Gratitude During a Strange Era

By Nikki Devereux

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I’ve been practicing gratitude for several years now, and it certainly helps me to put things in perspective when I get caught up in the whirlwind of human life’s daily, sometimes stressful concerns – money, cleanliness, eating, staying healthy, exercising, socializing, volunteering, learning, driving, and so much more, many of which are closely related.

At least once a week I take time to write down several things that I’m grateful for, big and small – and reflect on those things and how lucky I am to have them.

Sometimes I feel the need to practice this more often. . . during the pandemic I have found myself needing to write my list more frequently, because added to the stress of everyday regular life is this anxiety-provoking, deadly, invisible, sinister. . . “thing” that lurks and dwells and hangs over us. Its inescapability alone is enough to drive anxiety through the wall. There is no cheap flight to a remote paradise for a couple weeks. In fact, flying is exactly the opposite of what one would do to escape this. It’s baffling. It’s easy to feel stuck or trapped.
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This gratitude practice has revealed just how healing my art practice can be. My ability to be creative on a daily basis, to produce something beautiful that conveys a message or just something to appreciate simply for the beauty of it – I find peace, balance, purpose when I create.

My art appears regularly on my gratitude list, and between my art practice, gratitude practice – and a healthy dose of yoga and running – I’ve managed to stay relatively centered and calm during the last year.
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My gratitude list for today

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My family is healthy

That delicious cup of coffee this morning

I get to spend time with my baby every day

I have the ability to go on runs and walks, to move my legs and arms and feel free

My art practice and the space in which I create

The curiosity and desire to learn that has driven much of my art practice

The time I have to practice art

Looking out my kitchen window to a garden full of food, flowers and herbs

Having a kitchen window even!!

The orchid that I somehow cared for in a way that kept it alive and even rebloomed!

Water – I LOVE to drink water

All the photos and videos I have of my baby

The smell of lavender. What a gift to humanity!!
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Just writing the list made me reflect on all the good in my life. Thinking about the good things with intention can really put a smile on your face. I certainly feel lighter right now.

The gratitude list is certainly nothing revolutionary and I’ve seen the concept floating around for a few years now on the internet, Pinterest, etc. But, I hope that anyone who reads this tries it.

If you’re having a bad day, feel a little lost or lonely – or you just need a little light in your life – making a gratitude list may help you feel a bit better. Making it a regular practice is supposed to improve depression symptoms and relieve anxiety. Either way, you won’t know until you’ve tried.
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You can explore the work of Nikki Devereux here
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