Maintaining A Positive Mindset Through Practising Gratitude
by Iona Russell
Today’s life is busy and hectic – from work to home, it’s so hard to make time for everything. Not least struggling to fit it all in and taking time out for yourself.
Only, this morning as I sat at my desk writing away, I felt the warm sun on my face. I had a tasty hot coffee to drink. I had uplifting music to sing along to, and I couldn’t help but feel thankful and grateful for how all those things made me feel.
Smiling as I worked, I couldn’t imagine a better place to BE in that moment.
At the risk of sounding like a cliché, it really is about bringing it back to the simple things in life. Simple pleasures when you stop and observe them can improve anyone’s mood – yes, really.
Here are my top tips to practising gratitude every day.
Bring the Breath
If we bring everything back to our breath, we really can slow down and learn to appreciate more. When we unknowingly hold our breath – yes, we do this unconsciously – or breathe quickly, we are only adding to any anxiety or fear. Taking three slow deep breaths whenever we find ourselves spiralling out of control can always bring us back to the now. In through the nose, out through the mouth.
Finding things that make you feel grateful right now in this moment is easy. Look around for things to love and appreciate, and once you start to look for them, you’ll begin to see them everywhere in your life. From the song you sang along to, to the person who opened the door for you, or your child’s laughter: these moments happen every day in your life.
When you start to notice them, it will change your life. If you’re a busy mum, maybe it’s something as simple as a hot cup of tea, or a hug from your kids. Maybe it’s as simple as being grateful for the clean bedsheets or soft pillow at the end of a hard day.
Observe Your Thoughts
The focus of thoughts has a huge influence on your life and how you feel, and overthinking is also when we can self-sabotage. Too many of us spend too much time thinking about the past or the future, rather than being in the present moment. When we overthink, we rarely envisage the best scenario, do we? So I advise you to stop and think about what you are thinking right now. Were your thoughts positive, calm or chilled? Or are they negative, fearful or worried? It’s your choice how you think and feel.
Set the Intention
Since it’s your choice how you think and feel, set the intention that you are going to have a good day; that travel plans will go to plan if they are meant to; that the school run will be pleasurable and fun; that your day will be full of interesting developments. Focus on how you want your day to be and feel.
Turn Thoughts Into Things
Once you’ve set the intention to have a good day, monitoring and being aware of your thoughts is the next step. If you are always viewing interactions from a place of love or gratitude, life becomes much simpler and lighter. It pays to always look on the bright side of life and to keep your to-do list manageable. Tomorrow is another day: focus on getting a few key things done and then you won’t be disappointed or overwhelmed.
Self-care is a hot topic right now, but that’s because we so very often forget to look after our own needs at a soul level. I don’t just mean drinking a hot cup of tea or running a hot bath – which I know are amazing ways to relax – but I mean ensuring you are listening to your body and soul, scheduling something daily that lights you up inside. Whether that means helping another in need, dancing in your lounge, meeting with like-minded friends or getting out in nature, little and often is the key. And before you know it, it becomes part of your daily routine.
About the author
Iona Russell’s core philosophy is that no matter who you are, where you’re from or what your personal circumstances, it is possible to reinvent yourself from the inside out and live your best life. Iona has proven her own philosophy having overcome personal struggles with depression, stress and confidence, and truly believes everyone can get out of their funk and get to a place of purpose, passion and joy.
Iona is a Life Fulfilment Coach who is also certified in Clinical Hypnotherapy (Dip.C.Hyp), Past Life Regression (PLR), Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP), Kinetic Chain Release (KCR Masters), Advanced Ho’oponopono and Postural Energetics. She is the creator of the program Frazzled to Fabulous and is experienced in meditation and mindfulness practices, having been raised by Buddhist parents with a hippie philosophy. Iona’s book Making Waves is due out in autumn this year.