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Senior couple enjoying wine - woman has greeting card with sentiment "Thank You"

Gatesworth Stories —

Looking for gratitude
Suggestions to develop the habit of gratitude

These days, many of us have become more acutely aware of how we approach change as we work to accept the social-distancing, mask-wearing, stay-at-home lifestyle the coronavirus pandemic has introduced.

Some of us welcome change; others adjust—but slowly. And some of us have to drag ourselves into new routines and alternate plans, resisting all the way. There’s truly no right or wrong way to adapt and adjust.

But whether you’ve decided to keep your head down and tackle a stack of books until this is over or are tapping your fingers on the kitchen table in longing for a social life and cultural stimulation, there’s at least one attitude you can adopt that will make all this a bit easier.

It’s gratitude. And no, you don’t have to be grateful for COVID-19 or quarantine or days that may feel a lot longer than they should. But if you can find even a short list of positives, you’ll weather this disruption and come out on the other side with a few new insights about life, perhaps, and a greater appreciation for the parts of it that keep you going.

It’s not that hard to develop the habit of gratitude. If you’ve mastered this practice—good for you, keep it up! If not, the following are a few suggestions to jumpstart the process.

Give. And it’s not about money. What do you enjoy doing? Cooking? Photography? Knitting? Singing? Read a story to your grandson via Skype. Knit a potholder for your cousin. Volunteer to pull weeds for a friend or fix a squeaky hinge, all while practicing social distancing, of course. Lend out that book you just finished.

Touch. If you’re in quarantine mode with a life partner or family member, this one’s easy. Start the day with a hug, or end in one. We all miss hugging the people we can’t see right now. So start at home. Touch connects us to others and to ourselves.

Write. You don’t have to keep a journal. You can, of course, but gratitude is possible without it. Send an email to the co-worker you used to have lunch with on Wednesdays. Scribble down three things you’re happy about on the back of an envelope while you sit on the patio with morning coffee. Leave a kind note in the sock drawer for your partner.

There are lots of additional ways to open your life to gratitude. Take a slow walk in the early evening to help calm worries and refocus the brain on nature. Begin your next conversation with a short list of good things. The point is this: Gratitude is easy to find when we look for it.

Here at The Gatesworth, we are grateful for our residents. If you would like to learn more about our community, please call (314) 993-0111.

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