Log in to your account

Not a member yet?

Subscribe now

How the practice of gratitude can make you happier

A challenge for you: Focus on the good stuff and connect daily

Each day during the lockdown:
1. Write down five things you are grateful for despite the current isolation conditions, or
2. Reach out to someone you haven’t already connected with, to make sure they are okay.  Ideally, give them a call or video chat.

Our brains are giant problem-solving machines! In some ways this is great, but on the flip side, it can be easy for them to get swept up in all the difficulties and challenges we face.  This can leave us feeling flat and, sometimes, depressed.   An easy way to improve your mood and boost your overall wellbeing is to train your mind to focus on the things that are good in your life and in the world. The simple practice of ‘gratitude’ can be life-changing.

Your challenge for the next month is, when you start your workday (at home or otherwise), to write down five things that are good about your life or the world.  Over the month, observe any shifts in the way you feel and in your outlook.

The second part of this challenge is to connect with others and help them stay positive. In times of stress and illness, being deprived of social connection can exacerbate the problem. And isolation can detrimentally affect mental health. Now is the time to reach out to friends and family and connect with them, however, you can. Let people know how much you care about them. While face-to-face human connection is best – for the next few weeks this isn’t possible. So, each day, make a phone or video call or to a different person, to make sure they are ok.

Make it happen

Here are a few tips for demonstrating gratitude at work and staying connected:

  • Call a friend or colleague and tell them something you appreciate about them
  • Digitally write thank you notes to colleagues who have helped you with a task, or just to recognise a job well done by them
  • If someone needs help on a project, offer to lend a hand without expectation of something in return
  • Share your knowledge by offering to mentor younger or less experienced colleagues
  • Journal your blessings – take a few moments each night before bed to write down the things you appreciated throughout the day
  • Give sincere compliments often
  • Help create recognition programmes that promote teamwork and collaboration
  • Show your gratitude to others by really listening to what they have to say
  • When interacting with people, make eye contact and show you are really present in the conversation – even if the entire conversation is done digitally
  • When someone challenges your actions or words, still show grace by listening to what they say and being polite
  • Celebrate other’s achievements as if they were your own
  • SMILE! All the time! Share a smile with colleagues via video chat or strangers at the supermarket. While not everyone will smile back, it is certainly worth the effort to keep doing it. Smiles are contagious so do your part to make happiness and gratitude go viral
  • Pick up groceries or medications for the vulnerable or isolated

Here’s some great tips on how to feel connected during social distancing.

When it comes to health, looking after our mental wellbeing is very important. In this video HFG nutritionist Claire Turnbull challenges you to think more positively and practise gratitude.

Practising gratitude can help foster an optimistic outlook which has been shown to build resilience. Find out more about optimism and it’s benefits.

First published: Mar 2020