Oakland Group

Accentuate the Positive

For many people, the month of September can bring back fond memories of a new school year and the anticipation of wiping the slate clean and starting afresh.

Who remembers the excitement of writing in a blank exercise book, picking out a new school bag, wearing shiny new school shoes or the thrill of catching up with school friends in person after the long six week summer holiday?

Although, at this time of year as the days begin to shorten and Summer comes to a close, the slight chill in the air can have the opposite effect and make us feel the need to hug the duvet a little bit closer and hit the snooze button! Even hearing the words ‘Countdown to Christmas’ can make us feel the urge to hibernate away until Spring!

On the plus side, the end of Summer can also signal a time for reflection and a renewed mindset, especially following a break from the office and time spent switching off. It’s a time when we are likely to find ourselves firing on all cylinders again and ready to embark on new projects, enhance our learning and development and with a heightened sense of positivity, review our lifestyle choices and overhaul our health and fitness regimes.

When fuel costs and energy bills are escalating and money is tighter than ever, it’s easy to think positivity comes with a price tag and difficult to find reasons to be cheerful, but the good news is, our lifestyle choices don’t need to be expensive and sometimes the best things in life can be free!

Focus on the positive! Practice gratitude by writing down three things at the start of each day that you are grateful for having in your life.

This could be something as simple as:
– a song you love (for lifting your spirits)
– something that makes you smile (for reminding you to enjoy life)
– a sunny morning (providing a beautiful start to your day)

Don’t worry, be happy! Look up daily affirmations and positive quotes to boost your mindset, improve your overall wellbeing and help you to practice being kinder to yourself.

Be inspired! List the names of people you admire and download their podcasts and blogs for advice and motivational tips. There are many people in the public eye who have overcome difficulties or life-changing events and now sharing their knowledge and experiences to help others.

Below are some great podcast examples as a starter:

Everyone has a story to tell! Jot your thoughts down on paper. This can start off as simple bullet points, but once you get into the habit of journalling you’ll find the words start flow and this can serve as a really useful self-reflection tool and help you to create a positive mindset.

Grab some morning sunlight! This is a proven mood booster and including daylight in your morning routine can really start your day off on the right track. The light helps to regulate our circadian rhythm (our natural body clock) and can aid our energy levels and sleep cycles as a result and you also get the added bonus of some fresh air as a result!

See the Webmd.com article on ‘Get Morning Light, Sleep Better at Night’ (Lisa Marshall, 23 March 2002) for more on the benefits of morning sunlight https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/morning-light-better-sleep

Move for Mind! Put a spring in your step and get moving by incorporating 20-30 minutes exercise into your day. Look up local walking groups for hints and tips on places to visit in your area, such as local parks and riverside and canal walks.

Alternatively, head into the woods and experience the Japanese practice of ‘Shinrin-yoku’ or ‘Forest Bathing’, which is great for the relaxing both the mind and body and involves switching off and absorbing the relaxing woodland atmosphere. Even just 10 minutes has been proven to have a calming effect.

See the National Trust’s ‘Beginner’s Guide to Forest Bathing’ here for more details: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lists/a-beginners-guide-to-forest-bathing

Share the love! Volunteer for a local charity or support group. This helps to support people and makes a real difference in the community, but also helps you to learn new skills, improves confidence, gives you a greater sense of purpose and makes you happier as a result!

Look at sites such as www.getvolunteering.co.uk for more details on how to volunteer.

Boost your brain. Knowledge is Power!

… and finally, Make your Bed in the Morning!

If you do the little things right, it makes the big things possible’*.

By doing this you’ve completed your first task, started the day in an organised pattern and achieved a sense of accomplishment. Plus, it also means you’re not tempted to crawl back to into bed again later!

*From the book ‘Make Your Bed: Feel grounded and think positive in 10 simple steps’
Admiral William H. McRaven, 15 June 2017.
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0718188861