This tip will help you to start and end the day on a positive note, perform better during the day and feel much better too. I’m not always very creative – so I’ve simply called it “The 3 Things”. 🙂
The 3 Things exercise comes in two parts. The morning part will help you to cultivate an open and approaching mindset; the night-time part will help you to recognise and celebrate your abilities and achievements – building your confidence and self-esteem. This all helps you to balance your perception of yourself and the world you operate in, so you are able to feel more resourceful, feel happier and get better outcomes.
Approach and Avoidance Mindsets
When we have an avoidance mindset we are focussed on getting away from, ignoring or denying situations or feelings. An example is thinking about the coming work-day and only focussing on the challenges we are not relishing or are worried about. By doing this our mind often brings us thoughts about how we might avoid having to deal with these challenges, or how we might avoid thinking about them at all.
When we have an approach mindset we are focussed on moving towards situations or feelings. An example of this is thinking about the things we are looking forward to during the working day. By doing this our mind often brings us thoughts about how we’ll make a difference, how we can confidently “handle” the coming day and how we will feel fulfilled and positive.
There is quite a weight of psychological research that shows a strong link between an avoidance mindset and negative emotions, negative thinking and the tendency to withdraw from things (like social situations, new challenges and meeting people). And there is further research which links an avoidance mindset with reductions in our abilities to solve problems and be creative (just the abilities we need if we do have a situation we want to solve or change).
Research also shows a strong link between an approach mindset and higher extroversion, positive thinking and the tendency to get involved (with people, activities, etc). And, an approach mindset has been shown to result in higher levels of creativity and problem solving abilities.
So, it seems a good idea to have an approach mindset. The thing is, often the way we think is habitual – frequently it has built up over time – and habits can seem hard to break so we can feel stuck with them. However, research has also shown that we can change our brains (something called neuroplasticity). We can adopt new positive habits and feel better surprisingly quickly by making small changes and practicing them regularly.
This exercise is an example of one of the small tweaks you can make to help your brain to make big changes in the way it thinks and operates, leading to you feeling better and getting better outcomes.
The 3 Things Exercise
Try to do this every day – it only takes a moment.
In the morning, before or as you get up – think of 3 things you are looking forward to in the coming day
At night, before or as you go to bed – think of 3 things you have achieved during the day
Some guidance for doing this:
- You may want to keep a written record of the things you think of (sometimes this is nice to refer back to, and also writing things down can help to strengthen them)
- Keep the language positive – the most important rule here is not to use “but”. So, at the end of the day if you think “I wrote a really good report” just leave it at that. Don’t be tempted to think “I wrote a really good report, but what if it isn’t exactly what my boss wanted”. The word “but” negates everything that comes before it.
- It doesn’t matter if the things you think of are big, important things or are small, everyday things – whatever they are, they will help you change your brain and feel better. So, in the morning you might be looking forward to going on holiday that day, or you might be looking forward to having a nice cup of tea. In the evening you might be thinking about how you solved a big problem during the day, or you might be thinking about how you made a really nice cup of tea!
What are the “Brilliant, Realistic & Practical Stress Busting Tips”?
I work with lots of people who feel stressed out and overwhelmed and I help my clients to find ways to reduce stress, make changes and start feeling a whole lot happier.
There are lots of great stress management tips around, but for many of my clients life can seem so busy and overwhelming that many stress busting activities seem impossible to fit into an already hectic day and end up becoming yet another item on their crazy “to do” list.
So, I thought I would share a few of my tips which are designed to be realistic, practical and very easy to incorporate into an already busy life.
You’ll find each of my tips on my website’s blog (www.lumierecoaching.co.uk) and shared on my Facebook page. My suggestion is that if you are busy, overwhelmed and stressed then just pick one or two of my tips and try them out this week so you can start making life better.
Lumiere Coaching is run by Nikki Watters, a qualified and experienced life coach, counsellor, mindfulness trainer and NLP practitioner. Nikki helps busy people to reduce stress, make changes, work better and feel a whole lot happier!
Contact Nikki at email@example.com to find out more.