider volunteering your time at a local food bank, or consider making a special grocery trip the next time there’s a canned food donation in your area.
7. Cherish Good Health and Wellness
These past years have been a struggle, and many of us have lost people we loved. Sometimes, in the time of grief, you realize how important health and wellness really are.
And that includes mental wellness. Take time to meditate or enjoy a nice bath. Book travel. You deserve the time to rest your mind. Take advantage of your good health while you have it, and try not to make excuses to push off things you want to do.
8. Thank Your Senses
It sounds strange, but when was the last time you appreciated your eyesight? Or your ability to touch? When was the last time you took in an incredible smell that reminded you of an old, cherished memory? Our senses are incredible, and it’s important to acknowledge that.
Every day, our bodies impress us in new ways, but we often put energy on how they look over how they feel, and what they can do. It’s time to change that. Try to take in more with your senses and appreciate them for what they are.
9. Be Thankful for Deep and Meaningful Conversations
Whether it’s with friends or family, a good conversation can help steer your path in life. Be happy about the people who spend extra time with you, and recognize that it’s a gift. Having someone sit down and talk to you — whether it’s to chit-chat or to help mend a once-unsteady relationship — is special. They chose to spend that time with you, and probably for good reason.
Deep conversations help remind us that we’re all human. We’re on different paths and have different goals in life. But together, we’ll always find ways to connect with each other.
10. Be Appreciative of the Seasons
Even if you’re not an outdoorsy person, it’s incredible to think about what each season brings — and everything there is to look forward to regarding the season ahead.
Winter, spring, summer, and fall all have wonderful activities and holidays attached to them. When you’re in a season you appreciate, be thankful. And even when you’re not, be thankful of the fact that it’ll change sooner rather than later.
Being thankful for the seasons is also giving thanks to nature. Go outside on a spring day and see what you notice when you really look, from a small ant farm to a yard full of blooming flowers.