Lynn Berger: How We Can Leverage The Power Of Gratitude To Improve Our Overall Mental Wellness
Positive feelings are contagious so it is key to share your sense of gratitude with others. For example this has been a difficult year for most of us but if you can share what you are grateful for, even in trying times, it can possibly ease the burden for others.
As we all know, times are tough right now. In addition to the acute medical crisis caused by the Pandemic, in our post COVID world, we are also experiencing what some have called a “mental health pandemic”.
What can each of us do to get out of this “Pandemic Induced Mental and Emotional Funk”?
One tool that each of us has access to is the simple power of daily gratitude. As a part of our series about the “How Each Of Us Can Leverage The Power Of Gratitude To Improve Our Overall Mental Wellness ” I had the pleasure of interviewing Lynn Berger.
Lynn Berger is a Career Counselor and Coach specializing in helping people make the most of their lives and feel fulfilled. In her position she counsels people how to effectively transition to jobs and/or careers, balance their roles and responsibilities and understand the choices before them. Lynn works with individuals to assist them in making the most of their lives and gain the satisfaction they deserve.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive into our discussion, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about you and about what brought you to your specific career path?
Like many things in life my career progression was a process that evolved based upon my interests and experiences. After college I worked in business and then came to realize that I wanted to work more directly with people and their relationship with work. I received a Masters degree in Organizational Psychology and worked in Human Resources and Consulting and found that more satisfying; yet, I then realized I wanted to work one on one with individuals and received a Masters degree in Psychological Counseling.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
I started my career as a Career Counselor and worked many years exclusively as a Career Counselor and then the field of Coaching became more popular and a client mentioned to me you are a “natural coach”. I thought about it and realized I would like to get professional training to become a coach. I currently practice as a Career Counselor and Coach.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why do you think that resonates with you? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
To Thine Own Self Be True. I believe that is why I made the decision to become a Career Counselor and guide people to work in roles that are compatible with their interests, motivated skills, values and personality style rather than work in fields they “should” do based upon societal and/or family pressures.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story about why that resonated with you?
One of the most influential books I read early in my career was “Learned Optimism” by Harold Seligman. In the book he demonstrates how optimism enhances the quality of life and how anyone can learn to practice it.
He also differentiates between hope and optimism. A sense of hope is essential to ones well being.
Hope is my favorite world . Hope is a feeling of expectation and desire for something to happen. Maintaining a hopeful attitude is crucial to our lives- especially in times of stress, change and turbulence. It is my daughters middle name.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
I am hosting a show on public access TV titled “Lynn Berger Interviews Remarkable People.” The show is inspirational since it highlights individuals that created extraordinary careers based upon their their motivations and desires.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I continuously look for individuals in my field that inspire me. Along the way I have tried to reach out and get to know them and in a few cases have had the opportunity to become friends and work with them.
Ok, thank you for all that. Now that we are on the topic of gratitude, let’s move to the main focus of our interview. As you know, the collective mental health of our country is facing extreme pressure. We would like to explore together how every one of us can use gratitude to improve our mental wellness. Let’s start with a basic definition of terms. How do you define the concept of Gratitude? Can you explain what you mean?
Gratitude is being grateful for the people in our lives, our daily activities and anything that can elicit us joy. There are days and times in our lives when this can be challenging; however, we need to start each day by trying to find something to be grateful for. Our beliefs and attitudes impact our perspective. We need to focus on what we can control. Strength builds upon strength.
Why do you think so many people do not feel gratitude? How would you articulate why a simple emotion can be so elusive? As I mentioned previously there are times in our lives that are difficult and it can be hard to muster up the energy to feel gratitude; however, if you can find something , even a small thing, to be grateful for it can create the opportunity for contentment.
This might be intuitive to you but I think it will be constructive to help spell it out. Can you share with us a few ways that increased gratitude can benefit and enhance our life?
Increased gratitude can increase our life in many ways. Physically, it can enhance our health by staying strong and hopeful. Socially, it can help by having a positive attitude and sharing it with others. Mentally, it can help by making us feel happier inside.
Let’s talk about mental wellness in particular. Can you share with us a few examples of how gratitude can help improve mental wellness? Our outlook and general attitude can help our state of mental wellness. I am a firm believer that strength builds upon strength. A sense of gratitude can be our foundation and once we have a firm foundation wonderful things can happen.
Ok wonderful. Now here is the main question of our discussion. From your experience or research, what are “Five Ways That Each Of Us Can Leverage The Power Of Gratitude To Improve Our Overall Mental Wellness”. Can you please share a story or example for each?
- Positive feelings are contagious so it is key to share your sense of gratitude with others. For example this has been a difficult year for most of us but if you can share what you are grateful for, even in trying times, it can possibly ease the burden for others.
- You can express gratitude to others in your life by appreciating them and saying “thank you”. Think through thought patterns and commit to positive talk. Focus on the positive ways they contribute to your life.
- Give everyone the attention they deserve. It is very easy in our harried lives not to stop and pay attention to others. Volunteer your time and attention to those who need it.
- Share positive stories, books, podcasts with others to leverage your positive experiences. This can create continuous positive dialogue.
- Smile- A smile is contagious and can leverage positive feelings and gratitude. It may bring a sense of lightness to others and ease the burden they are feeling.
Is there a particular practice that can be used during a time when one is feeling really down, really vulnerable, or really sensitive?
Sometimes when one is feeling down, vulnerable and sensitive the best thing is to do nothing and spend a little time with yourself to collect your thoughts. Then try an activity that is a source of energy or inspiration. For some it might be taking a walk in nature , meditating, calling a friend, making a cake, drawing a picture or playing an instrument, Have a “tool box” of activities ready when you need them.
Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources that you would recommend to our readers to help them to live with gratitude?
I recommend meditation ( Headspace) or an improvised meditation or breathing exercise. Also keeping a journal and/ or writing down what you are grateful for can be helpful for many people.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
As an avid newspaper reader (in-print and on-line) there is an abundance of “negative” news stories. I would like to hear more in our daily news stories about positive and inspirational ways people are making the world a better place. Perhaps we can think about this in a more intentional way and create room for this. I believe it would be easier to leverage feelings of gratitude, as to what we can control, and commit to positive change.
What is the best way our readers can further follow your work online?
Thank you for the time you spent sharing these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!