Name It and Claim It – How Gratitude Can Boost Your Life
There’s a concept in psychology that can be readily summed up with, “Name it and claim it.” In a nutshell, it says that once you figure out the emotion that lies beneath your frustration, pain or anger, as in “name it,” you can then deal directly with the emotion itself, as in “claim it.” In turn, this facilitates healing.
For example, beneath anger and frustration most often lies fear. Once you address the fear itself, your frustration and anger will generally evaporate, or at least be understandable.
Understanding then leads to the possibility of resolving whatever issue caused the anger or frustration in the first place. Thus, the value of “Name it and claim it.”
Claiming Feel-Good Moments
What if we used the same concept in reverse? What if we named the feel-good moments in our lives, and thus “claimed” them? Not just the incredible over-the-top events, but the small, ordinary pleasures that we experience all along our day.
That morning brew that tastes so good – what if you said to yourself, “This tastes good. It makes me happy.” Or really soak in the pleasure of your shower, of your partner’s smile, of your own smile at a child, a pet, a flower?
Science tells us that feeling happier leads to better physical health, in particular, to improved cardiovascular health and immune system responses.
Who doesn’t want better health, especially a stronger immune system, in these pandemic days? Plus, feeling happier increases your overall mental and emotional well-being, which in turn makes you more resilient in the face of everyday stresses and upsets.
But here’s the thing: how does one feel happier in this seemingly unending global pandemic, with all its consequences for our health, our finances, our children, how we live day to day, our societies – heck, everything?
Start with Gratitude
There is a wealth of studies that show how gratitude is linked to happiness, which fortunately, is accessible to all of us, at no charge and with no harmful side effects.
Take the story of Alice Lawson, who at 97, is a stunning example of the benefits of gratitude in the midst of hardship. Rather than lament the pandemic which has challenged her as it has us all, Alice maintains an inspiring attitude of gratitude for everything that is going well.
For indeed, there is much that is going well when you think about it. There are still caring people in the world and those who are willing to help us find solutions to our Covid-forced social isolation and misery. We still have nature and pets; we have whatever faith supports us.
Somehow, Alice managed to find sources of happiness in the midst of truly awful difficult times. Alice lived through WWII in Liege, Belgium. In those years, she and her family put together food baskets and delivered them to basements where people persecuted by the Nazis were hiding.
Alice became a nurse, and soon thereafter, a “war-bride,” having fallen in love with an American soldier. Alice and her new husband first lived in rural Alabama, a far cry from citified Liege. Alice had to learn a whole new culture in addition to a whole new language.
Not only did Alice survive and thrive, raising her children and loving her husband, but she kept her upbeat approach to life through it all – never holding a grudge, always being grateful for life and all it offers.
Now, if Alice could maintain a grateful heart and mind through so much change and crises, surely we can attempt the same. Not to mention the impressive impact of such an attitude on her health and longevity. At 97, Alice has the verve and enthusiasm of a young person.
So, go for it. Name and claim whatever happiness you can find in your life. Deliberately engage your sense of gratitude for as much as you can. Your mental, emotional, and physical well-being will benefit enormously.
Even during the pandemic, what are you grateful for? What are some of the small things in your day-to-day life that make you smile? Has the pandemic changed the way you think about what’s important in life? If so, how? Please share with the community.