“Gratitude is an emotion that grounds us and is a great way to balance out the negative mindset that uncertainty engenders,” said Dr. Guy Winch, author of the book Emotional First Aid.
We experience gratitude when we shift our focus from what we don’t have to what we do, and when we take time to appreciate and be thankful for those who have contributed to the abundance in our lives.
In his article Why Gratitude Matters, Dr. Emmons shares, “You can’t feel envious and grateful at the same time. They’re incompatible feelings because if you’re grateful, you can’t resent someone for owning things you don’t.”
How to Trigger Gratitude in Ourselves
Have you ever noticed that when you are looking to buy a new phone or a jacket all of a sudden everyone around you has it? That’s because, consciously or unconsciously, whatever we are focused on is what we see. If we want to trigger gratitude in ourselves, we need to intentionally shift our focus to that which we are grateful for. The simplest way to do this is through questions and prompts and a few daily rituals.
Pause and reflect
When you find yourself stuck in a constant state of worry, or hyper-focused on what is not working around you, try to pause for a second and ask yourself one or two of the following questions.
- What have I gotten to learn recently that has helped me grow?
- What opportunities do I currently have that I am grateful for?
- What physical abilities do I have but take for granted?
- What did I see today or over the last month that was beautiful?
- Who at work am I happy to see each day and why?
- Who is a person that I don’t speak to often, but, if I lost them tomorrow, it would be devastating? (Take this as a cue to reach out today!)
- What am I better at today than I was a year ago?
- What material object do I use every day that I am thankful for having?
- What has someone done for me recently that I am grateful for?
- What are the three things I am grateful for right now?
By taking time to write down our answers, we consciously redirect our attention to that which we are grateful for. It’s also a great way to look back and realize what we may have thought of as insignificant was actually the things that brought us joy.
- Write a gratitude journal
- Build it in like a routine
- Another way to create a ritual around gratitude is to start or end each virtual meeting or co-study session with a grateful minute
- Pick any one or two questions outlined above and invite a few team members or friends to share their answers.
If we want to be able to keep running in this race with no clear finish line, we need to learn to take better care of the runner. Although there is no one solution, learning to trigger gratitude may help us cope along the way.