Discovering Gratitude During the Pandemic
Yes, ‘gratitude’ and ‘pandemic’ can and should mix. For some, trying to be grateful when things are tough can feel like leaning into a punch. For others, the hard times make it easier to show gratitude. In an epiphany, you may realize all you have to be thankful for despite the global outbreak of COVID-19.
Most of us often feel stuck in a tug-of-war between terror and gratitude. That may be especially true with the pandemic upon us.
If we are honest, for a lot of us, it’s been tough lately. Troubles can loom large, even if they’re mostly the nationwide and global ones in the news. Most of us can add our individual difficulties to those collective human struggles too, such as, loss of income, being furloughed, social isolation, living with an abuser, and so many more.
How do we break through the anxiety, worry, stress and possible panic?
One major weapon against such uncertain times is learning to show gratitude. It may seem insignificant to bring up thankfulness right now, but it’s a powerful and energizing force we shouldn’t ignore.
Your Gratitude Can Grow
Before going further, we should recognize that increasing our gratitude is a learning process. The best way to initially grow it is by being intentional and systematic. After a while, you’ll be able to make it more of a habit.
In his “Psychology Today” article Gratitude in a Time of Pandemic, Zachary Alti, LCSW shares about how gratitude can triumph over tough times:
“Crisis brings out the best in people. Crisis reminds us why it is important to celebrate every day and share our love with family, neighbors, and friends. Crisis reminds us of how lucky we are and how important it is to take care of ourselves, our communities, and our planet.”
If we buy into the myth that “gratitude can only be exercised by others,” we’ll take our empowerment away. Gratitude is something you can do. It’s a muscle you strengthen by exercising it. What follows are a few benefits you can expect during the pandemic by practicing gratitude.
Gratitude Takes Your Mind Off the Problem
Gratitude can take your mind off the struggles you’re going through. It shifts your focus from the endlessly alarming news and helps you find peace.
Instead of feeling like life is one never-ending dark cloud, you can recognize the light breaking through. It was there all along. Now you can finally see what you couldn’t before simply by shifting your viewpoint.
Sure, you have to recognize roadblocks or problems for what they are. Otherwise, how else could you come up with solutions? But focusing solely on the roadblock can, ironically, make it even worse. You’ll may begin to feel paralyzed, depressed, anxious, or trigger past traumas.
After you’ve assessed the problem, look for the good. Find that balanced perspective and you’ll find the energy to persist through the problem instead of letting it ‘lock you up’.
Gratitude Gets You Thinking About Who to Be Thankful To
The art of being grateful doesn’t happen in a vacuum. When someone expresses their gratitude to you for something, it can be a huge encouragement.
In the same way, finding the source of your gratitude may lead you to thank your partner, child, parent, teacher or a front-line medical or food worker.
For many, the pandemic has also helped them to connect with a higher power. They can express their gratitude to this divine being even though their life may feel out of control.
Gratitude May Minimizes Your Stress Response
We all regularly experience physical and mental stressors. And many of us had our stress levels become so great that they broke us down.
While some of this is the unavoidable effect of the human experience, not all of it is. Some of our suffering stems directly from a lack of gratitude.
When we focus solely on our problems, our stress levels can quickly rise to the danger zone. We inaccurately communicate to our mental and physical capacities that ‘nothing is going well’.
Sadly, this is an inaccurate portrayal of life. Regardless of where we find ourselves, there’s a mixture of good and bad. There are always positive things to be thankful for.
And once we get really good at gratitude, we start to notice the good in circumstances that, in and of themselves, are anything but good.
A Counselor Can Help You on Your Gratitude Journey
Gratitude isn’t something you’re born with—it’s a lifelong journey of growth. And no matter how much you journey, there’s always room for improvement.
It’s also a journey that’s not meant to be walked alone. Trusted friends and family members can help you on this journey.
A counselor can also assist you in discovering breakthroughs in your gratitude journey. If you’ve struggled with having a healthful perspective during the pandemic, you aren’t alone. You also don’t have to journey alone.
The Center for Neurocognitive Excellence is here for you in your struggle. We can help you find evidence-based solutions to perplexing problems you’re facing. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help, feel free to get in touch. You can also schedule an appointment with us.