Gratitude at Six Feet Apart

If you’re feeling the raw edge of the terrifying world pandemic of COVID-19, you are not alone. And while now might seem a tough time to experience gratitude, doing just that can provide soothing comfort in these scary weeks. 

Look around. If you’re healthy with a roof overhead, there’s lots to be grateful for. Are you getting food delivered? Do friends or family check in with you? Perhaps you’re finally enjoying that book you purchased months ago, or binge-watching your favorite costume drama? Have you tried new technologies to better connect with friends and family? Gratitude might be as simple as acknowledging a sunny day. Or maybe it’s rain you crave. And think of the money (and calories) you’re saving by cooking at home.

If you try looking through a different lens, you can find lots to be grateful for even in these unsettling times.

Here is a Gratitude Exercise to make note of in your Gratitude Journal any time things look bleak:

  • Be grateful for yourself first. Rejoice and be grateful for the breath that gives you life, for your ability to see and smell and hear. Write down three things you are grateful for about yourself. Don’t forget to note good ways you’ve dealt with keeping safe and sane during the current world events. 
  • Second, be open. No matter how discouraging circumstances may be, you can always find at least one or two things to be grateful for right now. Look to new ways to feel the abundance of your rich life. Try standing in a ray of sunlight pouring through a window, arms open, head tilted toward the warmth. Say out loud, “I am open to what these times can show me about my life. I am open to new experiences.” Feel the gratitude of being safe in this moment. 
  • And finally, start now. Begin today to acknowledge all the positive events and circumstances that have gotten you to the here and now. Be conscious of the role of gratitude in enhancing the good in life. If you are safe and healthy, now is the time to increase your gratitude practice. 

To expand your Gratitude Exercise, try doing for others. Calling someone, sending a card or letter, and making or safely sharing something you’ve cooked, are all expressions of gratitude. You can be that thing someone else feels grateful for. Their gratitude will boomerang back to you. You don’t need to put on a mask or even leave your house to give and receive appreciation. 

Let gratitude comfort and uplift you.

The gratitude work you do now will serve as the basis for identifying exactly which activities and people to add back into your life once the pandemic loosens its hold. 

Tell us where you experience gratitude in your life, particularly during this difficult time. Sharing what works for you reminds others of their own abundance.

Excerpted from Golden Grace:  Embracing the Richness of Our Later Years by Antonia Albany.

Antonia Albany is a gratitude expert who lives in Northern California with her three-legged cat, Kali. She is a writer and blogs at The Joy of Aging Gratefully.  In addition to Golden Grace, Antonia shares her personal experiences of aging with gratitude in The Other Side of the Hill:  Celebrating Our Later Years and In This Moment:  Making the Most of Your Senior Years. Her work has appeared in Tiny Lights, Sonoma County Update, Oprah Magazine, and Potato Soup Journal. 


3 responses to “Gratitude at Six Feet Apart

  1. I am just grateful for my wife and me that we are ALIVE!!
    We have family and friends that constantly keep in touch with us, and we them, and we are just tickled pink to have so many people concerned about us. This includes our Church members as well. In conclusion, we have nothing to be sorry for and everything to be thankful for. We have a roof over our heads, and food to eat. I pray to God every day that we can also continue to live by His will for us.

  2. I have the privilege of facilitating our UU Fellowship’s “Enlivened Elders” Group. It is true to its name with a mix of folks 70-ish to 102. This is an Affirmation of Gratitude I wrote to open our (now virtual) gatherings. “Let us be grateful for our aging selves, for many have not been allowed that privilege / Let us be grateful for those who have come before and shared their light with us / And let us be grateful especially for our flaws and our fragility, for it is from them that we have learned compassion.” The value of gratitude in our everyday lives is immeasurable.

    1. I love the idea of being grateful for one’s flaws and fragility. It is empowering to release the need to think “should” and “not good enough”. I never thought to be grateful for aging also.
      Thank you.

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