No matter what happens around you, choose gratitude

by Chris Simon ([email protected]) 274 views 

The world is a new place. COVID-19 has changed the modern world in many ways we have yet to learn. Though the world is different, people are the same. Driven by the same wants and desires, simply trying to make sense of the unknown. But calm can exist in the wildest storm, whether it be physically in the eye of a hurricane or finding a sense of internal peace. One thing remains the same: We can determine how we react to the crisis. Today, let’s look at a few ways we have the power to create calm, peace, and safety in the midst of crisis.

Create rituals. The unknown is scary. The known is comforting. Creating rituals and routine creates structure, pattern and comfort, especially when many of us are now working from our homes — an environment that can be one of the most difficult. When things become stressful, I seek out routines for comfort and calmness. Every morning I start with the same routine to place me in the right state of mind for the day. Routines may include making coffee, journaling, planning your day, prioritizing the to-do list, straightening your desk, reading a book in a specific spot, etc. Create and follow rituals to proactively place you in a healthy state of mind.

Media checks. News, smartphones, and social media have transformed the way we obtain news. The downside is that during a crisis the constant stream of sad, fearful or scary information can easily send anyone into a fearful tailspin. I encourage you to turn off news notifications. Only check the news a few specific times a day, and do not check for the first or last two hours of the day. Choose to focus on good things at the beginning and end of each day. Creating specific spaces to take in this information will hopefully contain your anxiety from spilling into every part of your day.

Combat with action. Stress and anxiety will always exist, even once the pandemic has passed. What matters is how we respond. When fear, stress and anxiety hit, combat it with action. Perform a 1-minute workout, pray or meditate, practice deep breathing, say one thing you are grateful for today, drink a glass of water, look at a family picture or remember a time of laughter. The concept of distraction that works so well when my 2-year-old is throwing a tantrum works just as well on myself when anxiety feels like a tidal wave coming over me. Distract yourself from the anxiety by focusing on something that is positive.

Gratitude list. Negativity flies around us every day. Coupled with humanity’s inherent negative bias, we naturally sit in the negative while being bombarded with negative. Stop the swirl of negativity today. At the end of every day, make a list of things for which you are grateful (this can become one of your new rituals). Some of my examples are being thankful for spring flowers, sunny weather and hearing my kids laugh while in my home office. Focus on these daily gifts, finding gratitude for what you have. Choose gratitude. No matter what happens around you, you can always be grateful.

Whether experiencing a world pandemic, recession, health problems or just a bad day, you possess the ability to find comfort and calm. Life is hard — that will never change. What does change is the type of hard. Rather than accept the challenges of life, confront them head-on by seeing the beauty and luster of life.

Each day will be different. Make conscious choices to foster calm, peace and positivity in your life. Take a stance to make every day fantastic.

Chris Simon is the founder of Elmry, a Bentonville company dedicated to building leaders across the world. The opinions expressed are those of the author.

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