Source: Flickr - Vic

A Practice That Can Improve Your Mood

Last Thursday was World Gratitude Day, an annual reminder of the importance of giving thanks for what we have.

Gratitude, thankfulness, gratefulness, or appreciation is a feeling or attitude in acknowledgement of a benefit that one has received or will receive. The practice of gratitude as a tool for happiness has been in the mainstream for years.

Long-term studies show that a positive, appreciative attitude contributes to greater success in work, greater health, peak performance in sports and business, a higher sense of wellbeing, and a faster rate of recovery from surgery.

But while we may acknowledge gratitude’s many benefits, it still can be difficult to sustain.

So many of us are trained to notice what is broken, undone or lacking in our lives. And for gratitude to meet its full healing potential in our lives, it needs to become more than just a passing sentiment.

We have to learn a new way of looking at things, a new habit.

And that can take some time.

That’s why practicing gratitude makes so much sense. When we practice giving thanks for all we have, instead of complaining about what we lack, we give ourselves the chance to see all of life as an opportunity and a blessing.

Remember that gratitude isn’t a blindly optimistic approach in which the bad things in life are whitewashed or ignored. It’s more a matter of where we put our focus and attention. Pain and injustice exist in this world, but when we focus on the gifts of life, we gain a feeling of wellbeing.

Gratitude balances us and gives us hope. There are many things to be grateful for: fragrant spring blossoms, legs that work, friends who listen and really hear, chocolate, fresh eggs, a warm bed, tomatoes, the ability to read, roses, our health, butterflies.

What’s on your list?

Action Steps

Finding things to be grateful for and expressing your gratitude will train your mind to begin looking for the positives in your life and can instantly improve your mood.

Here are 5 ways you can get started…

1. Keep a gratitude journal in which you list things for which you are thankful. You can make daily, weekly or monthly lists. Greater frequency may be better for creating a new habit, but just keeping that journal where you can see it will remind you to think in a grateful way.

2. Practice gratitude around the dinner table or make it part of your night time routine.

3. Make a game of finding the hidden blessing in a challenging situation.

4. When you feel like complaining, make a gratitude list instead. You may be amazed by how much better you feel.

5. Notice how gratitude is impacting your life. Then write about it, say thanks to someone you has helped you out, express your gratitude for your colleagues in a team meeting and enjoy the reactions!

Which will you choose to do today?


Stop Putting Unnecessary Pressure on Yourself

So often, we create a lot of our own stress by putting unnecessary pressure on ourselves. A common form of this is through perfectionism.

Are you a perfectionist? I have been for much of my life – until I realised that instead of helping me to achieve the best I could in my life, it was actually holding me back. Instead of helping me to excel, it was making me stressed and anxious and keeping me from giving things my best (imperfect) shot.

Many people have similar perfectionist tendencies, particularly at work. And as a result, they feel more stressed and anxious than they need to.

While labelling ourselves, and being labelled, as a perfectionist is often regarded as a good thing, there is a dark underbelly of downsides that can really undermine our wellbeing – physically, mentally and emotionally.

Being a perfectionist adds a lot of self-inflicted pressure. We aim to do, be, and have things perfect – to be the perfect employee, partner, parent, child, etc. We push ourselves to perform to high standards, we critique our performance, and then berate ourselves for feeling unsure about getting up and and having another go at something.

As a result, perfectionism keeps us feeling unsatisfied, focused on negatives, and with a gnawing sense of being never-quite-good-enough.

And that’s not all… it can be isolating. We don’t ask for help when we need it and we feel that we’re the only one who can do the job to our own exacting standards. And that may even be true… though it’s an unhealthy and unhappy place to be.

But there is good news… all it takes is a subtle but profound mindset shift to take a lot of this pressure and stress away.

Action Steps

All it takes is a simple decision to give things your ‘best shot’ instead of aiming for perfection. Easy to say, harder to do, but achievable with practice.

Here are 3 ways to begin taking the perfectionist pressure off…

1.    Practice self-compassion. Perfectionists tend to be more forgiving of the mistakes others make than their own. Start cutting yourself the same amount of slack.

2.    Find a new measurement. Instead of measuring your worth by what you do and how well you do it, explore your personality, your strengths, and the things that make you you. Learn to measure the quality of your character, rather than that of your accomplishments.

3.    Harness your inner critic. Make your attention to detail an asset, rather than a liability. Set yourself realistic goals and learn how freeing it can be to aim for “good” instead of “perfect”.

These will enable you to do your best without self-inflicted criticism, pressure, and stress.

Which of these could you begin practicing today?

This Simple Thing Can Change Your Day (For the Better)

It’s Random Acts of Kindness Day today, encouraging us all to do something kind for someone else, without expecting anything in return.

