Working on my mental health has been a top priority for me over the last few years. From sessions with a psychologist, regular yoga classes, routine building, meditation practice, and even hypnotherapy, I’ve been working hard at nipping anxious and negative thought patterns in the bud, and instead curating a mindset of gratitude, abundance and positivity.
It’s not an easy change to make, for me certainly my brain was hard wired to always think, and expect the worst. A lot of the work I’ve done for my mental health is about being more aware of these toxic thought patterns, and choosing a different option.
That act of choice feels immensely positive and empowering. It’s a great feeling to recognise negative thoughts, and to choose to change your mindset.
Why embrace a gratitude mindset?
Honestly? To be happier in every day. When you’re focusing on the positive, on what your grateful for, your whole day gets better. Going through life looking for the good, and appreciating it, makes every day seem less stressful, and happier. And really, who doesn’t want to be more relaxed? It’s not about believing every day is good, but rather finding the good in every day.
Embracing a mindset of gratitude and positivity also means that when something bad does happened, you’re generally better equipped to deal with it, coming from a place of calm, rest and positivity, rather than already being stressed or overwhelmed, allowing another negative thing to push you over the edge.
How to switch your mindset.
It’s not an easy journey to change your whole mindset, and it’s certainly one that requires continued effort. Some things that have worked well for me include:
- Being more open to change. Instead of viewing change as something scary, a shift in the norm, I’m trying to look at it as an opportunity for positive growth. Change is as good as a rest or so they say, and being open to change means being open to improvement. When a seemingly scary change is afoot I try to break it down, look at what it is that’s scary, find ways to neutralise these ‘threats’ and look for how the change could be positive.
- Change your language. How often do you say ‘I’m not any good at that’ or ‘today is going to be terrible’? Instead, look for a way to positively rephrase, perhaps ‘I’m trying to improve my skills in that area’ or ‘today will be full on but I’m looking forward to X’. The more positive language we use, the more we trick our brains into believing a situation is positive.
- Gratitude journaling. I’ve talked about gratitude journaling before but it really is a great tool for building a positive mindset. Try and find five minutes each day to put pen to paper and list all the things you have to be grateful for. Even if that’s as small as a hot cup of tea, or five minutes spent in the sunshine, it’s all worth listing, recognising and appreciating.
- Be more present. It’s definitely easier to be grateful when you’re more aware. Put your phone down, bring your mind out of the past or the future, and focus on the now. Chances are it’ll seem a lot better when you give it your full attention.
- Get excited about the small things. My first coffee of the day is almost ritualistic now. I adore the five minutes in the kitchen warming milk, selecting my favourite mug, picking out a spice or syrup, the gentle hum of my coffee machine, the failed attempts at latte art. They’re all part of a positive morning routine that sets me up for the day feeling great. I snap photos of pretty shadows on the floor, I point out new blooms on the drive to the supermarket, I enthuse over a new coffee shop. When you’re positive about the small things, it makes it easier to see each day as great.
- If in doubt, fake it. Fake it til you make it is a popular saying for a reason! Putting on a positive act helps trick your brain into positive thinking, so even if you don’t feel like it, look for ways to embrace gratitude, abundance and positivity in your every day.
How do you try and embrace gratitude?