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The Power of Positivity, Gratitude, and Prayer During the Pandemic

Jul 27, 2020

Because the situation surrounding COVID-19 is constantly evolving, some information may not be up to date. Stay informed by visiting the CDC website.

At CHI St. Luke’s Health, we believe in caring for the whole person — mind, body, and spirit. And in times like these, it’s especially important to foster hope.

So we spoke with Tyler Whipkey, Director of Mission and Spiritual Care at CHI St. Luke's Health–The Woodlands Hospital, and asked him to share his thoughts about how we can lift our spirits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“One thing that I’m always quick to remind people of is that our spiritual health is just as important as our physical and mental health,” he says. “When we practice positivity, gratitude, and prayer, we are taking steps to become more spiritually healthy.”

Let’s dive deeper into the benefits of these mindful practices.

Positivity: A Source of Light in Dark Times

Positive thinking can increase confidence, reduce stress, and promote healthy behaviors. These benefits then translate into better outcomes in people with chronic conditions, like diabetes, and general longevity.

“Staying positive during dark times can be a challenge,” shares Whipkey. “I often start by asking myself the question, ‘Where have I found hope in the past?’ Then, I intentionally connect with people with whom I have meaningful relationships. I make phone calls, send emails, and make video calls. By surrounding myself with a community of people who have my best interest at heart, I draw upon their strength.”

Whipkey also suggests taking it easy on your screen time. “I also make it a point to limit my social media and news consumption. While they both have a place in the world, too much of either one can be a bad thing.”

Gratitude: Celebrating the Good in Every Day

“When we choose to be positive, we become aware of the things in our lives that are good. That naturally leads us into opportunities to express gratitude for the things that we do have,” he continues.

Gratitude has been linked to improved psychological and physical health. It also works wonders for our relationships.

According to Whipkey, “Gratitude is something that’s best expressed, not kept inside of our minds.”

Here are a few ideas he offered for practicing gratitude:

  • Keep a gratitude journal. Each day, jot down three or four things that you’re grateful for.
  • Send a thank-you note to someone who has made a difference in your life.
  • Say thank you to those individuals who are helping you throughout the day — grocery store employees, restaurant servers (Be sure to tip well!), plumbers, mechanics, etc.

 

Prayer: A Powerful Connection

“How do we express gratitude? Prayer. Of course, prayer is for more than just saying ‘thank you’ to God or our Higher Power. Prayer is also an opportunity to lift up our concerns, hopes, and needs to someone who genuinely cares about us.”

Researchers have analyzed the power of prayer on physical and mental wellness. A 2015 study of patients with congestive heart failure found that experiencing spiritual peace was a better predictor of mortality risk than even comorbidities and functional health. Another study found that religiosity increased optimism in people with major depressive disorder and chronic conditions.

“Prayer is a powerful opportunity to talk to God,” explains Whipkey. “While most people know that prayer is our opportunity to ask God for help, we often forget that it is meant to be a transforming experience for us as well. When we take time to sit back and listen for a response from God, we are attempting to make prayer into a two-way conversation instead of a one-way monologue.”

So how can we listen for what God wants to speak into our lives?

“I’ve found that I can hear God best when I intentionally slow down, escape the noise of everyday life, and focus on what God might want to say to me.”

We invite you to join us as we lift our thoughts to God with this prayer provided by Whipkey:

Creator God, be near to me. When I’m uncertain, offer me comfort. When I’m afraid, give me courage. I give you thanks for all of the good things in my life. I ask for help with the things that aren’t so good. I pray for my community in the midst of this pandemic, that everyone would stay safe and healthy. Be with our leaders, and help them to make good decisions. Thank you for your love. Amen.

Our team at CHI St. Luke’s Health prays for your safety and well-being. We’re here for you, always.

Sources:
Time | 7 Surprising Health Benefits of Gratitude New York Times | A Positive Outlook May Be Good for Your Health