Focusing on Blessings and Gratitude
During this time of uncertainty, if you really look, there are still many reminders around us of all the blessings we have received throughout our lives. As families and loved ones gather online or with masks, we are given the opportunity to express our gratitude for their presence in our lives, for their love and their support. But gratitude isn’t just a practice for stressful times, it is a gift for everyday. There are studies that show that those who regularly perform intentional acts of gratitude experience more positive emotions. They relish more in good experiences, improve their sleeping habits, and are able to deal better with adversity and with creating new and stronger relationships.
Expressing gratitude doesn’t have to be difficult or grandiose. It’s often the little things that create the most positive impacts. To express more gratitude in your life consider keeping a gratitude journal, setting aside a few minutes each day to say a prayer of thanks or simply saying thank you.
And when things feel overwhelming, remember that it’s okay to give yourself a bit of a break and enjoy the little moments in life. Consider trying the following:
1. Focus on what is most meaningful. We often focus on being in control and all the things we have to do, but there are many factors we can’t control, especially time. Prioritize activities that hold the deepest meaning and create memories.
2. Simplify your activities. Keep your schedule realistic. Choose one activity that means the most. Its ok to delegate tasks and make adjustments when needed.
3. Try new things or hobbies. Rather than focusing on what you aren’t able to do this year, try something new that fits your current situation.
4. Anticipate triggers. Feelings of loss, complicated relationships, and other emotions can flare up during times of uncertainty. Try to limit your exposure to conversations or interactions that can trigger these feelings.
5. Mind your mindset. Don’t focus on the negative. Remain positive in every situation—appreciate the little accomplishments in your day.
6. Keep self-care at the top of the list. Giving too much of yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically can lead to feelings of fatigue and burnout. In order to successfully care about others, you must first take care of yourself. Find ways to attend to your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Try to make time for quiet reflection, exercise, and prayer.
7. Connect with others. We often struggle with feeling alone, especially with social distancing. Consider joining online groups where you can share your emotions, challenges, and solutions with those experiencing similar struggles and can understand what you’re going through.
8. Ask for help. Don’t try to accomplish everything on your own. Reach out to family and friends. Look into community resources.
9. Look into Faith Formation. The Nebraska Synod has a spiritual direction formation institute- Seeking the Spirit Within. This institute offers a program for exploring your faith through prayer practices and conversation- Drinking From the Well. It can connect you with a spiritual director who can walk with you as you discern or consider how God is moving in your life. And it offers a certification program for those who are hearing a call to help others on their spiritual journeys. For more information about Seeking the Spirit Within click here. Drinking From the Well is currently accepting registrations, to learn more about this program click here.
*Tips from Tabitha Health & Wellness