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  • Sarah Purvey - Clinical Psychologist

This Simple Shift in Thinking, to Transform How You Feel (and how to donate to Australian Wildlife)




My heart is so heavy that it feels hard to talk about anything else, other than the tragedy of the Australian bushfires, right now.


 It’s a sobering reflection, on how to transform your life perspective, for the beginning of this new decade.


I lay awake last night, worried about the animals and photos of burnt animal paws, I saw on Instagram last night and wiped tears from my eyes. The estimated half a billion animals and species, now dead and some potentially extinct. And of the stories of the wonderful people throughout out country, who’s lives will never be the same again. The years ahead journeys, of rebuilding homes, towns, livelihoods. And those families who are grieving, who have paid the highest of cost all, to this national tragedy. I don’t know how I can help. Any donation I make doesn’t seem like it will be enough. But a collective commitment together, is what will create change.


I am heartened by the beautiful stories I have heard. People from all over the world united by a common goal to support these communities and wildlife effected by the fires. In the face of tragedy, their has been compassion and committed action to support in what ever way they can. If only it didn’t take a tragedy for the human race to treat each other so beautifully. I was moved by the story of the border collie/koolie who has been sniffing out displaced, sick, orphaned and injured koalas. Animals helping animals. It makes everything I worry about completely disappear.


If we have a roof over our head, food in our belly, someone to love us and someone to love, then our life doesn’t need anything else.


I feel so grateful that I get to wake up each morning (early) to my children.


I feel so grateful, that I get to help my kids calm down through the rollercoasters of their emotions.  


I feel so grateful that I get to return to work after 2 weeks holiday.


I feel so grateful that I get to pay my bills to support my family and our life together.


This subtle shift in language from saying “I have to” to “I get to” is a powerful transformation in our thinking. It creates a completely different feeling, from frustration and stress, to gratitude.


Performing a gratefulness practice is literally, scientifically proven, to require your brain for happiness. A study in 2015, by Dr Robert Emmons, asked one third of participants to keep a daily journal of things that happened during the week of which they were grateful, one third wrote down daily irritations and the other third wrote down daily situations or events with no emphasis. The gratitude group felt more optimistic and positive about their lives, they were more physically active and reported fewer trips to the Doctor. Other studies indicated, that it improves sleep quality and reduces anxiety and depression. Further, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) concluded that areas of the brain associated with moral and social cognition, reward, empathy, sleep, appetite and temperature regulation had increased activity, among those who practiced regular gratitude.


Do you practice daily gratitude? Make a commitment to writing down what you are grateful and why. Writing it down is more than just thinking about it. It makes it more tangible and helps those changes in the brain to be strengthened. There are many apps our there, that make a commitment to a regular practice more doable. I downloaded  the Delightful App, which is a super simple way to keep track of things I’m grateful for with, daily notifications.


I’d love to hear whether you practice this already and what benefit it has had for you. And if you haven’t yet, are you committed to joining me, in a regular practice?


Ill also be making a donation to Wires Wildlife Rescue. It’s difficult to know how best to offer my support and likely there will be a few different organisations, who I will also help.

I’m also going to donate $10 from every Keep Sane and Parent On book purchase (head here to purchase a copy now), over the coming weeks, to Wires Wildlife Rescue (head here) for an immediate donation and 5% of fees for my Hypnobirthing Australia March and May Classes too (head here for details on classes, if you're expecting or you know someone else who is). It seems so insignificant, but if we all make a small donation, we can make a massive difference. Please spread the word.


I’d love to hear who you’re donating to and about your gratitude practice.

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