Perspective and Gratitude are Important During Hard Times, and It Starts With Changing One Single Word

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Maintaining optimism during shelter-in-place is becoming increasingly difficult, but with a change in one's language and mindset, one can find the positive in daily routines.

Laynie Sheehan, Staff Writer

Even during difficult and unwanted times – such as the COVID-19 pandemic – one can maintain happiness and satisfaction by considering the opposing concepts of “I get to” versus “I have to.” How much of your day is spent doing things you have to do? 

During shelter-in-place, I find myself saying, “I have to do school work on my computer all day.” Or, “I have to go on a dog walk.” Now, I encourage myself, and you, to change “have” to “get.” I get the opportunity to learn, even during a pandemic. I get to be taught by caring and hard-working teachers. I get to spend more time with my family while many in the world are separated from their loved ones. 

Too often we act as if we aren’t given a choice, but in reality, we do have a choice. We have the choice to change our attitude and our actions. It’s sometimes words that mean the most, rather than actions. Soon, you may find that life is a gift, not an obligation, and your “I have to” attitude will change to “I get to.”

With increased free time, we get the opportunity to make the most of it; it is just a matter of finding the positive side in everything you do. Shelter-in-place is not easy, and neither will our futures be, but if we approach each day as an opportunity to grow and to show gratitude, we will all live more meaningful lives. One simple change in a sentence can help remind you of the positive potential in any situation.

So, what do you get to do today?