We are living in uncharted territory. We work from our homes now, if we are lucky to work at all. We stand six feet apart. We watch the news and hold our breaths as we see the day’s updated counts.
It’s not what we wanted. It’s not what we were prepared for. We planned weddings that are canceled. We planned trips that are postponed. We expected to keep living life the way that we are used to living life.
But everything is changed now. It’s interrupted. And even more frightening is the question that no one can seem to answer, “When will this all be over?”
There are a lot of emotions that we can reach for in a time like this. Fear can keep us alert and safe. It can also panic us. Anger can give us something to do, but it pulls us away from ourselves. Joy seems far away. Hope seems difficult.
However, there’s a gateway from the fear and anger to the joy and hope. That’s gratitude.
When I hear the term “gratitude practice,” I have a tendency to roll my eyes. It sounds like another self-care, woo-woo buzzword that will fade away with the next trend. But, it’s not.
We Need Gratitude to Go Beyond Our Circumstances
In the Better Marketing publication, Benjamin Hardy, PhD wrote a great piece called, “Gratitude: How To Change Negative Beliefs, Be Happy, And Become Successful.” He suggests that gratitude can transform our past, present, and future.
Hardy writes, “Focusing on the constraints only makes them larger in your mind. Focusing on what you can do about it, right now, is how you change those constraints. You can change your life, one day at a time.”
We are living under serious constraints right now. We cannot change these constraints. However, we can transform the way that we see them.
There are many people in dire situations right now. You may be one of them. Please do not think I am being flippant or insensitive when I say: even still, there is always something to be thankful for.
Be thankful for small things when you can’t find large things. Be thankful for waking up. Be thankful for breathing. Be thankful for a good night’s sleep. Be thankful for loved ones. Be thankful for food on your plate.
It’s not always easy, but practicing gratitude can bring perspective to your life and can help to elevate you into a hopeful state.
We Need Gratitude to Bring More Positive Emotions into Our Life
Gratitude is the gateway to a more positive attitude. In this article from Harvard Health Publishing, the author discusses a study where one group of participants writes about gratitude and one writes about their daily irritations. After ten weeks, the gratitude group cited feeling more optimistic and positive about their lives.
When I sit down to write my gratitude list, I don’t always feel grateful. I’m not always in the mood to be positive. I find myself wanting to write the list of daily complaints. But inevitably, once I start writing, I get into a flow with my gratitude practice. I feel better.
It’s easy for us to see the lack in our lives. It takes effort to stop and count the blessings. But when we do, we will experience the positive effects.
We Need Gratitude to Improve Our Physical Health
In my research, I came across several articles that cite the physical benefits of gratitude. Did you know that gratitude can actually help you sleep better? Jot down your gratitude list for fifteen minutes before bed, and your sleep quality will greatly improve.
In this article from Psychology Today, you’ll also find that people who practice gratitude are more active and experience less aches and pains. In our Covid-19 world, it’s easy to abandon our health practices, which increases our anxiety. Let gratitude lead you into healthier choices.
If I start my day with gratitude, then it brings me up to a healthier mindset. It may lead to better breakfast choices. It may lead to drinking more water. It’s a simple strategy to build momentum toward better habits.
We Need Gratitude to Remember There Is Still Good in the World
We are living in difficult, uncertain times. We are watching in wait as a terrible disease uproots the world that we know. We’re scared. We’re a little bored. We’re full of anxiety.
We need gratitude right now. We need it globally and we can start with ourselves. By tapping into what we are grateful for, we remind ourselves that there is still good. Even when the world is on fire — literally and figuratively — we can still find good in our lives.
No one knows what is going to happen. We can speculate. We can predict. But for now, we are sitting and waiting and praying for an end. What can we do? We can take care of ourselves. Gratitude is the first step. We can choose to see good here still, and we can remember that there is still so much to be grateful for.