How Gratitude Guides Us Forward During Challenging Times

There’s no more time to complain.

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Photo by Joshua Reddekopp on Unsplash
Photo by Joshua Reddekopp on Unsplash

In the “before times” prior to COVID-19, I actively practiced an attitude of gratitude. Every morning when I woke up, I thought of a few things to be grateful for. These things included aspects of life that are obvious (like family) and less than obvious (like someone holding the door open for you at a busy café).

I continued to maintain a sense of gratefulness as we entered 2020. I had no way of knowing what was ahead of us — our community, state, country, and world — as the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly spread across the globe.

It is a challenging time. There is so much unknown ahead in the lives of virtually everyone on our humble planet.

However, in spite of the unknown we are seeing extraordinary behavior. Acts of kindness and service are rising up. Individuals everywhere are practicing gratitude on their own and with their fellow humans. If you haven’t already begun to practice an attitude of gratitude in your daily life, here’s how you may get started.

Share a thankful list via social media.

What are you thankful for today? Make a list of five items and share the little blessings on your social media accounts, like an Instagram Story or tweet it out on Twitter.

The things you are thankful for may change on a daily basis, which is the most exciting part of jotting down little areas of gratitude.

You might be grateful for ripe bananas that were baked into delicious banana bread on Monday, a phone with your parents on Tuesday, and seeing your favorite flowers in bloom on Wednesday.

Mix it up! Think outside of the thankful box each day. Your public posts may inspire others to create similar content and express their own gratitude for the everyday.

There’s no time to complain.

Most individuals are currently practicing Safety in Place and Shelter in Place. They are staying at home and practicing social distancing. Doing this is beneficial to the public health and our own health. As we spend this time hunkered down, our mindsets are shifting. We are seeing quarantine time as precious. There is time for nearly everything right now, but there is no time to complain.

In the “before times,” it seemed like complaints were everywhere. Even a minor inconvenience could upset or ruin our best days. Looking back, now it all seems silly. We let our moods suffer for what were truly superficial reasons, like being stuck in traffic or forgetting a phone charger at home.

Why was that the norm again?

As time continues to pass, I find I spend no time complaining and all of my time saying “thank you.” I thank my amazing team of employees who work incredibly hard each day helping our customers. I thank my husband for his support and my two sons for their infectious energy and great attitudes. I am thankful to every essential worker, from those at grocery stores to trash collectors and everyone in the medical profession, for keeping us alive and well.

In my gratitude, I am also able to step back and focus on the needs of others. When you stop complaining, you revert to a team mentality. It’s we, not I. It’s us, not me. Where can we help? What do others need that we can provide? We’re all in this together and together we will rise to do great things that benefit one and all.

Gratitude allows us to keep innovating.

I keep reflecting on the thought that history is full of innovators. Dreamers, thinkers, and creators have existed throughout all eras of time, the prosperous and trying alike. No matter what was happening, they never let their spark die out. They didn’t give up hope. Instead, they saw an opportunity to make something better — and they did it.

I work alongside small business owners to help them incorporate or form LLCs for their companies. Small business sentiment, despite the unprecedented times, remains extremely gritty. Entrepreneurs have an incredible amount of resilience and verve. This too shall pass, but small business owners will use this time to adapt and pivot to succeed and help others.

The spirit of entrepreneurship will always be present within the world. There will never be a day where people do not consider branching out to explore new horizons. They may become a small business owner with a unique idea or process that betters their entire community. They might pick up an interesting side hustle, or think “now is the time!” to fully explore their passions.

The times, they are a’changin’. Gratitude is helping power us through these changes. An attitude of gratitude will keep us on the right track to give back and make the world a better place.

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