I heard from many of you how much you appreciated the last blog and the focus on gratitude last week. Today I want to share some of the everyday, practical ways to incorporate gratitude as well as some resources for doing so even amid this current reality. While this shouldn’t be seen by the achievers among us as a “to-do list” that you must check off, think of it as a menu at a restaurant – try to find something that looks good to you to try and in so doing, may you nourish yourself.
Ok so in making something a habit, being more mindful of it and stopping to focus amidst chaos, you may need a daily prompt to help. Here I’d like to invite you to explore “One Billion Happier People.” This is an international movement of people who post daily gratitudes. There’s an app portal to this group and also you can sign up for daily emails that refer you to the post. I am lucky enough to be the guest contributor the week of April 13-17! Personally, I’d love to have some familiar names and faces out there posting and responding with me. Will you join me? To get signed up you can click here.
Other electronic methods include a variety of apps that allow you to either journal your thoughts for just your reflection or find ways to share them with others. You can set reminders for yourself to do these in the morning, at night before bed, or at certain other intervals throughout the day. One of the apps I’ve used over the years is simply called Gratitude (and it’s made with love in South Dakota!).
Filling Up on the Good Stuff
Whether you’re on the frontlines providing care in a hospital, leading an Incident Command Center, supporting the increased data and IT infrastructure needs, or in quarantine at home and learning how to be an educator to your children, we all can use some good information to feed our brains. One of the things I’ve found encouraging is to fill my mind with positives and good information in the middle of the sea of things that don’t make sense. Specifically, I love learning more about the science and the health benefits of gratitude.
If you follow us (@dtaassociates) on social media streams, you’ve seen several podcasts that I’ve recommended in recent weeks. Two of my very favorites (about 30 minutes each which is nice for a walking workout for those of you practicing social distancing or those of you on your commute into the hospital) are “Thankful: The Science of Gratitude” by Stuff to Blow Your Mind and “How Gratitude Benefits Your Brain” by The Science of Happiness. Access these from wherever you get your podcasts.
Putting it into Action
I shared in our blog last week about some of the tremendous ways leaders in healthcare can help express gratitude to those on the very frontlines of this crisis. But what about those of us working from home, not at the hospital or in those types of roles at the moment? Here’s my suggestion: write a good old fashioned thank you note. When I was at Target for groceries last week I saw an 8-pack of springtime themed blank notes in the dollar section. So, grab a package next time you’re getting groceries and get some stamps from the ATM and get writing!
I made a list of people I know on the front lines of this fight and I write a few notes each day to send off to thank them. One thing I’ve noticed is how fast the mail is right now – I sent off a few on Friday and had texts from the recipients on Saturday! Maybe you know a nurse working this weekend, a pharmacist plugging away, a safety officer going into week 4-6 of Incident Command work. Whomever it is, try not to limit yourself as you brainstorm people to whom you can write. Drop them a short note to let them know you’re thinking of them, that you’re thankful for them and that you’re cheering them on from wherever you are.
Here’s the thing – the science says this won’t just benefit them; it will bring something good to you as well. The reality is it is impossible to have a negative thought and be expressing gratitude at the same time. So, why not protect yourself for even just a few moments, each day?
These are just a few of the ways you can practically experience and express gratitude. I’ll be back next time with a few more ideas that you can consider incorporating. Meanwhile, follow us on social media @dtaassociates as I’ll be sharing some ideas there and be sure to sign-up and join me on One Billion Happier People each day of April 13-17th!