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COVID-19 Life Part 3: Digging into Gratitude
I try not to get into a negative thought pattern within my life because it is so easy to go there, to see the bad in things and complain. Why is it so easy to be a “grump”? I think there is something satisfying about complaining, but one of the problems with negativity is that the people listening to your complaints are probably not seeing your situation the way that you do. And then, they peg you as being “negative”, which starts a whole new set of issues. Instead of focusing on all of that toxic energy, let’s pivot and embrace gratitude! It can be a difficult practice but it is well worth exploring where you are in life, and picking out the positive things about your life.
Here are a few different aspects of life where you can find gratitude:
Where you're living
Is that space safe and comforting for you? If it is not, what steps can you take to make your home the sanctuary you deserve? It is very important for our mental health to have a safe place to be and to make it your style and zone for relaxing. There is so much noise and pressure once you enter the outside world, you need to have a quiet place to be. If you live with roomies, then making your bedroom that quiet place to be should be a priority, so you can retreat there if needed. Sitting in your space and appreciating it is building on the gratitude you are feeling.
What are we saying to ourselves about our mental health, our physical appearance and what we are wearing? Is it veiled in years of not feeling good about ourselves and picking up the negative messaging along the way? Consider taking a few minutes everyday to love yourself and point out the qualities that make you unique and awesome. Think of days that you feel good about yourself and build on those feelings! Having chronic pain or living with a mental illness can get in the way of feeling good about yourself, but is there a way or moment you can appreciate yourself?
Wishing others well and actually meaning it
The people in our lives are so important,but they take space in our lives and require a level of understanding and empathy from us. When we are empathetic towards others, we begin the process of kindness and love towards them. You could even apply this to people that you are not a fan of, or who bother you often. Pick something about them that is a positive attribute, or good going on in their lives, and wish them well! You don’t even have to say it to them, you can put it out there in the Universe and feel good about it. I found the “Loving-Kindness Meditation” so that you have prompts to show empathy towards others. Repeat this outloud in a quiet place as part of a meditation practice.
“May you be happy, May you be healthy, May you be safe, May you live with ease”.
Mindfulness using RAIN?
This is an ancient Buddist mindfulness tool for you to use anytime you need it. It’s to help you focus on a problem and get to the root and move forward while learning a lesson from it. There are guided meditations using RAIN, which you could use as a prompt to get into the meditation zone. For example, here is a guided meditation about RAIN by Rara Brach Feeling Overwhelmed? Remember “RAIN”.
R - Recognize it
A - Allow it. When I hear this, I think of it as pausing to let the flood of emotions tied to the issue come over you. Feel how you want, and then decide to adjust your feelings about it.
I - Investigate your feelings, your body and your nervous energy.
N - Nurture your feelings
How is RAIN tied to gratitude? I tricked you, it’s not specifically!
It’s easy to rattle off things you are grateful for, but what is bothering you in this moment? I want you to focus on yourself right now, and help yourself get over negativity, hurt and really dig deep about things you can control. All we can do is try.
For today, I am grateful for summer coming, being safe at home and having the space to write some tips on how to get through this Covid Life.
Marnie is the Engagement and Partnership Coordinator at mindyourmind and happily worked front line in the mental health field for over a decade. She enjoys a good joke, plants and chasing after her puppy, Hondo!
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