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Making the Best of Quarantine Days (A Letter from Global Peace Women #8)

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Since March 19th, Secretary-General of Global Peace Women (GPW), Dr. Soonok Kang has been sending weekly messages uplifting a healthy and happy family culture from home to community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Kang would like to share best practices from family activities like making masks to gratitude journals as well as our GPF family's kindness stories in helping neighbors each Friday. 

If you wish to share best practices for families to build a healthy and happy family environment during the Coronavirus pandemic, please email Dr. Soonok Kang: skang@globalpeace.org

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Dear Global Family,

We are grateful to have heard from you how these tips have been helpful resources for you and your family. We hope to continue providing the best and useful content especially for this period of the Coronavirus. 

Here in Washington State, we have been in quarantine for nearly two months now to keep our families safe and healthy during this crisis. Even though the issue seems to be getting a little better in Washington State, it is still a time of uncertainty and anxiety. I believe this is the current situation for many of you, as well. In these circumstances, I would like to share one of the best ways to overcome fear and anxiety is through practicing gratitude.

Many highly accredited universities in the United States, such as Stanford offer a high-demand class leveraging gratitude journals, which made students 27% less stressed. In an article by Harvard Medical School, a study in positive psychology indicates that “Gratitude helps people refocus on what they have instead of what they lack,” and found that gratitude has a significantly positive effect on our mood, relationships, and environment. 

Janice Kaplan, a social scientist, wrote The Gratitude Diaries and found that gratitude has the power to make people feel much happier. According to Kaplan, gratitude can bring a more pleasant, gratifying, and a peaceful environment for individuals and families alike. Kaplan dedicated a year to develop an “attitude of gratitude” for herself by writing in a gratitude journal, sharing appreciation to others, giving thank you letters, etc. Through these practices, she confirmed that gratitude is not chosen by our environments, but rather, is an individual choice. Her experience confirms the positive transformation that actively practicing gratitude can have, and how writing down moments of gratitude can help individuals to look on the bright side, even during difficult times. 

Upon reading Kaplan’s book, I decided to test her teachings for myself since April. To better understand the positive effects of gratitude in our family, my children and I wrote in our gratitude journals every night. This simple evening routine we began incorporating allowed us to recollect our thoughts, reflect, and share the 3 things we are most grateful for that day.

To share with you some examples, I wrote that "I am grateful to have a family who understands me and I am grateful that we can all eat together," while my son wrote, “I am grateful for having worked out with my siblings.” My daughter wrote, “I am grateful for seeing a beautiful sky,” from that day. Writing in a gratitude journal helped us observe our own feelings more honestly and allowed us to have a more positive outlook in our situation. 

If you feel that you or your family is confronting anxiety or stress from the lockdown and the COVID-19 pandemic, I recommend trying this practice in your daily routine. It has helped me and my children, and I believe that it will help you too. 

Today, May 15th is International Day of Families, a day to highlight the importance of families in societies and as foundations of our global community. This year, especially during this global health crisis, we hope you and your family can create a space for appreciation and gratitude in your daily lives as a source of stability and positivity. 

We always wish for you and your family’s safety, and send our prayers and hopes to those who are affected by the Coronavirus and the effects of the lockdown. 

Stay healthy and safe, and wishing you a very Happy International Day of Families!

 

Sincerely, 

Dr. Soonok Kang,
Secretary-General, Global Peace Women