Tuesday, May 10, 2022

I’ve read these articles before. “Times are tough. Focus on the positive. You'll get though, you always do.” Sure, it might be a winning argument because those who don’t aren’t going to argue with you. But I didn’t think that was the message we needed, and it wasn’t the message I needed.

Now we find ourselves in the middle of a global pandemic, and I’m expected to impart some wisdom about the healing elixir of gratitude despite the individual and collective tragedy, heartbreak, disappointment, and devastation.

Gratitude won’t provide a barrier against virus transmission. Gratitude won’t bring back those we’ve lost. Banks, landlords, and grocery stores don’t accept gratitude as legal tender. Gratitude may not miraculously fix everything in the end, and I’m skeptical toward anyone who says it will. 

Still, allow me to make the case that perhaps some intentional efforts directed toward seeking and holding gratitude might add some significant good to the middle. That is where we are now, and in nearly any situation where we will spend most of our time. We’re almost always in the middle—wondering, fearing, or eagerly anticipating what is next—while yearning for, or feeling relief from, what has passed.

The now can be difficult, and gratitude may not dissolve that, but consider that it could make it a little sweeter. Both grief and gratitude come in all sizes and both can surprise you in unexpected places. The thing about gratitude, however, is if you go looking for it, it will usually show up, and the more you go hunting, the more you will find.

In all the words on this page it is unlikely that there is much here you don’t ready know. That is not the point. What matters is what you do with the information.

There are a lot of ways to sprinkle some gratitude throughout your day (here is a wealth of information).

To keep it simple, here is just one way – expressing gratitude towards others. Who is that person that comes to mind when you think of expressing gratitude? Maybe you’ve even been meaning to tell them but haven’t gotten around to it yet.

Type (click here for a ready-made email), text, or write the following:

Dear (fill in name),

I’m reading an article for work about gratitude that made me think of you. I might not have said it, but I wanted to take a quick moment to let you know how much I appreciate (insert expression of gratitude here).

Thank you,

(Your name here) 

That’s it. Send.

You can add more if you are compelled, but if the pressure to add more is going to prevent you from saying anything, don’t. Just send.

Gratitude can travel 6 feet or 600 miles in an instant. It can get through masks. The impact of exposure to gratitude is exponential, scientifically confirmed to have a positive effect for both the receiver and the giver. The easiest and most literal takeaway from a global pandemic could be that every single person on this rotating space rock is connected. Maybe gratitude won’t fix everything in the end, but it can spread some good while we’re all in the middle.