Friday, December 12, 2014

Look for the Good


It's a simple concept...You will find what you are expecting to find in life. If you look for the good in others and in everyday life, that's exactly what you will find. The reverse is true as well. It's your choice.

Our expectations, frame of mind, and attitudes color our world. They help shape what we see and how we experience our life situations. Two people, facing the same ups and downs of life, are likely to see things quite differently based on their individual perspectives.

How would you like to see your world?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Gratitude Quote: Harold Kushner


“If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul”  ~ Harold S. Kushner
Something good can always be found in any situation, all you have to do is look for it. The more experience you have in doing this, the easier it is to find. Finding the good in difficult situations, as well as in daily life, fosters positive feelings and helps to develop a relationship with gratitude.

Every time you are able to find the good and acknowledge your gratitude you are nourishing your inner world and growing yourself from the inside out.


Monday, December 8, 2014

Visual Gratitude - November 2014

Visual Gratitude Journal for the Month of November 2014

I love the way gratitude is in the air throughout the month of November. With Thanksgiving taking up the rear of the month, gratitude is on the minds of many and seems to become more of a priority in people's lives. During those weeks, it feels as if the world around me becomes a gratitude bubble. I Love It!!

That bubble effect helped support and increase my feelings of appreciation for the many, many good things in life. But on top of that, there was lots to be thankful for in November, particularly the three Thanksgiving dinners we were invited to and attended. Yes, three Thanksgiving celebrations within one week (on three separate days).

We live on the west coast of the U.S., while our families are all on the east coast. So, spending the holiday with good friends is always special and very much appreciated. We are blessed with wonderful friends who we can enjoy spending time with and who make us feel so welcome. 
 
My gratitude journal image for November is filled with non tangible entries such as intuition, peace, and happiness. I felt particularly thankful for the gifts of sharing a world with others: kindness, support, and friendship, the experience of sharing, caring, and compassion, and being able to give and receive love and comfort. I also included appreciation for passion, wonder, and the WOW moments of life; for understanding, wisdom, focus, and so much more. Most of the "things" I was grateful for this past month are not "things" at all.

Hope you had much to be thankful for last month and I wish you a December filled with that which will tickle your fancy and make you smile!

The other monthly gratitude journal images can be found at: Visual Gratitude Journal.

Friday, November 28, 2014

A Happy Little Thing Called "Thank You"


A Happy Little Thing Called "Thank You"
Video by Joshua Coynes


As part of his thesis project, Josh Coynes created this eight minute video. With an interest in understanding the relationship between happiness and gratitude, he developed a thesis experiment to answer the question: "How does gratitude affect college students’ stress, self-love, and happiness?"

Josh enlisted the participation of 30 Boston College students to take part in his study. He had them each sit in front of a laptop computer and begin by completing a survey, designed to measure their level of stress, self love, and happiness. Then they were asked to write about someone they are grateful for; why they are grateful, the impact of that individual on their lives, and what that person means to them. After completing this thankful essay, they were asked to call that individual and read what they had just written, aloud.

The experiment culminated with each student completing the initial survey once again. And the findings were clear. In speaking of the results of his experiment, Josh said, "The numbers matched participants’ reactions; gratitude greatly reduced stress levels and boosted self-love and happiness."

If you haven't seen the video, do so. It's beautiful to watch the reactions of the students in sharing their gratitude.

For more information, visit: http://bcgavel.com/2014/04/15/josh-coyne-a-happy-little-thing-called-thank-you/

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Gratitude Quote - Steindl-Rast

"We are never more than one grateful thought away from peace of heart." ~ Brother David Steindl-Rast
In my experience with gratitude, it can take as little as a moment for grateful thinking to shift a mood or a difficulty, and to support the quest for a sense of inner calm. Thoughts of gratitude can alter your perspective and focus in no time at all. The thing that takes time is remembering you can turn to gratitude for a more peaceful perspective in any situation and instance. But, the more often you turn to gratitude as a tool for lightening your load, the quicker you will remember to employ it in the future.


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Gratitude Quote - Bonhoeffer

"In ordinary life, we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich." ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Acknowledging the gifts in our lives is the first step, appreciating a life filled with blessings is the gift that keeps on giving. Life becomes extra-ordinary when we can wholeheartedly give thanks for what we have. And in doing so, our vision becomes clearer, with a greater ability to focus on all the good that surrounds us.


