Gratitude – What Is Your Daily Recommended Dose?
It gets tough to count our blessings during such a stressful time. There are so many dire downsides, and irritating daily annoyances, to COVID19. People are losing their lives, and losing their livelihoods. The line at Costco is far-reaching; your long awaited surgery is cancelled.
But despite many drawbacks, blessings exist.
Countries are coming together to fight COVID19. Greenhouse gas emissions have no doubt diminished. Companies are rewarding frontline workers. Communities are rallying around the vulnerable.
In highlighting our blessings, I don't mean to diminish the importance of peoples’ suffering, or devalue the very real drawbacks of this pandemic.
I want to instead help you with minimizing your stress burden. I want to help you to build and maintain your resilience for this emotional marathon. I want you to keep your brain as balanced as possible, as anxious minds are limited not only in enjoyment, but also in their abilities for problem solving, sleep, and creativity. Anxiety also limits our abilities for compassion and connection – with ourselves, and with others.
Research shows that focusing on perceived negative thoughts decreases our mood, and increases our tendency to have further negative thoughts. We start to look at the world with a negative filter. Then, we have more negative thoughts, and a further decreased mood; an uncomfortable cycle. To break this cycle, we can instead focus on the positives that already exist. We can intentionally focus on having gratitude - for small and big things. Some days it'll be hard to muster any gratitude, and you may only say, in a half-spirited way "well thankfully I have eyes to read this, I guess". Great start!
I'll ask that you take a moment to reflect on what you are grateful for. You might have to stretch for it. Use your head, or your phone's notepad, or use a nearby scrap of paper.
What can you be grateful for?
· Your health?
· Family time?
· The weather, finally?
· Perhaps you are grateful for having access to a phone, a computer, or a window to look through?
Maybe you have coronavirus related gratitude…
· Do you appreciate the improved traffic?
· Are you saving on gas, and on restaurant bills?
· Do you have more relaxation time, and a less harried schedule?
· Do you see loved ones more frequently? Or that irksome colleague less often?
We are all a bit parched for positivity. How sapped are you?
Have a huge drink of gratitude - consider filling a page of a notebook – or take sips of it throughout the day. Maybe you need a scheduled daily dose – first thing every morning, or as you brush your teeth at night. But please get your own, personalized, recommended daily intake.
Good luck in fighting the negativity cycle. And thank you for your read.
Dr Stephanie Hyder
Here is a link to learn more about the basics of gratitude:
Check out this video on gratitude: