Taking joy in the simple things in life is also an expression of gratitude. If you want to do more, keep reading.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on May 15, 2020. It has since been updated.
It feels like we're living in a topsy-turvy and fast-changing world. When everything around us is uncertain, it might feel hard to be grateful for anything. But, being thankful is closely linked to feeling happy. "In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness," says Harvard Health. The more acts of gratitude we perform, the higher the chance of feeling happy, which can otherwise seem a little hard right now.
Living in lockdown may feel like our precious moments have been snatched away from us, but there are many ways to battle such feelings. When we take small and easy steps to show the world that we are thankful, it can have a positive effect on us too. So, do it for others and do it for yourself too.
Here are five ways to show gratitude and stay positive during these tough times:
You can support small and local businesses in your neighborhood by buying from them. These mom-and-pop shops are at a greater need than ever before for support from their community. Helping them might mean getting takeout from local diners and restaurants or buying coffee at the corner stand. You can also find out through social media about fundraisers in your neighborhood or small businesses that may be deeply affected by the lockdown and pandemic. It might be as easy as leaving a positive review on Yelp or other platforms.
While we practice social distancing, we can avoid mental distancing by staying in touch with people. It is important to communicate openly and honestly, and especially tell people how much we appreciate them. You can use FaceTime or Zoom, or any other easy-to-use software to video call your brood, near and far. Your interaction doesn't need to be limited to talking because there are a plethora of online game options available. Even if you only want to sip some tea from your home and have company while doing that, video calling is the way to go. The less lonely we feel the more grateful we will be.
This time at home can be used for practicing self-care and self-love with some simple activities that make you happy. Does knitting calm you? Then, spend some time a few times a week doing that. You can also give yourself a makeover at home or just apply a DIY face mask. You could try some mindful activities like journaling, cooking, and even coloring. These activities are to prove to yourself that you care about your well-being. Showing love and gratitude towards yourself will help you stay positive and happy during this difficult time.
If none of these things work for you, then you can also try this simple and easy thing where you write down all that makes you thankful. It could be the things that lift you up when you just thought about it. It doesn't have to be something that kept you smiling all day but it just made you feel good, about yourself or about the world. For instance, this writer's list would include playing with her cat, drinking calming chamomile tea, reading novels, sleeping in, the smell of buttered toast, writing, my husband cooking me dinner, adding some greens to my diet regularly, laughing, and even colored pencils.
However, if nothing works for you then don't force yourself to feel gratitude. The best way you can help yourself during this distressing time is by taking some time and space for yourself. While that may not be available to everyone in equal degrees as chores and caring for others fall on you, even if you take 10 minutes out, it would help. It can just be 10 minutes with your own thoughts while you practice some deep breathing. You can try this early in the morning or before going to bed or both times. It might be easier said than done, but the first step towards accepting your feelings has to come from you.
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Tutye
Disclaimer: This article is based on insights from different sources. The views expressed here are those of the writer.