Tag Archives: Gratitude

Today is my one year blogging anniversary!

I got this website on on this date one year ago today, although I would not post my first blog until November 24th, when I finally knew what I wanted to say.

Thanks to everyone who’s come on the journey with me. Looking forward to sharing some VERY big news about the next exciting project. Here’s to another year of fun & sharing!

Good Day or Bad Day? It’s All How You Look at it – Six Steps to Positive Thinking

Is the raccoon looking in or is he looking out? Either way, he can climb that fence – unless he is locked in a cage. We can’t tell the perspective.

Our joy, and perhaps even our curse, as human beings often come from our ability to chose the way we will view and interpret the world.

People who are able to grow a more sunny outlook on things are happier and have less stress than those who tend to focus on problems.

It seems like a no-brainer – always think about the best parts of every situation. Still, many of us find ourselves stuck on the negatives in front of us.

If we are fortunate we discover, and master, positive thinking at a younger age. Looking around at people of all ages, it is painfully obvious (and sad) that some people will go a lifetime and never uncover the answer.

Does anyone else love lists?  Here are six things you can work on (one at a time if you like) if you want to get positive by reshaping your way of thinking.

Six Steps to Positive Thinking 

Learn to direct your thoughts. As soon as you catch yourself thinking about anything negative actively change your mind to think about anything else that is positive. If you are working on a gratitude practice this is a good time to shift your mind to what you are grateful for.

This may be easy for you or extremely tough. Sometimes our brains are just wired to focus on the negative. Our repetitive thoughts and actions reinforce connections in our brains so digging out new connections can take time and effort (especially if you have a long history of negative thinking). In the long run, it’s well worth the effort.

Surround yourself with positive people.

If you surround yourself with negative, miserable, unhappy people your life is going to be negative, miserable, and unhappy. If you surround yourself with positive people who will influence you to do better in life, living with joy, than you will do those things.

You are influenced by and become like the people you allow into your life. Choose those people carefully.

Take responsibility for your life and your actions. I know this one may sound like a bit of a bummer at first but really taking your life into your own hands is an empowering move. When you take responsibility for your life you step up and say “Nobody has the power over whether I  succeed or fail. Nobody can hold me down or stop me, only I can do that.”

Start a gratitude practice. Always pay attention to and look for things to be grateful for. Before you go to bed think about what you are grateful for. When you wake up in the morning have gratitude. Keep a gratitude journal. If you find yourself in a difficult situation – always remember to ask yourself “what can I be grateful for right now?”

Be mindful, meditate, do yoga or any other mindful exercise. If you don’t get enough exercise and eat healthy foods you are going to get sick and feel like crap. It is very difficult to be positive when you feel shitty.

Take care of your body and take the time to relax your mind. Be mindful as you exercise. If you learn to pay attention to how your body is feeling. Pay attention to each footstep below you, feel it. Breathe with intention, focusing on the inhale and exhale. Let your workout calm your body and mind simultaneously.

Get inspired by positive people. Read books, listen to speeches, and reflect upon positive quotes of others. Listen to an audio biography of someone who inspires you on your way to work. Watch a TED Talk. Read self-help books. Subscribe to a new podcast. Find a mentor. Work with a life coach. Surround and feed your brain positive affirmations and avoid garbage.

Note: it is a good idea to unfollow/hide negative posts and people during this transition as they are poison for your brain.

At first, you may find yourself making mistakes. Hold yourself accountable. Fix them. Always be determined to do better next time. It’s worth the work. YOU are worth the work. You can do it!

Mindfulness Practices You Can Start Today – Mindful Eating

This may very well be the easiest thing you do today or (depending on how often you rush yourself) the hardest.

Pick a meal you enjoy and a time of day when you will not be in a rush.

Because you will be paying close attention to the flavors in your mouth it may be better to avoid foods you dislike at first. Eating utensils will be helpful in this exercise however they are not necessary.

