The value of gratitude in the midst of a pandemic
Living through the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on everyone’s stress levels, anxiety, depression and fear. Gratitude is a great aid in reducing these feelings.
Many of us only talk about what we’re thankful for when we’re sitting around the table at Thanksgiving. But focusing on what we’re grateful for isn’t just a silly holiday cliché. It can actually increase your quality of life.
Benefits of gratitude
- Improves immune system: According to the American Heart Association, the practice of gratitude can improve your immune function. Immune health is always important, but since those with a compromised immune system are at a higher risk of having complications with COVID-19, it’s more important than ever.
- Better sleep: According to a 2011 study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, spending 15 minutes a day journaling about what you’re grateful for before bed can help you sleep better and longer.
- Improves mental health: Participating in exercises like the “Three good things” method allows you to reflect on three good moments that happened during the day, which can lessen depression and increase overall happiness.
- Happiness that is long-lasting: The happiness that comes from participating in moments of gratitude produces long-lasting happiness. We all know the serotonin boost that comes from eating our favorite treat, but gratitude elicits a boost that isn’t based on immediate gratification. And thus, has a longer-lasting effect.
- Enhances empathy and reduces aggression: According to Psychology Today, those who rank higher on a gratitude scale were less likely to retaliate against others. People who practiced gratitude also show more sensitivity and empathy towards others.
Ways to show gratitude
- Write thank-you notes: Writing thank-you notes can seem outdated. But when you put pen to paper and thank someone for their kind actions, it allows you to sit and reflect on the gratitude you have for that person.
- Write a gratitude journal: Journaling in the morning or at night lets you think back on your day and think about all of the good that happened. Even on the worst days, there is always a silver lining.
- Meditate or pray: The mindfulness associated with prayer and meditation enables you to focus on what you’re grateful for. If writing isn’t your thing, then mediation and prayer can be a great alternative.
- Give: Giving back to others, whether it’s your time, money or donating items, increases one’s internal gratitude and serotonin levels. Giving makes us feel like we are making a difference and reflect on how truly lucky we are.
One way that we are practicing in giving thanks and showing gratitude through the month of November is by focusing on our wonderful employees. Check out our social media all month long to find out how truly special our employees are and why our clients and consultants love them!