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The Trinity Voice

The student news site of Trinity Preparatory School

The Trinity Voice

The student news site of Trinity Preparatory School

The Trinity Voice

Thank You Goes a Long Way

How gratitude can lead to growth and success
Andrew Ed

   Students bustle around with tests to make up, projects to get done, essays to write, and practices to go to, not to mention the increasing pile of homework neglected at home. Amidst the chaos, people often overlook the positive and forget about appreciating the small things. Forgetting that gratitude plays a part in a person’s well-being and their success as well.

   “The little bit of that momentary sense of calmness helps push the reset button a little bit like ‘okay’, this is a crazy time or a bad day and you take that minute and realized that there are some really good things going on, even when everything’s not really good,’” health and wellness teacher Amanda Dean said. 

  By having gratitude, meaning, reflecting, and acknowledging the good things in life can lead to a trickle-down effect which creates a mindset that leads to growth and improvement. 

   “Most people don’t, by default, think about things are grateful for people tend to focus on the negative,” UCF psychology professor Jeffrey Bedwell said. “We know that if people intentionally choose to think about gratefulness it improves their mood and wellbeing overall.” 

   Gratitude is to be practiced as it is not human nature to always be grateful or look at the positive. According to the National Science Foundation, 80% of thoughts are negative. Oftentimes things like entitlement and expectations get in the way of gratitude. 

   “I think where people are, ‘I worked hard for this, it should be mine,’” Dean said. “That’s kind of a detriment to gratitude. ‘Because of my hard work, and because of whatever my natural gifts or talents might be, I was able to achieve is a very different thing than I deserve.’”

   But when people are able to shift their mindset, gratitude can not just changes a person’s well-being and mood but can also shift the outlook on life and how a person approaches and reacts to different situations. 

   “You come at everything with an appreciation for what you have, rather than an expectation of what you should have, and I think that a big part of what gratitude is just appreciating it rather than expecting it,” Dean said. 

   Instead of taking everything for granted, having gratitude encourages people to appreciate the opportunities given and become more optimistic. Based on a study conducted by Madelon L. Peters, Yvo M. C. Meevissen, and Marjolein M. Hanssen, an intervention of gratitude with exercise established a stronger positive outlook in life. These traits change how a person reacts and approaches a task. 

   “You can take that little bit of, ‘Here’s this thing that needs to be done, and I can view it as a burden, or I can view it as an opportunity’, and when we can view things as opportunities… The little bit of a mind shift can really help to settle us,” Dean said. 

   With the mind shift of gratitude, people are able to change their perspective to finding opportunities within sometimes difficult situations. 

   “A lot of times we get upset or in a funk, mentally we kind of take a breath and remember, ‘yeah, maybe I have this big arduous task to do, but I have it because of all these opportunities that I’ve been afforded, and it’s going to lead hopefully, to these good things,’” Dean said. 

   The optimistic approach to life can result in the development of many important qualities for success. 

   “If you can always get yourself to a point where you’re coming at a challenge as I’m going keep trying, I’m going keep working, it’s gonna be worth it, then that helps us to develop perseverance that helps us to develop resilience that helps confidence,” Dean said. 

   Gratitude can also affect a  person’s mood in general by reinforcing positive emotions through focusing on the good aspects of life. According to, a scientific research website, by exercising gratitude, it has been found that long-term happiness can be enhanced by more than 10%.

   “[gratitude] enhances people’s mood, because it gets them to focus on things that are going well, instead of always worrying or being anxious about things that might go wrong in the future or being stressed about current things that are problematic. [It] sort of helps balance people out to see all the good things and pay attention” Bedwell said. 

   Gratitude increases attention as stress and anxiety oftentimes take up a lot of a person’s attention. As gratitude negates those emotions, it leads to more room for people to focus their attention on the task at hand, which will also benefit them with better performances. 

   “[Gratitude] lowers those,” Bedwell said. “With more attention [you are] going to improve anything you do that takes thinking or even motor skills like athletics… [and] relates to better success academically, occupationally, and socially.”

   Athletes, who use a positive mindset, are able to focus on how to better themselves in their various sports. 

   “When I’m in a better mood, it helps me to focus more, because I’m not distracted by being angry, being sad, or whatever,” Polsinelli said. “That generally helps my athletic performance.” 

   Gratitude can also improve interpersonal relationships. According to Utah State University, expressing gratitude releases oxytocin, also known as “love hormones” which can lead to a greater connection between two people.

   “Being grateful and recognizing other people in your life of any sort, your friends, your family, people that you work with, people that are doing things for you,” Polsinelli said. “ It really helps to build a stronger and more beneficial, connection with them.” 

   On the receiving end of gratitude generally makes people feel acknowledged and inspires them to do more. 

   “​​You feel appreciated, you want to work harder, you feel appreciated, you want to continue to do better, the contributions that you’ve given me is something I think that’s super important,” Dean said. 

   Although it is easy to say to be more grateful, achieving a mindset of positivity is hard. 

   “I don’t think for a lot of people, our mental health or our mindset is quite as easily controlled as we’d like it to be,” Dean said. “ It’s so easy to tell somebody, ‘oh, look on the bright side, or just be happy’… break[ing] through that fog or that that level of whatever it is, emotionally is holding them down can help… but I don’t think it’s as easy as that all the time.” 

   However, there are many ways to be more grateful, such as journaling about good things, sharing gratitude with loved ones, or just looking around and simply appreciating the small but significant things that make life worth living. `

    “Sometimes when I’m outside… I find myself even just walking across campus a couple times, where it’s been a beautiful kind of cooler morning with no humidity and pausing for a second and taking a deep breath and being like, It’s a gorgeous day, we’re really lucky to experience this,” Dean said. 

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About the Contributor
Fay Zhao, Focus Editor
Fay Zhao is a sophomore entering her second year on staff as Focus editor. When she is not laughing at Laziza, she is riding her horse, Louie, getting ready for softball season, and enjoying a delicious mango. Contact her at [email protected].

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