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“Dear 2021, I am grateful for…”

Gratitude. That word we often hear – one that is supposed to keep our mindsets positive, attitude upbeat and wellbeing on track.

As someone who practices the art of gratitude daily, I can attest to this: it works. But sometimes, even I have to admit, it can be a challenge to dig deep.

If ever there was a time for reflection, it’s usually the end of the year. And as this year draws to a close, many of us will find ourselves reflecting on what 2021 has brought us, before thinking about what we want for the coming year.

Ordinarily the end of the year brings us a beautiful opportunity to feel gratitude and set positive intent. However, given what we have all been through in 2021, some of us may have spent a little more time reflecting than we’re used to. Instead of remembering the good things that have happened, we may have started to dwell on the not-so-good stuff too. Feeling the push-pull of the world, as glimmers of hope and “normality” have at times, been offset by challenge. (Current situation, case in point).

It’s this push pull that has been the challenge – especially for our mental health. Happiness and joy for those incredible moments we’ve had this year; followed by the not-so-great challenges and exhaustion we’ve endured along the way. Highs, lows and all the in-between.

It can be hard. I get it. Even as I write this blog, I realise that I’m not immune either. Having felt “very human” about recent events: frustration, disappointment and despondency taking aseat next to me and sitting quietly while I’ve shaken my head and wondered when the pandemic is going to stop impacting our lives. “Ok,” I say after a while when I start think about the reality of this first world problem and all the things, I’m grateful for.

Because at the end of the day, the world is full of beauty, joy and amazing things – we just have to choose to see it.

Sure, the year and what we’ve been through might have felt like a rollercoaster, but as I’ve just mentioned, one thing is for sure: gratitude – and our ability to improve our feelings of wellbeing – will always be there.

This year may have been challenging, and our stress and anxiety may have soared. And yes, there will be moments where we fall down (and that’s ok), but when we recognise the power of gratitude and how digging into that unlimited gold mine can elevate our mood, attitude, and perspective, it starts to become easy to switch. In fact, a default.

So as the end of 2021 draws to close – and some of us might have to dig a little deeper than usual – let me highlight three things that we as a generation, can be grateful for:

We’re still here.

Sure, we might have worn the stress, felt the pain, watched on as the world was seemingly brought to its knees – but we’ve continued to get on with it. A reminder that our resilience levels are very high.

We have an opportunity to build.

Let’s face it, humans have always picked themselves up after disasters and started again and you know what? Our generation is in prime position to start rebuilding the way we want things to be done. We just have to look back at the last year to see how the world has shifted – and dare I say, in a way that is more aligned with “us.”

We’re continuing to make a difference.

We know the power in community; and how sharing our experience or offering a helping hand can be of huge value. We’ve drawn on community this year; provided support, built new relationships, had the courage to ask for help and given more voice to our own wellbeing. Mental health, one of those areas.

Gratitude isn’t just a word, it’s a choice, a way of living with a different lens. Give gratitude to the year that was and open your arms up to the year ahead – because 2022 is a brand new chapter.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


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