Gratitude and Reflection- What are You Thankful for During These Challenging Times?

By Anne Peters, LMFT

Hello! How have you been doing? We continue to ride this rollercoaster of a pandemic, where you catch negative and positive reports on the news daily. We know things are hard right now but today, we are focusing on the good. If anything, the last several months have allowed us to have some serious self-reflection. We’ve been able to reflect on what things are unnecessary and do not bring us joy. It really has been an opportunity for us to determine what is most important in the most organic way.

A wise friend said to me recently, “Now that the moments are back, how are you going to make them count?” Think about that a little bit. So many things were no longer an option – weddings, funerals, school, birthday parties, vacations, family gatherings, concerts, events, religious gatherings, etc. Some of these are now options for us once again, so how will we make them count? Will we cherish them a little more? Will we recognize the importance of being in the moment? Here’s the good news – it’s up to you. You get to choose how you now will make these moments count.

As I reflect back on the last several months, I am able to see some personal improvements. I have more patience and understanding that things take time. I am more aware of my surroundings. I make sure the people around me and myself are safe. I have a stronger sense of community and compassion within my community. I support small businesses and my neighbors. I have the most gratitude for our healthcare and frontline workers, truly knowing they put their lives on the line for us. What about you? Are you noticing improvements in your ways of thinking?

Finally, I want to bring attention to some of the positive and heartwarming aspects of this challenging time. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know I’m a huge animal lover. I came across this Instagram page (@dogsworkingfromhome) and it’s hysterical. Our animals are so happy right now, and if you browse that page, you’ll see! On a more serious note, the canals in Venice are clearer than they’ve been in decades. Teachers and celebrities are reading children’s stories virtually so children can continue to learn. Neighborhoods across the world played music from their balconies to create collective music. Small towns in Iowa have created window scavenger hunts to create happiness for families. Finally, perhaps one of the most important positives, we have learned about ourselves. We have learned how to slow down. We have learned what is important to us. We have learned how to care for each other (and ourselves) in a whole new way.

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