Gratitude changes everything. But how in the world can one figure out how to be grateful for something awful that is happening? How can we shift our minds to think through a lens of gratitude as this global health crisis sweeps across the world? How can we prepare for a pandemic with our minds and hearts?
The most life-giving gift of gratitude is that exists separate from circumstances. You can be grateful, no matter what challenges you face. An attitude of gratitude is not based upon what is happening, on what is going well or what isn’t, it’s based on a type of thinking. So, that said, if we use our thoughts wisely, we can find things to be grateful for in this season of COVID-19. Because preparing for a pandemic can involve our mental health too.
As we socially distance ourselves and go into local pockets of isolation, preparing for the unknown, here are some ways to find gratitude in this pandemic and how to prepare for it mentally when it is turning the world upsidedown. I want to provide simple thoughts and shifts of perspective to help you be and stay positive, not panicked during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
We can choose to walk this pandemic season in faith, or in fear. This blog post will help you figure out how to walk out what living in faith, and with hope can actually look like through how you think and how you find gratitude to ground yourself. It will show you how to prepare for a pandemic with your thoughts and focused positivity. You’ll also want to listen to the podcast I just released on this, which you can find by clicking here.
How to Prepare for a Pandemic with a Heart of Gratitude and Positivity
I knew I wanted to walk this season with active, crazy faith, not anxiety-ridden fear (to which I am prone), and so I needed to found my faith in gratitude. Preparing for a pandemic with a heart of gratitude may not be easy but it is life-changing. The act of being grateful deepens my faith and fills me with peace during this time of pandemic crisis.
COVID-19 GRATITUDE CHALLENGE
Fundamentally, gratitude is a choice. You can choose to be grateful for anything. As we face a season of uncertainty, it is in our best interest – and that of our community – to choose to ground ourselves in gratitude. If you determine to find the good, the beauty, the life-giving stories that arise during this pandemic, then you will reap endless benefits of peace at this time.
To help you take action on the choice to be grateful, even for something you would have never wanted or wished on anyone else, I invite you to take the COVID-19 GRATITUDE CHALLENGE.
What is the challenge? It’s simple. Just list out 50 ways that you are thankful for the challenge, inconvenience, and uncertainty that the coronavirus is bringing into your life. Don’t overthink these. Write down the first ones that come to mind. Give yourself 30-minutes to free-think, without judgment or self-analysis, and just jot down the first things that come to mind, no matter how big or how small.
To help inspire you, below are the things I’m finding gratitude in right now. Please keep in mind, these are based on my first few days in social isolation and I’m sure this list will develop and be challenged as the days continue.
- I’m thankful for the beautiful Spring weather in Virginia and all the extra outdoor time I now have with my kids.
- I’m thankful for the abundance of walking trails in my area – lots of room for isolated exploration and adventures.
- I’m thankful for how life just becomes simple – it’s me, my husband, my kids, our dog, and our house – and that’s it.
- I’m thankful for the extra time I have to deep clean and organize my house.
- I’m thankful for the longer phone conversations I’m having with old friends.
- I’m thankful for not having to rush out of the house or hurry my kids along to do our busy day of activities.
- I’m thankful for slower mornings and evenings that give me space and patience to cook and play in the kitchen with my kids.
- I’m thankful for challenging conversations with my husband – having to talk about life in a way we never thought we would have to
- I’m thankful for a staycation with my husband and the opportunity to work together as partners to give each other free time, fresh air, work time, etc. during this time.
- I’m thankful for the creative new games my kids have come up with and how they are playing together – and learning how to resolve their fights.
- I’m thankful for the abundance of streaming options for entertainment.
- I’m thankful for less distraction and more free time to think and feel and talk to God.
- I’m thankful for FaceTime for my kids to call their cousins.
- I’m thankful for the accessibility of worldwide news – and for the ability to turn it off.
- I’m thankful for the essential workers who are keeping life going for the world as people stay isolated.
- I’m thankful for the reminder of how much we have that we haven’t often given thanks for (like sports, like group gatherings, etc.)
- I’m thankful for being able to feel and hug the wind, without rushing.
- I’m thankful for my virtual based business.
- I’m thankful for the ability to podcast and write, to put good things out into the world, no matter what is happening in the world.
- I’m thankful for how God is teaching me to let go of control.
- I’m thankful for how God is stretching my faith and calling me to a higher level of boldness
- I’m thankful for online church and sermons on YouTube that keep my soul feed and encouraged
- I’m thankful for friends who text articles, ideas and encouragement
- I’m thankful for a dire situation in which to talk honestly about my fears, my anxieties and how to choose faith when it’s hard
- I’m thankful for the communities that are coming together to help students who would have otherwise gotten meals at school
- I’m thankful for the daily decision I have to make to choose peace, not panic
- I’m thankful for the opportunity to learn more personal discipline about what articles I read and what I put into my mind
- I’m thankful for a safe place to be with my family
- I’m thankful for the extra coffee bags I have stored up in my house
- I’m thankful for getting to spend most of my time in my chill clothes
- I’m thankful for new ways in which how I think are being challenged and strengthened
- I’m thankful for the hope I find when I read the Bible – that I am safely protected, loved and provided for by the King of Heaven (Check out Psalm 91 and Psalm 92 especially)
- I’m thankful for music that can turn my mood around and chase out my fear when I feel it
- I’m thankful for how much better behaved my dog is now that I’m home with him all day – no more peeing in the house because he’s mad I left it!
