With the spreading of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), and the uncertainty that comes with it, we are experiencing an unusually challenging time together. It is completely normal to have feelings of fear, grief, sadness, and anxiety during this time, and to express those feelings to people close to us.
But there’s something to know as we go through these uncertain times. We can still experience joy and happiness, and there is nothing wrong with feeling happy in the midst of difficult circumstances.
When it comes to figuring out how to feel better, many of the things we would normally do may not be available to us. But we can still practice gratitude. Here are a few ways I’ve found to feel grateful, no matter what.
How to Be More Grateful
Sometimes things are so challenging that we don’t have big things or major life events to feel thankful for. That’s okay. We can start small. Having food, clothing, and shelter; being able to call or write to people we love; having a dog to pet or a favorite song to listen to: these are all legitimate things to be grateful for, and any of them can help lift our spirits.
Writing it Down
Taking a few minutes every day to journal about what you’re grateful for is a great idea anytime, but especially if you are spending time at home due to “shelter in place” or “safer at home.” If you’re having an especially tough day, start with one thing.
Try to increase it to two, three, or five things a day as you develop a habit. While it may not help you with every difficult emotion, you will likely find it easier to find things to be grateful for as you practice gratitude journaling over time.
Praying or Meditating on Gratitude
Taking time to pray or meditate is always a good idea, and you can make it part of your ongoing gratitude practice. I like to find a Bible verse that reminds me of something I am grateful for, like God’s love for me, or the beauty of nature. Then, instead of reading long passages, I try spending my time focusing on those truths and remembering they are always present. It comforts me to know that faith and hope are always there and can always grow, no matter how difficult things get.
Chatting with People We are Grateful For
Chatting with people we are thankful for by phone or video is a great way to put our gratitude practice into action. Taking a few minutes to text, call, or video call can encourage someone you care about tremendously. And it will likely lift your spirits, too.
Getting Support When Gratitude is Hard
I know how it feels to think it is impossible to be grateful given what is going on in our lives and the world. In those times, it helps me to reach out to someone who can offer me extra support as I learn to cope with whatever difficulties life has recently thrown my way. Just having someone listen and say “I know why you feel that way, and you’re not the only one” can help me shift my perspective, and set me back on a path of simple gratitude.
If you’re having trouble feeling grateful, hopeful, or encouraged during this time, you don’t have to deal with these difficult feelings alone. TheHopeLine is here for you and we are ready to help. Talk to a HopeCoach today about how you’re feeling. We will work together to find gratitude and hope no matter what.
If the Coronavirus has you feeling anxious, please visit our page: Coronavirus: Hope in the midst of Fear and Anxiety
Photo by Marco Lastella