Tag Archives: gratitude

cultivating resilience

“Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it’s less good than the one you had before. You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you’ve lost, or you can accept that and try to put together something that’s good.”
― Elizabeth Edwards

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What if you had lost your job, were recovering from a major medical issue, were without a place to call home and saddled with a ton of debt?   How would you be feeling?  It would probably feel pretty depressing.  There are people who are facing all of those things at the same time and are still able to move forward.

The Wall Street Journal showcased Sheryl Sandberg’s journey through difficult times and Sheryl said this,

“The easy days ahead of you will be easy. It is the hard days—the times that challenge you to your very core—that will determine who you are,” Ms. Sandberg said. “You will be defined not just by what you achieve, but by how you survive.”

The path forward for Sheryl was in writing down what she was grateful for.  Just a few things that made a positive difference in the day made a positive difference in her life.  
It is of course far easier to blame others and become a victim in difficult times.  It is easier to withdraw and seek the comfort of a variety of distractions in an attempt to have the emotional pain and stress go away.   The problem is the pain doesn’t just go away by finding ways to ignore the pain.  The pain goes away when the pain is confronted and challenged.  The pain goes away when positive action is taken and when what can be appreciated about each day is really appreciated.
Are you facing challenging times?   Are you suffering and wishing for a way out?  
Emotional resilience through gratitude, taking time to pause and just breathe some deep breaths for a few minutes, to exercise and move is a way through difficult times.   
 Take the time to practice taking charge of your emotions.  Your body will thank you and your mind will thank you.

Life style

“Relaxation is… a state between waking and sleeping, where the body is completely still and the mind is allowed to flow freely from one thought to another, or alternately, a state in which the mind becomes inadvertently calm.”
― Gudjon Bergmann

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Green River, Utah

When was the last time you took a sustained break from your daily routines? When did you take time to relax and step back from the normal pattern of life?

With employee engagement hovering around 37% companies are losing a majority of their productivity to time wasting events. People are stressed and stress doesn’t necessarily improve output. Vacations are being taken by fewer people as the feeling is that vacations only serve to increase the amount of stress in their lives rather than reducing stress.

What are you doing to restore engagement in work and life?

What is your level of stress? How are you dealing with it?

Stress reduction can begin with:
1. Breathing and relaxation
2. Practicing gratitude – journaling what you are grateful for.
3. Being mindful – paying attention to the day and not letting it just go by.
4. Disconnecting from TV, computer and electronic devices.
5. Taking a real vacation.

Stress is often related to a lifestyle that is demanding more from you than you can provide.  Sustained stress leads to burnout and less satisfaction with life.  Choose to change your lifestyle so that you can experience greater happiness.

Think gratitude

“At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done.
We will be judged by “I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in.”
― Mother Teresa

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Herbert lives thousands of miles away from his home town to earn enough money to build a school to educate young children.  He doesn’t have to sacrifice so much to make a difference, but to make a difference he has chosen to sacrifice his time, his work, his money, his family and his career.    He doesn’t make excuses for what he does not have, he looks for ways to bridge the gap between what he does have and what he doesn’t have.

Herbert has a vision to transform the lives of young children in Uganda so that they will have the education and resources to contribute to the success of their community and country when they grow up.

Imagine doing your work and being far, far from your home and family so that you could provide the financial resources to help children who aren’t you own.    How many people do you know that give up their lives to support the lives of others?  Probably not many.   Herbert has a dream to help children have a future and not live in poverty.

He would like to see the school rooms and buildings filled with children learning how to learn.  He would like to see parents see a new hope for the future and not like the future they have now.   He would like to see hundreds of children having access to an early childhood education.   Right now, only the rich can afford to send their children to school.  Herbert wants to see all children have the ability to learn and grow.

Herbert would like to have a well drilled so the children could get access to clean running water.   Right now they have to pay for the water and wait in long lines.   I imagine that when you need water it is easy to get and very inexpensive.    A water project can cost as much as $3000, a project that is rarely affordable in the rural areas of Uganda.

water

We can be grateful that we don’t have haul our own water in containers to our homes as schools.  We can be grateful that we have running water that is available and cheap.   We can be grateful that we have the ability to get young children educated.  We can be grateful that we have schools that are free.   We can be grateful that we don’t have to live and work far away from our homes to support the causes we believe in.

Herbert would be grateful if he could get some regular contributions to help children in Uganda get an education, provide running water for the school and to be able to supply the children with the books and resources that they need.

You can make a donation here:

You can let others know that a small donation can make a huge difference and know that Herbert and his wife would be truly grateful.

find self-compassion

“Feeling compassion for ourselves in no way releases us from responsibility for our actions. Rather, it releases us from the self-hatred that prevents us from responding to our life with clarity and balance.”  Tara Brach

You spill the cup of coffee you just brewed and it splashes over your clothing leaving a nice brown stain.    What are you saying to yourself?

What do you say to yourself when you don’t meet your expectations, when you are late, when you say something you shouldn’t, when you forget an important meeting, when you oversleep or when you get a speeding ticket? What are you telling yourself?

