Finding Gratitude During a Pandemic

Finding Gratitude During a Pandemic

Over the last year, life as we know it has done a complete 180. Everyone has had to adapt to changes and new ways of living in one way or another, which could easily affect someone’s mental health.

One study conducted by the CDC found adults “reported considerably elevated adverse mental health conditions associated with COVID-19” and during late June 40% of U.S adults reported struggling with their mental health (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020).

Currently, we’re still unsure of when lockdowns and the pandemic will end. With the holidays coming up, the added uncertainty paired with the holiday stress might spell a recipe for disaster. Harvard Health Publishing suggests one simple thing that might potentially help-gratitude. 

Research suggests gratitude can improve your immune system, decreases feelings of depression and anxiety, reduces stress and can help your ability to cope with stress, and can motivate you to make healthier choices overall.

If the effects of the coronavirus have impacted your mental health or made it difficult for you to feel grateful, here are a few ways to cultivate gratitude even during these tough times.

Small Ways to Cultivate Gratitude

  • Keep a daily gratitude journal. Studies show journaling can help people manage emotions, manage stress, help manage depression and help ease feelings of anxiety. If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few prompts: “One place that is safe and relaxes you”, “Three people you’re looking forward to seeing”, “Something that made you smile today” “One thing in nature you’re grateful for.”
  • Meditate. Meditating focuses on being still in the present moment and can help increase mental clarity, ease stress and calm an anxious mind. If you’ve never meditated before, here are some tips on getting started.
  • Write a thank you note. This can even be to yourself for getting through this unprecedented time.  
  • Send something special to local healthcare workers. According to the Mental Health Foundation, performing random acts of kindness has been shown to improve emotional wellbeing and reduce stress. Show thanks to your local heroes by sending coffee, a small gift or even a thank you note! 
  • Spend time with nature. Research shows the simple act of listening to natural sounds can reduce feelings of anxiety or stress. So, if you’re under strict lockdown and can’t go outside, listen to your favorite nature sounds. If you CAN go outside, go for a short stroll or simply sit on your back porch. Take a moment to allow yourself to connect with the earth and feel grounded. Feel the grass or ground on your bare feet, focus on nature sounds you hear and simply connect with the earth. Studies show grounding can benefit both your mental and physical health. 

We hope these tips were helpful! Let us know one small way you practice gratitude in the comments below!

Lorrie Rappe
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