As a nation and across the world, we have now experienced at least two months living in a pandemic. For everyone, this is a “first.” There is no blueprint or book on what choices to make and how to live through it. This simple fact can feel shocking to our minds and hearts. We might find our anxiety increasing because we are feeling indecisive about how to practice social distancing or if we agree on how the government is handling the pandemic. Point is, there is no guide in how to move forward, so we must reflect on what has helped with uncertain situations. As a team, we’ve seen that practicing gratitude could be just the answer.
We believe in the power of gratitude. Aesop was known for stating, “gratitude turns what we have into enough.” Choosing to focus on what we are grateful for, rather than what we are missing due to the pandemic, shifts our thought process to benefit us in a positive way. The art of practicing gratitude daily has been known to increase our mood, decrease depression, lower blood pressure, and feel more at peace.
Question is…how do we do this? The best part about practicing gratitude is that it is quite simple. Here are a few ways:
- Look at it daily, but don’t feel pressured to write it down daily: some people feel anxious if they feel obligated to journal what they are grateful for every day. It begins to feel like homework and loses its purpose. An idea is to use a dry erase marker and periodically write one word that you are grateful for on your bathroom mirror. As you think of new words, add them to the list. Over time you’ll see this list every day and be reminded of the gifts in your life. If you don’t want to use the bathroom mirror, find another place in your home that you are in frequently – maybe keeping a list on the inside of a kitchen cabinet door or on your bedside table.
- Find gratitude in challenges: when you find yourself frustrated because you’ve encountered something difficult, ask yourself, “what is this challenge teaching me?”. When we begin to practice viewing challenges as opportunities for new lessons, we can begin to be grateful for the negative feelings we may be experiencing.
- Create a collage: exercise your artistic side and get out scissors, pictures, magazines, paper, markers, etc. Create a collage of all the people, things, and places that you are grateful for. Keep this in a place that you can look at often.
- Write it down: whether writing a thank you note or keeping a gratitude journal, dedicate time to reflecting and writing what you are thankful for.
- Set an alarm on your phone: it can be a daily reminder to reflect on what you are grateful for in that moment. Devote just a minute or two to this.