#Askingforafriend: Practicing gratitude during the pandemic

By Christine Pemberton
GCU Office of Student Care
#Askingforafriend

I sometimes struggle to practice gratitude in the best of circumstances. But how do I do it when there is so much uncertainty and disappointment?

There isn’t a short answer. My goal is to help you acknowledge that while things have been scary, frustrating and disappointing during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are also reasons for gratitude.

Being grateful does not mean we don’t also still experience those other negative emotions, because we do and we will. We, as a society, have faced one of the biggest shifts in our daily functioning ever in the last few months. And, moving forward, we are still unsure how life is going to look.

So it makes a lot of sense that you are experiencing a range of emotions, all of which deserve to be acknowledged and given a voice. Yet while we are giving ourselves opportunity to feel these feelings, we also need to be mindful to make room for the good.

A couple of weeks ago in this column, Nicholas Rudgear encouraged us to change our perspective. That is what I’m encouraging as well.

Brené Brown says, “I will practice gratitude to access joy.” I get it – some days it’s hard to find things to be joyful about, but those things still exist.

One of the overwhelming things about gratitude can be thinking we must find something “big” and be grateful for it. Or we swing the other way and shame ourselves into being OK with our circumstances by comparing our situation to someone else who in worse circumstances. Both approaches miss the mark.

The purpose of gratitude is to connect us with the things, people or circumstances in our life that bring us comfort, contentment or simply joy. By no means do these things need to be monumental, nor do they need the approval of others.

We can be grateful for food delivery, clouds in the sky, the sun, our pets, a show that has helped distract us, friends, family –  the list could go on. If you are like me sometimes, we tend to forget about these small things.

It’s OK. It happens. It’s easy for the hard stuff to get in the way, and we forget what is in front of us that is good and comforting.

Here are three ways to help us shift more toward gratitude:

  • Create a gratitude journal. This can be a place you keep track of all the things, big and small, that you find gratitude for daily.
  • Take photos of regular things that bring you happiness or you feel grateful for, and make a collage of them.
  • Write a letter, card, text or email to someone who you are grateful for, thanking them for their role in your life.

I know life is difficult and things are uncertain. And I also know that if we take a bit longer and look a bit deeper, we can find those things that are good. How will you shift your focus to those things in the coming weeks?

Calendar

Calendar of Events

M Mon

T Tue

W Wed

T Thu

F Fri

S Sat

S Sun

0 events,

0 events,

1 event,

0 events,

6 events,

3 events,

2 events,

0 events,

3 events,

3 events,

3 events,

3 events,

2 events,

0 events,

0 events,

2 events,

5 events,

0 events,

0 events,

1 event,

2 events,

0 events,

0 events,

GCU Magazine

Bible Verse

May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. (Galatians 6:14)

To Read More: www.verseoftheday.com/