Gratitude and Productivity


I haven't written a blog for a while, being back in London really saps my creativity! Hopefully this is the start of me getting back on track. I have had a bit of a eureka moment over the past few weeks, I have been so caught up with wanting to 'make it' on social media and get 'famous'. For me this symbolised success, I do not know where this belief came from but it certainly wasn't serving me. In fact, it just left me feeling dissatisfied with my life and a bit of a failure. Luckily for me, I have now seen the light and realised what I really care about is becoming the best teacher/trainer I can be and making other people feel good. There is nothing better than people leaving my yoga classes feeling better than they did before. My goal going forward it to focus on the happiness I can bring, whether in person or online. Everything I do going forwards is going to be because I enjoy it or because I think it will bring someone else joy, I can't think of a better mission statement than that.

I have been writing my gratitude journal every evening before bed for quite some time now and I have just filled my first book. The idea behind writing a gratitude journal is that it forces you to think back over your day and write down everything you are grateful for. Even if you are going through a difficult time or you have had a bad day, by writing down the good points from your day shifts your awareness and helps you to see that it hasn’t all been negative.

I decided to have a read back through it to see if what I was grateful for had changed over the months that I have been completing it. There were some noticeable changes when I had gone through some major events but overall the things that I was grateful for seemed to stay the same. I could view this as me being a cop out and just repeating myself however I decided to see it as meaning that these things that I have in my daily life are things I am very lucky to have such prevalence of and should be grateful for.

Here are my top 10 themes (in no particular order):
1. Yoga
2. Weather
3. Sleep
4. Being able to help people
5. Good workouts
6. Friends
7. Family
8. Job I love
9. Ate healthily
10. Free time

It is funny that all these things that I appreciate and make me happy are free, it I true, you can’t buy happiness. Apart from the weather and how I have slept, they are also all in my control. Looking at this I should really be happy all the time. Writing my gratitude journal forced me to think about the things I was grateful for, I am sure that most of the things on my list are things I would ordinarily take for granted. Bringing my focus to seeing things with gratitude has made me value these things so much more.

A friend recommended a book to me the other day called ‘How to have a good day’ (Caroline Webb). As the name suggests, it is about how to have a good day and is written with regards to research in psychology, neuroscience and behavioural economics. I haven’t got that far with it yet but there appears to be a lot of overlap with NLP. It talks about our filters and what our attention is pulled towards. In a nutshell, the more we focus on the good the more we have more good experiences. I suppose writing a gratitude journal has similar effects and the more we focus on what we are grateful, the more things we become grateful for.

Another tip from this book relates to productivity. Our brain works on a reward system, having a ‘to do’ list and completing a task gives us a bit of a buzz. On the flip side, we do not like it when we fail to complete something we have set for ourselves. Having a list is also important because our brains capacity is limited and trying to hold too much information in our heads can overload the system and takes up space (processing capacity) for our creative systems.

If you have a long list of things you need to get done, break it down into realistic chunks so that you are rewarding yourself when you hit your target. As I mentioned, I haven’t got that far but the points I have taken from it so far are to write down both a weekly to do list as well as daily tasks. Not only to give my brain a little boost of serotonin by being able to cross them off when done. It will also give my week some structure rather than getting overwhelmed by the big stuff.

I do love how amazing our brains are and the little tricks we can use to make them even better. We really are amazing creatures, lets me grateful for that 😉

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