Working Remotely? Practice Gratitude


Notebook page with text "Today I am grateful for"

Contributed by Katherine Egan, with Elizabeth Cornell

These days, we can easily forget the things that make us feel grateful. With so much uncertainty and stress, it’s normal to experience negative feelings. The requirement to observe physical distance from others may add a sense of loneliness to those feelings. 

Did you know that a negative mindset can diminish your immunity? Studies show that people with positive outlooks have a more robust immune system. 

Keep in mind that if you use common sense and do activities that are within your control, you’ll reduce your stress and improve your chances of staying well. You know the drill:

  • Wash your hands for 20-30 seconds with soap and warm water
  • Don’t touch your face
  • Stay hydrated
  • Clean and disinfect common surfaces at least once a day
  • Minimize your exposure to other people
  • Stay informed but limit your exposure to the news

 Older adults and people with underlying health conditions should take special care.

Here’s one more to add to the list: 

  • Experience gratefulness (You don’t have to leave your house or wash your hands.)

Take a look at your immediate surroundings. What do you notice that makes you feel grateful? Maybe it’s your comfy chair. Or the favorite sweatshirt you’re wearing. Or a photo. Practicing gratitude for what you do have may decrease some of your negative feelings and reduce stress.

Think about your life in general. Who, or what, are you grateful for? A friendly neighbor? Your job? Healthcare workers in your local hospital?

Who lights up your life and brings you joy? Give them a call and let them know what they mean to you. 

Do something nice and unexpected for someone. Drop them a card. Send them a gift certificate. Paint them a picture, photograph it, and email it to them (you can give it to them in person, later.) When you do something that makes someone else feel good, you’ll feel good. You’ll both feel grateful.

A great practice is to create a list of 10 things for which you are thankful every morning. Write them down. This may seem trite, but it is hugely beneficial. When you’re feeling negative, review your list and think of your immune system getting a sparkly boost of positive feelings. You’ll feel grateful that you did.


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