How gratitude will help you to stay positive during difficult times
When I have a non-interesting activity to do at work or someone invites me for a meeting at 7AM, what has happened often while working from home, before getting frustrated I take a deep breath. Then, I think about how grateful I am to have a job that allows me to work remotely and for being working on innovative projects to help clients move through 2020. In a few minutes I regain my focus and motivation.
This is the power of gratitude. It helps building resilience to move through challenges with a positive attitude. Problems are part of life, it's your choice to face situations as a glass half full or half entity. Gratitude leads to positivity and increased happiness.
Being grateful of what you have today is not to be complacent. But, understanding that no matter where you are today, you've already accomplished a lot; and that many things you've taken for granted are dreams for others, put you in a better position to achieve your goals. You'll enjoy the journey and you'll be less anxious about reaching the destination.
Here is the gratitude routine I've followed for a couple of years, and that has been extremely important to help managing stress and remain positive through these unprecedented times:
Starting the day in the right tone
Before I get up from bed, I think about the big things I am thankful for (like my health, family and so on) and I say a prayer.
Closing the day with a positive balance
By the end of my day, I write in my gratitude journal all my 'happy moments'. Such moments are ordinary, like being able to exercise at home, eating a good meal, having a stress free day at work. And they truly make my routine special. When I started the journal, some days it was hard thinking about good moments, but I have always resisted to the temptation of writing about frustrating experiences. A few months on, and it was natural to look for the positive side of every situation.
Here is how this gratitude routine has changed my life and increased my happiness:
1 - Positive wins: by creating the habit of reviewing my day with positive lenses, I have also kept the positive vibe throughout my day. In other words, when some adverse situation happens, I automatically think about the positive side of it, what prevents me from overreacting and engaging in arguments that will not contribute to solve the issue.
2 - When you compete with yourself, you always win: by now I know very well what makes me happy and what doesn't and I always try to have a positive balance by the end of the day. So, whenever my day is not moving smoothly, I start adding moments that will make me happy (even going for a walk inside of my building, during a lunch break helps), so I always have good things to write about in my journal by end of the day.
3 - Be patient: patience is not a natural virtue, so I have worked to develop it throughout the past few years. Yoga, meditation and gratitude are really helping me on this journey.
In the first weeks of quarantine I was very uneasy, feeling I was not focusing on the goals I have established for the year. The world has changed in the past months, we have no idea what the future holds, so beating myself up doesn't take me anywhere. Taking one day at a time and adapting to the 'new normal' as needed is the best thing to do now. And it's fine to feel lost and worried as soon as it doesn't take over your mind. Being kind to yourself and avoid self-judgement is the best gift you can give yourself now.
Share gratitude with the world
This couldn't be a better time to share gratitude, not only with the first responders and doctors - who are true heroes - but everyone that silently helps you. The delivery personnel, Lyft and Uber drivers, cashiers at the supermarket, janitors who still keep everything clean, your family and friends who check how you are doing. A warm THANK YOU in person or virtually will make people's day, and fill your heart with joy.
So, divas if you are reading this post, THANK YOU! I hope it helps you to start or continue a gratitude cycle that will help you to thrive through this crisis.