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Visual Gratitude - October 2014

Visual Gratitude Journal for the Month of October 2014

I almost forgot about posting the latest Visual Gratitude Journal for last month. What a wonderful month it was! The days of October seemed to overflow with blessings and reasons to feel grateful.

Among the many "gratitudes" that filled the month of October, were the gifts of the creative process. Creative doors seemed to open and I am so thankful for the perpetual smile I've experienced over the past four or so weeks.

Much of this month's gratitude stems from having taken the opportunity to spend time painting every Monday and doing a quick pencil drawing each day. Here are some of the stand out "gratitudes" of my month:
  • the feeling of being in the creative flow, the spark of new ideas, focus and direction
  • determination, inspiration, and the feeling of accomplishment
  • and I am so very grateful for the joy of drawing and painting, for the paints and the drawing tools, for the time and opportunity to create, and the anticipation of my next drawing or painting session.

Wishing you a Thankful November!

The other monthly gratitude journal images can be found at: Visual Gratitude Journal.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Benefits of Gratitude: A Review

 
There are so many benefits to gratitude. 

In August, I highlighted some of the many benefits of having a personal gratitude practice. To review, here's a list of all 15 benefits with links to the individual posts (or visit Benefits of Gratitude to view all 15 on one page). 

  • Benefit #1 - Increases joy and happiness.
  • Benefit #2 - Helps shift the focus from life's problems to its gifts.
  • Benefit #3 - Helps reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Benefit #4 - Helps develop a more positive mental outlook.
  • Benefit #5 - Increases awareness of life's many blessings
  • Benefit #6 - Helps improve the quality of life.
  • Benefit #7 - Helps prioritize what's important in life.
  • Benefit #8 - Helps lower blood pressure.
  • Benefit #9 - Improves physical and mental health.
  • Benefit #10 - Strengthens connections with others and improves relationships.
  • Benefit #11 - Strengthens the immune system.
  • Benefit #12 - Improves sleep quality.
  • Benefit #13 - Strengthens coping skills.
  • Benefit #14 - Can help develop greater enthusiasm and optimism.
  • Benefit #15 - Makes it easier to forgive and let go of past hurts.


    Monday, November 3, 2014

    Gratitude Quote ~ Helen Keller

    "The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart." ~ Helen Keller

    True beauty is felt within the heart rather than seen through the vision of our eyes. Love, although it can be seen in the actions or on the face of a loved one, is not fully whole and is not fully realized until experienced within. Kindness begins with a heartfelt choice from the giver and is received by a heart full of appreciation.

    The richness of gratitude is not in the use of words but in the heartfelt response to something, someone, or some experience. Words can be the messenger but the heart provides the power and the source of light to the thankful.


    100 Gratitudes with Ease

    Making it easy – support for generating a list of 100 gratitudes.

    Every few months I make a list of 100 things I am grateful for. I love the exercise and feel so good afterwards. In fact, I find it hard to stop at 100. This activity makes me so very aware of all the things that have not made it onto the list.

    I realize that for many, it may seem difficult or somewhat overwhelming to generate a list of one hundred entries. So I decided to create a "cheat sheet" for anyone who might find this useful. I hope the following prompts can help the process to flow more easily...or at least stimulate some thoughts and ideas.

    • 5 people you love
    • 5 people you appreciate 
    • 5 qualities or personality traits you appreciate in others
    • 5 places you enjoy spending time
    • 10 things you love to do
    • 10 foods and flavors you enjoy
    • 5 things you appreciate about yourself 
    • 5 things you are physically able to do 
    • 10 things you use every day
    • 5 songs or pieces of music that have touched your life
    • 3 great books
    • 3 favorite movies
    • 5 things you feel proud of
    • 5 moments you would not want to forget. 
    • 5 sounds or words that are beautiful to your ear 
    • 5 people, places, and things you find beautiful
    • 5 people, places, and things that make you feel comfortable
    • 3 intangible aspects to your life
    • and Life itself. 

    With Thanksgiving only a few weeks away, many people have gratitude in mind this month. Check out The Gratitude Habit Journal and Workbook and consider purchasing one for yourself and/or for someone you know.

