With a new year in sight, most of us are simply counting down the days until 2020 is OVER, am I right?!? Forget about the holidays and who cares about finishing strong, if we could fast forward through the rest of 2020, leaving its catastrophes, disappointments, and burdens behind, we would.
The most wonderful time of the year will be different and before that Thanksgiving stares us down just daring us not be thankful. But gratitude doesn’t come as easily as in year’s past. When we think back on the past 11 months, there are more low points than high ones.
Yet, we know gratitude is key to a happy life and to breaking the cycles of anxiety, depression, and self-pity. Perhaps the peace and joy we’re seeking is just on the other side of thankfulness. Here are three steps to get there.
Pause and Take a Moment
Canceled activities and quarantines slowed us down more than in past years, but slowing down doesn’t always equal reflection. If you’re like me, my downtime became binge time as a means of escaping all that was going wrong around me. And when I’m distracted, I miss the wonderful blessings in my life.
Slowing down to reflect is the first step toward getting thankful. Stop and consider the bright spots in your everyday life. Pause to consider the good things that 2020 brought your way. You might be surprised how many come to mind when you take a moment to reflect.
Writing down ten things you’re thankful for each day can get repetitive and stale. If you want to boost your gratitude game, try getting creative. Instead of pen and paper, try text or video. Paint, draw, or sing. Share with others or send them anonymously.
Whether you go digital or old school, mixing up your gratitude approach can renew your energy and bring fresh ideas to mind.
Do It Anyway
I know, 2020 has been hard. Really hard. And it’s tough to find things to be thankful for this year.
Do it anyway.
There’s a reason they call it “practicing” gratitude. It takes work and repetition. Just like you don’t always feel like going to the gym, maybe you don’t always feel like being grateful.
Do it anyway.
It doesn’t have to be every day. But, try as regularly as possible. When you practice, trust the process (and the science!) that spending five minutes pondering what you’re grateful for will improve your mood, your outlook, and your relationships.
And while you’re working that gratitude muscle, get specific. Think small. The more detailed you can be with your items, the more you’ll appreciate the little things of life.
Choosing thankfulness reframes our experiences. We may not appreciate everything that happened in 2020, but practicing gratitude will help us see the positives we may have missed along the way.