For nine long months of COVID, we’ve done everything possible to stay safe. Many of us can say, ever so cautiously, that we haven’t been affected directly. Nevertheless, stories of hardship and loss seep through, increasing our anxiety and impacting our state of mind. How can we continue to age gratefully when our worlds remain buttoned down, when we’re fearful, bored, or discouraged?
The power of gratitude does not fade during a pandemic. Gratitude remains a strong ally to surviving and flourishing regardless of world events.
Studies show that being grateful gives all parts of our lives a lift, a boost in positivity that helps us get through the days, especially when those days are scary, and especially when we’re feeling hopeless and worried for the future of our world.
Did you know that gratitude can positively impact your health? It’s true. Elders, especially those with compromised immune systems due to high blood pressure, diabetes, and other age-related illnesses, are more susceptible to COVID-19. Gratitude, practiced regularly, can improve your immune response to any illness, including the coronavirus.
Gratitude will do the heavy lifting of helping you sustain a positive attitude. It can keep you energized, healthy, and hopeful, and it can also level out the wide swing of emotions we’re faced with daily.
Acknowledging gratitude in your life is easy:
- Start today: Look around right where you are and jot down two or three things you’re grateful for, then expand this practice to a wider vision every day.
- Say it out loud: Expressions of gratitude, for even the mundane things, helps make them more prominent. While we can’t hug or even shake hands, we can offer shout outs in our Zoom and other online avenues via cheerful emojis or supportive emails.
- Be committed to gratitude: Before expressing any negativity, fear, or anger, look for a sliver of good in any and all situations. Focused gratitude magnifies the good in our lives.
Stay vigilant and let gratitude remain a strong protection during this time of COVID and during all the coming months. When you do go out into the world, imagine that every mask you see features a kind smile, and practice using your eyes to convey gentle support for all you encounter. Then watch that energy reflected back to you.
Antonia Albany is a writer and the author of Golden Grace: Embracing the Richness of Our Later Years. She is a gratitude expert who lives in Northern California with her three-legged cat, Kali, and she blogs at The Joy of Aging Gratefully. Antonia shares her personal experiences of aging with gratitude in two additional books The Other Side of the Hill: Celebrating Our Later Years and In This Moment: Making the Most of Your Senior Years.