Living with Gratitude: How To Make Every Day Count
by Jessica Gaynor
You’ve got one life. These are our tips on how to get the most out of it!
It’s easy to see the glass half empty right now. After COVID-19, Stress has been labeled as the number one health pandemic, the global economy has hit one of its all time lows and poverty is rife.
How can we possibly see the glass half full?
The Secret to Happiness
Ah, the age-old question!
There was a 75 year-long study at Harvard focused on uncovering the most important factor in human happiness. You might be thinking: financial stability or having a purpose right? The conclusion might surprise you… It’s a human connection.
When we talk about human connection, we’re not talking all that social media stuff. We’re talking real physical and emotional connection with other human beings, and the quality and depth of those relationships.
Human interaction can foster a great sense of community and sense of support. 2 Things we have always needed and will always need as humans to grow within ourselves and within the world. When we have a sense of community and support, we feel safer and more willing to try new things because we know
we’ll be backed up by our tribe regardless of the outcome. Not to mention, it’s been proven that daily, quality social interaction can slow the onset of memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease.
So get out there and socialise (socially distanced of course!), make those connections, find your tribe and try new things to get the most out of life and keep your mind healthy. But this isn’t the only thing you can do to elevate your life…
We can actually rewire our brains
Until fairly recently, scientists firmly believed that the brain is unchangeable when we become adults. Who we are is who we are. Solid, concrete, unalterable brains. Once we’re adults, that’s who we are – no buts about it.
Now we understand that the brain can be remolded and rewired to think differently – a term known as ‘neuroplasticity’.
If you’ve always got a gloomy outlook on life, fear not – you can change your mindset! If you have a bad habit, you can change that too (phew!). All thanks to the ever-changing miracle and mystery that is your brain. The secret to changing the brain is repetition.
It’s all about habits
To start thinking differently, you need to create new habits that support the life you want to live. You need to implement changes consistently. The tried and tested way to build a habit is to ‘habit stack’.
Habit stacking means doing the “new” habit right after an existing one. For example you could try meditating and brushing your teeth in the morning – because that’s something you do every day (hopefully!).
The more we repeat something or think in a certain way and make it a habit, the faster our brains will be rewired in line with those thoughts and actions. So let’s make sure it’s a positive change!
Creating an attitude of gratitude
Expressing gratitude is the single most powerful way to create a more positive outlook on life. When we focus on what we’re grateful for, we focus on what’s good in our lives. Then, by repeatedly focusing on the good, we start to create a habit of thinking positively which ultimately extends to the way we see the world.
There are a few ways we can change our view on life:
Keep a gratitude journal
Did you know that the information we learn with multiple senses sticks more easily? Writing in particular is a very powerful tool we can use to learn because it engages both our senses of touch and sight. This is known as ‘multimodal learning’.
Get yourself a notebook in a size that floats your boat. A bonus for this one is if it looks nice on the outside so you’re more drawn to pick it up and use it. Keep it in a place where you’ll see it often – next to your bed is the best.
Every day – before bed or when you wake up – write down 3 things you’re grateful for. It’s powerful to write down full sentences that result in affirmations. For example: “I am grateful for my healthy body”.
When you’re feeling low, have a read through your journal (which over time becomes prey substantial!). After a year you’ll get to read more or less 1000 things that you get to be grateful for.
Take -me off social media
Ever had a “(s)he’s got it all” moment when you’re scrolling? It’s really easy to get down into a slump because your life seemingly isn’t as good as others’. It’s important to remember that people don’t post their life’s lows. All you’re seeing are people’s highlights and that’s not real life.
Set up the screen balance feature on your phone – they all have one! Make sure you’re not scrolling through unrealistic expectations all day. Put your phone away and sit in the present to acknowledge what you have in this moment. Why not even have a read through that gratitude journal?
It’s something we do without even thinking but really should. You know that thing where the air moves in and out of the body and gives us life? Yeah that one!
When you focus on the breath, you bring yourself into the present moment and that’s what we all need the most. We’re always living in the past or the future but very rarely in the present. When we live in the present we become more aware of what we have and how we feel. Basically, we live life in HD and who doesn’t want that? Breathing in and of itself is something else we can be so grateful for.
We’re working even longer hours now that many of us work from home and struggle to set work/ home boundaries. We sit for way longer than our bodies were ever designed to do and our spines compress, giving us all those (very common) back aches and pains. Set a timer on your phone to take a break from your desk – that might mean just gebng up and walking around the house a few times.
Try and exercise for 30 minutes, 5 -mes a week or 20 minutes every day. Your body will release happy hormones and instantly give you a mood booster.
As we spoke about before, community and connection are a big part of who we are as humans. When we perceive that we are supported and can support others, we instantly have more purpose in life – and that’s been proven.
Why not support a charity or cause? Donate clothes or even your time? Taking the -me to help others will give you a sense of gra-tude and pride in our communities by working towards the common good for everyone.
A word from Jessica Gaynor
Through the sharing of knowledge and experience, we want to help build communities and individuals become the most optimal version of themselves both physically and mentally.
Your health is your wealth so make lasting changes, one habit at a time.
About Jessica Gaynor
The human mind fascinates me beyond words. After I was diagnosed with stress-induced Epilepsy, I started to revaluate the way I was living my life and I became acutely aware of the global stress pandemic. It’s become my life mission to help others become aware of it too, through meditation and mindfulness – because awareness is the first step towards change.
I’m a registered Yoga Teacher and Employee Wellness Coach with a focus on mental health and wellbeing. I am currently studying towards a certification in Yoga Therapy – a discipline centered around helping people understand and manage both their physical and emotional imbalances in the body.