In these unusual times, it’s hard not to feel scared and anxious about the future. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by uncertainty when the economy is tanking, people are staying home and there’s a strange virus stalking the streets.
But there’s a way to build your resilience, and it’s deceptively simple: you just need to find reasons to be thankful each day. To help you get started, here are a few tips from gratitude experts around the globe:
Hack #1: Keep a Gratitude Journal
Maintaining a gratitude journal is a great way to remind yourself of all the good things in your life. Glenn Fox, a neuroscientist from the University of Southern California, began keeping a gratitude journal as part of his research.
Try doing as he did: all you have to do is list down three to five things that you’re grateful for. By doing so, you’ll build up a collection of positive memories that you can draw from whenever you’re having a rough time.
Hack #2: Write Thank-You Letters
University of Pennsylvania psychologist Dr. Martin E.P. Seligman found surprising results from people who wrote and personally delivered letters of gratitude. They exhibited higher happiness scores compared to those who did not. Additionally, the impact of writing these messages was more significant than any other form of intervention.
So make it a habit to send at least one thank-you letter every month. Alternatively, you can try sending a few gratitude texts or emails every once in a while.
Hack #3: Ask Yourself Three Questions
Dr. Robert A. Emmons, a professor of psychology at the University of California, highly recommends practicing Naikan regularly. Meaning “introspection” in Japanese, Naikan is a meditation technique that involves asking yourself three specific questions: what you’ve received, what you’ve given, and what troubles and difficulties you’ve caused each day.
By reflecting on your interactions with others, this exercise can help you gain a better understanding of yourself and your relationships.
Hack #4: Pay It Forward
When you’ve received an act of kindness, nothing is more rewarding than paying it forward. In fact, based on a study by Stanford psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky, participants who carried out five good deeds per week reported higher levels of happiness than those who did not.
So start doing what you can to make the world a better place, even in the smallest of ways. Some examples include donating to charity, checking in on your neighbors, or volunteering your time to a worthy cause.
Hack #5: Practice Mindful Eating
According to the Center for Mindful Eating, engaging all of your senses during mealtimes can make you better appreciate the food that you eat. Indeed, studies show that mindful eating can help elevate your mood and even improve your physical health. So instead of gobbling down your food in a hurry, slow down and savor each bite. You can also think about and thank the people who helped bring said food to your table.
Hack #6: Remind Yourself to be Grateful
Gretchen Rubin, the author of the best-selling book The Happiness Project, recommends setting up “gratitude prompts” around your home. For instance, you can hang up a picture of a loved one so that each time you walk past it, it will prompt you to think about why you’re glad for their presence in your life.
You can also try using a wellness app so that you can receive alerts and notifications for practicing gratefulness at specific times of the day.
Give These Gratitude Exercises a Try Today!
If negative emotions are left unchecked, they can negatively affect a person’s physical, mental, and emotional health. Hence, learning how to adapt and keep yourself grounded is crucial to getting through times of crisis.
And while practicing gratitude can go a long way, it’s also important to consider how your environment affects your state of mind. If your current home feels too limiting, it may be time to consider moving into a new living space that better suits your personal needs.