Last year I published Gratitude Heals – A Journal for Inspiration and Guidance, never imagining that the current COVID-19 pandemic would call on all of us to take on a global healing response.
In the weeks ahead, I encourage you to find a mindful moment each day and reflect on something or someone good in your life. As you do, you will begin to access the health and well-being benefits associated with practicing gratitude.
Here are three good reasons to practice gratitude to support you in dealing with the stress and anxiety over COVID 19 and help you find moments of calm and positivity.
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Reason # 1 Neurochemical Response When expressing and receiving gratitude, we inhibit the stress hormone, Cortisol. And who isn’t stressed these days? Practicing gratitude releases good neurochemicals of dopamine and serotonin, which inhibits Cortisol and also blocks toxic emotions such as anger, fear, and envy.
Reason # 2 Greater Prosociality Gratitude has been shown to create more pro-social behaviors. Whether you’re working remotely or going into work, there’s good reason to start each meeting or huddle by expressing gratitude to each other for the efforts to get the job done, especially under these difficult and trying times. This is a great way to remind yourself of how grateful you are for the relationships you have in your life. Building a habit of expressing gratitude on a continual basis builds and strengthens these relationships, particularly important during times of crisis.
Reason # 3 Accentuates the Positive Gratitude broadens your awareness of positive thoughts and emotions, helping to reduce feelings of anxiety and apprehension. With the brain’s built-in negativity bias, practicing gratitude helps minimize the fight, flight, fear response of the brain. Research informs us that a commitment to the “practice” creates greater resilience, your ability to find purpose in whatever’s happening and be better prepared for the inevitable setbacks that occur.
Here are a few practice techniques to consider:
- Gratitude journaling or visual journaling.
- Write a letter of gratitude to someone special and read it to them.
- Send handwritten thank-you notes to your coworkers. Express gratitude for the benefits and meaningfulness they bring to your life.
- Reflect on Three Good Things that happened during the day.
- Place visual reminders of people and places that have a special meaning.
- Hold virtual gratitude sessions.
- Practice self-gratitude. Reflect on how you are positively handling this crisis. List personal strengths that are helping you and those close to you cope.
The effects of practicing gratitude aren’t immediate, and yet, once started and sustained, the health and well-being benefits begin to present themselves.
I hope this message can bring you some form of healing during this time of uncertainty. Gratitude truly Heals. The challenges of COVID 19 are significant, and we must all adhere to the recommendations and requirements to help “flatten the curve” and save lives.
To read more about the research on gratitude go to: