I had a thought awhile back, “If fall is everyone’s favorite season, then why are we all so afraid of change?” The leaves turning amber and shades of scarlet demonstrates annually that change is beautiful. So, in this time, how do we embrace the numerous shifts as something nothing short of divine, as the “cup half full”? It is all too easy to focus on the negative, but what are our strengths and what resiliencies have we built when normalcy was stripped away?
Whatever our “Covid Bubble” consists of in this time, we can make choices like showing physical affection to our loved ones that will boost our oxytocin and improve our sense of well-being. Even something seemingly trivial or cliché, like an act of kindness, has a physical effect on our mind and body, changing our experience. A huge aspect of positive psychology is the focus on gratitude. There is a strong correlation between fostering gratitude and the level of happiness we then embody. More gratitude means more happy.
Gratitude lends into our season. I was imagining the holiday season coming, and as we put away our cobwebs and tombstone décor, a major shift I saw coming made me feel relieved, feel as if a wonderful opportunity to practice thankfulness and focus on our connections was coming. Out of all the days, I am talking about Black Friday. How shoppers engage in Balck Friday will be different this year, there is no camping outside of best Buy in a crowded line. As this has become the norm, the tradition for some, the absence provides time to focus on what we have or create new customs to cherish. This is just a stark example engaging in the choice to see of the cup half full.
A few exercises we can engage in to cultivate gratitude are:
- A Gratitude Jar: Grab a mason jar, decorate it if you wish, and each day write down three things you are thankful for. Soon enough, the jar will be overflowing with reasons to be thankful that could turn a bad day around.
- The Gratitude Box: This is for roommates, partners, families… every member can write down on scraps of paper ends of prompts like, “Thank you for…”, “What I love about you…”, etc.
- Gratitude focused meditation fights off stress and creates a mindset that operates from a positive lens.
- Take this quiz developed by psychologists that reflect your level of gratitude and provide tips on how to improve! https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/quizzes/take_quiz/gratitude
Let us all begin to embrace change as an opportunity to swell with thankfulness and continue to build lives that beat our imagination.
By: Adalyn Wilson, Capital EAP MHC Intern