    Tuesday, October 21, 2014

    Gratitude Quote - Seneca

    "The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not." ~ Seneca

    Friday, October 17, 2014

    Gratitude Quote - Oprah Winfrey

    "If you look at what you have in life, you'll always have more. If you look at what you don't have in life, you'll never have enough." ~ Oprah Winfrey
    Attitude is everything. It is our perspective on life that drives what we see and experience. The crazy thing is, we may be experiencing the same set of circumstances but filtering it out one way or the other. When we focus on the positive, we notice all things positive. When we focus on the things we lack, we are overly aware of what we perceive to be missing in our lives. In this, we have a choice.


    Thursday, October 16, 2014

    Gratitude Quote - Rumi

    "Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond." ~ Rumi

    "But listen to me. For one moment quit being sad. Hear blessings dropping their blossoms around you." ~ Rumi


    Monday, October 6, 2014

    Gratitude Quote - Melody Beattie

    "Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow." ~ Melody Beattie
    With gratitude, we can appreciate what has brought us to where we are right now. It allows us to see the gifts in our past experiences, even if they were more challenging than we would have liked. Gratitude helps us to focus on what we have before us, in the present moment, and let go of all else. And we can give thanks now for what we wish to create in the future and see it unfolding through a positive perspective on life.

    Sunday, October 5, 2014

    Visual Gratitude - September 2014

    Visual Gratitude Journal for the Month of September 2014

    October has begun (Wow...can't believe it's already October!!) and here I am with another Visual Gratitude Journal to share. I love my growing collection of painted pages and the ability to look back on the visuals of the past 6 months of gratitude.

    After a summer of travel, activities, events, and spending time out and about, September was filled with opportunities to get quiet, reconnect with my inner wisdom, and reflect on my thoughts, goals, growth, projects, and passions.

    Among the many things I am grateful for in September, were the wonderful experiences of connecting to my:
    • inner joy
    • inner guidance
    • inner strength
    • inner wisdom
    • inner peace
    • and lots of personal insights.

    I posted this on The Gratitude Facebook Page this past Friday.


    There's so much to be thankful for!! Enjoy October!

    All six months of the gratitude images can be found at: Visual Gratitude Journal.


    Gratitude Quote - Robert Brault


    "Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things." ~ Robert Brault
    Our awareness of the many small gifts of life, bless our days with more sustained happiness than the intermittent big events that touch our lives. Those large, and often memorable, highlights give us something to look back on but don't feed our soul each and every day. It's the little things, going unnoticed, that help create the foundation beneath us, the stepping stones of life. Watch for them. They are certainly there...and be thankful for their presence in your life.

    Here's a quote from The Gratitude Habit:
    "Happiness is not based on the occasional grand things that happen in your life. It comes from acknowledging the steady flow of moments to appreciate."
    ~Wendy Meg Siegel, The Gratitude Habit

    Friday, September 5, 2014

    Visual Gratitude - Month of August


    Visual Gratitude Journal for the Month of August 2014


    August was another month filled with gratitude. I love being able to look back on my visual gratitude posters and see the richness and volume of so much appreciation. And as I look at this month's poster, I am aware of how much more I have to be grateful for than the things I have included on that image. In essence, what I see before me, at the end of each month, is only a smidgen of my gratitude... and that knowledge makes my heart feel so full.

    This past month was filled with gratitude for the joys of summer; like gardening and the gifts the garden yields, hiking, camping, concerts, travel, and precious time with far away family. I am thankful for the great weather and all the time spent outdoors.

    It was impossible to ignore the beneficial impact of technology on our lives, during this past month:
    • We were hoping to go camping for the three day Labor Day weekend but no campsites were available anywhere we looked. My husband called and left a message at a place we have visited in the past, just in case they happened to have an empty space. Later that day, while we were on a 3 hour hike in the woods, he received a phone call, letting him know that there was indeed an empty spot. We were able to book the campsite right there in the middle of the woods. This just wowed me.
    • On our camping trip to a lake in California, I was able to give my parent's, in New York, a tour of our pop-up camper and the campsite... thanks to the iPhone and the ability to Face time. They were thrilled and I was wowed once again.
    • While we were out whale watching earlier in the month, I was able to capture photos of those amazing animals and share the experience with family while out on a boat in the Monterey Bay. 
    • While driving hours away from home, we were able to easily speak to friends, thanks to the miracle of the Bluetooth device. We had a crystal clear connection in what seemed like the middle of nowhere.
    •  I am wowed that a phone can be so mobile and taken anywhere and everywhere. That fact in itself is quite a miracle. But, having a phone that takes great photos as well, adds to the WOW factor. Then you add the text ability, music player capability, internet access, WiFi, and this couldn't get much more remarkable. I couldn't be more thankful for the technological advancements that have occurred during my lifetime. (and I haven't even mentioned the miracle of computers, laptops, iPads, Nooks and Kindles and more.)

