At a time when we need to isolate ourselves physically, how can we remain connected with each other? One answer is by expressing our gratitude to others.
Gratitude in the simplest of terms means to be mindful of our blessings. Normally, caught in our whirlwind of busyness, we are hardly able to spare a minute to thank the people who have helped us, in big or small ways. Right now, though, we have a lot of time on our hands to thank the people who we haven’t thanked before. Gratitude helps us to refocus on the people who have helped us and remind us that, even during times of isolation, there is positivity in our lives. It also reminds us of how interconnected we are as a community of human beings.
Keeping this in mind, we decided to connect with others through a gratitude practice of saying ‘Thank You’ to two people who we have not, for whatever reason, got the opportunity to thank before. It was an interesting experience.
We both chose very different kinds of people to thank: one of us thought of thanking people who are part of her everyday life and the other chose to reconnect with people who had added positivity to her life a long time ago. We found that consciously thinking of people to thank opened our minds up to all the different people who have impacted our lives and made us appreciate how interdependent we are.
Gratitude helps us to refocus on the people who have helped us and remind us that, even during times of isolation, there is positivity in our lives. It also reminds us of how interconnected we are as a community of human beings.
Also, saying thank you to others actually made us feel more positive. This effect has been explained scientifically: when we feel gratitude, our brain releases oxytocin, which, is also known as the ‘feel-good’ hormone. This hormone benefits on our physical and psychological health: it improves the quality of sleep, increases immunity, and enhances our relationship with ourselves and others. Fostering an attitude of gratitude toward other people improves our bonding with those people and helps us resolve the discomfort we may feel, especially while reconnecting.
You can find out more on the benefits of gratitude on https://positivepsychology.com/neuroscience-of-gratitude/ and https://psychcentral.com/lib/how-gratitude-can-affect-your-physical-and-psychological-well-being/
We invite you to build social solidarity in times of quarantine by thanking two people who have brought positivity to your life.
How has it felt to thank others? What other practices have helped you to connect with others? Let us know in the comments.
I am a practicing psychologist. I’m interested in art and design. Mandala art is my stress buster. I’m also into the upcoming field of fashion psychology. Binge watching, reading, engaging with art and listening to music are my current pastimes. Oh, and adding new places to visit in my travel bucket list too can be counted!
I am a feminist, bookworm, occasional writer and perpetual learner. I work at Kolkata Sanved, an NGO that uses Dance Movement Therapy for healing and empowering marginalised communities, and I’m currently training to be a Dance Movement Therapy Practitioner.