10 Top Ways to Practice Gratitude During Difficult Times

Whether you work for a large enterprise, or are managing a small biz, there’s no doubt that COVID-19 has already impacted your company

For starters, reaching out to new and current contacts has suddenly become more complicated. 

Not only has the coronavirus created an increase in digital correspondence, but it’s also forced us to consider how we communicate with our connections while remaining sensitive to the situation at hand. 

Changes such as event and conference cancellations, bar and restaurant shutdowns, as well as limiting our social gatherings to 10 people or less are forcing us all to pivot. 

While we remain unsure when or if we will return to the office, it’s easy to get discouraged and lose motivation. Not to mention, listening to news updates isn’t making matters any less nerve-wracking.

As we struggle to adjust to this “new normal,” there’s a simple solution that will help us to increase our happiness regardless of the negative noise, and stay connected despite lockdowns: gratitude.

In an effort to trade pessimism for positivity, we’ve crafted 10 top ways that you can practice gratitude during this difficult time:

What are the Productive Effects of Practicing Gratitude? 

In addition to being a powerful tool for business growth, studies have shown that when individuals practice gratitude, they experience beneficial effects that are capable of altering their physical, emotional, and social well-being:  

Physical Changes Occur

An Enhanced Sleep Schedule

Find yourself tossing and turning before falling asleep these past few days, or weeks? According to the Journal of Psychosomatic Research, generating feelings of gratitude can help you sleep better for longer amounts of time. 

Decreased Blood Pressure and Pain

If your current stress levels have caused you to break a sweat, know that practicing gratitude helps the heart by promoting lower blood pressure. And, in general, people who express appreciation regularly report that they experience fewer aches and pains

Increased Physical Activity

Just because we can’t leave our homes doesn’t mean that we can’t throw on some gym clothes and do a couple of crunches. In addition to raising our immune function, Oscar asserts that adding words of acknowledgement in our statements can encourage us to exercise more, and innately increases our physical activity

Emotional Alterations are Exhibited

Heightened Self-esteem and Life-satisfaction

The idea of “sheltering in place” may be giving some of us a bit of a bleak perspective. To offset this outlook, in her book, The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want, Sonja Lyubomirsky states that when individuals practice gratitude, they boost their self-worth and self-esteem, which adds to their confidence and overall attitude towards life. 

Enhanced Optimism and Reduced Depressive Symptoms

It’s relatable to feel more Eeyore than Tigger right now. Fortunately, the solution for mitigating these sentiments is simple: Not only is the concept of gratitude directly correlated with optimism, but expressing appreciation is associated with infrequent negative tendencies and repeated positive emotions, such as enhanced energy, alertness, and enthusiasm. 

Additionally, Jo-Ann Tsang, a psychologist at Baylor University, claims that by maintaining a grateful personality, we experience less depressive symptoms

Relationships Become Reinforced 

Strengthened and Improved Relationships

As we wait for unanswered COVID-19 questions to be solved, nurturing our relationships has become increasingly paramount. When communicating with others, whether they’re family members, colleagues, or customers, grateful gestures that are personalized will not only have a meaningful impact, but will also help to create memorable emotional connections

Elevated Likeability

Let’s face it: some of our texts, emails, and Slack messages were probably misinterpreted prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. As we adjust to more text-centric comms, we have to be extra cautious that our memos aren’t misread. By including customized expressions of gratitude in our notes, we can counteract any confusion, and in this process, become even more likeable.

Established Positive Influence

As Oleg Vishnepolsky, Global CTO at DailyMail Online and Metro.Co.Uk, recently shared on LinkedIn, fear can be an acronym for Forget Everything And Run or Face Everything And Rise. To help quell any anxiety related to COVID-19 ambiguity, we should try sharing grateful gestures as we initiate interactions.

Not only will taking this appreciative approach help us to create stronger collaborative ties, but it will also allow us to stand out from the crowd and pave the way for greater influence as we proliferate positive statements.  

10 Tips for Practicing Gratitude During Difficult Times

At Thnks, we believe in the importance of practicing gratitude year-round. Amidst sifting through the messages that have popped up in our inboxes and news feeds, we’ve compiled our top 10 tips for practicing gratitude to specifically squelch the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19:

1.) Make a List of What You’re Grateful for

One way to ensure that each day spent on lockdown begins on a good note? Try making a list of the things that you’re grateful for in your life. Or, if you’re severely struggling to fall asleep, try initiating this practice before bed. 