    There's so much to be thankful for!!

    Check out my other monthly Visual Gratitude Journal images. (I began creating them back in April 2014.)


    Wednesday, September 3, 2014

    Benefits of Gratitude #15: Forgiveness


    According to Forgiveness Specialist, Fred Luskin, “gratitude and compassion help people look beyond themselves to enable forgiveness.” Click Here to view a video lecture on the subject... Forgiveness Requires Gratitude.

    Tuesday, September 2, 2014

    Benefits of Gratitude #14: Optimism


    Studies have shown that people who have a regular gratitude practice are optimistic about the future and are more likely to approach their daily lives with enthusiasm and energy. They are able to carry a zest for life with them throughout the day and are more likely to hold onto their positive outlook when things do not necessarily go their way.


    Thursday, August 28, 2014

    Benefits of Gratitude #13: Coping


    When the mind is overwhelmed with worry, anxiety, and stress, it becomes difficult to muster up the ability to cope with conflicts, pressures, and the unexpected. Gratitude helps create a foundation for greater coping skills by developing a more positive mental attitude and making it easier to let go of the worry and struggles that cloud the mind.

    Benefits of Gratitude #12: Sleep


    Multiple studies have shown that gratitude can play a role in getting a better night’s sleep. Grateful people seem to sleep more peacefully, fall asleep faster, and feel more refreshed.

    To learn more about these studies and their findings, visit this article at PsychologyToday.com.

    Wednesday, August 27, 2014

    Benefits of Gratitude #11: Immune System


    Gratitude helps promote positive thinking and therefore a positive emotional state. An optimistic outlook on life helps strengthen the immune system. Grateful people have a tendency to live healthier lives.

    To read more, visit: this article at Dr. Weil.com.


    Benefits of Gratitude #10: Relationships


    Cultivating a sense of gratefulness for our friends, relatives, and romantic partners can help strengthen those relationships. First of all, gratitude helps us look at the positives in our lives and helps develop our minds to look for what is good in the world around us. With gratitude as a tool, its easier to notice the good in others and appreciate the positive effects they have on our lives. The more we are able to see the good in others and increase our awareness of their positive traits, the more willing we are to open our hearts and let them in.

    Second…a gratitude practice helps increase feelings of joy and a desire to be more giving…these, along with a spirit of appreciation, are excellent traits from which to develop stronger relationships.

    Try using a gratitude journal to develop more appreciation for your spouse or significant other. All it takes is writing three things each night, including whatever you are thankful for, from that day with your partner. Try it for 30 days and see what effects it has on your relationship. It's even more powerful if both of you are involved in this process, each keeping your own daily gratitude list. Who knows, you may choose to continue after the 30 days are over.

    Read more about Gratitude Journals for Relationships.

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014

    Benefits of Gratitude #9: Health


    A gratitude practice not only improves a person’s outlook on life, their sense of well-being, and mental health, it also can positively impact their physical health. Those who consistently practice gratitude do not get sick as often as those who do not and studies have shown heart patients to have a lower risk of a second heart attack. In addition, people with life threatening illnesses have a better overall outlook on life and are happier when maintaining a gratitude practice.

    "There is nothing that can have a more powerful effect on your mental health than the spirit of thankfulness."
                                                 ~George E. Vandeman

    Benefits of Gratitude #8: Lower Blood Pressure


    According to the studies done by Professor Robert Emmons, University of California at Davis, the use of a gratitude journal can reduce blood pressure levels by 10 percent…as mentioned in this article.

    By lowering blood pressure you are taking an important step towards reducing heart and kidney issues. High blood pressure can cause damage to your vision, so reducing blood pressure levels helps minimizes that risk.


    Sunday, August 24, 2014

    Benefits of Gratitude #7: Helps to Prioritize


    A gratitude practice is an exercise in focusing on what’s important to you, what you value, and who and what you appreciate. It stands to reason that this experience with gratitude would help to prioritize what you are most thankful for.

    Saturday, August 23, 2014

    The Gratitude Habit Mentioned in Consumer Reports

    No, this is not me. This is Ingez Rameau
    who is looking to self-publish her memoirs.

