It’s Thanksgiving today, and as our American friends pause with loved ones to be collectively thankful for the blessings in their lives, it’s a good time to remind yourself of the incredible benefits of this ancient practice. This shouldn’t just be about Thanksgiving, New Year, or a big birthday. Being thankful, feeling gratitude, or just remembering not to take things for granted is a positive habit and once adopted, can help us all live lighter and brighter lives.
The problem is that life can often get in the way and when time is short and you’re trying to get everything else done, it’s tricky to remember to pause or take a step back and give thanks.
The ‘attitude of gratitude’ (we know it sounds cringey!) is nothing new – even Albert Einstein, Hippocrates.. some smart guys were big fans. These days, best selling authors such as Rhonda Burn, Deepak Chopra, Sonia Choquette, Eckhart Tolle and Gabby Bernstien have helped bring this state of mind mainstream with public figures such as Oprah, Victoria Beckham, Matthew McConaughey being open about giving thanks to the universe daily. As well as celebs, many of the worlds greatest artists, writers, CEO’s of FTSE 100 companies and Forbes business founders attribute their success to being grateful every day.
We’ve found it empowering to read books, have positive conversations with friends and listen to great public speakers spreading the virtues of positivity. When adopted, this way of thinking results in managing stress better, happier relationships, a healthier body, non destructive habits and a general sense of wellbeing. Sounds good doesn’t it?
Positivity requires dedication, so here are 5 ways to change habits and feel better about your life every day. We suggest you pick one to get started and try it for a month and then move on to another.
Just One Thing
As your head touches the pillow each night, find one thing that happened that you’re truly grateful for, whether that’s a perfect cup of tea or nailing a meeting at work - and give thanks. Ending your day with a positive vibe is a very powerful thing, helping you have a more restful sleep so that you can start tomorrow on the best foot. Our minds very often take over when we switch off the light, replaying frustrating situations over and over, so giving thanks and focusing on a positive can push those negative feels aside and help you rejuvenate each night.
Mindfulness, Meditation or Simply Taking Stock
Recent scientific studies have demonstrated that our brain cells actually behave differently after meditation or mindfulness exercises. Incorporating these into your routine is proven to counteract stress, anxiety, lack of focus, relationship problems, and addictions. There is a reason that many of the world’s leading businesspeople all practise this ancient mental exercise.
Meditation can seem like a chore and another thing on our long ‘to-do’ list, but with apps like market leader Headspace, founded by Andy Puddicombe who is a pioneer for mindfulness, it’s easier than ever to ‘take 10’ in today’s busy stress filled world. Andy designed this easy to use app in order to make meditation and mindfulness less daunting and time consuming. In addition to the meditations you would expect from a mindfulness app, there are guided practises for when you’re commuting or even at the gym, so you can easily fit this into your daily schedule.
Just 10 minutes a day and you’ll be on your way to peace of mind, wellbeing, improved relationships, greater focus and creativity.
If you don’t feel ready for this, then simply remembering to take a step back and take stock feeling overwhelmed is also extremely powerful. It also often serves as a reminder to breath as well – always useful.
Brighten Up Your Lingo
Start to really notice the words you use (both thought and spoken) and make sure you are speaking with positivity. This one can sometimes take a while to hit home as it’s a massive shift in thinking, but if you are speaking from a place of negativity 60% of the time, it’s no surprise that you don’t have a sprig in your step. This can be an eye opener once you get the hang of it and you'll soon start to notice people who speak from a place of positivity or negativity.
Consider these simple everyday examples:
- “I must not forget my keys” --- “I must remember my keys”
- “I wish we’d stop arguing” --- “I wish we communicated better/with respect and understanding”
- “I’m always late” --- “I’m always doing my best to be on time”
- “I’m always tired” --- “I’m finding new ways to keep energised and get better sleep”
- “I can’t afford it” --- “I’m not going to buy that now, I’ll get it another time”
Write Down What You Really Want
Feel like things are going in an uncomfortable direction, you’re being victimised or struggling to figure out what you want and where life is going? We’ve all been there. One thing you should absolutely do is write some affirmations, or simple sentences that help put into words what you want.
First time it will feel weird, but don’t let that put you off. If you want more help with this, read Shakti Gawain’s book Creative Manifestation – truly life changing and many, many people (including us) over thousands of years attribute many positive things in their life to this daily practise.
This can literally be anything but some great examples to get started are:
- I trust that my life is moving in the right direction
- I am getting closer and closer to my goals each day
- I have enough money to live the life I want to lead
- I am superior to negative thoughts and low actions from others
- I have been given endless talents, which I can utilize whenever I want.
- I possess the qualities needed to be extremely successful
- Creative energy surges through me and leads me to new and brilliant ideas.
- I deserve to be employed and paid well for my time, efforts, and ideas.
- I am blessed with an incredible family/wonderful friends.
- Everything that is happening now is happening for my ultimate good.
- I am the architect of my life; I build its foundation and choose it’s contents
You could even buy yourself a Happiness Planner to get started and who knows where it could take you!
100 Day of Happiness
If you really want to commit to supercharge your positive vibes, 100 days of happiness is a winning formula.
This has been a huge hit in recent years and we have personally seen the powerful impact it can have on people’s lives. You post a picture on either instagram, Facebook or twitter (or even just in your own album) of something that has made you happy and for which you are thankful every day, for 100 days. Sounds extreme, but it takes minutes and can be anything from meeting up with a friend, to enjoying a peaceful 15 minute walk, drinking a coffee, watching Game of Thrones, a spoon full of almond butter from the pot or a lovely glass of wine.
Use the hastag #100happydays or come up with a personal hashtag if you don’t want to widely publicise your journey. Register at www.100happydays.com before you start and join a community that has changed lives.