Last month, we declared February as our fresh start - and were overwhelmed by how many of you wrote in to tell us you desperately needed a reboot, too. Our hearts were warmed; so many of us wanted to start the new year right, with renewed vigor, realigned priorities, and recalibrated focus.
But see, the thing about fresh starts is precisely this: they’re just the beginning.
We all have to start somewhere, but how does one last the climb - how do we actually stay positive when the going gets tough?
The year is now full speed ahead and in our busyness, that’s when fatigue and insidious negativity start to set in. As we strive to build a life filled with meaning and purpose, here’s a reality check: there will inevitably be days where you just can’t bring yourself to even get out of bed.
You deserve better than yet another site telling you that all you have to do is “stay positive” and “keep your chin up”. No, we want to offer you something practical, something meaningful, a lever you can actually pull when times are hard.
So here it is: when the going gets tough, the tough get… grateful.
Trust us, this isn’t anything particularly new or groundbreaking, but it’s something we’ve tried ourselves and can now fully attest to i.e. the life-changing magic of practicing gratitude.
Think of practising gratitude as building a fortress around your mental and emotional well-being. When life sometimes feels like a battlefield, gratitude is your armor, imbuing your mood & positivity with a resilience that can last the tough times.
Here’s what we’ve personally experienced since incorporating this into our lives. More often now:
- The glass seems half-full rather than half-empty AKA greater optimism
- We don’t hate what we see in the mirror AKA increased self-esteem/self-confidence
- The alarm clock isn’t so much of an enemy AKA heightened energy, reduced fatigue
- Our task list seems to be getting shorter AKA increased productivity
- It’s harder to stay angry about something/someone AKA expanded bandwidth for forgiveness, the ability to let things go
- We seem to make it to the gym/pilates/barre more often AKA improved self-care
- It’s easier to fall asleep at night AKA decreased stress and racing thoughts
Want this for yourself? It’s possible. We promise - and we can do it together.
The secret is simple, really - we’re affectionately calling it the 5-3-1 method:
5 minutes a day, to write down…
3 things you’re grateful for, leading to...
1 end result: a stronger, happier YOU.
The key action here is in writing it down. Articulate and record it. ‘Cos the thing is, until and unless you train yourself to take notice, you just might miss out on all the things you could actually be happy about. Like a really good cup of coffee. It didn’t rain on the way to work. A cool summer breeze. Hey, they just played my favourite song on the radio.
When you’re stretched in different directions, you don’t have the time to feel anything, much less delight in the finer joys and small happenings in our every day; the simple moments that come from being, rather than doing.
Make gratitude a priority.
Because you can’t find something if you’re not looking for it in the first place. As we cultivate this habit, the hope is that we’ll start being more appreciative for the little things that show up in our life; we become more conscious of the things we do have, as opposed to the things we don’t.
At some point, it’s going to feel slightly repetitive and like we’re running out of things to be grateful for - that’s if we’re being generic with this.
So instead of writing “I am grateful for the incredible friends in my life”, we would list actual names, and what’s unique about them that we’re actually grateful for.
“I am grateful for ______ because she’s so full of wisdom, and always knows exactly what to say when I need to remember who I am, and what I’m worth.”
See how that changes to keep gratitude grounded as an emotional connection, not just another written activity?
Try it - and come back to tell us how it went. By rewiring your brain to practice gratitude, you can develop the inner positivity to persevere through any challenge life throws your way.