Living with More Gratitude

We are approaching 1 year when the world essentially shut down and changed forever. On March 11, 2020, I was sitting in a pub (Tom’s Place in Kingston to be exact) with a few of my buddies having a pint when notifications on our phones started coming in announcing that major sports leagues were being shut down, events cancelled, a travel ban was put in place for Europe and the World Health Organization officially declared COVID-19 as a pandemic. That was a lot to digest. So, we had a few extra pints that night, and joked that we will probably have to put off our next meetup for a couple weeks.

It has been a wild year, there is no denying that. We have gone through a lot of challenges, been pushed to our limits, and faced tremendous loss. However, it is well-known that we do not grow or become better people when things are easy, we grow when we are faced with challenges.

Looking back on this year, I have become more appreciative and grateful for just about everything in my life and how incredibly lucky I am. I think we all can admit that we have come to some realization of gratitude for the people that surround us and the communities we live in. 

When the world returns to a ‘new normal’ and life becomes busier again, I want to continue to lead my life from a place of appreciation and I think there are others who would like to do the same.  It is scientifically proven that the benefits of living with more gratitude are enormous. It helps improve your mental strength, physical health, and self-esteem, while enhancing empathy and reducing stress.

However, we need tools and a strategy. I did some research and found a few great tips that we can apply to our daily lives.  These tips come from various sources (podcasts, books, blogs, etc).

  • Every morning immediately after you wake up say ‘Thank you for another day!’ This will start your day with appreciation. Every day we get to live is a gift.
  • Shift your mindset from ‘I have to’ to ‘I’m blessed to.’ Example – ‘I have to drive to work in traffic,’ instead say ‘I’m blessed to drive to work in traffic.’ This helps you appreciate that a) you have a car, b) you have a job, c) you are going somewhere to reach your goals, etc.
  • Take time every day and think of something you are grateful for, it can be anything, from a moment last week or a moment in your past. Then give yourself a few minutes to stay in that moment to truly appreciate it.
  • Express yourself! You can increase your feelings of gratitude by expressing that same gratitude to the people you care about.
  • Develop a habit of focusing on what you have in your life instead of what you do not have. This will help you properly deal with adverse life events better and improve your self-worth.

In a few weeks on March 11th, 2021, I’ll raise a pint (hopefully with my buddies at Tom’s Place), and say ‘thank you’ to a challenging year.