As I look out of my living room window, an all too familiar gray sky greets me, but I am grateful. I live in Pittsburgh, a city that I love, and in an apartment that oozes history out of its radiators, stained glass, and art deco architecture. For many, 2020 has been a year of upheaval, challenge, and heartache. It may seem that there isn’t much to be grateful for right now. Many of us feel overwhelmed and anxious, but there are still moments of beauty and gratitude, small and large, hiding in our lives.
The human brain is a marvel. It is an organ that is flexible, capable of great change, and malleable. One simple task that has been proven to change your brain and make you feel happier is writing down a handful of things that you are grateful for every day. This activity can be done with a friend or with a group of family members and can be easily modified for current social distancing requirements.
Incorporating this exercise into your daily life doesn’t have to be difficult. Find a time during the day or evening when you have a few free moments to write down three to five things you are grateful for that day. Maybe you are grateful for the bright sunshine, the unexpected text from a loved one, or the scent of fresh rain. After you write down your gratitudes, send them to your partner and they will, in turn, send you their daily gratitudes. This is a wonderful way to stay connected to one another but also to be mindful of the quiet beauty in our lives.
We hope this small act enriches your life and your heart. Be sure to check out the Writing Center site to find other resources and activities that focus on gratitude for the month of November.