Positive Thinking and Gratitude

With a new year upon us, many people have a list of goals and resolutions. From eating healthy and exercising to getting their dream job or quitting a bad habit, we all love the idea of a fresh start.

Starting fresh doesn't necessarily have to be a huge or costly endeavour, it can be simply changing your perspective and outlook of the world and attitude to others.

Counselling Psychologist Toby Mizzi at Swinburne University explains there has been a surge of interest in positive psychology in recent years, which pays more attention to positive experiences, positive individual traits and positive institutions and seeks to answer questions such as "what is it that helps us thrive?"

One key concept often explored in the field of positive psychology is gratitude. Broadly speaking, gratitude refers to the quality of being thankful and showing appreciation. Focusing more on what we are grateful for is one way to help develop a more positive mindset and outlook on life. Toby suggests that one way of doing this is by keeping a gratitude diary. Each day, individuals can write on thing they are grateful for. Doing this will not only encourage the individual to reflect and start their day thinking positive, but doing so over a long period also encourages deeper thinking about your life and what there is to be grateful for.

Looking outward, gratitude can also be shown when interacting with others. This could be thanking the barista at your regular cafe, telling them they are doing a good job, being patient with a shopkeeper, or writing to your local council or representa- tives to show your appreciation for improvements you have seen in your neighbourhood.

Gabriel from Mindgames agrees that "We do pay attention to that kind of thing. Someone who is polite, friendly, and actually treats you like a human being - it does have a direct impact on the customer service they'll receive in turn. We'll go the extra mile for our great customers."

Dogan from Ribs & Burgers explained how working in customer service has changed how he is as a customer himself: "I'll always make a point to have a real, actual conversation with the

person and ask them how their day is. We really do appreciate it when people take the time to be friendly, talk to us, and make our day a bit more interesting". Image: Dogan and Tim (left to right) from Ribs & Burgers.

Sharon from Mountfords particularly appreciates the local community of Glenferrie, whether they come in for shoes or just to have a conversation with the staff. "A lot of people come to us because they have foot issues, and while a pair of shoes won't fix that, our main motive is to make sure they walk out of the store happier. We've received gifts to say thank you, and we received quite a few chocolates at Christmas from our regulars!".

Image: Tom, Carmel and Sharon (left to right) from Mountfords.

As Toby puts it, "Acts of kindness, in particular, can have quite a substantial impact on our well-being (as well as the well-being of others) and it doesn't actually take a lot of effort to be kind." To be positive doesn't necessarily mean being happy all the time, but is to show respect and appreciation for yourself and those around you.

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