We have all learned new words and phrases recently including ‘social distancing’, ‘PPE’, ‘lockdown’, ‘self-isolating’, ‘herd immunity’, and ‘furlough’. (Of course, there is also ‘anti-social distancing’, which is when you haven’t washed and still venture out!)

We are also regularly using words that would have been rare before the pandemic: ‘vaccine’, ‘hotspots’, ‘contact tracing’, ‘stock piling’, and ‘panic-buying’.

For nearly all of us our daily lives are different. It isn’t surprising that the words we use have changed to describe the situation.

Let’s be intentional and notice the language we are using, beyond the language we need relating to coronavirus.

Notice ‘the language of your thoughts’. What are your repeated thoughts about? Are these thoughts useful in the sense that they are helpful for example to remind you to stay safe or do something? Or are these thoughts unhelpful in the sense that they are simply running you ragged? Notice also the positive or negative language in your thoughts. Are you beating yourself (or others) up in your thoughts? Is everything a downer? Do fearful thoughts loom large? Or are you more balanced in acknowledging the good as well as the tough stuff?

It can help to write down your thoughts so that you can review them – for your eyes only.

It is a sure thing that there will be a match – albeit not a perfect match – between the language of your thoughts and the language you use out loud with others (or out loud to yourself if you are self-isolating).

When we find we are focusing on the tough stuff – perhaps even feeling overwhelmed as we absorb the latest personal, national or global news – practicing gratitude is a sure way to get the balance. It isn’t about shutting out the tough stuff. It is simply about recognising there is also good stuff.

Start writing or saying a few things you can be thankful for today. This might be a good exercise to do with others in your household, including expressing it in pictures. Once you start, you will be surprised how quickly the list – your thankfulness grows.

Notice the language you use. Practice gratitude. Stay well.

This is Thoughtful Thursday on 29 April 2020.

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notice the good

However you look at it we are in tough times.

I am reading Factfulness by Hans Rosling with a chapter called ‘The Negativity Instinct’. It points to our instinct to notice the bad more than the good.

We feel the world is in a bad place. And I agree. It is. Everything is not fine. We should be concerned.

The solution is not to pretend that everything is fine. That would be ridiculous. Instead we need to notice that things are both bad  and good.

News of bad events will reach us quickly (and is available 24:7). News of the good – the things we are thankful for – may need us to take action. We need to be intentional in noticing them.

Volunteer to look for the good (while of course recognising the bad). And do it now.

What are three things that you are thankful for right now? (The sunshine? A cuppa? Faithful friends?)

And as you go about your day, remind yourself (and others), what are three things I am thankful for right now? What are three things you can be thankful for right now?

Be well. Be mindful. Be thankful.

This is Thoughtful Thursday on 26 March 2020. You can follow this post or sign up top right for an email each time there is a new post (generally on Mondays and Thursdays!).