One of the fastest ways to change a mindset is through using gratitude.
Our brain is made up of neural pathways and the ability to change the make up of the brain is called neuroplasticity.
In relation to mindset what this essentially means is that anything that has been learned, can be unlearned or overwritten.
We use gratitude as a means of moving a mindset from negative to positive because when we are grateful we are living in the present moment and this enables us to feel more grounded as it is impossible to be depressed or anxious when present moment aware.
Why is this? Because depression is generally caused by living in the past, for example..I wish I had never done such and such or things wee better last year.
Obviously depression is a complex issue but in essence, that's what it is.
Anxiety then is caused by living in the future with all the what ifs. Worrying about what people might think or how something might work out and if not addressed these worries build into anxiety.
So how to we start to be grateful when we are already feeling overwhelmed and life isn't looking so great?
Try looking for one thing, even if it's just that you have a phone or tablet to be able to read this on or that you have running water, maybe a roof over your head or electricity. From there start listing one thing every morning and every evening that you are grateful for.
We take so much for granted and we live in a culture that teaches us to focus on what we don't have so that we will be consumers. But, when you start thinking about all the things that we have or make use of every day, the list of things to be grateful for soon gets longer and longer.
The more often you are grateful, the more you will notice that you have more to be grateful for. This is because a subtle mindset shift has occurred and your brain is starting to rewire itself to look for what you have instead of what you think you should have.
As this pattern of behaviour or neural pathway becomes more established, it becomes easier to stay more balanced in our outlook and this then reduces the feelings of depression and /or anxiety. That is not to say that we are now cured but that the cause of the illness can now be explored as we can think more clearly and are not swinging from one mind state to another as often.
This gives us the space that we need to be able to think clearly and find solutions. Ultimately when we have dealt with the cause of the illness, which is always going to be the thoughts in our head in relation to an event rather than an event itself (I know that's a tough one to get your head around but it's a game changer) Then we can work or rewiring those thoughts too.
Other ways to bring gratitude into our lives are:
Starting each day with a positive affirmation such as " I am grateful for the opportunities today will bring"
List three things every evening that went well. Even if it's that you got out of bed today, that you didn't give up and that you are making progress.
Keep a gratitude journal. Write down positive thoughts or phrases that make you feel happy or strong.
Celebrate every success. Don't take the small things for granted. Make an effort to celebrate all that you achieve.
Volunteer. Helping someone else is a fabulous way of building connections with others. We are a human community and we crave connection.
When we don't have that connection to others, our subconscious alerts us by making us feel miserable or lonely so that we can do something about it.
Be mindful. Learn to be aware of what you are thinking, saying and doing so that you can begin to challenge the thoughts and behaviours that don't bring you joy.
Being grateful can make you happy. Being happy can make you strong, being strong can make you resilient and being resilient helps you to cope.
This is why adopting an attitude of gratitude can literally change your life.
If you have any questions or would like to work with me on changing your mindset then please get in touch.