“Hey! How was your day off?”
“Pretty good! I had a good day. I wrote an article, read a book, cooked a few dishes, and cleaned the house.”
“Hmmm….”

For someone who always feels the need to achieve more, do better, be better, get more out of each day, I need a constant reminder to be thankful for what I have and to realise that I am very fortunate. I am still not at a point where I can sit back and relax for a few hours, soak up the beauty of the world we live in and be grateful.

Today, I’d like to share with you five things that I do to practice gratitude in everyday life, which make me feel richer, happier and more successful.

Have a daily gratitude routine

I find that when I have a few quiet minutes during the day, or at nights before going to bed, reflecting on good things that happened throughout the day makes me feel more thankful and happier. There is always something to be grateful for; whether it is about having a roof above our heads, being able to provide for my family, or witnessing a random act of kindness when I least expect it. This is why Oprah shared that the single most important thing she’s ever done in her life is keeping a gratitude journal and writing down five things she is grateful for every single day.

Think in terms of progress, not perfection

I have a lot of goals in life, some are crazier and bigger than others. Writing new year resolutions without fail every December/January has been my jam since I was in my early 20’s. Sometimes, I achieved them, sometimes I didn’t but I realised that I was often too focused on end goals that I forgot to enjoy the experience or celebrate small wins. There must be some truth about neurons in our brains that cultivate positive states of mind, I am certainly more appreciative when I celebrate small wins.

Be mindful

Have you ever been in a situation where you were doing something else when eating your meal that you didn’t realise how you finished an entire plate? I have. Many times, in fact. Multitasking is an enemy of mindfulness. It is hard to be mindful and therefore grateful when my brain is switching back and forth between multiple activities. These days, I try my best to be mindful of what I am currently doing; be it eating, walking, writing, cooking or speaking. When I am mindful, I feel clarity and appreciation of the situation, the experience and the surrounding.

Practise a random act of kindness

Whenever I see the phrase “random act of kindness”, I picture an image of helping a homeless. While helping a homeless person on the street is indeed a random act of kindness, it is not the only act of kindness. Making way for someone who is in a hurry, letting an elderly skip the line, giving a listening ear to a colleague who is having a bad day, volunteering at a community event, donating to a charity, sharing my knowledge online or offline to those who need it, doing someone a favour without asking or expecting anything in return, or something as simple as picking up litter on a street are some ideas for random act of kindness that I have practised and each time after I have done a random act of kindness, I feel thankful. Thankful for the opportunity and thankful for having the capacity or ability.

Spend time outside

My couch at home is quite comfortable and I work at a pretty nice office but spending time outside beats staying indoors any time of the day. I am lucky because with a small human being (aka my daughter) to look after, I am forced to get out of the house every day. I notice that after going for a walk in the neighbourhood or a playtime at a local park, I feel much more alive and energetic. In summer when the sun doesn’t go down until 8pm, my family usually goes out for a walk or a play at a local park after dinner. This routine is not only good for my body but also for my mind.

I like practising gratitude every day because I feel richer and happier and it makes me a better human.


Often in life we’re presented with experiences that we aren’t expecting, sometimes they’re magical and occasionally they’re miserable.  It can happen suddenly, a situation that doesn’t go to plan or an interaction that falls short of being entirely positive.  Unsurprisingly the negative instances can cause an undoing of our usual reasoning abilities, leaving us feeling like the victim of some cruel and sinister plot.  What we fail to recognise a lot of the time though, is that the way we feel is really governed by the way we’re thinking in the moment, not what’s actually happening.  Here are 5 tips to change your mindset and reassess your reactions to a bad situation.

 How to change your mindset

1. Don’t confuse the situation you’re in with the reason for your reaction

You’ll notice in life that people react vastly differently to the same situations. It’s partly to do with how we’re wired as individuals, the different life experiences we’re drawing on and the beliefs or values we hold.  When something appears to be going wrong for you, acknowledge that you’re choosing to react the way you are, that no one is making you.  Once you become consciously aware of this, it’s a lot harder to blindly perpetuate the negativity, unless you actively decide to.

 

” Are you angry because the heightened adrenaline makes you feel like you’re doing something in an otherwise helpless moment? What else could you do to feel empowered?

2. Find the positive intention

Behind every behaviour is a positive intention, however fleeting.  For example, when we put others down it’s usually to make ourselves feel better, when we’re thinking we’re not good enough we’re often protecting ourselves from possible embarrassment or future disappointment.  So, the next time you discover yourself in a mindset you no longer want to have, question it.  Are you angry because the heightened adrenaline makes you feel like you’re doing something in an otherwise helpless moment?  What else could you do to feel empowered?

 

3. Ask yourself what is the best thing that could come from this?

So this can be extremely difficult in the moment, but it comes down to being self-aware enough to catch yourself whilst in a destructive or unhelpful mindset.  And it’s not simply about being aware of it and then dwelling, it’s about consciously stepping back to observe and communicate with yourself. In the moment, ask what is the greatest thing that I can take or learn from this situation?  What this does is remove you from the status of victim and allow you to witness the multiple perspectives which your feelings may be blocking.  You’re also able to regain control of yourself, if that’s what’s needed.

 

4.  Dive in or leave.

Sometimes a mindset can be triggered simply by a person or a location.  Here you have two immediate choices, either dive into and unravel the reasons why you are affected the way you are or, leave the vicinity. Whether you aspire to a mindset which is not determined by external circumstance or you’re happy to just avoid triggers, the choice is entirely yours.

 

5. How bad is this situation, really, in the grand scheme of your life?

Whilst it’s true that all we ever have is the present moment, it doesn’t translate that each moment need be treated as though it’s going to have major consequences on our entire life.  If you allow something to consume you to the point where you’re unable to think of anything else, it’s very likely that what you’re actually doing is anchoring some unresolved emotion to it.  In these circumstances, ask yourself what the absolute worst thing is that could arise from what you’re experiencing.  Then ask what you would do in that situation.  And then what the consequences of that would be.  And then again, the consequences of that and so on.  Follow the issue straight through to the end of the line, right into the funk and out the other side.  If your thoughts are based on fear, living it mentally and realising the actual reality is manageable, however hard, can go a big way to snapping you out of the cycle.

 

Tori Ufondu Mindset CoachTori Ufondu is a Mindset Coach. She works internationally and is renowned for championing self-awareness through intensive, highly in-depth sessions, which cover both the personal and professional challenges that businesspeople face.

Tori has kindly offered a complimentary 1 HOUR extended consultation (usually 20mins) for any Leaders in Heels readers facing personal or business challenges.

Read more about Tori at www.tori-ufondu.com.

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