By writer and mental health advocate Alexandra Chelse.
The art of being thankful isn’t reserved just for Thanksgiving Day. Yet, we know that in times of immense hardship, stirring up feelings of gratitude may not come naturally.
Due to COVID-19, many of us have sustained great losses and are still bearing the weight. So, if you’re racking your brain on how on to embrace more gratitude in your life right now, here is a list to get you started.
1. Friends That Know All About You and Love You Anyway
Your friends may irk you at times, but let’s be honest, where would you truly be without them? While the way you interact with them may look different during this lockdown period, those die-hard relationships in your life won’t be threatened by distance.
2. Books to Read
What better way to spend your time at home than lost within the pages of a book? There are all kinds of books out there on all sorts of topics, so you’re bound to find something of interest. If you are looking for a new read, try participating in a book exchange among family and friends. Reading is the best way to explore new places without ever having to leave the house.
3. Courtesy of Strangers
According to a 2014 study published in Emotion, a simple thank you can do wonders when meeting new acquaintances. Those who witnessed signs of gratitude from another were more likely to seek an ongoing relationship.
So, that chance encounter with a stranger means more than you know. Next time, you go out for groceries, hitch an Uber ride, or order that Skip the Dishes meal, remember to be grateful for their service and demonstrate that to them if possible. You may just make a friend.
4. Internet/Virtual Meetings
We know how draining meetings can be at times, but in spite of this, the ability to log on and off is a privilege. More than any other generation, we have been able to use our everyday devices to keep in touch with family and friends, form business partnerships, and attend events from all over the world. Let’s use the resources available to us to generate some good in our lives.
5. Awkward Moments
Hey, it happens to the best of us. Not to be brushed off, these moments can help us remember that we are only human after all. After all, perfection isn’t normal. Next time you have a social gaffe, allow yourself to chuckle a little and then move on with grace.
6. Gratitude Journaling
There is an overwhelming amount of research showing the positive benefits that comes from penning out your thoughts. A 2005 study from Positive Psychology revealed that journaling for just five minutes a day can increase our long-term happiness by over 10%. It can even boost clarity of mind and improve your sense of well-being. Trust us: Gratitude works.
7. Art and Music
We have the artists of the world to thank for the beauty that colour our everyday experiences. Be grateful for the art that speaks to you, builds and empowers you, makes you cry, laugh, or remember a special moment in time. Even the art that offends you has its place, because that too reveals you to be a person having the ability to think and feel.
Having a job means being able to provide for yourself and your family. Someone selected you for the position you hold because they felt you're equipped to do it. So, on those bad days when you are tempted to throw in the towel, remind yourself of the chance you have been given to contribute to this world in some way.
9. A Home to Live In
In a world where more than 100 million people lack housing, we can be thankful for the shelter our homes provide us with every day. Your living situation may not be perfect, but the mere fact that you have a place to lay your head every night is enough.
10. Your Morning Routine
No matter how dull and uninteresting you may find your life right now, you are alive for a reason. If you need some help recalling some perks about living, observe the movements of a toddler for a day. You’ll witness how in love with life they already are. The gift of another day on this earth is something worth celebrating.
In certain parts of the world, access to education is limited. Governments of dictatorial countries will monitor the flow of information as a way of controlling their citizens. Be fortunate that you were able to attend some form of schooling and learn to read and write.
If you were able to enroll in an institution for higher learning, that’s worth giving thanks for. Recognize the gift of knowledge you were granted access to and do something amazing with it.
12. Your Brain
You owe the three pounds of matter in your head for the everyday things you do that you take for granted: brushing your teeth, walking, eating, writing, talking, cooking, working out, driving, watching films, reading and taking notes.
Show your appreciation by taking care of it. Engage freely in stimulating activities for your brain and give yourself mind breaks every once in awhile.
You owe your very survival to the elements of nature that work in sync together around the clock. Fresh water, biodiversity, pollination, oxygen, climate regulation, plants, sunlight, soil health, are just some of the parts in nature that make it possible for us to keep breathing. It all matters, and is an integral part of us and the world we live in.
To travel and explore. To honour your religion and culture. To form your own opinions. To speak your mind. To believe. To love. To learn. To breathe and to live. All of it is pure freedom. Never forget it.
About Alexandra Chelse
Alexandra Chelse is a writer, storyteller and mental health advocate, living in Canada. She has a passion for inspiring and empowering others through thoughtfully crafted service pieces. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, taking long walks, spending quality time with her family, and discussing great ideas. Find her at: theheartofthestory.ca