2020 is an unprecedented holiday season. COVID-19 has taken over the world landscape and changed lives forever.
I just put up a 12 x 14 canvas wall tent in my backyard. I filled it will pillows, blankets and heaters. It is freezing here, but the tent will make a few visits with those in our pod possible during the winter months. The tent has two large mesh doors and two mesh windows on the sides. There is enough room, fresh air and secure measures in place to have a select few visit to share this space safely with us. I am grateful that we have a strategy for when the COVID lock-down lifts again, allowing for safe connection.
We focus on Gratitude, Appreciation & Kindness as a beacon of hope during this dark season of uncertainty and fear.
The remarkable Brother David Steindl-Rast (Author, Interfaith Monk) explains in his Ted Talk that, “we all know people who have lots of misfortune, misfortune that we ourselves would not want to have, and they are deeply happy. They radiate happiness … because they are grateful”. David explains that, “it is not happiness that makes us grateful. It’s gratefulness that makes us happy”. He goes on to help us recognize what gratefulness is and how it works. He explains that when something truly meaningful is given without expectation that “then gratefulness spontaneously rises in my heart, happiness spontaneously rises in my heart. That’s how gratefulness happens.”
Brother David, beautifully explains “Grateful living” (https://bit.ly/3oG3qI8 at minutes 3:23).
Brother David’s teachings: https://gratefulness.org/
Dr. Robert A. Emmons (University of California) is a leading scientific expert on gratitude. His work focuses on research and practices for establishing this important skill. His book “Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier” and “Gratitude Works! A 21-day program for creating emotional prosperity” are resources we want to consider during these challenging times.
Dr. Emmons book “Thanks!” Is the first major study of gratitude that illustrates how “wanting what we have” can measurably change peoples lives. In Emmons work, he explains both how gratitude can help us function better in work and life as well as myths related to gratitude (including the myth that gratitude is not possible when facing adversity). His talk on gratitude is both uplifting and surprising. https://youtu.be/Cl5i1skE3vg?t=20
Connected with the idea of gratitude for what is freely given (based on Brother David’s work) is those that are willing to be kind in their giving to others. The research on kindness, demonstrates a sense of well-being that springs from kindness to others, particularly rich in spontaneous acts (e.g., helping someone up in a moment of need, driving an injured friend to hospital, dropping off a meal to a neighbor, helping someone who is lost safely find their way). https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2020/09/doing-good-boosts-health#
Links & Resources:
- Leasing your comfort Zone from Positive Psychology: https://bit.ly/3qJmZRo
- Gratefulness as the route to Happiness with Brother David Steindl-Rast: https://bit.ly/3oG3qI8
- Gratefulness Journal: https://gratefulness.org/practice/private-gratitude-journal/
- Dr. Robert Emmons, leading scientific expert on Gratitude: https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/profile/Robert_Emmons
- Thanks! How Practicing Gratitude can make you Happier by Dr. Emmons: https://amzn.to/3gx6R0R
- Dr. Emmons video on The Challenges to Gratitude: https://youtu.be/Cl5i1skE3vg?t=20
Access “Compassion Fatigue Resiliency & Recovery” with Dr. Anna Baranowsky & Dr. J. Eric Gentry. You can find the audio recording at:
Another gift back to our community is FREE access to the complete “Trauma Recovery NOW!” audio program.