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Health & Well-Being

How is Life Tree(ting) You?: Give Thanks for a Better Mindset

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Have you ever told yourself “I am not doing enough.” “I feel incapable.” “I am not going to get through this.”? In moments of adversity, it can be easy to fall into a negative mindset. What if there was a way to change this?  Using the practice of gratitude – the expression of a deep appreciation for something or someone – you can shift to a more positive mindset, better adapt to change, cope with difficulties, and improve your mental and physical well-being. Learn how you can begin experiencing the benefits of gratitude.

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The Benefits of Practicing Gratitude

Practicing gratitude requires us to pause and shift our energy away from negative emotions. This allows us to reflect on the good things that we may have overlooked, especially during challenging times. This shift in mindset results in the release of dopamine and serotonin, which are associated with happiness and pleasure. Over time, this can help to reduce stress, improve mood, foster optimism, and improve overall mental health. It can also help to build resilience to better handle difficult situations as they arise.

Aside from these benefits, gratitude can also have a positive impact on one's physical well-being, as it creates appreciation and care for your body. This can result in healthier habits like regular exercise, balanced eating, and better sleep.

How to Cultivate Gratitude

  1. Practice once a day: Write down things you're grateful for, either big or small, in a journal, your phone notes, on sticky notes, or say it out loud to yourself. A benefit of writing it down is that you can reflect back on your blessings. Consider these prompts to get started:
    • Write 3 good things that happened today
    • Write 3 of your qualities you are grateful for
    • Write 3 things you love about being at Stanford
  2. Incorporate gratitude into your daily routine: Doing so can help you get in the habit. This could be in the morning, before meals, before bedtime, or while walking between classes. 
  3. Express your gratitude for others: Share verbal thank-yous, notes, or small acts of kindness to others. This can help foster feelings of connectedness and strengthen your relationships.
  4. Shift your perspective: When facing challenges, try to find a silver lining or a lesson in the experience. This reframing can help you maintain a positive outlook.

Over time, this simple yet transformative practice can have a lasting positive impact on your life, helping you flourish and navigate challenges with resilience and a positive mindset.

Written by: Edward Tran, Class of 2023

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Stanford Resources

  • Well-Being Coaching: A Well-Being coach can help you cultivate the internal and external resources to live a healthy, vibrant life, manage stress, shift your beliefs and behaviors, build resilience, and form meaningful connections with others. Book a session today.
  • Meeting the Moment Office for Religious and Spiritual: A program to equip students with the meaning-making tools and practices that will allow them to meet the inevitably difficult moments with self-sovereignty and presence, and to fully inhabit the vibrantly joyful moments too. 

Additional Resources