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Cultivating Gratitude in a Time of Uncertainty

Practicing gratitude can have powerful benefits for our mental and physical health. It can help us sleep better, reduce stress, boost self-esteem, increase feelings of happiness and joy, and even boost resilience so we can bounce back faster after facing struggles. Amid current states of uncertainty and constant change, consider implementing more gratitude into your daily life. Below are a few ideas that might resonate with you.

Notice the Silver Linings

Find glimpses of positivity in a world that bombards us with negative news. Make an effort to reframe negativity into something more positive by exploring new perspectives. Challenge yourself to see even the tiniest rays of light, especially in situations that look overwhelmingly blue. This is not meant to minimize the experience of struggle, but rather to validate the struggle and then lift yourself out of it —inch by inch.

For example, instead of getting down about the fact that your travel plans have been canceled and you’re stuck at home due to a shelter-in-place recommendation, try to list the opportunities this time at home has given you, such as spending more quality time with your family or housemates, allowing yourself to start the day in a more relaxed manner instead of rushing into the office, giving yourself the space to enjoy a new hobby, or having more chances to cuddle with your cat or dog.

Control What You Can

In the middle of a global pandemic, it may feel as though we have no control. While it’s true that many things are out of our hands such as how long this pandemic will last, how others react, or how much toilet paper is left when we get to the store, there are still many things we can control.

Remind yourself that you have power over your own actions. It’s up to you how you spend your time while social distancing, and how well you follow the CDC recommendations. You can control how frequently you watch or read the news, how much time you spend on social media, and who you choose to interact with (virtually of course).

Maybe choose to start the day with a free online yoga class before looking at the news, or end the day with a funny movie or a compelling novel to clear your mind before bed.

Find a Daily Gratitude Practice

The simple exercise of listing a few things you’re grateful for each day can have a powerful and positive shift in your overall happiness. Find an avenue that works best for you, such as writing out a bulleted list in a journal, sharing your gratitude out loud with someone, or just making a mental list in your head. Try to dedicate a little time each day for this practice. Some people like to verbally share their gratitude out loud with a spouse over dinner each night, others like to write it out before bed every night, or you could get creative and make a mental list every time you wash your hands (which should be often). Experiment and find what works for you.

If you are looking for information about COVID-19 and how SEARHC is responding, please visit https://covid19.searhc.org/.

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