Here’s a guest post by Jacob Eidinger, the Marketing and Communications Manager at Wigdor LLP on why you practice gratitude.
Jacob says, two weeks ago, I had a sinking feeling in my stomach. Omicron was quickly engulfing NYC, and many of my friends and family members had either fallen ill with the virus or were exposed to someone who did.
It was a dark reminder of a time not too long ago, when we were all completely isolated in our homes, yearning to hug our loved ones. Never have I felt more anxious as those early months of the pandemic.
There are plenty of reasons to feel anxious right now. Despite the widespread availability of vaccines in the U.S., new Covid cases are at an all-time high, thanks in part to how easily Omicron spreads. Hospitalizations also appear to be on the rise, especially among children.
But we also have more tools to cope with pandemic-induced stress after going through it for nearly two years.
For example, in the early months of the pandemic, I discovered some good techniques to calm my severe anxiety. Meditation was one of them. Another one, surprisingly, was taking a warm bath.
One tool I’ve found particularly effective is practicing gratitude. I am constantly reminded throughout the day of how lucky I am. This was the case long before the pandemic, but lately I seem to be much more conscious of it.
Throughout the past two weeks, despite all the fear and uncertainty, I’ve made a concerted effort to combat my Covid anxiety by actively practicing gratefulness.
And you know what? It works.
This year, I encourage you to not put too much energy into your New Year’s resolutions.
They almost always dwell on our negative feelings about ourselves. We also tend to beat ourselves up when we don’t stick with them. (I’m not suggesting you skip the resolutions entirely if that’s your thing. Just don’t harp on the things you dislike about yourself too much. There’s enough to complain about as it is.)
Instead, here are some ways you can practice being grateful every day:
When you wake up each day, don’t rush to get out of bed. Take a moment to reflect on how lucky you are to be alive. If we learned one thing during the pandemic, it’s that tomorrow is not guaranteed.
- Go for a walk. Use the time to reflect on the things you appreciate in life. Really take in your surroundings.
- Practice mindfulness.
- Tip service workers, who are risking their health to serve you a cup of coffee or deliver your take-out. It’s called gratuity for a reason.
- Hold doors for people.
- Say “thank you” to people who hold doors for you.
- Say “thank you” to people in general.
- Call a friend or family member and tell them how much they mean to you.
- Volunteer for a local food pantry or soup kitchen. Helping those who are experiencing food insecurity reminds us to be grateful for what we have. (Note: many food pantries still have limited in-person volunteer opportunities due to the pandemic, but there are still ways to help. Host a food drive, or collect funds. Spend some time researching food insecurity in your area and share your knowledge with others.)
- Each night before bed, spend some time thinking about things you are thankful for. I do this when I’m brushing my teeth.
- When eating a good meal, savor it.
- Wake up early and watch the sunrise.
- Take a warm shower or bath.
- Listen to your favorite song.
- Dance like no one’s watching.
- Celebrate your successes, no matter how small.
- Reflect on some of your favorite moments from the past year.
Each of us has something to feel grateful for. I encourage you to spend some time this holiday exploring yours.