For any gardeners amongst you reading, you will know that for a plant to grow it
needs certain means of nourishment: water, light, nutrients from the soil that
surrounds its roots and shelter during early development periods. If any of these
elements are missing, growth is not entirely diminished, however, the hostile
environment makes it much harder for a plant to thrive. Humans are much the same.
People require certain elements of nourishment to thrive in their environments and
many factors can hinder growth. In the immediate or short-term, Kind to Mind offers
you support in many ways, including toolkits and self-support methods such as self-
care and self-compassion worksheets to assist you. However, what alterations can
you make in the long term to-nourish-to-flourish?
What is being suggested maybe something you have not tried before. Doing so may
even feel slightly uncomfortable at first; most things are when they are unfamiliar. To
be more familiar is to expose yourself to the notion of being thankful, until you feel
more comfortable with that experience, all the while being aware of your limits. What
I am suggesting is a series of very small, almost unremarkable changes which will
most likely translate into you feeling uplifted. The momentum of practising gratitude
and positive affirmation will hopefully provide the foundation stones which will
continue to nourish your mental health and emotional needs, to enable you to
flourish. Whatever your wishes, aims, and dreams may be, mindful practises can
help you realise your potential.
We live in a world where everyone is looking for instant gratification and usually
obtain it with a flick of a switch central heating or binge-watching our favourite series.
One of the downsides to these quick and convenient mod cons means that we take
for granted many things we used to have to work hard to achieve. Getting wood for a
fire or having to wait in anticipation for a week to watch the next episode’s cliff-
hanger. Having these things readily available and not having to toil for them - to get
that sense of satisfaction has meant many of us have forgotten how to be
appreciative of the small stuff.
Let’s start from when we first wake up. You woke up. It sounds glib but not everyone
does wake up. You feel the warmth of your covers and the softness of a mattress
underneath you. You perhaps can hear the boiler, heating the water that you will
soon wash with. All this can be taken from the first few seconds of waking up. I do
understand how you would initially question the effectiveness of this approach.
Pondering over what good can changing your thoughts do? Thoughts are seeds,
what you speak nourishes those seeds, your action representing those thoughts and
speech inspires growth and your changed behaviours from those original seeds of
thought, symbolise a newly flourishing sense of self. Give it a try. Three times a day,
stop for a moment and observe three things at that moment that you are grateful for.
Once you get into the habit of doing so, you will see silver linings in most situations.
This train of thought and action can often result in an uplifted mood.
Affirmation is a subsequent building block that will fortify the great work you have
achieved through showing gratitude for the small things. Limiting negativity by
becoming more aware of your inner dialogue will ensure your immediate
environment, the space you reside in is kinder and gentler. Each day we have jobs to
do or errands to run. Some tasks we find more difficult than others. Some may take
us outside of our comfort zone and for that reason, we may shy away from
nourishing ourselves to flourish. Look at affirmation as a way to build up your energy,
leading to greater optimism and confidence. You will have heard the phrase ‘fake it
until you make it’; this is relative to the concept of affirmation.
Write some affirmations on post-it notes (tips for writing affirmations), which are
relevant to you and pop them on your fridge door or a memo board in your hallway or
sellotaped to your PC screen. In essence, somewhere you will see multiple times a
day to remind you to repeat those affirmations. The theory of affirmation suggests
that practising a positive mental attitude leads to self-empowerment. Practising
gratitude and self-affirmation has the potential to have a positive influence on
symptoms of depression, including anxiety. Aspects of our nervous system respond
to the effects of more positive energy gained through practices such as acts of
affirmation, known to lower stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. When
this biological reaction occurs it lowers heart rate, alongside altering pathways in
your brain. Therefore, the benefits are seen across all areas of your well-being.
These suggestions may not immediately resonate with you, as you read this article
but consider this: in making only very small changes, can you capture and nourish
the awareness of the potential which exists in and around us all, in order to flourish.