Barbara Tako is a breast cancer survivor (2010), melanoma survivor (2014) and author of Cancer Survivorship Coping Tools—We'll Get You Through This. She is a cancer coping advocate, speaker and published writer for television, radio and other venues across the country. She lives, survives, and thrives in Minnesota with her husband, children and dog. See more at www.cancersurvivorshipcopingtools.com,or www.clutterclearingchoices.com.
All of us could choose to practice gratitude instead of judgment during these challenging times.
Okay, so today I am judging people for being so "judgy" during COVID-19. All of us could choose to practice gratitude instead of judgment during these challenging times.
I am not happy that I have had two cancers in the last ten years, but I am grateful for some of the personal growth that my cancers helped me develop. During COVID-19, it helps that I have learned how to regularly focus on gratitude and to understand that everyone's health/circumstances/type of cancer/life is unique. Have you noticed how quick we are to judge other people's social distancing behaviors? It seems strange since we don't know each other's unique situations. I mean, we are each learning as we go here.
Many people had struggled before COVID-19 was thrown into the mix - cancer, other health issues, relationship struggles job worries. You name it. Yet sadly we are quick to judge how other people are practicing social distancing. We are each trying to do our best to not infect each other and pay our bills through COVID-19. Let's take a breath.
Honestly, even asking people to "practice gratitude" can sound a bit "judgy." There are days when I forget to change my focus to gratitude. Instead, maybe I inadvertently worry, sulk or pick on someone in my life. I can work at doing better. We all can. I won't let cancer or COVID-19 win. We can try harder each new day. Try not to let cancer or COVID-19 eat away at you. As a glass-is-half-empty human being, I was recently reminded that half full or half empty is not really the point. A glass is refillable! In the end, practicing gratitude just makes good sense.
How can we practice gratitude? We can try to be in the moment and/or we can also be grateful for things or people in our lives that we are grateful for most days. I like to come up with unique things to stretch my gratitude capacity. The more I try to come up with unique gratitude items, the more helpful I have found this practice to be. I can be grateful for a sight, a sound, a texture, a taste, a moment, a person, a place or a thing.
There are no limits and no grading here. Over the years and through reading and research, these are some ideas for how to practice gratitude:
--We can thank the people in our lives, via FaceTime/Skype/Viber/phone if needed during COVID-19, for something we appreciate about them.
--We can turn to our spirituality or faith and thank God for what we appreciate.
--We can keep a physical gratitude journal that we try to write in almost daily where we list at least three things that we are grateful for in our day. Or, if we journal, we can try to list a few things we are grateful for each time we journal.
--We can keep a mental "journal" and mentally list items of gratitude regularly.
--To be consistent in our gratitude practice, if we want, we can pick a particular time of day to practice gratitude. I often like to do it upon waking, but I also find I sometimes need to take a moment to do it at a stressful moment of my day.
Practicing gratitude mentally, on the computer, or in a physical journal helps to put me in a less-stressed, happier "space" even if I am still "stuck" in my home due to COVID-19. Please consider giving it a try and let me know if it helps put you in a happier and less judgmental frame of mind! Together, we've got this.