I have a couple of girlfriends who I check in with every week to make sure they are holding up well during this crazy quarantine time. One of them has been riddled with anxiety and heartbreak and it is hard to buoy her spirits no matter what I say. She stays glued to the news and is suffering deeply. I want to see her pain alleviated, but she can’t see any light in this darkness.
The other one, as soon as the quarantine began, immediately started to search her house for masks or other supplies she could donate. She watches the news to see where she can help. She has already helped friends with rent, food, and supplies. She has found rest, hobbies, joy, and even camaraderie since this began.
We’re all going through the same thing, so why do some people thrive and some crumble in times of crisis?
The difference is gratitude.
This is the time when a gratitude practice flexes its muscles. It is easy to feel grateful on a great day — but practicing it during the good times makes that practice work for you during difficult times.
My optimistic friend has been practicing gratitude for years now. She didn’t always thrive like she does now. She used to complain all the time and even when things were great she’d find some way to be miserable. Then one day, she was driving down the road listening to the radio and the speaker on the radio said, “Being bitter and complaining all the time is like taking poison and hoping someone else will die. No matter how perfect your circumstances are you’ll be miserable unless you change your thinking.” She nearly drove off the road because the lady in the radio was trying to pick a fight with her.
It is so weird when something you’ve heard a million times finally hits you in the face and makes you listen.
That is what happened to my friend. She changed her thinking. She actively said a little prayer of thanks every morning, before every meal, before bed, and whenever there was a little spark of beauty in front of her. At first, it required a conscious effort — then, eventually, it became an automatic habit.
This tiny little action made her become a content person. She is armed against a crisis because of this habit. Not only is she doing well during this time, everyone she knows is better off because of her positive energy. The gratitude made her motivated to help where she can. For some it is her words of encouragement, for others, it is her contribution of toilet paper or face masks. She is even grateful for the chance to contribute.
*Daniella Bozzone is a writer and illustrator based in Tennessee. She is the author and illustrator of Lucy Cate and her Gratitude Attitude and other uplifting children’s books. Check out her mindset and habit blog at https://www.daniellabozzoneauthor.com