The last few months have challenged us mentally, physically, and spiritually. If you made new year’s resolutions, chances are not one included a plan for social distancing or wearing a mask. In fact, social distancing, pandemic, and coronavirus weren’t even parts of everyday language and COVID-19 was just a series of random letters and numbers.
Fast forward to today and we are striving to adapt. While some people thrive on change, for others, these circumstances can feel like just more obstacles to surmount. What if you could change your mindset and rather than fearing the unknown, approach life with feelings of gratitude? A gratitude journal is a wonderful way to write down and reflect upon things for which you are grateful. As an added benefit, your journal can chronicle this unique period of history to share with younger family members in the future.
Gratitude is more than saying thank you when someone helps or bestows a gift. From a psychological perspective, gratitude is not only an action, but an emotion with a biological purpose — to develop deeper appreciation for someone or something for longer lasting positivity. Call it what you like — appreciation, grace, recognition, or thankfulness — these feelings have powerful mental and physical benefits.
Gratitude can foster positivity, and with positivity, we can find resilience in ourselves and our loved ones.
What Are Some Benefits of Practicing Gratitude?
While there are many health benefits to feeling gratitude, here are some of our favorites. Practicing gratitude:
- Increases happiness and self esteem
- Improves relationships (from family and friends to spouses)
- Enhances optimism
- Lessens feelings of materialism by learning to appreciate what you already have
- Helps people find meaning and purpose in daily life
- Reduces stress and feelings of depression
- Lowers blood pressure
- Improves sleep
- Enhances overall physical and mental health
- Makes people more forgiving, generous, and compassionate
How to Get Started With Your Gratitude Journal
What will you want your loved ones to remember about this time? What advice can you share?
Best of all, what silver linings have you found? Think of this as your personal time capsule of what you did during quarantine, and how life looks (or will look) on the other side of it.
Try starting with how your life changed when you first heard about coronavirus. How did the media coverage and subsequent limitations on going out make you feel? Include details about how life changed daily so that your grandchildren (and/or great grandchildren) can really understand the effect of a global pandemic. Compare this time in life to other times of national crisis — from the Great Depression, World War II, 9/11, or any other historical event that you’ve experienced.
It’s OK to share your fears and worries. Experiencing and documenting those feelings is part of the process. For example, how did something as mundane as daily meals suddenly become so different? How did you cope with stores and restaurants closing, and how did your habits change during this time? Maybe you started grocery shopping earlier in the day or you had a family member shop for you.
Were there some silver linings or positive things that have come from this extra time at home? Did you:
- Save money on gas? Gas prices were historically low, plus we just weren’t going many places.
- Enjoy more family time (for those who live together)?
- Find creative new ways for family time for those who live apart? For some families, social distancing has brought them emotionally closer.
- Slow down your busy schedule, which allowed more family dinners when we were not running to meetings, sports, or events? Pose a question to your future self: Do you think the world will retain this slowed down pace once everything reopens?
- Realize how fortunate you are and how you don’t need so much stuff? Relationships are more important. Pose a question to your future self: Will we learn to live more with less?
- Witness people reaching out to show kindness to strangers? Examples included people celebrating graduating students or running errands for older adults who were at higher risk for contracting the virus.
At Friendship Village Columbus, we would love to hear what silver linings you’ve found. Share your silver linings to FVC Director of Sales & Marketing Lynn Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will post them to our Facebook page.
If these thoughts resonate with you and you would like to investigate/explore what the FVC community has to share, you can contact us at (614) 568-0503. If you would like to schedule a virtual tour of our community, you can get started here.