On any given day, it may feel we have a lot to be unthankful for: we’re burnt out, we’re stressed, and juggling the last year-and-a-half of the pandemic has left us all exhausted.
Think about a bad day you had recently. Maybe you burned your coffee, a supervisor gave you disappointing feedback, and a client project went downhill. A rough morning can turn into a rough day and then a rough week– it’s easy to feel like everything is spiraling out of control.
Stopping the Negative Snowball: Shifting Towards Gratitude
When negative situations feel like they’re snowballing, refocusing on gratitude can help adjust your perspective. What are the good parts? What are the things you’re thankful for?
The pandemic has had negative impacts on just about everyone. There’s been loss and a restructuring of our daily lives in what we can and can’t do. For me, one of those shifts was working remotely—we weren’t able to go into the office anymore. I was saddened by that; I love seeing my colleagues and thrive off our in-person connections. But I reframed my mindset to think about what I was grateful for, and I realized that being at home meant I got to spend more time with my daughter. If we were still at the office every day, I might have missed some of the major early milestones in her life.
When she had health issues earlier this year, I had the flexibility to take her to the hospital and could keep a closer eye on her from home. It was a tough situation, but I was able to find the good in it, and I’m thankful she’s doing much better now.
You can do the same thing, too—just give your mind a quick reset.
3 Tricks for Reframing Your Mindset
Name your “10”. If I’m feeling overwhelmed, I push myself away from my desk, close my eyes, and come up with ten things I’m thankful for at that moment. If ten seems too high for you, try to think of two to three things. Perhaps it’s a partner who emptied the dishwasher this morning, a smile on your child’s face while running out the door to school, or an interesting podcast you listened to recently. It’s a good mental challenge and helps remove those negative feelings.
Fresh air, fresh perspective. When a situation is super gnarly, I go and take a walk outside. The health benefits of sunshine and fresh air are tremendous, including an increase in Vitamin D, faster recovery from illness and injury, and stimulation of our minds. When I’m back at my desk, I feel refreshed and ready to tackle anything.
A total reset. I quickly perform a task unrelated to what I’m doing. Maybe I need to load the dishwasher or fold laundry. Or I can take a mental break for something like The New York Times mini-crossword. Distracting those thoughts with another activity can be useful.
Whatever’s going on out there in the world, there’s still something good accompanying it. With Thanksgiving around the corner, I’m thankful that I have the ability to reframe my mindset and remind myself everything will be okay.
How are you expressing gratitude during this time of year? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.