Stress Management Part 1: Take Inventory & Cultivate Gratitude

Stress Management Part 1: Take Inventory & Cultivate Gratitude

Stress Management & Self Care

This four part series has been updated from our article, Stress Management & Self Care During Uncertain Times, originally shared in April 2020. 

With the global health crisis of Covid-19 having tested our communities, families, healthcare systems, and politics around the world, many of us are finding ourselves now struggling to make sense of everything that has happened. We have lost our jobs, our security, our intimate connection to others, and our sense of control. We are re-evaluating our human experience and how we are showing up in this world in our jobs, for each other, and for ourselves.

In my clinic in Santa Monica, CA we have seen an increase in the number of patients struggling to manage stress, anxiety, PTSD, and the physical manifestations of those conditions.

So, let’s take a look at the things we are able to do and the steps we can take to improve our wellbeing and manage our stress by creating a holistic self-care practice.

Part 1: Take Inventory & Cultivate Gratitude

Acknowledge what you CAN control

  • You CAN limit your social media.
  • You CAN turn off the news.
  • You CAN choose your attitude.
  • You CAN choose kindness.
  • You CAN choose how much time you spend worrying.
  • Take inventory and reflect – How many more things can you add to this list?

Cultivate Gratitude

Psychology research has shown that gratitude is directly connected to increased happiness. It improves health and increases an individual’s ability to feel positive emotions. There are a lot of ways you can create a gratitude practice.

Daily Gratitude Practice

  • List THREE things you are grateful for.
  • List the following THREE things daily: One thing you are grateful for, one thing that makes you happy, and Your favorite quote for the day. You may choose to elaborate on your answers.
  • You may choose to create a Gratitude Journal to document your thoughts. A simple or elaborately decorated journal will do. I have had my clients make their own journals from scratch, binding scrap paper and cardstock together themselves. Others choose to use a basic spiral notebook.
  • Create a Gratitude Jar/Box. Decorate your jar box to make it happy and bright. Keep small post it notes nearby or even better… use scrap paper! Every day write down one thing you are grateful for and put it in the box or jar. On days when you need a little emotional boost, read the entries in the jar.
  • Take a Gratitude Walk. We are still able to take walks outside while practicing safe social distancing. Taking a Gratitude Walk is also a practice in Mindfulness.
  • All it requires is your feet and a focused awareness of your surroundings. This isn’t as easy as it sounds. It does get easier. Focus your awareness on the smells, the colors, the trees, the flowers… the sounds around you.
  • Write a Thank-You Note. Once a month write a letter to another person expressing how much you appreciate them. Tell them how they have positively impacted your life. If you are able, handwrite your letter and send it to them. Occasionally write a letter to yourself.

Move smarter. Live better.

There are many choices we can make and things that we can do to take some control back of our daily routines. Creating an integrative wellness routine will help provide some structure to your day as well as relieve some of your stress and anxiety during this time of reflection, change and renewal.

This is a four part series.