- I’m thankful for mornings without alarm clocks.
- I’m thankful for Amazon deliveries
- I’m thankful for Walmart online ordering
- I’m thankful for an opened up schedule – this gives me time to really think about my future and how I want to grow
- I’m thankful for how I miss the gym already and I miss sitting in busy coffee shops.
- I’m thankful for access to educational tools and for the extra time to learn
- I’m thankful for my clients who are working around my new schedule
- I’m thankful for my students in the College of Confidence and the positive community and family we have within those virtual walls
- I’m thankful for online vendors like Wayfair and Ruggable as I shop for decor for my new home
- I’m thankful for the moving companies that are still working who are going to help my family move this coming week
- I’m thankful for my virtual friends – podcast listeners and blog readers – who fill my heart with a desire to show up as a leader and with God’s love
- I’m thankful for the confirmation this season has given me that training my thoughts truly is the most important thing I can do daily
- I’m thankful for the 15-minutes of quiet time I have at the beginning of the day and end of the day to reflect and pray and read — so that I can fight for my faith
- I’m thankful for the things (like my dog who barks too much) that test my patience right now – because that shows me where I still need some heart growth
- I’m thankful for the people who go out of their way to wave or smile at me when I’m out running – right now those are my connection to the outside world.
- I’m thankful for tax accountant who is helping me do my taxes virtually so that I can check that off my to-do list without even having to leave the house
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO STAY ENCOURAGED DURING COVID-19 SOCIAL DISTANCING AND ISOLATION?
Choose peace, not panic.
When it all comes down to it, we have one choice: will we choose fear or faith?
Now that you’ve primed your mind to be grounded in gratitude, which fortifies your active faith, you can deepen your peace by being intentional in the following 25 ways. I’ve segmented these as things to both remember and to take action on; by thinking with intention and taking decisive actions to do good things, faith will dominate over any fear you feel.
Here are 25 things you can do to walk in peace, not panic in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Remember: Slowing down is a gift – there are things from this season that we would not have otherwise experienced without this global crisis – and a slower, more simple life that comes with social distancing and isolation is one such gift.
- Take Action: Reduce your media exposure – the fear is often worse than the virus – this is good life shift as the average social media user spends 2 hours and 33 minutes on social media per day. (According to TechJury.net) This is an opportunity to change fundamental habits that increase your life happiness.
- Take Action: Post only what is positive and be a leader of encouragement and light in this dark. How you speak matters and how you encourage others will be remembered. There is an overabundance of negativity in people’s newsfeeds right now, so ask yourself how you can add sunshine or something of substance to it instead.
- Take Action: Connect deeper with yourself and make this a time of journaling and deep reflection. So many people stay so busy that they don’t have time for basic self-care and also fundamental self-exploration. This can be your time to really get to know yourself so that you can learn how to be yourself – and when you learn how to be yourself, you can then start to fully pursue your calling in this world.
- Remember: You can be the anti-strand of anti-fear – your positivity is as viral as the virus. Do not underestimate the power of your positivity, your help and your love at this time. This is an exciting time to brainstorm about creative ways to love others from a distance and how to use technology to encourage and connect with others.
- Take Action: Give thanks for the year we live in. It’s important to keep focused with gratitude on the perspective that isolation in 2020 isn’t what it would have been in 2000 – be grateful! Because we live in 2020 we have access to endless streaming, FaceTime with family and up-to-date news updates that keep you informed and safe.
- Take Action: Put boundaries on your pity parties; allow yourself to feel your emotions, but don’t give them the power to dictate your overall mood in a day. When you feel scared or overwhelmed, give yourself a period of time, fifteen minutes for example, in which you can allow yourself to feel. Set a timer on your phone, and when the alarm goes off, your pity party stops and it’s time to take action on doing something positive.
- Remember: You get to choose your thoughts and your focus – nothing can steal that power from you. No matter what happens around us circumstantially, we are responsible for our thoughts.
- Take Action: Decide that you will remember this season as a season of faith, not fear. That means that each day you will have to assess and analyze what you need to do that day to choose faith, not fear. It might mean turning on a sermon, putting on a worship music song, journaling, calling an encouraging friend, or going out for a stress-relieving run.
- Take Action: Reach out individually to people in your past – reconnect and rebuild relationships. Life is complicated right now, but it has also never been quite so simple. People matter and we need one another. Too often our connections are compromised because we become busy and distracted by all the demands of life – rekindling old friendships takes time, and now we have it!
