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Gratefulness and Happiness

November 17, 2022
Kudzai Mhondiwa

Gratefulness and Happiness and What They Mean for Walla Walla University Students

Kudzai Mhondiwa

As Thanksgiving edges closer and closer, students at Walla Walla University take a personal perspective on what gratefulness means in their lives.  

Hannah Wayne, a junior communications and marketing major, said gratefulness to her means “being around people that I love and appreciate.” [1]  

It is important to note that gratitude is more than just feeling but transcends itself deeper into being part of a community. Karen Young of heysigmund.com stated, “Gratitude helps us notice the good that comes from outside of ourselves. We see the good in the world and in the people around us, increasing our feelings of security and connectedness.” [2] 

The effects of gratitude are internalized for one who receives it; it takes its form in a few different ways through acts such as kind gestures, favors, and other forms of help.   

Tecumseh, a Shawnee chief and warrior during the resistance to U.S. expansion once said, “When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the morning light, for your life and strength. Give thanks for your food, and the joy of living.” [3] A simple yet enriching outlook on life that provides the opportunity to obtain happiness. 

Anna Nevis, a sophomore nursing major, stated that gratefulness in her life looks like “thanking people around me for doing kind acts for me and those around me.” [4] Nevis noted the shared sensation of gratitude outside of herself she receives by being a witness to those impacted by it. 

Assistant history professor Monique Roddy stated the ways in which she expresses gratefulness to others, saying, “I try to say encouraging things to people and to notice small things about them.” [5] Professor Roddy made an insightful remark on the finest details that range from person to person, taking a moment to pause and attune oneself to those differences in an uplifting manner is her way of expressing gratefulness.  

Being grateful allows happiness in, and for some, this happiness comes and goes even in the climate of Thanksgiving. Andrei Maiorov, a freshman engineering major, stated, “I don’t know — sometimes I feel like I’m doing great, but then I’ll look back and realize I wasn’t doing as well as I thought I was.” He later added, “[happiness] changes from hour to hour.” [6] Happiness and gratitude are interconnected, as happiness is an emotional response to gratitude, and the reality of life can dampen the fulfillment one looks for.  

Gratitude is a steady reminder to appreciate the people we surround ourselves with, the one-time moments, and most importantly, being thankful for the smallest things that the world has to offer.  

 

References 

  1. Interview with Hannah Wayne, 11/9/22.  
  2. Young, K. (2020, October 15). The science of gratitude - how it changes people, relationships (and brains!) and how to make it work for you. Hey Sigmund. https://www.heysigmund.com/the-science-of-gratitude/  
  3. Tecumseh > Quotes > Quotable Quote. (n.d.). Goodreads. https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/6811851-when-you-arise-in-the-morning-give-thanks-for-the  
  4. Interview with Anna Nevis, 11/9/22. 
  5. Interview with Professor Roddy, 11/9/22.  
  6. Interview with Andrei Maiorov, 11/9/22.  
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