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A Surprising Solution to a Pandemic Conundrum

November '20

Lately, I’ve found a common thread in several conversations about living with CoVid. Many folks are expressing amazement at how little they accomplish as time goes by—even though they spend far more time at home, instead of going to the movies, hanging out with friends, or even enjoying some spa time.

Perhaps, like them, you thought with this extra time at home, you would dive into some postponed projects like sorting through photos, clearing out closets, or embarking on that new exercise program. As one woman said to me, “I just don’t know where the time goes,” while another noted, “My desire to start on any task just vanishes these days. My will power is gone!” More time spent at home doesn’t seem to encourage the completion of certain tasks.

I started to question why you accomplish less, when you have more time, and wondered what might help. To my astonishment, I found a possible solution to this dilemma, when I listened to a podcast of “Hidden Brain” by Shankar Vedantam. It focused on an interview with David DeSteno from Northeastern University, who has written a book called, “Emotional Success: the Power of Gratitude, Compassion and Pride.”

According to DeSteno, if you’re looking for a way to “sacrifice in the moment for future gain,” (ex: sort through photos, clear out a closet, exercise), the practice of gratitude is a super power. Instead of relying on old-fashioned will power, which clearly hasn’t been working for completing tasks during this pandemic, you can begin a daily practice of gratitude.

DeSteno also mentioned some additional benefits. Research by Robert Emmons showed participants who practiced daily gratitude reflection reported they were better able to engage in exercise, had better quality in their relationships, and fewer symptoms of illness. As the saying goes, “Now who doesn’t want some of that?”

Vendantam concluded the podcast by noting that gratitude is a skill that can be developed as a way to use emotions as a tool in our every day lives. This daily practice may be just the tool to help you take on and complete tasks during this pandemic—especially during the holidays.

If you would like a simple way to practice gratitude, Week 1 of my nine-week Journaling eCourse, “Reinvent Your Life ~ Write Now” features one. I’ve discounted this eCourse over 50% during the CoVid pandemic until a vaccine arrives, so it’s now offered at the cost of only $23.00. You can learn more here.

And may I also express my gratitude to you, my reader of this month’s newsletter!

The happiest of holidays to you and yours,

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