- Remember: As you commit to social distancing, it is important to not isolate yourself, even if you are quarantined or in isolation. Be intentional about connecting virtually with friends, using FaceTime, text and old school phone calls. Your effort to do this will not only bless you but will bless and encourage others.
- Take Action: It’s your responsibility to pour uplifting content into your mind. Don’t fall prey to an oversaturation of fear-panicked, click-bait headlines in the media – set a timer and limit for how much news you will take in and then be intentional about what you do want to watch, read, listen to and think about. You are in control here!
- Remember: Every day of life we get to live is an absolute gift. If you think about it, we are walking. in privilege – or at least with a perspective privilege that this pandemic is reestablishing our perspective for the simple freedoms and gifts of life.
- Take Action: Distract yourself from the tedium of isolation or overwhelm of negative news with engaging shows or humorous sitcoms. Now is the time you’ve been always dreaming of to binge-watch shows you’ve heard about or to binge-listen to podcasts … um, may I suggest starting with The Confidence Podcast?
- Remember: You can fight your mindset battles and any anxiety overwhelm you might feel with worship music (here’s a link to some of my favorites). Music changes our moods and our states – and especially music that is praise-based will fill you with faith and send fear running far, far away from your heart. In general, use music of all types in your daily life now with more intention than you have ever done before to keep your house upbeat and happy.
- Take Action: The next time you place an Amazon order, order double. Don’t keep the extra, give it to a neighbor by leaving it on their doorstep with a little note as a small gesture. Sure, we aren’t going to be interacting socially in the way we have always done with our neighbors, but we can create new ways to interact with and support them in this time of need together.
- Remember: Be thankful for this gift of perspective and the reminder of what is important in life and what isn’t. Perspective can change everything.
- Take Action: Think about this season as a time for bonus memory-making time with your family. Scour Pinterest for ideas and remember that this time together is going to be remembered by what you made of it, not by what you worried about during it. Remember that worry doesn’t change anything – it only gives away the hope you can have today.
- Remember: In every time of challenge and tragedy, beauty always rises from the ashes. The beauty that rises from ashes is one that fills the soul; it is better than “normal” beauty – it is transcendent. Look for that beauty. Pay attention to the good that is going on around you and you will see it, for what we look for, we find.
- Take Action: Make the most of your extra time. Start by making a list of your dream home projects and then start working through the list.
- Take Action: Have more deep conversations and increased communication with loved ones: talk about COVID-19, talk about faith, talk about old stories, talk about things you’ve never had time to talk about. Use your free time in these challenging circumstances to increase your connection with the people most important to you.
- Remember: This is a new way of life -a temporary one – but we don’t know for how long, so embrace it. You can, with your love and intentional actions create a new sense of communal unity with your fellow citizens that would have otherwise never existed.
- Take Action: Use your free time to start projects you’ve been putting off, like starting that book, researching your business dream or handwriting notes to your friends. Order some 1000-piece puzzles or some adult-coloring books (or my favorite Bible, The Beautiful Word Bible) and allow yourself to settle into the slow-life with a smile.
- Take action: Give thanks for the opportunity to trust God in the unknown. This season is a season of trust across the world – and as we lean into God He will lean into us. No one ever likes to step into the unknown by choice – even though we all know it’s good for us, most of us avoid it. This pandemic is forcing us all into a place of growth and faith that we would not have otherwise willingly chosen, and that is a gift!
- Remember: This is an opportunity to practice leaning into the unknown without overwhelm – you can learn how to train your thoughts so that they don’t spiral negatively. Click here to learn the easiest way to train your thoughts and master how you think about all of the unknowns of life so you can walk daily with confidence and courage.
What other ways have you found to be positive, or to have an appreciative perspective during the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic? I would love to hear you share; the more we all share, the more powerful we will be in a faith-movement of encouragement during this deep time of fear.
Will you choose peace or panic?
DON’T STAY ISOLATED: GET CONNECTED WITH AN ENCOURAGING COMMUNITY
As the world is embracing social distancing to keep the pandemic of the COVID-19 virus at bay, now might be the perfect time for you to connect socially online with our family in the College of Confidence.
You’ll be surrounded with encouragement, positivity, and with structure and ideas on how to best use this time laying low and staying at home to help you grow and move your dreams forward.
This might be just the time you have been waiting for.
Again, click here to join, we can’t wait to connect!
FINAL NOTE WHEN PREPARING FOR A PANDEMIC WITH YOUR MINDSET:
In ten years my children will look back at this season in history, and they will either remember a fear-filled mama or a faith-led mama. They will either remember this as a time of great anxiety or a time of deep family connection and intimate memories.
What they remember is up to me. It depends upon what spirit I choose to allow to dominate my heart. I choose for them to see that faith always wins over fear.
I choose peace over panic.
I choose gratitude over grumbling.
I choose to love my life no matter what it looks like, how it is restricted or unusual it becomes in the next few weeks or months. I choose to find the good, celebrate the good and give thanks in everything. It won’t always be easy, but it will definitely be worth it.
What will you choose for you and your family?
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