As millions of people experience the effects of social distancing related to the COVID-19 safety measures, the feeling of isolation that comes with working remotely may become increasingly present. During such times of increased stress, it can be helpful to remember what you are thankful for. Practising gratitude can help you and your team stay motivated and feel happier while working.
In this article, we offer actionable steps you can take to practise gratitude during times of uncertainty.
Simple gratitude exercises
Try these tips for expressing your gratitude and staying positive:
- Reflect on past challenges
- Connect with colleagues
- Keep a gratitude journal
- Contact friends and loved ones
- Be realistic
- Practise guided meditation
- Praise a coworker at least once a day
- Be consistent
Share your ideas
1. Reflect on past challenges
To find gratitude for your current situation, remember how you overcame past challenges and reflect on all the progress you’ve made. It is important to recall that there is power in positive thinking and that you alone have the power to change your thoughts. Write down your past challenges, how you felt throughout the uncertainty and what you did to work through it. How can what you learned apply to your current situation? While things may seem uncertain now, your circumstances will change over time.
2. Connect with colleagues
Make an effort to recognise your coworkers for their efforts. This may be as simple as sending a thank-you message via instant messaging programmes or writing a quick email. Some companies have systems in place for providing public praise. When you thank a colleague or praise them for their efforts, focus on a specific example that you felt grateful for – this can help them stay motivated. Offering positive feedback regularly also ensures you maintain rapport with your team members, promoting a sense of online community.
3. Keep a gratitude journal
When experiencing challenging circumstances, it can be easy to overlook random acts of kindness. Keeping a gratitude journal is one of the best ways to acknowledge these small moments. It can also help shift the focus of your thoughts from negative to positive. As you add entries, consider trying new exercises designed to get you thinking about gratitude. For example, start the process by writing down three things, big or small, you appreciate having in your life, such as a thoughtful manager or the ability to socially distance while working.
4. Contact friends and loved ones
When you're working, it is advisable to take small, five to ten minutes breaks every hour, with longer breaks of at least 30 minutes every two to four hours. During these breaks, consider checking in with friends and family to express gratitude. Not only are you taking the time to recharge, but you're also getting support by connecting with others. Connecting with your loved ones can help you find more ways to express your gratitude to coworkers.
5. Be realistic
Practising gratitude is a type of goal that takes additional effort and behavioural changes. With this in mind, take steps to set yourself up for success and prepare to overcome potential challenges. Gather the supplies you need for writing journal entries and letters. Set aside time for self-care by scheduling reminders on your phone.
6. Practise guided meditation
Guided meditation can help you identify and express your gratitude more easily. During your breaks, consider using guided meditation exercises designed to help you focus on what matters most. Even five minutes of meditation can help you appreciate life more and reduce stress.
7. Praise a coworker at least once a day
Find at least one team member you can thank or compliment once a day to stay in the habit of showing gratitude. Consider sending a group email or message that includes your entire team to begin a positive conversation. You can also thank a coworker personally through a private chat. Expressing your gratitude to coworkers at least once a day helps you maintain communication and better collaborate with them in a remote environment.
8. Be consistent
No matter how you choose to practise gratitude, aim to be consistent. Keeping a regular routine during unexpected challenges can help you stay calm and manage your emotions. Make an effort to create a schedule that integrates your new habits of gratitude. You could make a habit of practising guided meditation before you begin work and once you end your day to feel calmer, or you could take one of your breaks each day to add an entry into your gratitude journal. These practices can be useful even after the COVID-19 outbreak passes.
9. Share your ideas
If you find any practices for expressing gratitude that work well for you, consider sharing them with your team. You may want to send a link to the resource and describe the results you experienced. If you choose to do so, it can help to provide specific steps that you take and how often you practise it so colleagues know what to expect if they try it. When you share your own ideas, team members are more likely to detail any practices that work for them, facilitating an open conversation.