Gratitude is more than a word. It's an action. And the research shows that it's beneficial for us to show it, express it, and live it.
With 2020 nearing a close, there are many people who are looking forward to closing this chapter and opening a new one. I've expressed on many an occasion that I'm ready to drop-kick 2020 and bring in 2021!
Throughout the year, we've experienced stories of loss, struggle, grief, and negativity. However, I would be remiss not to mention the gifts that have come about during the COVID crisis.
Admittedly, there have been times during the COVID crisis that I've not been grateful. I've been angry, bored, selfish, and frustrated, and everything in between. I've done a lot of work during my teen and adult years on ignoring negative feelings that want to play over and over in my head. While I did experience those thoughts over these past months, I knew from the work I've done (and are still doing!) on myself that gratitude wins out. Every time.
Researchers have determined that gratitude does four things:
1. Gratitude disconnects us from toxic, negative emotions and the ruminating that often accompanies them.
2. Expressing gratitude helps us even if we don’t explicitly share it with someone.
3. The positive effects of gratitude writing compound like interest. You might not notice the benefit of a daily or weekly practice, but after several weeks and months, you will.
4. A gratitude practice trains the brain to be more in tune with experiencing gratitude — a positive plus a positive, equal more positives.In the podcast episode "Looking for the Gifts" (linked below), my friend Allyson Apsey and I share with listeners some of the benefits we discovered during the pandemic.