Gather all your things for a quiet meal at the table. Have your beverages and condiments handy. Once you sit down to the meal there is no more getting up. Cell phone away, TV, & ringer off.

Time to eat.

Sit with your food. Now you will eat doing only one thing at a time, paying careful attention to every bite.

If you are eating with utensils you will be placing them back on the table after every bite. If you have picked something like a sandwich and will be eating with your hands you will be placing your food item on the table after every bite.

Pick your food up.  Take one bite. Put your food (or utensils) down. Pay close attention to each step, be mindful and do not rush. Be aware of every bite, count each time you chew. What flavors do you taste? Do you enjoy the texture of the food in your mouth?

Stay with this through the entire meal. Do not allow yourself to rush or blend steps together. Stay focused only on the meal in front of you. This is not the time to worry about your finances or that disagreement with your friend.

Just sit with yourself, eating, paying close attention to the sensations of the food in your body. Have gratitude for your food. Think about the way it nourishes your body as you take this time to nourish your mind.

 

The Benefits of Living a Thankful Life All Year Long – 5 Tips for a Happier Life

 

It’s the time of year where we are all reminded to give thanks for the good fortunes and people in our lives. This is a time for family, fun, and feasting. We gather around our tables with our loved ones and say thank you for all the blessings that the past year has brought us.

This year I would like to challenge you to take your Thanksgiving a step further. Being thankful and having gratitude is not something that should be limited to just one day of the year. Having gratitude all year long can benefit your life in numerous ways.

In a 2012 study, a group of Chinese researchers discovered that higher levels of gratitude were associated with better sleep. They also found that people who practiced gratitude in their daily lives had a lower risk for anxiety and depression (more here on Psychology Today). Simply Googling “benefits of gratitude” will bring you countless more results.

Sometimes we get so caught up in our wants and desires that we forget to appreciate the things we do have. When we focus too much on the things we don’t have it becomes impossible to live in the present moment.

Chasing things will always leave you empty, longing and waiting for the next new thing to come around.

Living in the present, being grateful for the good fortunes we have right now, even if they are small, instead of worrying about things we feel are missing, could be the key to living a happy life.

How can I live my life with gratitude every day?

  1. Live in the present moment. It’s been said that “if you are anxious, you are living in the future.” When you catch yourself fretting over that missed promotion at work make a decisive effort to change your focus. Instead of dwelling on a perceived missed opportunity, think about all of the things you love about your job.
  2. Keeping the focus on your goals without letting your desires overcome you. You can have goals, hopes, and dreams without constantly longing to be your future self. Enjoying where you are in life now doesn’t mean you can’t set goals. Work towards your goals one step at a time, knowing what your next move might be, but paying attention to where you are today. Don’t forget to be grateful for all the work you’ve already done as you keep moving forward.
  3. Learn to let go when you don’t get what you want. Things don’t always work out the way we hope they will. When situations don’t go your way realize that new opportunities appear every day. Everything is temporary even disappointment. Someday you may be grateful your life took you down a different path.
  4. Remind yourself to be grateful. Live a joyful life. Any time you find yourself feeling sour about your situation make an effort to change your focus to all the good things in your life.
  5. Starting a gratitude practice. Working gratitude into your daily life is not difficult.
    • Start a gratitude journal. Challenge yourself to write down the things that you are grateful for every night before bed (or whenever you have time). It’s easiest if you write at the same time every day. If you meditate try writing in your journal before and after meditations. Pay attention to how your meditation affects your journaling and vice versa. If you don’t want to write down your blessings – try listing five things in your head every day before bed.
    • Use technology to your advantage. Another great way to work gratitude into your day is to set reminders on your phone. You can choose how often you want to be reminded. When the reminder pops up on your phone stop whatever you are doing and think of at least one thing that you are grateful for. Don’t snooze your gratitude alarm.

Keep working until gratitude becomes an automatic response. Rewiring your brain takes time, but the changes in your life are worth the work.