The COVID-19 virus has changed our way of living. People are tired of being cooped up in their houses. Most of us are used to being able to socialize, go out to dinner, ship our kids off to school and visit friends and family. During this time, I believe it is important to stop, take a deep breath, and think about the positive things we enjoy daily.
This post is about gratitude. One of the keys to happiness. Any situation can be looked at in different ways. Remember, your glass can be half full or half empty. I am going to share some techniques I use to help change my mindset. These are just a few examples. Find what works best for you. The key is to train your mind to look at the positive aspects of a situation rather than concentrating on the negative. It takes work but it is time well spent.
The Gratitude Journal
It is easy to forget all the great things about our lives. One of the best ways to keep positive thoughts alive in your mind is to create a gratitude journal. This is a very simple process that anyone can do in just a few minutes per day.
I recommend journaling when you first wake up, right before falling asleep, or both. Starting your day off by counting your blessings will allow you to begin your day on a positive note. This doesn’t have to take a lot of time. Just list different things you are grateful for each day.
Journaling just prior to sleeping helps to calm your mind. It can lead to a better night of sleep. Just write down the things that made you happy during the day. What did you do well? List accomplishments. Review your day and jot the positive aspects down on paper.
Take a Break to Appreciate Nature
This has become my number one tool for decreasing anxiety and feeling better about the world we all live in. With everything going on lately, it is very easy to focus on negatives. Please give this a try.
Take a break to go outside and look around at what nature has to offer. Feel the suns warmth on your skin. Listen to birds sing. Actually study a flower or leaf. Pay attention to the details of their beauty.
No matter how your day is going, realizing how spectacular our world is can change your perspective. If you visit nature on a consistent basis, you can actually change how you feel. This is one of the reasons people enjoy hiking so much. The world we live in is truly a beautiful place.
Take pictures of flowers and trees. The photos posted at the beginning of this segment are just a few of the beautiful aspects of nature I have observed this year.
Don’t Forget the Gratitude Quotes
I have made a habit of reading positive quotes daily. This started as a strategy to find content for Instagram posts. I learned that this habit changed my perspective on life. It is another way to place positive information in your mind. These quotes can be found on the internet in seconds. You can also find them at least every other day on my Instagram feed @sunshineNTC.
I often share them with my wife and coworkers. It has helped my mindset. Sometimes it is the simplest things that cause the most impact.
The Power of Prayer
Do not underestimate the power of prayer. Connecting with your creator on a daily basis can change your life for the better. Take this time to thank God for the life you live and the world you live in. Instead of praying for a better life, consider being thankful for what you have. Your family, friends, job, house and everything you own can bring you joy if you think about things in the right way. If you are not a religious person, this can also be accomplished with meditation.
It is about spending some quiet time to collect your thoughts.
There are many ways to meditate and I plan to write an entire blog post on this subject in the near future. Clearing your mind with meditation has many positive effects on both the mind and body.
Celebrate Thanksgiving Everyday
One of our family’s Thanksgiving traditions is to go around the table and explain to the group what we are thankful for.
What if you did this each night at the dinner table? Start with the youngest and ask them what they enjoyed about their day?
What things made them feel good?
Did they learn anything new?
What are they thankful for?
We like to begin our dinner with a prayer usually spoken by our youngest. This is another way to celebrate the blessing we enjoy every day.
One of the best things to remember is that smiling makes you happy. This is true even if it is forced. It is also true that smiling at others makes them feel good as well. It is a win-win. You also feel good knowing you made someone else happy even if it were for only a short time.
I like to start each day by looking in the mirror, smiling and telling myself it is going to be a great day. It is quick, easy and it works.
Make it a practice to smile at everyone you walk by. Pay attention to how this makes you feel. I believe you will see a big difference.
Living each day with gratitude is not difficult. It doesn’t take much time. It won’t disrupt your schedule. What it will do is make you feel better about your life. It will increase happiness. The people you associate with will be able to detect a difference in your mood.
If you commit to trying the simple techniques outlined in this post, you will become a more likeable person. You will look forward to each day, have more energy and sleep better. Being grateful is one of the keys to happiness. Give it a try, you will be glad you did.
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As always, I hope you and your family have a great week. Stay safe! I will see you all here next week.
Michael J. Brown, RPh, BCPS, BCPP
Mr. Brown is a Clinical Pharmacist specializing in pharmacotherapy and psychiatry.
Feel free to send Michael a message using this link.
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