• Charli

Wellness Matters 12.11.2021

Practice Gratitude for a Positive Mindset

When I was younger and transitioning from a period of relative innocence to tumultuous, bewildering, and extremely painful, teenage years, I kept a diary. Several diaries, in fact, documenting life's cruelty.

However, I shredded them all when I was packing up my student bedsit, in preparation to become a professional educator, assuming that by destroying the evidence, I could put all that angst behind me.

The reason for this was simple: having skimmed over a handful of entries, they struck me as negative and needy, and I couldn’t see what was to be achieved by keeping them, determined as I was to pack away all that hurt and anger in order to embrace my promising 'grown up' life.

Of course, it isn’t as easy as just throwing away experiences, they have a habit of entering into the subconscious, and I wonder if my actions created a void, which then prevented me from making peace with my younger, troubled mind.

During a recent coaching session, my client set an intention to capture their journey by writing a journal, as a means to reflect on this particular moment in their lives, and to process the enormous change they were undertaking. When we met a fortnight later, the initial diary writing habit had ceased, and I think I understood why: when things aren’t going so well, it can be very difficult, at the end of the day, to put a positive slant on situations and feelings that have impacted negatively.

However, if that process can be flipped to incorporate a gratitude journal then a whole different picture begins to emerge. When the day begins on a positive note, it is harder to dampen it down with a vat of negativity.

There is scientific evidence that the more we think with a positive mindset, the more positive we can feel. This can be in the form of daily affirmations, a gratitude journal or having a daily reminder to think of something positive e.g. Action for Happiness

Here are some examples of daily routines which can be incorporated into everyday life to help develop a sense of wellbeing, which is defined as: simply judging life positively and feeling good.

  • Being outside: whether for a long hike or a 20 minute stroll, being outside is vital to wellbeing.

  • Thinking of something positive and writing it down: there is further scientific evidence to show that when we physically handwrite our intentions/affirmations/ thoughts, it becomes more quickly embedded. You could write these on Post-its and literally put them into a glass jar or vase and watch it start to fill up.

  • Having plans in the diary of things to look forward to.

  • Stepping away from social media/screens for periods every day.

  • Recognising that thoughts are only thoughts, and we don't have to adhere to them, especially if they are negative.

Be kind and be patient, taking steps towards a more positive life and mindset is hard work. Your smile doesn’t just appear and stay there, every small knock you receive will throw into doubt whether the gratitude process is worth it, but trust me, it is.

And remember no response is a response. Remaining calm, breathing and walking away can have a longer lasting impact than engaging in acrimonious verbal exchange.

So whether your neighbour has parked across your drive for the umpteenth time; the owner of a very cute bouncy dog which is out of control, ignores that it won’t leave your dog alone; the person at the front of the queue is taking forever, take a deep breath, stay calm, be polite and move on. If this is difficult, be aware that your behaviour will be the only thing people remember.

"Keep your thoughts positive, because your thoughts become your words.

Keep your words positive because your words become your behaviour.

Keep your behaviour positive because your behaviours become your habits.

Keep your habits positive because habits become your values

Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny."

Mahatma Gandhi

Have a great week and please share your positive tips for wellbeing with me.

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