2.) Compose Thank You Notes

With socialization setbacks, now’s the perfect time to break out a pen and paper to compose a few thoughtful thank you notes. This practice will enhance your mood and help you stay connected. 

Additionally, since 77% of recipients say that expressions of appreciation make them feel valued, you’ll be passing along positive vibes to those whom you share these messages with. 

These notes don’t have to be hand-written. In fact, it’s been proven that recipients of emailed expressions of gratitude feel much more “ecstatic” after being thanked. 

*Pro tip*: Consider sending appreciative notes to those who you may not realize are impactful in your 9-5 life: your clients and employees!

3.) Practice Mindfulness with Meditation Techniques

As we scramble to stay dialed-in with those in our network, it’s equally as important to put the phone away every now and then to focus on our thoughts. Meditation techniques can motivate us to be more mindful, and will remind us of what’s going well in our lives. 

To become more present-centered, try:

  • Evaluating your breathing – The simple act of focusing on your breathing patterns can help you remain in the “here and now.”
  • Stimulating sensory details – Observe what you smell, see, hear, feel, or taste to ground yourself in the current moment. 
  • Reflecting – Think about different things that have occurred throughout your day that you’re grateful for, from drinking fresh squeezed orange juice to receiving a text from someone in your support system.

By slowing down and taking the time to ruminate, we’ll become clear-headed, and therefore, will make better decisions.

4.) Convey a Compliment

A quick way to make someone’s day a little bit brighter? Try complimenting a colleague, friend, or family member. According to research referenced by Forbes, receiving a compliment has the same positive effect as acquiring cash.

5.) Share a Positive Social Media Post

Just because we’re supposed to stay 6 feet away from one another, doesn’t mean that “social distancing” is applicable on social media platforms. Whether it’s an inspiring quote from a CEO’s LinkedIn page or a puppy GIF gaining virality on Instagram, an easy way to promote positivity is by liking or sharing social media posts with uplifting messages. 

6.) Try to Avoid Negative Noise 

However, as much as it’s tempting to spend extended time on social media channels, it’s also important to set some boundaries in order to ensure that our apprehension isn’t inherently increased. 

To avoid the negative noise while remaining informed, we can limit the amount of media that we consume by blocking off periods of time dedicated for news and social media scrolling in the same way that we allocate time for business meetings on our work calendars. 

7.) Start Keeping a Gratitude Journal 

Research conducted by Berkeley divulges that writing in a gratitude journal 3 times per week has a tremendous impact on our personal happiness. If you’re strapped for time, then no worries – starting this process is as simple as recording what you’re appreciative of and noting how you feel afterwards. 

8.) Pick Up the Phone

Although it may seem a bit old school, as we wade through an uptick in text-based communications, picking up the phone can provide a sense of comfort, and can help us become more aligned. Additionally, we can avoid misconstrued conversations through hearing others’ tones and vocal inflections. 

9.) Give Back to Your Community 

It’s no secret that small businesses could use a helping hand. And just because they may be tiny in size doesn’t mean that they haven’t made a major impact in your life! 

In an effort to give back to your community, contemplate:

  • Purchasing gift cards to your favorite boutiques, and giving a few to your friends as birthday or holiday presents. 
  • Using Grubhub, Seamless, or Uber Eats to send someone a meal from their favorite local restaurant. 
  • Making a charitable contribution to a non-profit, or donating on a colleague’s behalf.

10.) Share a Grateful Gesture

No one’s ever balked at an act of kindness, and these expressions benefit both givers and recipients. A few suggestions of grateful gestures that you can share with friends, family, coworkers, or business partners include:

  • A Cup of ‘PositiviTea’ to bring a smile to someone’s face. 
  • 3 Months of Hulu so they can binge watch a new show while WFH. 
  • A Literary Escape from Barnes & Noble for the bookworm in your network who is seemingly excited to see social events getting cancelled. 

An Uncertain Time Calls for a Unique Approach

Now more than ever, it’s necessary to practice gratitude on a regular basis in order to maintain our own mental health, as well as our personal and professional relationships.

Luckily, expressing appreciation is as simple as saying Thnks

Saying Thnks can help you generate positive emotions and maintain your relationships. Within seconds, users can send gestures of appreciation with personal and professional connections by searching for an expression, creating a customized note, and sharing it via SMS or email.