As most of you might already know, one of Youth Gravity’s main slogan is “Gravitate Towards Positivity” and on one of my usual scrolls on the internet (a habit of mine), I went on their main web page, my eyes mindlessly skimming over the 3-word slogan. This time however, this thought came to mind, “I seem to be getting more negative thoughts crossing my mind.” “Does this mean I’m not being positive?” Soon after I moved onto thinking about all the school assignments & deadlines that are approaching, all the work that I am yet to start working on, thinking about the past, the future, and all the things that could go wrong. This went on for a while and throughout the day, as I went about doing my daily tasks, I would find the cycle repeating itself, zone out and endlessly think about anything and everything. Both positive and negative thoughts. Yeah, I spend a large chunk of my waking hours thinking. Because of this, more time goes to thinking about what I have to do than actually DOING the things that I have to do. Overthinking is one of the ways we end up being so unproductive because not only does time get wasted but the thought of ALL of what needs to be done can sound overwhelmingly large and impossible to do in your mind and in a way paralyzing you into doing nothing and instead to continue thinking because it’s easier. At least that’s what happens to me. Thinking is a lot easier than DOING what you are supposed to do. Thinking isn’t bad but over doing it is.
I’m on a journey to combat this unproductive mess I’ve become and it’s going to start with taking several actions. Two of them being positivity and gratitude. Simple actions we can all incorporate into our day and help increase our productivity. According to the Oxford English Dictionary definition, positivity is: “The practice of being or tendency to be positive or optimistic in attitude.” And gratitude is: “The quality of being thankful, readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” Notice the bolded words above, positivity is an action that is practiced. This also means that it is not something we are born knowing how to do instead it is learned and like any other skill, takes time to be perfected.
There are many things that fall under “practicing positivity” For example, when we are hopeful, we are practicing positivity. Positive-thinking, joy and gratitude are also part of positivity. I’m going to focus on gratitude.
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns confusion to clarity, a stranger into a friend, It turns problems into gifts, failures into successes, disconnected situations into important and beneficial lessons. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” _ Melody Beattie
As long as we are alive, we can never run out of things to be grateful for. Like when a stranger holds the door open for you (especially when carrying six heavy grocery bags) or being able to sleep and restore energy back into your body for the next day. These conjure feelings of appreciation. What’s the first thing that you think of when you see/hear the word gratitude? (let me know in the comments down below). The first thing I think of is “saying thanks” and yes saying words of appreciation is an attitude of gratitude. But what would happen if we also behaved in a grateful manner? Gratitude has many scientifically proven benefits. People who are grateful have better relationships with others, are more empathetic, optimistic, patient and energetic. They are less envious, sleep better and practice more self-care.
Here is how we can all incorporate gratitude in our lives today.
- Set aside 5-10 minutes at the beginning or at the end of your day to say a few things you are grateful for out loud or even better, write them down.
- Live in the present: We all know that saying, “time lost can never be gained back” and that is true. We sometimes find ourselves wishing we weren’t in certain situations, but the truth is, there’s always something to be learned in the circumstances we find ourselves in. It just requires a little more mindfulness for you to see the opportunities for growth in them. Think about what you have and not what you want.
- Say Thanks a lot: A friend or family member texts to check on you, thank them for thinking about you. Getting off public transport, thank the driver. Thank the waiters and waitresses serving your food and drinks at a restaurant. Thank the cashiers at a shop. Thank everyone who brings ease into your life. Make eye contact, use their name, say thank you and mean it.
- Practice self care: Whether it is regular nature walks or a gym routine you’ve established, treat your body right. Give it what it needs and avoid the things that cause it harm. Dr. Robert Emmons conducted a study in 2003 showing that physical fitness is linked to gratitude, those who showed more gratitude also exercised more.
- Remember the difficult times: Think about a time in your life that deeply upset you and conjured negative emotions. A time you didn’t think you could overcome but here you are today.
- Smiling at the people you meet: I think it’s such a simple but impactful act. It’s also contagious (in a good way) I find that when a stranger smiles at me, I automatically want to smile at the next person I meet.
- Return the favour by helping others: Kindness always starts at home. Next time your mom makes you food, offer to clean up and put away the dishes. Be there for a friend when they are going through trying times even if all you are doing is listening. Volunteer at your local hospital or babysit your cousins, nieces and nephews. Share your knowledge with others. These are opportunities for you to use your skills to benefit others.
- Nature: The beautiful lakes, trees, the clear blue sky on a very cold winter morning, the sun’s warmth and light. The fresh breeze of air and the animals. It is easy to take nature for granted. Slow down and notice your surroundings.
There are so many more ways we can show gratitude but those are the few I could think of. Put gratitude into action and chose at least one thing to do from the list above every day. Feel free to share your thoughts on practicing gratitude and thank you so much for reading!