Created for SCL by Nick Watson and Gary Waters
To help support its members, SCL is providing a Weekly Wellbeing blog to provide insights and inspiration to help you be kinder to yourself and to support the wellbeing of others. #SCLweeklywellbeing
The Weekly Wellbeing blog has been specially created for SCL by Nick Watson and Gary Waters.
Unlike most Legal Technology entrepreneurs, Nick Watson comes from a development background with a history of developing large, bespoke projects for a variety of industries including the Law. Launching in April 2016, Nick co-founded Ruby Datum, a user experience-driven, pioneering Virtual Data Room company. He also has a passion for wellbeing and is working towards a vision of a more mindful legal industry.
Gary Waters is a respected coach and entrepreneur. Gary’s background includes building a #1 ranking hospitality business in one of the UK’s most competitive tourism markets in the South West of England. Gary decided to sell that business so that he could channel all his energy and focus into his passion, which is helping people through coaching. Gary specialises in helping clients develop an Empowered Mindset, which enables them to navigate life’s challenges on their own terms. He’s passionate about helping people create a life of purpose and fulfilment through Personal Coaching, Business Coaching and Consulting programmes.
Did you do your morning routine last week? We're not judging you if you didn't!
For something in your life to change, you need to change something. It can be uncomfortable to start making adjustments for something you don't yet see working, but like the rush of winning a case or closing a deal, it becomes more addictive as you start to build reference points for it working. We may as well get hooked on something positive, right?
This week we want to dive deeper into a significant part of the morning routine we introduced to you last week, gratitude.
Gratitude is one of the highest energetic emotional states that we can access as humans and it’s one of the fastest ways of shifting your perspective and raising your energy.
Most people only experience gratitude as a fleeting experience we drift in and out of temporarily. The goal of this practice is to make it a more prominent feeling in your life.
When we access a grateful state we activate our parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for helping us to relax. As a result of lowering our sympathetic nervous system response, our hearts and brain get into rhythm and balance with one another (heart-brain coherence). The opposite of this is mass incoherence, or stress - we can probably all relate here!
We are able to measure the rise in energy and frequency that we radiate in a state of gratitude, which reputable studies have shown (see links at end of this article) many times. Some unverified studies even claim that accessing a state of gratitude for just ten minutes a day can improve the immune system performance by up to 50%.
Putting the stats aside, let's take a look at ourselves. You cannot feel negative during a genuine state of gratitude. This is something so easily practiced and knowing you cannot feel negative in this true state of gratitude can be empowering; life changing. It’s one of the fastest ways to change how you are feeling and lift yourself out of feeling low and down to high, whatever the day brings. This is the ultimate life hack that will accelerate the way you're able to deal with pressure.
The key with gratitude is to not just think about what you are grateful for but to truly get into a feeling state of gratitude and make that a default way through which you look at your world.
ACTION: Create a gratitude list
1. Hand write it because doing it makes it something physical.
2. Write out at least ten things you are grateful for in your life.
Don’t worry if the pen initially moves a little slowly to begin with. You have been conditioned to focus on what’s wrong or what’s lacking in your world rather than what’s positive.
Now you have your list, read through it and try to feel it. Like creating a movie in your mind, we're going to engage with a process called mental rehearsal.
Using just one item (something present, in your life today - ideally involving a person) on your list, create a mind movie sharing the best moments you've had - create some upcoming ones if you want. Really make it real (even add a soundtrack) If it's a person, perhaps you share a song together. Create something like a music video you may watch on YouTube, personal to you.
ACTION: Close your eyes, and do that now. Think of all the most amazing memories you have together. Make the movie as real as you can in your mind. Continue for a couple of minutes, or the length of a short song. Perhaps even put your earphones in and actually play the song.
Now ask yourself, what if you never got to add another scene to that movie? What if that was the last time you ever got to experience that memory? Sit with that for a few seconds and really contemplate it.
Doesn't that truly make you feel like you're so lucky to have these memories in your life, and be able to continue creating them? The feeling of this gratitude is so high and powerful that whatever challenges show up during your day, they seem really insignificant in comparison. If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it's the comfort zone can be swept from under our feet in an instant. Some of the things we are most grateful for can be taken away so easily, and it's with this empowered knowledge that we can truly live in the moment and remain unaffected by the curveballs life continues to throw us daily.
There are so many people in this world that would do anything to live the memory you've just experienced, perhaps even with someone they have lost. Why do we only choose to feel that way when the memory has faded for a while? We can access this state in an instant and feel a sense of true gratitude every day.
We have been so conditioned to be so focussed on what is lacking in our world and chasing what's missing, thinking it will make us feel fulfilled but if we just took a few minutes a day to stop chasing our tail and focus on what we do have, we realise what we already have, want and need.
Just to recap, make your gratitude list and:
1. Read it. Create a mind movie.
2. Do this first thing when you wake up. Do this last before bed.
3. Keep it on your bedside table, or somewhere you can see it. If you see it, you will do it.
4. Practice this daily for 2-3 weeks because consistency and repetition is the key to building a new habit.
5. Add to your list daily. It keeps you constantly scanning for things in your life.
6. If you ever feel tested during the day, practice this exercise and zero back in on the significance of the challenge at hand.