    Consumer Reports just published an article, How Much Does It Cost to Self-Publish? I am excited to share that The Gratitude Habit is mentioned in the sidebar at the bottom of that article.

    Back in June, I had the privilege of speaking with a Senior Editor for Consumer Reports on the process of self-publishing and the costs involved. I shared my experiences of publishing The Gratitude Habit through CreateSpace. Although the focus of the article was to be on someone who was still unpublished, I am thrilled to have been mentioned in the paragraph under: Marketing for self-publishers.


    To read the full article, along with the above sidebar, visit: www.consumerreports.org/cro/2014/08/how-much-does-it-cost-to-self-publish/index.htm

     The article has also been published in the September 2014 issue of Consumer Reports Money Adviser.

     

    Benefits of Gratitude #6: Quality of Life


    Grateful people are more likely to be successful in achieving their goals. They are less likely to suffer from depression and tend to experience a greater degree of satisfaction with their lives.

    In 2011, David Brooks wrote an opinion piece on Gratitude's Gifts. In referring to the findings of the Journal of Happiness Studies with high school student, he wrote; "They found that high gratitude scores powerfully predict higher grades, better social integration and lower envy and depression levels. Students with more materialistic attitudes earned lower grades."

    Friday, August 22, 2014

    Benefits of Gratitude #5: Aware of Blessings


    Increased Awareness of Life's Gifts

    A gratitude practice helps to fine tune an awareness of life’s many blessings. In fact, it doesn’t take long, to begin to notice the good things that fill our daily lives…much of which may have been taken for granted in the past.

     "Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgiving, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings."
                                            ~William Arthur Ward 


    Benefits of Gratitude #4: More Positive


    People who choose the path of gratitude, are more likely to feel satisfied with their lives, experience a more natural flow of positive thoughts and feelings, and more readily see the positives in life's situations.

    This benefit is key. The ability to acknowledge the positives in our lives, is the most important ingredient to help manifest most of the other benefits of gratitude.


    Saturday, August 16, 2014

    Overcoming Fear


    How I used gratitude to deal with my fear of flying

    For many years, when I fly, I get freaked out during take offs. Until the plane levels off, I grab hold of my husband’s or daughter’s hand and won’t let go. And if I’m alone, I have to make do with the arm rest (not the best substitute). I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that there are times when I feel a bit terrified, and I definitely overreact to any shaking or jerking around that the plane makes before reaching full altitude.

    Last year I had to take several flights at the end of the year. It was just a few weeks after publishing The Gratitude Habit and I decided to see how I’d react to focusing on the things I was grateful for during take off. On the first flight, it was hard to focus but I noticed how much calmer I was than usual. On the second, I was able to spend the entire time thinking of the many things I appreciate in my life. By the third flight, it seemed that the time it took to become airborne was shorter than expected as I got lost in my thoughts of gratitude. Thankfulness really seemed to help.

    But the biggest surprise was this summer during a trip to Asia, with a number of flights each way. Every one of those take offs was easy and fairly comfortable. I wondered if it was the planes, the pilots, or something miraculous. Each take off was a pleasant surprise. It wasn’t until recently that I began to suspect that gratitude had played a part in this transformation. Maybe I had reprogrammed my brain during last year’s flights. I began this recent journey feeling very grateful to be able to make such a special trip and every flight began with unexpectedly peaceful feelings…and for that I am grateful.


    Benefits of Gratitude #3: Reduced Stress


    Reduced Stress and Anxiety

    When you find yourself feeling stressed, try making a mental list of some of the things you appreciate and the people you are grateful for. It’s hard to maintain the same level of stress and anxiety when feeling grateful.

    To read more, visit my blog post: Replace Fear With Gratitude.


    "Gratitude is one of the sweet shortcuts to finding peace of mind and happiness inside. No matter what is going on outside of us, there's always something we could be grateful for."
                                                 - Barry Neil Kaufman  

    Friday, August 15, 2014

    Benefits of Gratitude #2: Problems Can Become Gifts


    Shifting Focus from Problems to Benefits

    When gratitude is an integral part of one’s life, it becomes easier to shift perspective from the difficulties, struggles, and set backs of everyday life…and focus on all of the many gifts that present themselves throughout the day. (Some examples of gifts: a smile from a stranger, catching sight of a rainbow, a great dinner, a hug from a loved one, a kindness shown, easily finding a parking spot in a crowded lot, a great cup of coffee.)

