We are all on a journey that I think in a million years we would not have chosen or expected. Was a pandemic on your radar or penciled in on your calendar? I know it wasn't on mine. I feel like I'm living in a bad movie that I can't pause. What about you? But one thing I know is we are on this journey together.
If you are living with COVID-19, I'm so sorry for your diagnosis. I am not going to pretend for one second, I understand what you are going through or experiencing at this moment, or in the future.
If you have a loved one sick, or tragically lost a loved one, please know those affected by COVID are at the top of my prayer journal.
As I travel the country speaking, engaging with people on social media, and hear from listeners, there is a consistent pattern I've observed. Those who choose to focus on gratitude seem to have a different attitude and perspective on where they are in life.
What I'm sharing is a conglomerate of these lessons I've taken in over the years. Some are mine, and some are from friends and strangers. I challenge you, as you learn to navigate this pandemic and challenging holiday season, you use gratitude as a tool, to help you along the way.
1. Write down what you are thankful for. Keep a pen and journal handy for jotting down three to five things, each day, you are grateful for. When you are having a bad day, pick up your journal, to help you focus on the good.
2. Focus on the now. Stop yourself from saying, I'll be grateful when (fill in the blank). Look at your surroundings, be in the moment, and find the good right where you are. What I've discovered is, when we get to the future, we'll have something else we'll be chasing. Stay in the now.
3. Slow down. Take time to pause throughout your day, have a stop and smell the roses moment, and be grateful for what you notice when you slow down. If this season has slowed you down, jot down, what you've noticed that maybe you didn't realize before. Be grateful for the new discoveries.
4. Lessons learned. Take note of lessons the pandemic and upcoming holiday season is teaching you about yourself. Write it down in your journal and be grateful to God for revealing to you your strengths, or weaknesses, you never knew you had.
5. Curb complaining. Complaining sucks the energy out of us and the people that surround us. We need all the positive energy in our life we can get. Learn to flip complaints to words of gratitude.
6. Let out your emotions. It's perfectly normal to be sad and angry. Write about the emotions you feel, and ask yourself, in the depth of these emotions, what is there to be grateful for?
7. Thank people. Along this journey we cross paths with many people. Don't forget to say thank you. Tell each person that is helping you along the way how grateful you are for them. Bonus points if you write them a thank you note. Be specific in noting the ways they helped you.
This list isn't all inclusive, and you don't have to do all of them, each day, every day. But as you go through your day, take time to pause, and constantly ask yourself, what can I be grateful for in this moment. The more you practice gratitude, the more it will become a habit, and the longer it's a habit, you'll potentially experience a life-changing mindset shift.
May God pour out unexpected blessings during the thanksgiving week and provide healing to those in need.
Inspirational Speaker and Award-Winning Author of “The Giving Challenge: 40 Days to a More Generous Life” and "The Gratitude Challenge: 41 Days to a Happier, Healthier, & More Content Life"