“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” -Viktor Frankl, Holocaust Survivor
A global pandemic. Panic buying of supplies. Stocks declining steeply. Schools and businesses closing. Cities under lockdown.
All of our lives have been disrupted.
Under these conditions, psychologists and neuroscientists understand and expect that many people will experience fear, anxiety, and an inability to focus and think clearly. They call this the “amygdala hijack”, singling out the emotional part of the brain – the amygdala – that triggers our primitive “fight or flight” response to perceived danger. With the whole world triggered by unprecedented events – events that could potentially spiral even further into uncharted territory – how might we keep from being amygdala hijacked? How might we remain calm, centered, and focused?
Of course, there are intoxicants of all forms and escapism that can temporarily distract our minds from current events. But keep us calm, centered, and focused? Probably not. Many have turned to mindfulness meditation, yoga, exercise, and other forms of relaxation. I’m an advocate of many of these disciplines. Our work, though, suggests that there’s another option.
Over the years, we’ve been very intentional about practicing Gratitude. Our experience has been that Gratitude has helped us, our family members, our colleagues, and clients appreciate the many blessings we all have and find the good in even the most challenging situations. This practice has never been more relevant and necessary for our collective wellbeing.
Through the lens of Gratitude, we have an opportunity to refocus our minds on what’s essential for our wellbeing; that which brings us happiness, fulfillment, meaning, and joy. We call this True Wealth. But regardless of what one calls it, there are enduring parts of our lives that persist despite the coronavirus, the stock market, and the disruption that’s affected us all. For most of us, this includes our family, our continued good health (if we’re currently blessed with good health), our Faith, the many diverse experiences we’ve had and continue to have, and the joy of contributing to the wellbeing of others.
Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl said, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Now is our time to choose…to choose Gratitude and True Wealth…and to help others do the same.