We are living in unprecedented times. Covid has struck fear in the hearts and minds of the world. There is no question that this invisible enemy has changed the social fabric of society. According to the UN’s International Labor Organization, 225 million jobs were lost worldwide in 2020, much more severe than the Great Depression in the 1930s.  Although statistics vary, it is estimated that anywhere from 2.6 to 3.3 million deaths worldwide have occurred so far  and it has infected tens of millions of people not to mention the devastating effect it’s had on the global economy.  

More than 160 countries have mandated school closures in one form or another for at least 1.5 billion children and youth. The social and physiological impact it has had on the population, especially the most exposed groups, including children, college students, and health workers has been devastating. These groups are more likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, and other symptoms of distress. The social distance and the security measures have affected the relationship among people and impacted many relationships.

As a gratitude coach, I often hear people complain and lament and with such a grim picture of the world, how can one find gratitude in times like this?

Finding gratitude is all a matter of perspective!

One thing we need to be clear about is that we don’t have to like everything that happens and we are entitled to feel scared and concerned.  However, there is always something to be grateful for if you look for the silver lining in things and situations. Without minimizing the impact of what we are going through, here are a few things on how you can find gratitude in challenging situations.

We can find gratitude that scientifically and medically we are more advanced and can respond faster and more effectively than previous pandemics. The vaccine, even if experimental at its release, was done in record time.  Our scientific community can test and respond quicker to virus mutations and improve vaccination faster than any other time in our history.  In comparison, during the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, which most closely resembles our current one, 50 million people died as compared to our latest statistics of 3.3 million. 

We can find gratitude that this virus seems to be a lot more forgiving to our younger generation whereas the Spanish Flu had a high mortality rate especially among children 5 years and younger as well as in the 20 to 40 age group. With COVID it seems that for the most part, if you are healthy, the mortality rate among these groups is very low.

We can find gratitude that we have a vaccine to combat this virus whereas in previous ones no vaccine was available.

We can find gratitude that we have the technology we do at this time which has enabled us to continue to function and connect. Although our world came to a halt, families and businesses still could continue to meet across distance.  

We can find gratitude that as Friedrich Nietzsche said, “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.” It has forced us to work together and show our resilience, creativity and ingenuity.

We can find gratitude in that it has allowed us to slow down and take note of what really matters in life, health and family.  Everything else is secondary.  These are things often taken for granted and I believe that Covid came to remind us of that. This pandemic has made us VALUE our lives more, value our families, our jobs, so we can finally value all the things we took for granted — Our freedom. Our freedom to gather, to hug, kiss, touch, to come and go without ever thinking what life would be like if one day we were deprived of those things.  

There will always be things in life that come to disrupt us but we always have a choice on how we respond to what happens.  We can look at this with fear and anger and complain nonstop or we can try to find, in the midst of it all, some things to be grateful for.  It is not easy, but if you choose to look for the good in all things, you will likely find them.

With much gratitude