Research has shown that gratitude is a powerful force. Dr. Robert Emmons of the University of California at Davis found that people who practice gratitude are 25% happier. They are more optimistic about the future and feel better about their lives. And never has practicing gratitude been more important than during this pandemic.
Whenever fear and anxiety take over, I try to bring myself back to the present moment first: in this moment, I’m okay. I’m safe. And then, I try to find things I’m grateful for. Gratitude shifts your energy from one of lack and fear to a much brighter place.
If you’ve had a hard time finding things to be grateful for as you struggle with isolation, financial worries, and uncertainty, you’re not alone. Nevertheless, try to practice gratitude as much as you can, especially now. Trust me, you will find something to be grateful for, no matter how small, no matter how bleak things seem.
Here are a few suggestions:
Health care heroes
Be grateful for health care workers of all kinds, from doctors to nurses to veterinarians to hospital janitors, who care for those who’ve been infected by this horrible virus, at great risk to their own and their families’ safety.
Grocery store workers and delivery people
These people work for low pay and at great personal risk so we can continue to receive the goods we need to keep us fed and happy. Be kind if your order doesn’t always turn out quite the way you’d hoped, or doesn’t always arrive on time. They’re all working incredibly hard and doing the best they can. Tip as generously as you can.
Find something small that makes you happy
Maybe it’s your cat stretching out in a sun puddle. Maybe it’s the fact that you were able to find toilet paper at the grocery store. Maybe it’s a Zoom get together with friends.
There are so many free concerts available on Facebook or YouTube. Look up your favorite artist, and chances are, he or she is doing something from home to keep you entertained.
You get the idea.
I’ve had a gratitude practice for many years. At the end of each day, I write down at least five things I’m grateful for that day. A current list may look like this:
- Keeping in touch with friends via email, phone calls, text and video calls
- That I can ride this out in my safe, comfortable home
- Amazon! I don’t know how I would survive this without Prime deliveries, Kindle books, and still being able to get all my favorite things.
- Grocery deliveries. I frequently had my groceries delivered even before the pandemic because I dislike grocery shopping. I haven’t had to go to a store since all of this started, and I’m beyond grateful to the shoppers and deliver people who bring me my food.
- A surprise gift from a friend in the mail
- A beautiful spring. I can’t tell you how frequently I’m grateful that if this has to happen, it didn’t happen during the holidays or the darkest days of winter.
Are you practicing gratitude to help you cope? What are you grateful for?