This is a blog I recently wrote for local magazine Southsea Folk. The magazine celebrates and supports local independent businesses and it was a joy to contribute. This is only my second blog but this time when I went to write, all the words were there. They have been rolling around in my head since the start of this pandemic. I hope they bring you some comfort...
There’s no denying how tough this current situation is for many people and for so many differing reasons. Each person going through it at the same time and riding the waves of emotion it brings. The uncertainty, the worry, the frustration and the overwhelming sadness.
As I work my way through my own emotions, I realise I have a tool in my kit which has made things a little easier. Gratitude. I’ll be honest with you that when I started The Grateful Hearts Club back in June, I already knew the power of gratitude and that showing thanks for the good in my life helped me out of a dark time.
What I didn’t consider is that in starting the project and by gratitude being so present in my life, I’ve almost been in training to find even the tiniest amounts of joy. Some days it’s easier than others but it’s a tool that couldn’t be more useful right now. Not that there’s any pressure to feel a certain way at the moment. In fact, it’s perfectly ok for us to have days where finding the positives are a total challenge!
There was actually no evolutionary benefit to us thinking positively. We are naturally hard-wired to detect danger, and this is what kept our ancestors safe. If you can choose to find the positives and give thanks for them, and do this regularly, over time you will create a new neural pathway. Put simply, neural pathways are created in our brain based on our habits and behaviours. Writing your gratitude down isn’t essential but it can really speed up the process of it becoming a habit more quickly.
A great way to increase gratitude is to spend time just before you go to sleep reflecting on your day. Pick out a few things that made you smile. Think about how and why you are grateful for these things. If you have a partner, why not do this together! If you have a family, why not ask your children before they go to bed. It’s a positive way to end the day and celebrate the joy (no matter how small it may seem on some days)
What’s truly important seems so visible right now. Through The Grateful Hearts Club, it’s been so lovely to see more and more people focusing on these things and giving thanks for them. It’s both inspiring and humbling to know that given what the world is facing, many are embracing the opportunity to reflect on what is important and are choosing gratitude and kindness.
I feel it in Southsea and I’m grateful to live somewhere with such a big heart, kind people and a community spirit that makes you feel like we will get through this together. It fills me with joy to think that when life returns to some normality both ourselves and our planet may be changed for the better.
If you want to learn more about Southsea Folk, then check them out here http://southseafolk.uk/