Why gratitude is so important during tough times| Lizi’s

The coronavirus outbreak has impacted lives and businesses all over the world. It’s hard to escape the coverage on the news and social media, but it isn’t all negative. There are inspiring stories about how people are coming together and supporting one another whilst social distancing.

You may not be able to donate lots of money or re-join the NHS front line, but there are small acts of gratitude that can make a huge difference during this time, both for yourself and others.

Gratitude is the ability to notice and appreciate the good things in your life. Higher levels of gratitude are linked to increased levels of optimism, lower levels or stress and better physical health. And because gratitude goes hand in hand with happiness, you may it helps bring a smile to your face even during these challenging times.

Here are some ways you can show gratitude:

“What went well?”

At the end of each day take a moment to reflect on what went well during your day. If you’re still working from home this could be something work related. Or you may have done your first press up thanks to your at-home workouts, or your children may have found an online learning platform they really like! Whatever your ‘what went well’, it helps you realise there is still a lot of good to come out of every day.

Start a gratitude photo album

Take a picture each day of something you’re proud of, that made you smile or that you simply think is beautiful. Then save it into a separate album. This could be from your daily walk, a picture of your dog basking in the spring sunshine, or your latest culinary creation. Continue with this, and by the end of the month, you will have 31 pictures of the things in your life for which you are grateful.

Start a gratitude journal

Note down three things each day you are grateful for. This could range from a nice home-cooked meal to finally having a sort out of your wardrobe and being able to donate your unwanted clothes to charity! Finding the little pearls of joy in a situation that could easily become overwhelming is important.

Knit some blankets for shelters

If you’re an animal lover, show your gratitude to the people who tirelessly commit to looking after abandoned, unwanted or stray cats and dogs. This article in Country Life outlines how the RSPCA is in need of blankets for their rescue kittens. To be able to support them with a non-monetary donation is a great way to show that you’re grateful for their work whilst enabling you to get some craft work in for a good cause!

Take 20 minutes of mindfulness a day

Mindfulness can help reduce anxiety and improve cognitive ability. It can also help you feel present in the moment and reduce distractions in the brain. Gratitude sharpens our attention to the good and positive things in our lives, whilst mindfulness encourages us to accept our external reality with a compassionate attitude. Bringing these two things together under current circumstances could help you stay positive and increase your sense of wellbeing, too. This guide from YouTube is a great place to start.

Appreciate the good people around you

Parents, friends, partners and colleagues are all coming together to support each other through the unfamiliar situation we find ourselves in. A surge in downloads of video apps like Zoom and Houseparty have enabled us to stay in touch with those most important to us. Check in on the people closest to you regularly and ask them how often they would like a catch up. Some may be happy with an hour-long chat at the weekend, and some may want shorter chats every day to keep on top of what’s going on.

We hope these little tips are a start to show gratitude during this time, and to stay positive. We’re all in this together, and by following the guidelines we are being given, we can tackle this challenge head on, and come out stronger on the other side. How have you shown gratitude during this time? We’d love to hear your suggestions and tips.

Stay home, stay safe.

Lizi’s x

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