Cultivating Gratitude

By: Shekeitha L. Jeffries, Assistant Director of Student Life

Gratitude is having a deep appreciation for the people and things in our lives. It allows us to intentionally focus on the positive aspects of our lives, even in the midst of challenging circumstances.  When was the last time you paused to celebrate your recent accomplishments? When was the last time you reflected upon the relationships you have with your family, friends and colleagues?  When was the last time you stepped away from your computer and cell phone to appreciate nature’s beauty?

As a student at JHSPH, you may have a busy schedule with a demanding class load, infused with other pertinent school and personal matters such as a teaching assistant position, an internship, and/or family commitments. However, it is important to find time to express gratitude, by appreciating the people and things in your life. Research suggests that those who experience gratitude, encounter more happiness and love. Additionally, those who practice gratitude, can reduce their lifetime risk for depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. 

To help cultivate an environment filled with gratitude, consider these three tips:

  • Create a gratitude journal. Grab a notebook or download the Penzu app and begin keeping a log of things you are grateful for each day.
  • Listen to a podcast. Download the JHU calm app for free and check out Tamara Levitt’s Masterclass on Gratitude.
  • Mediate. Take 10-15 minutes before you start your day to mediate. Mindfulness mediation helps you to focus on the present as well as gratefulness.

For additional tips to help you on your gratitude journey, click here.  

Stay Calm Under Pressure

By Jessica Harrington, Director of Student Life

To experience peace does not mean that your life is always blissful. It means that you are capable of tapping into a blissful state of mind amidst the normal chaos of a hectic life.  

Jill Bolte Taylor

Whether preparing for finals, oral exams, comps, finishing your thesis/dissertation, or just experiencing the tests of life, this week we offer a brief reminder to remain calm. Tests and deadlines often create a sense of internal questioning and panic. If this is true for you (you’re not alone), and calm is one option for responding to the panic (not always easy!).  Here are some suggestions to encourage a sense of calmness today:

  1. Take a listen to this 10 minute meditation specifically for exam preparation/success. I found the narrator’s voice quite soothing. Also here’s a link to study music (also something I’ve found useful while needing to focus).
  2. Here are 31 Five-Second Reminders that Will Make Calmness Your Superpower . The first tip alone is an inspiring reminder: “Calmness begins the moment you take a deep breath and choose not to allow another person or event to control your thoughts.”
  3. Try the Premium Calm App (for JHU) for free. Available to all JHU students, faculty, and staff, the app includes meditation and breathing exercises, sleep stories, and relaxing nature sounds. There is also content specifically designed for college students. Unlock your Calm subscription