Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Habits of Strong People: An Article

The 9 Essential Habits Of Mentally Strong People

Why is it that some people find it easier to overcome obstacles and deal with adversity? Those who are able to cope with difficult situations are more likely to lead happier and more successful lives. In an article posted on The Huffington Post, Carolyn Gregoire discusses the tools used by strong individuals to turn obstacles into growth opportunities.  

Here are the 9 Habits included in this article:

  1. They see things objectively.
  2. They let go of entitlement.  
  3. They keep an even keel.
  4. They don't aspire to be happy all the time. 
  5. They're realistic optimists. 
  6. They live in the present moment. 
  7. They're persistent in the pursuit of their goals. 
  8. But they know when it's time to let go. 
  9. They love their lives.  

To read the article and learn more about each of the 9 habits listed: click here.


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Calm the Mind, Replace Fear With Gratitude

 It's quite amazing to experience how much unrest, dis-comfort we can create in our lives when our minds focus on fear and worry. We can take ourselves down a path that can feel like there's no possible return.

Employing gratitude can help break the cycle of thought and help us get back to our center...back home to ourselves.

It's amazing how quickly we can shift our train of thought by focusing on our "gratitudes." In any moment, you can make a mental list of the things you are grateful for and facilitate that shift in thinking. Try it and see how quickly it can change the feelings. Thoughts directly effect our feelings...change your thoughts to thoughts of gratitude and change the way you feel for the better.

(Check out my August 16, 2014 post, Overcoming Fear - How I used gratitude to deal with my fear of flying.)

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Gratitude Box - Giving the Gift of Gratitude

Top Cover of The Gratitude Box

Let me start by saying, I am so very grateful for my parents. They are filled with love and so willing to share their love without conditions. They are supportive and enthusiastic about anything we get involved in and have the interest and patience to listen to every detail of the activities, milestones, and adventures of their children and grandchildren. I should add, they don't seem to remember that they didn't give birth to my husband and my brother's wife. We are all their children.

For years my parents have been getting rid of the things they no longer need or use. They downsized their living space and have been letting go of a lifetime of collected books, decorative items, and serving platters. They no longer need the craft supplies and children's books they've kept on hand for the grandchildren, now in college or preparing for college. It seems as if they are always looking for something else to give away.

So the question becomes: What do you buy them for holidays, birthdays, and special events? What do you give to parents who do not need or want "things"? How about a Gratitude Box?

Open Gratitude Box - filled with cards, letters, and more.
This past holiday season, my family (me, my husband, and our daughter) and my brother's family gave my parents a "Grateful For You" box. We decided to give them the gift of letting them know how much we appreciate them. The decorated box was filled with notes, letters, and cards from each one of us to spell out the many wonderful ways they have touched our lives. In the end, it seems that we had given them hours of reading.

Ring of Tags from all of us to both of them.

Besides the notes and letters, filling the box, we included a ring of cards with short personal comments for both Mom and Dad, from each of us. I painted enough 2" x 3" tags so we could all write something short and sweet for the two of them. (Examples of the type of things we included on these small cards were: "I love how you always make me laugh." "Thank you for always supporting me, in anything I do." "I love your smile.") This ring of tags became the "card" for the gift with each tag signed by whomever wrote that message.

We had them read these cards out loud upon opening the gratitude box, while we were all together. They read the rest of the letters, just the two of them, after we had all left (in installments, since it has taken quite a bit of time for them to get through the entire box).

Individual Letters on Painted Bristol Board

For my entry, I painted and folded two sheets of bristol board to fit the size of the box. Then I wrote a letter to each of my parents and printed them on decorative paper, cut and pasted within the folded board. I then added "highlights" of what I most appreciate about each of them, on the outer fold. Since I had too much to say to, I also wrote a separate letter to share how much they have touched my life and thank them for all they have done for me over the years.

We bought a pre-made box and decorated it with
scrapbookpapers, letters cut from magazines, and marker.
The inside cover was decorated with textured rice paper, 
paint, and words from magazines.

In addition, my brother wrote a song that he included in the box. He gave each of us a printout of the words so we could join him as he sang this song to my parents. (It was loads of fun to share in this beautifully worded and very clever idea.)

And one more thing...we also added a small decorative package of tissues to the box. We knew it was very likely they would need some of these.

The goal was for my parents to feel how much we love and appreciate them. This gift accomplished that - Big Time!! My parents were totally overwhelmed by their Gratitude Box. They have savored the time spent reviewing all of it's contents. My Mom feels as if this was the most precious and memorable family holiday experience ever. This was a Big Success.

You may want to consider doing this for someone you love, too.