According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, gratitude means:
‘The state of being grateful’.
During a time in our lives when it’s easy to focus on things we’ve lost since the pandemic began, what we really ought to be setting our sights on, are all the things we’ve gained.
There’s no doubt the past 12 months have been tough. Not to mention frustrating. Yep, here we are, halfway through 2021 and still bobbing in the wake of COVID-19. Lives have been lost, civil liberties have been curtailed and everyone’s mental health has been well and truly tested.
And so, searching out the positives and looking for the light has become a daily practice for many.
If you want to improve your health and wellbeing, then getting to grips with gratitude could be just what you need.
Wallowing in the millionth month of these ‘unprecedented times’ means we can look back and commiserate, but we can also appreciate:
Community spirit – remember clapping for the NHS? Hanging rainbows in your windows? Shopping for your elderly neighbours? It felt good, right? So, should we be thankful?
Changes in working habits – are you working from home? No longer wasting the day sitting in the car / on the train to get to an office? Saving money on the commute and spending more time with your family? Sure. And are we grateful?
Technology – is there a home in the UK that didn’t host a Zoom quiz during lockdown? WhatsApp downloads went crazy, we went mad making TikTok videos, hanging out on House Party, and signing up to Netflix and Disney Plus. And all from the comfort of our own homes. Where we were safe. Another reason to be thankful?
You get the picture.
And while we may still be feeling the pressure of the pandemic, practicing gratitude helps us to see the good things that surround us. And because it’s almost impossible to feel both grateful and sad, by focussing on the things you’re thankful for, you’ll automatically make yourself happy.
Try these 5 ways to make gratitude a daily practice.
Say it out loud
Start your day with gratitude. Before you get out of bed, list five things you’re grateful for. Then say them out loud. Do the same again when you get into bed at night. And if you can, get in touch with a friend and share your thoughts with that person too.
Write it down
Putting pen to paper is a powerful way of making your thoughts more tangible. Set aside five minutes before bed or in the morning to write down a few things you appreciate. Start small and try to be specific.
Take it outdoors
Practise yoga outside, spend your break in the park or simply take a wander in the garden. It’s incredible how clear your mind becomes when you’re out in the open with no distractions. Give gratitude for what you see around you.
Quit the comparison game
Stacking yourself up against other people is a serious no-no. Everyone is on their own journey. And this one is about you. You are your own person. Never forget that. And make a conscious choice to be appreciative of that person each day.
Make time for you
Some quality downtime spent alone – whether it be taking a bath, cooking a healthy meal, or binge-watching your favourite series – gives your body and mind the essential space it needs to heal, grow, and refocus.
See the bigger picture
Gratitude doesn’t need to be about the material things you have, but for people and experience. Pay attention to the small things to see the bigger picture. Did you hear your favourite song on the radio? Enjoy a cuddle from the cat? See some flowers in the park? Soak.It. Up.
Is it time you made gratitude a daily practice?