Finding Peace in a Pandemic Through Gratitude
Everyone’s suffering from Covid in some way or another. We feel helpless, anxious and overwhelmed. While it’s easy to commiserate with each other about what we’ve lost, gratitude mitigates these difficult feelings by paying attention to what we are gaining—resilience, courage, integrity, acceptance, love…. We’re afraid of focusing on the negative because it can make things worse. However, seeing the negative for what it is— your negative thought patterns spinning out of control—rather than being stuck in it, gratitude has the effect of freeing you. For example, I’ve been worrying for the last year about my 25-year old daughter who went down to Florida just before the pandemic to care for her new nephew, and is still there. She’s socially isolated, but has noticed that many people aren’t, and don’t even wear masks. She wants to avoid the close-quarters of airports and airplanes, but she’s anxious by nature and nervous about driving alone. The thought conjures up visions of awful weather and dangerous conditions—her car will break down, she’ll be exposed to Covid, she’ll have trouble at the border. Mostly, she’s scared of bringing the virus home because I’m high-risk. She blames Covid for keeping her stuck down there but really, it’s self-doubt. How does gratitude help? I shared with her my own hair-raising adventures in Europe, driving alone long before cell phones and GPS. I used to be so timid, but this adventure made me bold and courageous, no longer risk-averse. I see a glimmer of pride in her eyes as she recalls the difficulties she’s overcome in Quebec’s harsh winter driving conditions: freezing rain, snow storms, ice-storms and whiteouts. She’s beginning to appreciate that our harsh climate has made her strong. There’s technology to be grateful for too. We can chat anytime while she’s en route. We’re also thankful for her time there, bonding with her brother for the first time (they’re thirteen years apart). She’s grateful for the experience of caring for her new-born nephew, with whom she’s honed her empathy, her communication skills and her creative thinking. It’s all win-win! Through all this she’s become an impressive baker, posting mouth-watering photos online and strategically preparing for a place in the food industry while she pursues her studies. Considering all this again and again, her anxiety is fading. I think she’ll soon face her fears and come home. Gratitude is powerful. Use generously!