It sure is tough out there some days. There’s a lot of darkness floating around in this complex world of ours. It can be hard to watch the news, and sometimes difficult to stop a pit of sadness from engulfing us as we empathize with those who are struggling, or as we attempt to get through our own personal challenges. It’s easy to get caught in loop of hopelessness when we see all the problems in our world and feel powerless to stop a lot of the harm being done.
Never before have we had such amazing access to real time news and to such a vast reservoir of information! It can be problematic of course, and difficult to weed out biased or false information. But mostly it can also leave us feeling small, or like we will never be enough.
On social media, we are constantly bombarded by posts from friends and acquaintances that are larger than life. We mostly only get to see the flat shiny sides of people that they like to show off. After all, isn’t it usually the good stuff we like to share? It’s so much harder and a lot less fun to open up about the tough stuff.
So where does practicing gratitude come in?
There are small, daily actions we can take to lift ourselves up, keep our glasses full and make sure we continue to radiate a positive energy that attracts positivity to us.
Does this sound a little too new age-y? I hear you. But think about this scenario:
You wake up on the wrong side of the bed. You grumpily march yourself to the kitchen to make coffee only to realize you’re all out. You run out the door to work and try and stop for a coffee but the line is too long. The bus is delayed. When it finally shows up it’s super crowded. And this just continues all day, as you resign yourself to “it’s just a bad day”.
Or this one:
You wake up in a good mood, despite there not really being anything in particular to look forward to that day. You go to your kitchen and realize you’re out of coffee. You decide you’ll pop into your favourite café on the way to work. The line is too long and you’re disappointed, but you decide to check out a new café near your bus stop thats just opened. In the time it takes to grab coffee at the new place, the bus delay clears up. Its still pretty crowded, but you don’t really mind because you’re happily reading a book on your phone and sipping at a hazelnut latte.
How we think about, and react to the world around us, has tremendous impact.
What if you could stop a bad day in its tracks?
You can! Here’s a few simple strategies to do just that. I try and do at least a few of these things every day, regardless of how I’m feeling when I wake up.
- When you first wake up in the morning, think about something that makes you happy. Pick something in your life that you are thankful for, or are looking forward to. It doesn’t need to be a big, grand thing. It can just be something small. Try jotting it down in a notebook. That way you can look back later and see a whole list of positive things in your life! This is especially great for when you’re feeling really down.
- Choose an affirmation. This could be for the day, the week or the month. Just make sure to pick something that resonates with you in the moment. During pregnancy I used a lot of body positive affirmations, like “I trust my body to grow this baby,” and “I am more powerful than I know.”Lately, as I’ve been building this site and working on our YouTube channel, I’ve been using affirmations like, “There is room at the top for everyone,” to remind myself not to see other people’s successes as impeding mine in any way, and that there is space in the world for the things that I want to create and share.
- Practice Mindfulness. Try and take at least one moment every day to be fully present where you are. Take a deep breath and concentrate on the sensation of whatever it is that you are doing. Maybe you’re walking, or sitting at your desk at work or even eating your lunch. Focus, for a moment on what this feels like. Too often, we rush through our days on autopilot. When you take a moment to slow down, it’s so much easier to appreciate the little things in your day.
- Stop comparing yourself to others. Remind yourself that even if you don’t see it, everyone has their own unique challenges to work through. Consider limiting your time on social media. Even if you don’t think it’s affecting you, it’s worth trying out! I’ve noticed that it takes shutting off my social media for me to really be aware of the negative effect it can have on my day.
- Watch your language, especially your inner voice! Notice your thoughts. Are you always criticizing yourself or others? I try and talk to myself with the genuine kindness I’d show a child. Sound weird? Try it!
Instead of thinking:
‘Wow, this blog post I just wrote REALLY sucks. I should just give up,’
‘I worked really hard on that. I think it needs more work though. It was great practice!’
I hope some of these tips will help you brighten your day.
Until next time; love & light,