How Adopting an Attitude of Gratitude Can Help You Through The COVID-19 Crisis        

We’re all in this together. There’s a global pandemic in our midst. Businesses are closed, sporting events have been canceled, kids are home from school for the foreseeable future, and we’re all facing difficulties: financially, socially and psychologically.

With the added anxiety, stress and worry, it’s natural to wonder how to get through this crisis with our mental health intact. Is there something we can do to help us feel better about the state of the world? What’s the answer?

In a word: Gratitude.

What is gratitude?

What is gratitude, exactly? Besides being the focal point of Thanksgiving? It’s been described as a moral virtue, an attitude, a way of life, a habit, a personality trait and a coping mechanism. It can be all of those at once. And though it may not come naturally during this crisis, it might be one of the most important things you can do to protect your mental health and relationships amid so much uncertainty.

It can be challenging to be grateful when you find yourself newly unemployed, facing stay-at-home mandates from your state’s governor, or trying to entertain energetic kids who are accustomed to going places and seeing friends. But focusing on the limitations of the quarantine lifestyle is only going to draw your attention to what you don’t have.

Focus on what you DO have

It’s not intuitive, but you have the ability and the willpower to change how you’re feeling about this crisis. Yes, that’s right, you have the power to decide what you focus your attention on.

Instead of concentrating your energy on everything that has changed because of this crisis and all of the conveniences you don’t have, gratitude puts your focus on the abundance of what you do have.

Harvard Health confirms that a gratitude practice is consistently and highly associated with feelings of greater happiness. Doesn’t that sound good right about now? Harvard Health also states that gratitude can help you to “feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”

If there’s ever been a time to consider starting a gratitude practice, now is that time!

How to start a gratitude practice

This isn’t rocket science. Anyone can do it. And everyone should do it. It’s also a great practice to teach your kids, which can set them up for a lifetime of focusing on everything they do have rather than anything they might not have.

It’s easy to do: Just think about what you’re grateful for, and make a list of those things. Did you have breakfast this morning? Be grateful for that! Was it accompanied by your favorite beverage – whether it was coffee or orange juice or tea? Lucky you!

And what do you see when you look outside? Are there flowers in bloom? Is it a sunny, beautiful day? Can you hear a bird chirping?

And how about in your own home? If you have kids, do you relish the sound of their laughter? If you have pets, is it comforting to pet them or see their furry faces?

And do you have a television that empowers you to be informed and entertained? And an internet connection that helps you stay connected with friends? And you probably have a phone so you can call loved ones, right?

Speaking of loved ones, do you have friends and family members you care for, and who care about you? Did someone reach out to you today to make you laugh or share a thoughtful text message conversation?

All of these examples are significant, positive things you can focus on in your gratitude practice.

Start your gratitude practice

If you’re old school, grab a pen and paper. If you’re new school, get your fingers ready on the keyboard. If you’re doing this on a text message thread, get those thumbs loosened up.

Write down three simple things you’re grateful for. If you’re in the mood to be social (from a safe, 6-foot distance, of course!), then share your gratitude list with some friends and ask them what they’re grateful for.

We’ll start:

  1. We are grateful for patients and friends like you, who trust us with your eye care and visual health.
  2. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve our patients and help you see your best—even though we’ve had to scale back services during this crisis to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
  3. We are grateful for our health care workers on the front lines of this pandemic, who are saving lives at considerable personal risk to themselves and their families.

Now it’s your turn. Please, share with us on our Facebook page: What are you grateful for?