I'm a constant overthinker, I struggle to stop worrying and I can never quite switch my brain off from the hundred thoughts running around it. In the last few months, I've started to make a concerted effort to change my attitude and approach the world as posivitely and gratefully as I can. I've made a few simple changes and introduced some daily practices to my life, which I wanted to share with you. Oh and some bloody beautiful lingerie too because isn't something a little luxurious a guaranteed way to make you happier?
Wonderbra Refined Glamour lingerie set gifted by UK Lingerie. Robe from Primark.
Location: Sandos Caracol Eco Resort
Start a Gratefulness Diary
I used to write a daily diary but I tended to be purely descriptive or focus on the things that had gone wrong with my day, not right. My brother encouraged me to start a "gratefulness diary" instead. Rather than writing down everything that happened that day, I focus on three things I am grateful for. Firstly, something I am grateful for; secondly, someone in my life I am grateful for and finally, something about myself I am grateful for. It's a brilliant way to focus my mind on the positive things that happened to me that day rather than dwell on the negatives. Whatever kind of day I might have had, there are always three things to write so the expectations are realistic rather than asking myself to pretend everything is perfect and my diary is now a place of appreciation and joy.
Record New Experiences
At the back of my "gratefulness diary," I also keep a list of everything new which I have experienced this year. My new experiences include visiting Lake Ohrid, snorkelling with turtles and eating a bubble waffle for the first time - it doesn't matter how big or small, if it's new, it's going in! I'm often guilty, as many seem to be, of feeling like I haven't achieved much and this simple list allows me to look back and see quite how much I have achieved this year.
Book In "Life Admin" Days
My life can be a bit of a constant whirlwind and it's easy to let the boring things slip. Before I know it, my room is a mess, I'm behind on my budget and my life feels out of control. I've started to book in one day a month in my diary which I spend doing "life admin," whether that's catching up on emails, finishing that blog post which has been sitting in drafts or spring cleaning my wardrobe. By adding this day to my diary, it becomes non-negotiable and ensures that I can catch up with all those little tasks and not feel overwhelmed when the other parts of my life continue to be busy.
Practice Meditation Daily
I know, I know, I'm behind - mindfulness has been preached as the answer to all our problems for years, but I've never managed to get the practice to stick. I recently downloaded Simple Habit and it's the best meditation app I've tried. You choose how much time you have to commit each day, starting from just 5 minutes, which I found much more attainable than 20 or 30 minutes. It allowed me slowly build up a short session every day until I had built the habit properly. Plus the competitive part of me loves trying to beat my previous record streak of sessions in a row! If you're based in Cambridge, Inner Space also offers free lunchtime meditation classes on Monday and Wednesday, which are perfect to squeeze some zen into your lunch break, as well as a variety of other free activities. At night time, I love the sleep stories on the app Calm and Stephen Fry reading about lavender fields is the best method I've found to help myself get to sleep alongside a spoon full of Benenox.
Focus on What Happiness Really Means
I've just finished reading "Happy" by Derren Brown. He's better known as the mind-magician who creates incredible illusions on TV but he's also a wonderful writer and this book focuses on his thoughts on how to be happy whilst covering religion, cancer, philosophy and death. He's really quite damning of the current "positive thinking" movement and the dangers it poses when taken to the extreme; think positive thinking to cure cancer and replacing medicine with wellness movements. Instead he proposes a more cynical view of happiness, based upon the thinkings of Stoicism. His key principle is to split everything that happens to you into two categories; what is under your control (your thoughts and your actions) and what isn't (everything else). For somebody who worries about other people, what they think and other things which are out of my control, I found this simple principle really helpful. There's much more in depth philosophy and psychology discussed too and I found myself underlining something every couple of pages with fascination like I was an English Literature student again.
Appreciate the Little Things
The idea of "self care" has definitely become commercialised in recent years and, as explained in Derren Brown's book, it can be easy to be misled by people and companies looking to cash in on the movement rather than genuinely help, but that doesn't mean the concept itself is wrong. Taking care of yourself helps you take care of others and there are many ways to do this with the most fun being of course to "treat yo'self." There's nothing quite like a luxurious set of lingerie to make you feel happier. I've wanted a Wonderbra set for a long time so when UK Lingerie offered me the opportunity to review a set of lingerie of my choice, I immediately knew I wanted to try the Ultimate Strapless bra as part of the Refined Glamour range. It's an absolute dream; surprisingly comfortable and supportive for a strapless bra as well as being pretty and delicate. What better way to add some joy to your everyday?
How do you practice gratefulness? Let me know one thing you're grateful for today!