Dear Friend,

We connected with you a week ago as we entered this challenging time dealing with the COVID-19 virus and the changes this has brought to every aspect of our lives. One of the lessons this experience is offering us is to realize that even though there are things we can’t control, there still are things we can control. This is a theme Top 20 has been focused on since we taught our first class of students in 2000.

In a message from Deepak Chopra that I heard a few days ago, he said that fear that is not minimized becomes stress…and stress that is not minimized can turn into panic. The reason for this is that chronic fear activates and keeps us stuck in the reptilian part of our brain…resulting among other things in a more rapid heartbeat and higher blood pressure. This can affect our thinking and lead to poor decisions…panic.

The good news is that this is something we can control. How?

Today we want to share one way to minimize fear, stress, and panic…gratitude. It’s a way we all understand and can easily do. In a sense, gratitude moves us to a different part of our brain. As a result, we think better.

I have been intentionally practicing gratitude for four weeks. What does that mean? Each day I think of something for which I am grateful. I share this, usually in an email, with friends or family. Here’s an example from March 19th:  “Today I am grateful for sturdy old things. When in high school 90 years ago, my father made a stand out of wood. No nails are used in this creation…only glue to hold things together…and it is still beautiful and together. Some 40 years ago my grandmother crocheted a blanket that we still have in our home. Thanks for being sturdy ‘old’ friends, stuck together, and in whom I experience, like grandma’s blanket, warmth and comfort.”

There’s a time and a place for fear in our lives. We just don’t want fear to become chronic and take a toll on our health and our ability to make good decisions.

Please watch this video promoting gratitude by Ashley Weber, a dynamic French teacher with 13 years of experience in foreign language teaching, leadership, and youth character development. In the video, Ashley says, “We are forgetting how to slow down and focus on the things that really count.” Well, we certainly have that opportunity now. One of the remarkable results of Ashley’s Thankful Thursdays is that her students did better in learning French.

We invite you to share the video and invite people you know to practice gratitude by focusing on things that really count.

Paul Bernabei


Top 20 Training