March 23, 2021

Gratitude

This time last year, we still didn’t know what was coming. The threat of SARS-CoV-2 was still somewhat invisible in most areas. We were gearing up for a surge here in Seattle that we feared would overwhelm our system, like what was happening in Italy or New York. That surge never swept over us here in the Northwest, but we have had enough heartbreak here and we have witnessed the devastation in other areas. A year ago today, I wrote a short post, musing about what is essential and what isn’t after our governor mandated people stay home except for essential activities.

Today I write about sleep, gratitude, and helping others, which is the key to happiness, per this course on happiness taught at Yale. I tend to agree that sleep helps healing and soothes anxiety. When people can’t sleep, they are more anxious and worried, if only about getting enough sleep. Helping others is definitely a way to bring joy, and gratitude warms our hearts. We need more of it. Personally, I am full of gratitude today, thinking about what I feared this time last year. Yes, I know millions have been sick and more died than needed to, but so many people acted with care and concern, so that things weren’t worse. We flattened the curve and saved lives, even in our small communities and pods. I am full of gratitude for that. I also feel grateful that so many of my friends and people I know stayed safe the past year. Hopefully, these writings helped.

One way to feel your gratitude now that we are starting to breathe again and help someone else at the some time is to write a Gratitude Letter. These can be very healing and rewarding and increase happiness in unexpected ways. Think of someone you would like to thank and write them. You will sleep better and feel happier.

Wash your hands, cover your nose, keep safe six, and write that letter.

And finally, my caveat is that this is my experience and my opinions, which are subject to change as more information is available, and not related to the organization I work for. Thanks for reading.

https://betsybrownmd.substack.com/p/march-23-2020

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/13/style/happiness-course.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/26/nyregion/at-yale-class-on-happiness-draws-huge-crowd-laurie-santos.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/27/at-home/how-to-write-a-gratitude-letter.html

https://ggia.berkeley.edu/practice/gratitude_letter