Showing kindness to others, be it by paying-it-forward (pay for the next person in line’s meal, coffee, etc.) or by surprising a loved one with a call or visit, boosts our happiness and our sense of wellbeing by giving us the feeling that we’re doing something that matters.

This sense of purpose is a powerful thing. It increases happiness, productivity, and pride in ourselves. It can even increase our longevity.

Some studies suggest that seeing our kindness appreciated, building relationships, and the prospect of reciprocation is what drives this morale boost. Others suggest that remaining anonymous is best, so the people we are helping don’t feel indebted or pitied.

The workplace is an excellent place to enjoy the best of both approaches.

Action Steps

Here are 3 ideas to get you started (and keep you anonymous)…

  1. Pay for someone else’s coffee at your workday cafe. It’s an oldie but a goodie!
  1.  Leave a care package on a colleague’s desk (with no note). Pack some stress-relieving fun into a box; include their favourite snacks, a toy or small game, even fun decorations for their workspace.
  1.  Send a card in the post (but don’t sign it). You’d be surprised how much a simple sentiment can make a person smile. It’s nice to know that you’re appreciated and that someone is thinking of you, no matter who you are.

Why wait for one day each year? Make every day a day for random acts of kindness!

What kind things could you do for a coworker today?


Want more tips like this?

If you like what you’ve read here, why not join thousands of people from across Australia and the globe for ideas, insights and inspiration every “Wellness Wednesday”. Every week, our founder and head coach, Adele Sinclair, provides practical tips, articles and inspiration to our growing community of subscribers.

Simply enter your name and email address into the form below. And be assured, we will never share your details with anyone. Ever.

How To Counter Natural Negativity

With the Australia Day holiday tomorrow, today’s Wellness Wednesday tip is a very simple one. It involves a simple mindset shift you can practice on Australia Day and everyday without it taking up time or being hard to do. The action steps will already be familiar to you …I invite you to think about them in a new light, in terms of countering our natural negativity bias.

Gearing Towards the Good…

While many see tomorrow as a reason to kick back and relax or revel in the family-friendly activities around the country, Australia Day is also an excellent opportunity to be mindful of a phenomenon that often impacts on our wellbeing: negativity bias.

Negativity bias is part of our survival instinct. It’s the tendency of the human brain to focus on negative events and perceptions, and to dwell on the bad rather than the good.

To counter this negativity bias and cultivate a sense of wellbeing and happiness, we need to actively and intentionally seek out and focus on the positives – whether in ourselves, our jobs, our lives, or our nation.

This involves shifting our focus onto what’s strong, rather than on what’s wrong. Acknowledging the negatives but not allowing them to overwhelm, blind, or consume us.

Action Steps…

Here are three simple and interconnected ways that you can counter your negativity bias and gear yourself towards wellbeing and happiness on Australia Day…and every day!

1. Appreciate. It seems basic yet we often get so wrapped up in the negatives bogging us down that we forget the many wonderful things in our life, work, and home that give us our wellbeing. Take a moment to look for and appreciate them. Don’t take the good in your life for granted.

2. Celebrate the good. It’s easy to be passively grateful but often we don’t actively express our gratitude or spend time celebrating our blessings. Try to take some time to actively appreciate and celebrate the great things in and around your life.

3. Enjoy! Have fun with your friends, family, or community and get into the community spirit! Doing things that make us happy and meaningfully connect us with others helps to build a healthy, happy and fulfilled life.

What good things do you have in your life at the moment?

Mindfulness in Action: How to Keep Calm in Stressful Work Situations

Fiorella Kis-Major worked in a corporate setting for 15 over years. Her career was mainly centred around the media industry, and she credits mindfulness with allowing her to navigate the often turbulent waters.

In this talk, Fiorella will provide you with practical and insightful tips on keeping calm and centred in situations where you feel like being anything but.

About Fiorella Kis-Major, Mindfulness & Meditation Teacher

Fiorella Kis-Major is a passionate advocate of people viewing self-care as a necessity, not a luxury.

A former corporate animal for 15 years, Fiorella has worked for multinational media and entertainment companies spanning from advertising to music, until she decided to transition into her purpose – to be of service to womankind.

As the founder and owner of The Nourishing Goddess, Fiorella provides heart felt services as an International Women’s Wellness Coach, Yoga & Meditation Teacher, Writer and Speaker. She holds an Advanced Diploma of Yoga Teaching from Nature Care College, Sydney.

Having been featured in leading industry media, including Inspired Coach magazine, Bondi Beach Radio and The Daily Guru blog, Fiorella works with women from all across the globe to nourish the goddess within. Her mission is for womankind to realise the importance of filling up your own cup, from the inside out.

You can connect with Fiorella via: