MINDHACKS - Pivot toward Gratitude
When times are difficult, this pivot is akin to deep breathing - it's always available, it always helps, and it's always free! Shifting our attention to what we are grateful for simply requires the willingness to pause and ask ourselves the question, "What am I grateful for?". Before we know it, our perception widens to see what is already there. The blinders come off.
Look for silver linings
I cannot stress this enough.
There are all kinds of good coming from this event. - already. If we can slow our rush to fear & judgment and ACCEPT WHAT IS, we open our perspective to see the WHOLE picture. How many times have you been disappointed by an event or outcome and later realized it was a blessing? I'm not saying this event is a blessing, but I am saying blessings are coming, and will continue to come, from this event.
To acknowledge and appreciate the good that comes with the bad does not discount the seriousness of this outbreak or disregard those who are suffering; it aligns us with the totality of the experience. Under stress, our minds become polarized and fixated on the threat. This is the survival instinct at work again. Let's strengthen our resilience by looking for the tiny positives, the silver linings and the "gifts in the crisis".
Here's my list: I have more time now to check in with loved ones who are far away, especially the elders in my family. I get to spend extra quality time with my daughter doing things we usually have limited time for, like playing games, painting our nails, getting outside together, having longer talks, taking care of household chores together and, naturally, Netflix binges ;). Additionally, this situation has prompted me to write more and establish an online platform for my business -- tasks I have been stalling on for a long time.
On a broader scale, we are ALL being reminded of the gift of our health, the fragility of life, and what we need to do to protect ourselves, our families and communities. Tragedy has the power to bring people together, stripping everything down to the basic humanity that unites us all. Evictions and utility shut offs due are on pause; politicians are working together to manage the financial fall out. Countries are sharing information because we recognize that we are all connected. We will survive this crisis and hopefully we will retain whatever knowledge or messages offered by this experience.
How well we survive and how long it takes depends on the totality of our individual actions. Let's work hard to manage our emotions and open ourselves up in this moment. We can open to gratitude, each other, and our higher calling. When we make decisions From THIS state of mind, we align ourselves with our deeper values and goals, and the results we desire.
Exercise: Creating a Daily Gratitude Practice
Start a daily gratitude practice by asking yourself, "What am I grateful for right now?". Come up with 3-5 things each day, they could be small (my Amazon package arrived today!) or large (I am grateful that I and my loved ones are all healthy and taking steps to ensure our health).
Pause and allow the feeling of gratitude to generate within as you focus on what you are grateful for. We all have more time on our hands now; we have the choice to use it to practice being more present and intentional so that our thoughts and our actions benefit ourselves and others.
To maximize your results and take it a step further, don't just let your gratitude list sit hidden in a closed journal. Write the most powerful ones on sticky notes and put them in places you will see often for reinforcement.
We must consciously direct our focus to the positives when we are bombarded by so much negative. It all exists -- life includes everything from the sublime to the horrific, and every point in between. It is our perception, influenced by our current mood and subconscious beliefs, that filters what we see. Acknowledging what we are grateful for requires intention and effort in these times, and the payoff is worth the mental effort.
The bottom line is, the more we tune-in to gratitude, the better we feel and the more blessings -- and even opportunities -- we will notice. When we shift internally, our experience of the external world shifts in response.