Thursday, August 28, 2014
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
|No, this is not me. This is|
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.
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
"Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgiving, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings."
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.)