Gratitude Changes Everything

Reasons to be thankful this 2020 year.

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The beauty of Erie’s own Thomas Reservoir

Madison Hays and Hannah Goldman

As the leaves are falling, the Christmas music is playing, and the holiday season approaches, this time of the year offers great opportunities to reflect. While 2020 may seem like a chaotic year without a light at the end of the tunnel, there are still things to be grateful for.

This year has been full of wildfires, social distancing, and strong political differences creating a year like none other for the current generations to face. With all the adversity at hand, it seems rather difficult to not focus on the things being missed out on, previous plans not working, and the things we are not doing. This makes this year more important than ever to express gratitude.

Gratitude is the thankfulness of an individual in regards to what they receive within their personal life, whether tangible or not. This has a direct correlation to emotions, as it demonstrates an outlook on a positive mindset as well as positive thinking. By shifting these thoughts to become positive, there can be a reduction in stress and the ability to begin feeling overall happiness. There are always ways to practice this positive mindset and find things to be thankful for, even in the midst of the hardest times faced as an individual.

Things to be thankful for this 2020 year:

Due to everyone staying inside, the Earth has had a chance to heal. While people around the world were being selfless by staying inside to protect others, the amount of pollution and emissions released into the atmosphere significantly decreased. About a month after quarantine began in the United States, the Northern Hemisphere ozone hole closed. This hole closing means that it can now protect our planet from dangerous ultraviolet radiation. Not only will this reduce climate change, but it shows that if everyone comes together, we can help heal the Earth.

While everyone was staying at home, people got the opportunity to go outside and get some fresh air. Many families began to bond during their daily walks and people began to virtually work outside as the weather heated up. Something to be grateful for is the opportunity to get some vitamin C while being productive at the same time. Being outside reminded those in quarantine what life was like pre-pandemic.

Today, society is surrounded by electronics that connect one another together from a distance. From group texts with friends and families to FaceTime, social media, and zoom calls, technology allows us, with a click of a button, the ability to message or talk to an acquaintance no matter the location. With everything happening, technology also allows us to have a bit of normality through the ability to continue education or work even if there is no physical presence within the building.

Even though COVID-19 was unexpected and frightening, it gave everyone around the world opportunities to go through the same experience. Communities came together and celebrated essential workers and the risk they put themselves through to help others. Every night at eight, the community in Colorado would howl to celebrate these workers and all they had done to help those who were fortunate enough to work from home.

Depending on the everyday life you live, there are things to be thankful for, even if it is something small or something generally taken for granted. Expressing gratitude is as easy as saying thank you to the thing or person you are thankful for or even writing it down in a journal or paper. Take time to reflect, even in the mists of this crazy time, what things, in particular, are you appreciating right now?