April 2020 is a tough month.
Numbers of people infected by Coronavirus increases daily.
Businesses closed, unemployment rate increased, the economy plummeted, supplies dropped, people lost lives.
It’s undeniably depressing.
For 30 days, I took notes of things I am grateful for. I did this every night, before going to bed. I’ve realized how beneficial it was, specially in difficult times like now.
Keeping a gratitude log lowered my stress and anxiety levels, as it allows me to focus on the good things instead of the bad things.
It helped me maintain positive disposition. It stresses on the point that there’s always something to be thankful for, though sometimes they may be less obvious.
It also allowed me to develop appreciation for life. It helped me identify sources of my happiness, and encouraged me to accept reality as it is.
How to cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude?
1. Reflect on three questions from Naikan
According to the ToDo Institute, “Naikan is a Japanese word which means ‘inside looking’ or ‘introspection.’ A more poetic translation is ‘seeing oneself with the mind’s eye.’ It is a practice of self-reflection that helps us to understand ourselves, our relationships and the fundamental nature of human existence.”
To practice Naikan, reflect on the following questions:
- What have I received from the people in my life?
- What have I given to them?
- What troubles and difficulties have I caused them?
2. Develop Stoic virtuous
According to Daily Stoic, “Stoicism asserts that virtue (such as wisdom) is happiness and judgment should be based on behavior, rather than words. That we don’t control and cannot rely on external events, only ourselves and our responses.”
Stoics believe in 4 cardinal virtuous. Here’s the definition from Wikipedia:
- Wisdom – the ability to discern the appropriate course of action to be taken in a given situation at the appropriate time
- Courage – also termed fortitude, forbearance, strength, endurance, and the ability to confront fear, uncertainty, and intimidation
- Temperance – also known as restraint, the practice of self-control, abstention, discretion, and moderation tempering the appetition
- Justice – also considered as fairness
3. Buddhism teaches that, “Gratitude should be cultivated as a habit not dependent on conditions.”
Gratitude should be practiced daily, regardless of the situation. Be aware and acknowledge the every little thing that transpired in your life and show appreciation accordingly. Write them down on a journal, or ponder through mindful meditation.
This 2020, I embarked on a self-development journey. I’m committed to developing 12 habits for 30 days each. This is part of my 2020 habit update series.
For the month of April, I wrote down things I’m grateful for each day.