by Ray Jolicoeur, founder of renoo meditation goods, and teacher of meditation.
I've recently started writing down again, every day, the top 10 things I'm grateful for in the present moment. And it's been a wonderful exercise. You see, it's easy to forget and glance over all the conditions that are around us to bring joy into our lives. The practice of gratitude helps us do this, and there are many ways to practice it.
Practicing gratitude, especially in times of political confrontation, war, and unrest can be challenging, but it can also be a powerful coping mechanism to navigate through difficult times. Here are some ways to cultivate gratitude even in the midst of turmoil:
1. Acknowledge Small Moments of Positivity:
Take notice of the small, positive moments in your daily life. Whether it's a beautiful sunrise, a kind gesture from a friend, or a moment of personal accomplishment, acknowledging these small joys can help shift your focus.
2. Maintain Perspective:
Understand that amidst the chaos, there are still acts of kindness, resilience, and positive change happening in the world. Recognize and appreciate the individuals or communities making a difference.
3. Gratitude Journaling:
My favorite is to keep a gratitude journal where you write down things you are thankful for each day. This practice can help you consciously focus on the positive aspects of your life, creating a space for gratitude even in challenging times.
4. Express Gratitude to Others:
Take the time to express gratitude to those around you. Let friends, family, and colleagues know that you appreciate them. Acts of kindness and connection can create a sense of community and support.
5. Practice Mindfulness:
Engage in mindfulness or meditation practices to stay present in the moment. Mindfulness can help you manage stress, reduce anxiety, and create mental space for gratitude.
6. Limit Media Consumption:
While it's important to stay informed, consider limiting your exposure to constant negative news. Consuming too much negative information can contribute to feelings of despair and helplessness. Choose specific times to catch up on news and balance it with positive content. Not every disaster story needs to be followed, and those that merit following don't even need to be followed daily. Sometimes, once per week, or even per month, is enough.
7. Volunteer or Contribute:
Channel your energy into making a positive impact, no matter how small. Volunteering or contributing to a cause you believe in can provide a sense of purpose and gratitude for the opportunity to make a difference.
8. Connect with Loved Ones:
Spend time with loved ones and engage in activities that bring joy. Connection and support from friends, neighbors, and family can be a source of strength during challenging times.
9. Cultivate Empathy:
Try to understand different perspectives, even in the midst of disagreement. Cultivating empathy can help you navigate challenging conversations and promote a sense of interconnectedness. We all want the same thing: long-lasting happiness, that's all. When we recognize this in others, we can approach our interactions in a different, more empathic way.
10. Self-Care Practices:
Take care of yourself physically and emotionally. Engage in activities that bring you joy, comfort, and relaxation, whether it's reading, exercising, or spending time in nature. Don't wait. Do it even if your todo list seems endless. I would even say, especially if your todo list is endless and stress you out.
Remember, practicing gratitude doesn't mean ignoring the challenges around you; it's about finding balance and maintaining a joyful outlook despite adversity. By incorporating these practices, you can foster a sense of resilience and gratitude even in the face of difficult circumstances.
Do you have reminders in your life that help you stop and notice the conditions of joy that surround you? Let us know!
Photo credit: Ray Jolicoeur