Module 6: Restart Forward Progress - Creating a Virtuous Cycle
Finding Gratitude in the Face of Uncertainty
A decade’s worth of research on gratitude has shown us that when life is going well, gratitude allows us to celebrate and magnify the goodness. But what about when life goes badly? In the midst of a crisis, people often ask if they can—or even should—feel grateful under such dire circumstances. Not only will a grateful attitude help—it is essential. In fact, it is precisely under crisis conditions when we have the most to gain by a grateful perspective on life. In the face of demoralization, gratitude has the power to energize. In the face of chaos, gratitude has the power to heal. In the face of despair, gratitude has the power to bring hope.
In other words, gratitude can help us cope with hard times. But being grateful is a choice, a prevailing attitude that endures and is relatively immune to the gains and losses that flow in and out of our lives. When disaster strikes, gratitude provides a perspective from which we can view life in its entirety and not be overwhelmed by temporary circumstances. Yes, this perspective is hard to achieve—but Shawn’s research shows it is worth the effort.
What are three things you are actually grateful for during the COVID-19 pandemic?
- For two minutes a day, think of one positive experience that’s occurred during the past 24 hours.
- Bullet point each detail you can remember. It works because the brain can’t tell the difference between visualization and actual experience. So you’ve just doubled the most meaningful experience in your brain.
- Do it for 21 days, your brain starts connecting the dots for you, then you have this trajectory of meaning running throughout life.
Research from the University of Texas found that if you have a chronic neuromuscular disease, chronic fatigue and pain, and you do this for six weeks in a row, six months later, they can drop your pain medication by 50 percent.
Set a chair in the middle of the room and designate it as the “gratitude chair.” Gather around the chair and have one family member sit in it. Those gathered around can bestow praise, gratitude, and encouragement on the loved one seated in the appreciation chair. Have each family member take a turn sitting in it.
This is one of our favorites because it’s an easy way to be more intentional about serving others and appreciating the kindness we receive. Have your children keep a journal of kind things that have been done for them and kind things that they do for others.
- Gratitude in a Time of Pandemic (English)
- Gratitude in a Time of Pandemic (Spanish)
- Shawn Achor’s 6 Exercises for Happiness (English)
- Shawn Achor’s 6 Exercises for Happiness (Spanish)
- The Benefits of a Gratitude Journal and How to Maintain One (English)
- The Benefits of a Gratitude Journal and How to Maintain One (Spanish)
- Why Mindful Mornings Matter During the Pandemic Panic (English)
- Why Mindful Mornings Matter During the Pandemic Panic (Spanish)
- Burned Out Working From Home? 10 Practical Ways to Hit the Refresh Button (English)
- Burned Out Working From Home? 10 Practical Ways to Hit the Refresh Button (Spanish)
- Joy and Gratitude in Difficult Times (English)
- Joy and Gratitude in Difficult Times (Spanish)