    "Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity.... It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow."     
                                                                    ~ Melodie Beattie

    Thursday, August 14, 2014

    Benefits of Gratitude #1: Happiness


    Increased Joy and Happiness 

    Grateful people have an overall higher level of happiness and satisfaction with their lives. They are more easily able to keep the “ups and downs” of life in perspective and look at the good, even during difficult times.

    A Video: An Experiment in Happiness

    The video starts out by saying that "Psychologists have scientifically proven that one of the greatest contributing factors to overall happiness, in your life, is how much gratitude you show." Watch to see the experiment they set up to prove those studies.


    Wednesday, August 13, 2014

    Benefits of Gratitude


    There Are So Many Benefits To Gratitude

    Gratitude is an easy way to improve your life. It doesn't take much time at all and can become part of any activity, at any time of day. There are so many benefits to making gratitude an integral part of your life. Studies have shown that people who regularly give thanks experience more happiness, better sleep, and feel a greater sense of well being. Gratitude is a great way to reduce stress and increase positive thinking.

    I have been amazed at how many benefits there are to incorporating gratitude into your life. From personal experience, I can definitely say that it has helped reduce my fear of flying and has helped me eliminate stress whenever I remember to utilize it. Gratitude kept me company one evening when I was having difficulty breathing and couldn't sleep...a very uncomfortable night turned into a magical memory filled with joy.

    A daily gratitude practice might include: making a daily list of things you are grateful for, keeping a gratitude journal, noticing and appreciating the many big and small blessings throughout the day, and/or letting others know how much you appreciate them.

    Whether you've already incorporated a gratitude practice into your life or you are thinking of starting one, check here, over the next couple of weeks, for posts designed to help increase awareness of the many benefits of making gratitude a habit.

    Friday, August 1, 2014

    Visual Gratitude - Month of July

    Visual Gratitude Journal for July 2014

    So much to be grateful for this past month. Many of my "gratitudes" were for people who have added to the quality of my life. I am thankful for all those who make me smile and:
    • for time spent with new friends.
    • for the opportunity of spending quality time in conversation and getting to know people better.
    • for the large gathering of 60 or so people at our home and all the good food, warmth, and friendship shared... and for all those who helped with cleanup after that gathering.
    • for the kindness of my daughter's coach and his generosity of time.
    • for friends who open up their home for fun filled annual gatherings.
    • for the generosity of others.
    • for spontaneous "get-togethers" with people we love.
    • for wonderful and friendly neighbors who I so appreciate.
    • for my dentist and all who work in his office who make going to the dentist a pleasure.
    • for great friends who love and care for our dog when we are away.
    • for the gift of all those great telephone conversations with loving, long distance family members.
    • for a loving and supportive husband and daughter and for all they do to make my world a joy.
    You may resonate with some of the above. What would you include in your gratitude list today? This week? This month?

    Wishing you a happy, healthy, and gratitude filled August.

    (About the above image: I painted an 11" x 14" sheet of bristol board and filled it with daily gratitude for the month of July. Click Here to view all of the completed Visual Gratitude images.)

    Thursday, July 24, 2014

    Grateful for Inner Wisdom


    Years ago, I was aware of how often I would consult a friend to get input on a decision I was about to make. I would contact the right friend for the specific type of decision. Finally I stopped to wonder why I was seeking guidance outside of myself rather than looking within.

    I had the answers...but I was allowing my mind to race with the various options rather than listening to what my inner wisdom had to offer. I was doing this despite plenty of past experience in listening to my inner voice.

    By slowing down and quieting the inner patter, we can access the answers we seek...and sometimes even answers to questions we haven't thought of asking. We have the intuition and the inner knowing built into us. We have been taught to trust in the tangible world of information that we can see with our eyes and hold in our hands. We have learned to negate, or second guess, our inner perceptions, feelings, and awareness.

    It takes practice and trust to develop the awareness of our innate ability to access guidance.

    Trusting...
    • our gut responses.
    • our dreams and visions. 
    • our inner voice.
    • that guidance and direction is available to us.
    • that the answers will show up and possibly in quite surprising ways.
    • the messages may present themselves at any moment...when we open a book to a random page, turn on a radio station, or change the channel on the TV. The guidance may take shape in a conversation with a stranger, on a sign we pass on the road, or while brushing your teeth.

