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During a pandemic, I admit that it can be rather difficult to ‘look on the bright side.’ To keep from catching or spreading the coronavirus, we have shut ourselves in and stopped doing many of the things we once enjoyed. We only ‘visit’ with our family and friends through our phones, tablets or laptops and we have to stay distant and cover our faces when we venture out to take care of the essentials, such as buying groceries and attending medical appointments. Life in the year 2020 sure is different.

As hard as it might be to do, however, rather than dwell on the negative it would serve us well to instead count our blessings. Research has shown that grateful people tend to have fewer aches and pains, experience better sleep, feel less stressed, express more self-confidence, and bounce back better from traumatic events.

While giving thanks has been an annual American tradition since 1863 when Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday (during the Civil War!), being grateful just once a year is insufficient. We need to make it a regular habit. One way to do that is to keep a gratitude journal. In it you’ll write down one or two things you’re thankful for. You can do so daily, for example right before you go to bed or it’s something you can do weekly. The longer you do it, the stronger the benefits. One day, you might even find that one of the things you write in your journal is just how thankful you are for creating it to begin with.