Gratitude. It’s probably a word that’s been hard to come by over the past few weeks amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Between the national lockdown, washing our hands, finding ways to stay active and sleeping, we’ve often forgot to be grateful for the things we do have.
And while it’s easy to feel thankful for the good things in your life – the people who love you, a spontaneous hug from your child, a delicious meal – it’s not so easy to feel gratitude when life is challenging.
So, here are three tips to help you feel gratitude in those moments when it’s easier said than done.
Change “have” to “get”
On those mornings when you’re struggling to get out of the blues and what goes through your mind is, “I have to get up for work” or “I have to make breakfast for my kids” or “I have to go to work out”, start changing that one little word and see what happens. You get to go to work. You get to make the kids’ lunchboxes. You get to go to exercise.
Changing this one word will give you a new perspective on things you usually see as chores or duties. Yes, our lives are full of things we have to do. But hopefully you’ll start seeing them as things you’re lucky to be able to do.
Think of challenges as what you asked for
This one is a bit more difficult to do and will take some practise. Think of something that’s happened in your life that really threw you for a loop. Maybe your partner had an affair. Maybe you were passed over for a promotion at work. Maybe you were retrenched. Maybe you lost money in a bad investment.
What’s the point of finding gratitude in any of these situations, you might ask. The point is it can help you deal with troubles that feel overwhelming.
So, for example, if you were retrenched and you think about it as something you asked for, it could get you thinking about what changes you want to make in your work life.
This change in thinking is not something you’ll be able to do in the immediate aftermath of a difficult event in your life, but you will know when the time is right and it will become easier the more you do it.
Gratitude is a mindset, a way of looking at the world – and looking at everything that happens as if it’s what you asked for will help you grow and put your energy into taking action to make things better rather than getting caught up in self-pity.
Limit social media
It might be a popular hashtag on social media – #blessed #grateful #30daysofgratitude – but how often has scrolling
through Instagram or Facebook actually made you feel grateful? There’s a lot that’s great about social media, but there’s no doubt it’s contributed to what’s been called “the age of envy”.
“Career envy, kitchen envy, children envy, food envy, upper arm envy, holiday envy. You name it, there’s an envy for it,” says journalist Moya Sarner in an article about how to be happy when everyone else’s life looks perfect. How do you counter this?
If being on Instagram or Face book makes you feel bad about yourself or your life, limit your time on it. Or give some thought to the pages you follow and make a few changes.