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Spontaneous Overflow Reflecting in Tranquility

The Official Blog of Michael Schoenhofer, Executive Director

Thoughts by Myself #10 - Gratitude

It Heals Our Toxic Thoughts

Another tiny friend arrives. Sketch: Schoenhofer

Watching the Governor's Press conference, I learned more about the trajectory of this virus.

  1. The “surge” in the virus may not arise for another week.

  2. The length of the Coronavirus sickness can last for weeks.

  3. 50% - 70% of us will contract the virus THIS YEAR.

This is sobering news. No one alive has had this experience. It’s like an extended version of Hurricane Katrina. We can see it coming. We know it will be bad. We aren't sure how bad. And the aftermath will be devastating, the recovery lengthy. And what’s even worse, it isn’t an isolated event that I can run away to some other place to escape. I find myself ruminating about all the bad news and dire predictions for the future.

Gratitude Gives Us Resilience

This is an opportunity to shift perspective. Instead of a constant focus on what is out of my control and feel despair, I can focus on what I can control at this moment and feel grateful. Gratitude doesn’t hide the problems in the world, it gives us a fresh perspective on them. Amid what feels like impending doom, a moment of gratefulness puts us in touch with the fantastic strength and resiliency we possess.

Why is gratitude so important now? Dr. Robert Emmons, in his article, How Gratitude Can Help You Through Hard Times, writes:

“Faced with demoralization, gratitude has the power to energize. Faced with brokenness, gratitude has the power to heal. Faced with despair, gratitude has the power to bring hope.”

Feeling Grateful vs. Being Grateful.

It’s not that easy to feel grateful during these challenging times. But being thankful is a choice. It provides a perspective that helps us stay steady in the face of what seem like overwhelming circumstances. Gratitude helps us to remember not to take this moment for granted. Being grateful can help us be more resilient and reevaluate what is most important for our life. We don’t dismiss our fears and suffering, but we look at them from a different perspective.

Here are a few things to help flex the gratitude muscle:

  1. Try this ten minute guided gratitude meditation. Or,

  2. Write one thing you are grateful for each day this week and remember it throughout the day when you feel inner peace disappear. And if you forget one day, no worries, pick it up again the next day or whenever you remember. Or,

  3. Write a brief note of gratitude to someone each day this week. It could be a letter you send in the mail, a text, or a message in Messenger. Just one quick note of gratitude for anything large or small, current, or from the deep past. Bring that person to mind throughout the day.

Find some relief in the small things here and now that you can see, hear, feel, taste, touch, and smell. Gratitude gives us a break from despair. Repeat this often for maximum benefit.

Stay safe.

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