You’ve had an incredible, stressful and transformative ride so far as a college applicant. You may not realize the scope or impact of what you’ve done to prepare for and complete your college applications yet, but you’ll soon realize the outcomes of your hard work.
Based on my article I wrote for Jewel’s website (I’m dating myself, do you know who Jewel is? She was a big deal when I was in high school.).
My life hasn’t always been easy and it’s not always easy now. But I have many things to be grateful for and you do too.
We must remember to be grateful when we’re feeling stressed, low, and out of control – frequent emotions that overwhelm us as we wait for college decisions. (I got pneumonia while in the middle of my college application process, so I certainly know the feeling!)
Studies show that expressing gratitude helps you feel better and less overwhelmed. Some of these exercises might help (and some come from the best universities in the US)!
Exercise 1 – Gratitude Letter (Adapted from the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley).
Call to mind someone who did something for you professionally for which you are exceptionally grateful. It may be most helpful to select a person or act that you haven’t thought about for a while—something that isn’t always on your mind. Now, write an email to one of these people, guided by the following steps.
Write approximately 300 words to this person (e.g. “Dear ______”). For this first draft, don’t worry about spelling and grammar.
In the email, articulate what this person did, why you are grateful to this person, and how this person’s behavior affected your life. Try to be as concrete as possible.
Finish the letter by describing what you are doing in your life now and how or how you often remember his or her efforts. Do not forget to check spelling and grammar before sending.
Exercise 2 – Keep a Gratitude Journal
Research suggests that expressing gratitude in writing once a week is sufficient to get its health benefits. When you go to your journal, write down one thing that happened today that you’re grateful for. For example, “this morning, when I woke up, my puppy greeted me with a big hug and a kiss, and I felt loved.” This journal entry only needs to take 1-5 minutes. If you don’t think you’ll have time to write every day, make sure to express your gratitude on the days that are especially tough.
Exercise 3 – Pause and Take a Relaxing Sigh
Your day is tough. I get it. You have less than a minute in your day. When you find yourself particularly overwhelmed, step away from your desk (or just close your eyes for 30 seconds). Take a deep breath in, and let it out through your mouth. Repeat a short mantra to yourself as you’re breathing in and out, e.g. “I wish good health, peace, and happiness for myself.” You can also substitute an alternate phrase that moves you.
Hope this helps!
Until next time…