Many people find that their message to themselves upon any unmet expectation is filled with insults and derision that would never be heard by someone else.   People become their own worst enemy and call themselves names that only reduce their ability to succeed.   Some people believe telling themselves that they are “not good enough” as a way to motivate themselves to better results and often it only yields more of that same message … “you’re not good enough”.   Before long that becomes their internal truth and all they do by yelling at themselves is provide confirmation that they aren’t living up to the world’s standards or their own.    If they are “not good enough” then that means people around them aren’t good enough either and it sours those relationships as well.

What do you tell yourself when you don’t meet your own expectations?

What if you could tell yourself a different message?    You can.   New research is being done in the area of self-compassion.    It might be worth reading about or learning more about.   Practicing self-compassion just means that things can go wrong and that it is OK.

You can change what you tell yourself when things don’t go exactly as planned.   Instead of beating yourself up, try this just say it to yourself:

“This is a moment of suffering.
Suffering is part of my life.
May I be kind to myself in this moment.
May I give myself the compassion I need.”  (From Self-Compassion by Kristin Neff)

Just repeat those lines and practice it for a week.   See if you can notice a difference.   Go ahead every time you are ready to condemn yourself say those lines above instead.

To hear more about self-compassion listen to this video:

 

What I think I become …

“A man is but the product of his thoughts, what he thinks, he becomes.” -Mahatma Gandhi

 

Values, beliefs and experiences drive our thoughts.   What we think about we become.  Our thoughts are transformed into emotional energy, fear, worry, doubt, anxiety, or happiness, peace, joy, confidence, self-assurance, and contentment which ultimately shapes how we live our lives.  Most people experience far more negative information in their lives than positive.   The messages that are received from others begin to transform our beliefs about ourselves over time.   Messages that we receive as children enter our mind in the formative years and become a strong part of our story.   It is not that the story is true, it is that we believe that the story is true for us and we start living in that story rather than the story of our own making.   In other words for some reason we focus on the impacts of negative thoughts more so than positive thoughts.  It is as if we are taught to believe negative thought as being true and positive thought as wishful thinking.   Martin Seligman writes “Frequent and intense negative thoughts about the past are the raw material that blocks the emotions of contentment and satisfaction, and these thoughts make serenity and peace impossible.”

What can one do in order to shift the thoughts that drive emotions so that there is more positive thinking being done?  

  1. Focus on positive events in life and  opportunities to be grateful.
  2. Forgive the people in the past that may have strongly influenced the negative thought patterns.

Positive emotions lead to better health, both physical and mentally according to research done by Sarah Pressman.  

Positive thinking leads to positive emotions which increases the overall satisfaction with life.   Who wouldn’t want more of that?

What can you do when a negative feeling or thought comes screeching at you?

  1. Take a deep breath.  Acknowledge the emotion (“I feel …. “)
  2. Shift the energy of that emotion.   (This is mental Aikido …) and gently push the emotion to a different place.  
  3. Replace the thought with something better,  a favorite vacation, sunset, something admirable, peaceful, enjoyable and inner smile event.
  4. Take another deep breath.

Read the words of David Whyte and see what message is trying to convey.   We are often trapped, bombarded by information, and most of it is negative information, sensationalized news, stories that are all designed to pull us into believing everything in the world is negative.   Negative information sells and is profitable but it is not the world of truth, it is only a speck of truth in the total amount of information that is available.   Sometimes it is the negative news that provides momentary relief from personal suffering that people seek.  However a constant bath of negative information soon becomes the truth about the world and about the self and it takes more depressing negative news to feel just a tiny bit better.   

Surround yourself with positive news, positive thoughts and positive people and you’ll start feeling better about whom you are, and what you can accomplish.  It turns out that the more positive things you bring into your life the better your life becomes.  

Loaves and Fishes

This is not
the age of information.

This is not
the age of information.

Forget the news,
and the radio,
and the blurred screen.

This is the time
of loaves
and fishes.

People are hungry
and one good word is bread
for a thousand.

  — David Whyte
      from The House of Belonging
     ©1996 Many Rivers Press

dancin’ in the rain

DSC03100Take a look – what can the power of gratitude do for you?

Dance in the rain!

Dance to your dreams!

Dance to your aspirations!

Dance to your creative spirit!

Dance to a new idea!

Dance for happiness!

Dance today!

 

“Life’s not about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about learning to dance in the rain!”

 

10 ways to improve happiness

We cannot teach people anything; we can only help them discover it within themselves.
Galileo Galilei

Researchers have revealed that there are things that can be done to improve the quality of life that one lives.  These steps are:

 

  1. Stop and enjoy the present.
  2. Don’t compare yourself to the Joneses.
  3. Don’t obsess over money.
  4. Aspire to leave an imprint.
  5. Be intrinsically motivated on the job.
  6. Build a supportive network of family and friends
  7. Act optimistic even if you have to fake it.
  8. Gratitude, baby, gratitude.
  9. Exercise is all good.
  10. Givers gain.

Take one of the ten and think about what you could do.   What steps can you take to make one of those ten work for you?  

Live one of the ten items daily. 

Read more about it Want to be happier?