I find it difficult to talk about gratitude without sounding cliched and cringey. Perhaps it's being British or perhaps it's a general discomfort around feeling appreciation and love for ourselves and our lives, worrying that it seems like we're gloating or boasting. Gratitude as a practice is something that's massively helped my mental health during this enduring lockdown, much like the rain. Everyone seems more subdued this time around and I think the time of year and weather has a lot to do with it. It's felt like quite a natural time to hunker down and hibernate, but as much as I appreciate that, the monotony of the days has really gotten to me in the last few weeks.
It's not necessarily in the obvious repetitive patterns of the day - as someone who quite likes my own company, a quieter schedule has suited me pretty well - but it's the subtle unease that I've been feeling that's my indicator for a lack of interaction with other humans and feeling too focused on my own life, struggling not to worry about irrational frustrations. This is where gratitude comes in and I've found it's even more important on the days where you're struggling to find things to be grateful for.
Some days it's the simple things (my bed, a hot/cold shower, delicious food, my boyfriend/friends/family) and I find them with ease, silently listing them off in my head. Other times I have to dig deeper, but I never finish feeling worse than I did when I started. I like to do this in the morning almost as soon as I wake up and before I go to sleep as a sandwich to my day. I usually set a number of things to list off (5, 10 or 20) so it makes me get more specific and think harder about how much I do have to be grateful for. Sometimes I get to finding gratitude in the things that have caused anxiety, stress and worry.
Feeling grateful fosters a high vibrational frequency within the body and is a good way to get out of the low frequency feelings so many of us will be feeling at the moment, whether that's frustration, sadness or worry. Feeling grateful for the people, objects and feelings in your life grounds you and brings you out of the mind that may long for the past or fret about the future. You're forced to take in your surroundings and be present in everything that you are feeling in this moment and this moment only. It's not about thinking about what could change tomorrow or the next day or think about something you had that's no longer with you, but looking for the small and big things with you now.
I've noticed a lot of people say how quickly the weeks are going. It's so easy to be gliding through this time, willing it to be over and thinking only of the things that we'll have to look forward to once this is all over and I count myself in this. But life is still happening and the remnants of this period will be with us for a while whether we like it or not. So we may as well find pockets of gratitude and content in the smaller moments that we'll remember when summer rolls around and we're drinking beers in the park with friends or hugging family that we haven't hugged in over a year with the long rainy days indoors feeling so far away.
Originally published in my newsletter 21/02/2021