    To open the channels for greater awareness and fine tune your reception, practice quieting the mind. You can do this by spending some time each day in stillness.

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

    Grateful for a Soft Breeze


    There's nothing like the feeling of a soft breeze on a summer's day. The smell of fresh air as it gently flows past, fills the space with its lightness of being. It is as if a cleansing wave has surrounded all that it touches, indoors or out.

    "Oh there is blessing in this gentle breeze,
    A visitant that while it fans my cheek
    Doth seem half conscious of the joy it brings
    From the green fields, and from yon azure sky.
    What e'er its mission, the soft breeze can come
    To none more grateful than to me; escaped
    From the vast city, where I long had pined
    A discontented sojourner: now free,
    Free as a bird to settle where I will." 
    ~ William Wordsworth, from The Prelude

    Monday, July 14, 2014

    Grateful for Every Breath


    It is way too easy to take the things for granted that have become second nature and automatic. They are so much a part of our everyday existence and can easily go unnoticed. Breathing is a prime example of this.

    Luckily for most of us, breathing is controlled automatically. It's a great practice to increase awareness and appreciation of even the most basic of human functions.

    Appreciate every breath you take.



    Wednesday, July 9, 2014

    Article - Understanding Gratitude


    I read an article I want to share. It was posted a couple of years ago at the Huffington Post blog and written by Joel and Michelle Levey on Understanding the Science of Gratitude.


    The article looks at two key symptoms of our society and how gratitude can play a role in healing the effects of both.
    1. The feeling of not having enough and not being enough
    2. Keeping busy in an effort to help alleviate the feeling of lack
    Our internal lack mentality, along with the flow of messages from our environment, serves to reinforce the belief: if we had more we would find the happiness we seek. So we fall prey to any shiny object that appears to be able to give us more while seeking whatever we believe could make us feel we are enough and have enough.

    The Levey's discuss how we look for external sources to provide satisfaction and happiness when the place to look is within.

    Gratitude becomes the antidote. It gives us a method of focusing on the gifts we already have and encourages a positive view of life. "We shift from spinning in perpetual motion on the wheel of seeking happiness from the outside-in to generating happiness from the inside-out."

    The article goes on to share the benefits of a daily gratitude practice and of keeping a gratitude journal. Also included, are examples of how gratitude is expressed in various spiritual traditions and a guided gratitude meditation that can easily be followed.

    To read the Levey's article, visit: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joel-michelle-levey/understanding-gratitude_b_888208.html 

    Thursday, July 3, 2014

    Visual Gratitude - Month of June

    Visual Gratitude Journal - June 2014

    I am happy to share my third month of filling a bristol board with paint and gratitude. I do love combining two of the important passions of my life.

    These visual gratitude boards give me the opportunity to fill my month with paint and color and then add the many things I feel extraordinarily grateful for on top of that. The foundation of paint becomes the platform on which to record my blessings.

    The July poster is already in progress and I will be back to share that with you next month. Wishing you all an excellent July.

    You can view the completed monthly gratitude posters at: http://thegratitudehabitjournal.blogspot.com/search/label/visual%20gratitude


     


    Tuesday, July 1, 2014

    The Gratitude Habit is Chosen for July Top 10 List!

    CLICK HERE

    SO EXCITED TO SHARE! 
     
    The Gratitude Habit Journal and Workbook is featured in Aspire Magazine’s July Top 10 Inspiring Books list. Aspire is an inspirational online magazine for women that highlights female authors with an empowering message to share. I am honored and grateful that my book was chosen to be included on a list of books written by women dedicated to inspiring, empowering & supporting others. 

    Check out this month’s Top 10 Inspiring Books.
     
    "Aspire Magazine is the premiere inspirational magazine for women
    and since 2005 Bestselling Publisher Linda Joy has been on a
    mission to inspire women around the world by bringing them the 
    best in inspirational, empowering content, resources and tools."

    I checked out the June/July 2014 issue of Aspire Magazine and was quite impressed with the amount of rich content on it's 79 pages. You can see for yourself.

    The June/July 2014 Issue of Aspire Magazine
    To sign up for a free subscription to Aspire visit:
    www.SubscribetoAspire.com


    Join me and Aspire Magazine in sharing the Top 10 Inspiring Books list by hitting the “Share” button at: http://bit.ly/Top10_July.