As Jim Gaffigan tells us in the video above, we are living unprecedented times. And if I wanted to forget, there was even a commercial more than a few times during the Clippers-Mavs playoff game a few weeks back that came on a number of times to remind me.

Yes. Unprecedented. And yes, there are probably more unprecedented times to come! My wife is a school principal. She reminds me.

But what’s the point of thinking about it?

There are many reasons but one basic way to build resilience is to strengthen your sense of gratitude. It’s a kind of  antedote for this growing list of unprecedented events we’re all living through.

It put things into prespective.

We may not forget what we’ve been feeling these past weeks turned months, or the uncertainty we face daily about our futures. But remembering what’s good (and some of the things that are actually great) goes a long way toward cooling down the mind and making us feel better.

It’s a training.

This is a way to learn to redirect our thoughts and focus on what’s pleasant. Think of it as a brief RESET when the mind wanders toward “what’s wrong” and you want to balance it with “what’s right.”

Pleasant feelings soothe the heart.

These are easy examples of uncomplicated thoughts, images and memories that work for me.

  • a night out for pizza with my wife
  • a relaxing stroll though the city center closed to traffic 
  • bike rides to the beach
  • a swim at the sea with my son
  • the family eating together on our balcony
  • Jupiter and Mars hanging in the evening sky
  • cool breezes coming in from the Tyrrhenian Sea

Gratitude for the simple things. Just think about it. It doesn’t take much.

We are all connected.

Technology has been driving me crazy the last few months. I’ve had to learn all kinds of things to move my business on-line. But the thought that makes me smile? We are all connected. A video chat is not like being there but it has given me the opportunity to

  • teach all these months during the lockdown
  • speak with my elderly father in the US (whenever he hears the phone) 
  • sit down anywhere and make contact with friends I haven’t spoken to in years

Yes, using tech to do human things and have human feelings. It makes me smile. 

Gratitude. I have a bias for it.

I have worked hard to make it a default state of mind, I encourage myself to think this way, to lean into how it feels in the body, to become selective, to consider how many are going through worse when I think I have it so bad. “Fall forward.” “When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.”

Here’s the crux of it: when there’s a choice

  • choose empathy
  • power it with meditation
  • guided it with reflection
  • rest in kindness.

Do you have similar strategies? What do you do?  Have you requested my mindfulness meditation starter’s kit at the top of the page? (Anche in Italiano.)

John Angelori

I am mindfulness teacher and language coach. I help people instill habits that create high levels of resilience and sensitivity, for well-being and to achieve their objectives. Since coming to Italy in 1990, I have been teaching and consulting for individuals and innovative local businesses and multinationals, I am now exploring the on-line space for new opportunities to continue to share. Look for me on Facebook, Instagram and on my website www.johnangelori.com.

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