How to get more from what you already have…

“If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough.”

Oprah Winfrey

We often long for more than what we currently have, or would like what someone else has. And by no means am I saying this as a negative trait. I salute the ‘go-getters’ who wake up motivated, positive to make a change and chase their goals and dreams. I take my hats off to them; such people inspire me. We are also those people now and its why we do what we do and encourage others to do but whilst on our own study journey we were there too.

However, at the same time, it is extremely important that we also reflect on and value the things that we do alrady have in life. Showing gratitude is one of the best things to do to start seeing positive change. It does not matter where you are in life; there will always be something that you can be grateful for. And this is the key to getting more from what you already have…

Taken from gratitude is said to have many mental health benefits. It removes or reduces a multitude of negative emotions from envy (more on this emotion in a second) and resentment to frustration and regret. Robert Emmons, a leading gratitude researcher, has conducted multiple studies on the link between gratitude and well-being. His research confirms that gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression.

Now quickly back on the point of envy. Envy can actually be good for you, but only if you harness it in the correct way. As soon as envy steps over the line into jealously then your f&%ked. So why should you embrace envy then? It is because envy can speak to us in subtle ways from our subconscious. It’s usually envy that is giving us a little hint as to where we would like to go! When you feel envious of something, someone or a certain situation, ask yourself…”Am I feeling envy because that is what I want. And if so what can I focus on more to get me there in the future”. Use envy as your future guiding light…but never let it develop into unconstructive jealously.

So…back to the power of gratitude…Research has also shown gratitude not only reduces stress, but it may also play a major role in overcoming past traumatic events. Now when we say a traumatic event this can be absolutely anything. As a student any of the following could fall into this category…

  • Failing an exam (I’ve been there)
  • A negative comment from a lecturer that never seems to go away (I’ve also been there)
  • Being embarrassed at a university social event (Yeppp been here too!)
  • Absolutely choking on a presentation (You guessed it…)
  • A 2006 study published in Behaviour Research and Therapy found that Vietnam War veterans with higher levels of gratitude experienced lower rates of post-traumatic stress disorder. 

    Other studies have shown that gratitude reduces social comparisons which is a trait which we have all been guilty of at some stage and can be extremely detrimental to your study journey. Rather than becoming resentful toward people who have more money or better jobs (which contributes to reduced self-esteem) grateful people are said to be able to appreciate other people’s accomplishments.

    Put simply gratitude allows you to recognise the good in your life. By learning to stop and have moments of appreciation for what we do have, it can most definitely help to foster more positive wellbeing for your future studies. Imagine waking up each day and rather thinking of…

    • I have to go to university today…what a pain in the a%&e that is.
    • This is too hard, it’s such a waste of time.
    • University is so expensive, what do I actually pay for!?

    You re-frame it and think of this…

    • I get to go to university today. That puts me in such a small percentage of people who get such a great opportunity.
    • This is a great opportunity to learn. I am grateful for the future change it will make in my life.
    • I am grateful that I can afford university. I should take the opportunity to seek out what it has to offer me.

    Some of it sounds extremely “fluffy” however there is a way to reframe everything like this. For me as a long term user of gratitude, there is not much I am not grateful for now. Occasionally I will think about how much I hate my day job because it is stopping me from going full time supporting students through Semester…however, in reality I am extremely grateful for the opportunity that it presents to me…because without it all of this wouldn’t be possible at the moment.

    So lets go into how you can use gratitude to get more from your future studies…without actually adding anything. You could make gratitude practice part of your daily routine. Perhaps make it part of your morning routine to set you up for the day or include it as part of your evening routine as you reflect on your day. Usually it is best to pair a gratitude habit with something that you already do. Something like when your brushing you teeth, think of five things that you are grateful for that day. If you don’t brush your teeth daily then this one wouldn’t work for you…however, I don’t think your teeth will really work for you either if you aren’t brushing your teeth daily!…but who am I to say, I’m an engineer not a dentist.

    Another great practice that you can undertake is to send a message to someone you are grateful for. Let them know what they did, why you are grateful, how they effected your life. It could be a loved one or a friend. It will make their day.

    “Learn to be thankful for what you already have while you pursue all you want”

    Jim Rohn

    If you found this article helpful, please let us know in the comments. Share this with your friends. Our aim at Semester is to create a community of students with wellbeing and personal growth as their foundational principals. From our experience as students we know that with these foundational principals you will be able to thrive and succeed to your fullest potential.


    student planner

    Share this post

    Leave a Comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Related Post