Corona Columns: Issue #8

Disha Chatterjee writes about expressing gratitude to feel more joy during the pandemic


Ella Cuneo

Disha Chatterjee writes about finding gratitude during this pandemic. Art by Ella Cuneo

Has anyone else been remembering their dreams?
After texting several of my friends, I’ve come to the conclusion that this is a common occurrence during this time, and I hypothesize it’s because of the increased amount of sleep. No 6 A.M alarm to shatter our brief period of rest, no relentless pile of homework laying on our desks unfinished as 10 P.M turns into 1 A.M.
Despite the bonus of slowly recovering an unhealthy sleep schedule to the brink of normalcy, there’s still a lot to be upset about right now. The current state of the world, as the sickness spreads like wildfire and millions suffer or struggle to pay their bills. The cancellation of every event in the near future. Being stuck in the same place, day in and day out. The distance from friends, even as we attempt to fill it with Facetime or Houseparty.
I’m privileged enough to not have rent that I can’t afford, be a healthcare professional at the front lines of this crisis, or have risk factors that make this disease a greater threat to me than others. So perhaps it’s a lot easier for me to find the bright side in the situation, but today, I’m encouraging you all to find something small that puts a smile on your face. Staying positive, as corny as it sounds, is the best way to get through these tough times.
I’ve been keeping a daily gratitude journal (and updating it constantly, to my surprise). It was cheesy at first, but I’m glad I kept up with it. I started with the basics– family, health, shelter, food, and so on. I’ve written thank-you notes to the hobbies that I’ve been attempting during “coronacation”: baking, reading, singing, doing yoga, listening to podcasts. The toughest challenge might have been finding the benefits in online school (the increased sleep was the biggest one for me). Yet as I delve deeper each day, I never hesitate to write paragraphs about the unusual, random details of my life that bring me joy. Peanut butter. Windshield wipers. Soft blankets. My backyard’s ambiance. I’ve told some meaningful people in my life “thank you” through text or Facetime.
I’m encouraging you all to express gratitude too, in whatever form that may look like for you. Maybe you can stick post-its on a wall like one of my friends, or write out a simple list on a sheet of paper. Maybe communicate your appreciation to a loved one. Maybe make a video thanking the healthcare professionals at the front lines of this crisis.

We can all attempt to fill our lives with a little more joy by expressing gratitude

— Disha Chatterjee

Gratitude has a number of benefits; a quick google search will confirm that. But if not for the improved empathy or mental health, do it to clear your mind of all the negative aspects of this crisis. The media is constantly bombarding you with headlines, and I for one have not gone a day without hearing or uttering the word “coronavirus.”