Gratitude – The Feasting Life Skill

Enough is a Feast Buddhist ProverbDo you work at be grateful?

Hopefully, you do and it has become a life habit. If not, it\s not too late to start!

I don’t know of a life skill that is more important. Gratitude is a positive influence on health, outlook, and virtually aspect of life. If you need a little bit of help with being grateful, be sure to read today’s article!:

5 Reasons Giving Thanks Can Improve Your Life

If you’re older than 9, it’s hard to resist the urge to roll your eyes when someone at the Thanksgiving table suggests, “Let’s all go around the room and share what we’re thankful for!” It’s a pretty corny holiday ritual you mostly do to keep your mom or your most momlike friends happy, but a robust body of psychological research actually links these sorts of gratitude exercises with increased happiness, health, and overall well-being.

In other words, there are some very practical reasons to get into the spirit of things tomorrow by taking a minute to remember the reasons you’re #blessed. These are lessons that can be applied year-round.

You’ll get some decent sleep for once. For a 2011 paper in Applied Psychology, researchers asked a group of study participants to keep a gratitude journal (something many of the studies on this subject have in common). These participants were all students who said they had trouble sleeping “because their minds are racing with stimulating thoughts and worries,” the researchers write.

You’ll be happier. Giving someone a long overdue thank-you will increase your own happiness, and the mood-boosting effects of that simple act of gratefulness could last as long as a month. That’s according to a study led by Martin Seligman, the pioneer of the modern positive-psychology movement. Seligman gave a series of six tasks to more than 400 people to test different ways of improving people’s moods: Some participants were instructed to reflect on and write about their personal strengths, for example, while others were told to think about their personal strengths and find new ways to use them every day for a week.

Just one of those six tasks involved gratitude: The participants were asked if there was someone in their lives who was once particularly kind to them, but whom they never properly thanked. They then were instructed to write and hand-deliver a thank-you letter to this person. In the end, the gratitude task had the biggest impact on the participants’ happiness, and the effects were still measurable when the researchers checked in a month later.

You might actually even exercise. Once a week for ten weeks, researchers instructed study participants to list five things that had happened over the previous seven days that they were grateful for; another group was told to write about the five things that had most annoyed them that week; and a third was instructed to simply write about things that had happened, with no emotion attached. Not surprising, by the end of the experiment, those who’d done the gratitude exercise were more likely to feel optimistic about their lives. But they also reported exercising more than the people who’d spent the past two and a half months making a weekly list of grievances.

You’ll appreciate your partner more, even if you’re imagining things. For two weeks, researchers told 65 cohabiting couples to keep nightly diaries, jotting down the nice things that they’d done for their partners and that their partners had done for them. As you’d expect, when the researchers checked in with their subjects after this little experiment, the couples reported feeling closer to their partners and more satisfied with the relationship than they had before the study started. (The researchers call the tactic a “booster shot” for romantic relationships.)

But what’s also interesting is this: When the researchers compared the diaries, they found the stories they told didn’t always match up; sometimes, one half of the couple reported being grateful for something the other half didn’t mention. It doesn’t matter if their partner actually did something kind for their sake, just that they perceived an action that way.

Your underlings will work a little harder. In a recent study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, researchers visited a call center at a university, where employees call alumni to ask for donations. They observed one group of fund-raising employees on a regular day, noting how many calls they made. On a different day, the researchers observed a separate group of fund-raisers — but before they began working, the director of the department gave a little speech noting how thankful she was to the fund-raisers. That day, these employees made about 50 percent more calls than the previous group. Managers, never underestimate the power a simple thank-you has over your minions.

Today’s article is written by Melissa Dahl and is shared from the following website: http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2014/11/5-reasons-giving-thanks-can-improve-your-life.html

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Overcoming Depression – Creating an Attitude of Gratitude Part 1

Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it Chuck Swindoll

We have spent the last couple of weeks looking at Depression and obtaining the tools for overcoming it.

We have looked at ourselves, gotten to know ourselves better. We have gotten to know God better as well. We need to stay on those tracks of discovery but now we are ready to add another dimension to our efforts to overcome depression.

This week we are going to look at Gratitude. Think you are already grateful enough? Think being grateful is all poof and no substance? Think again. Having an Attitude of Gratitude is such important stuff that, without it, you don’t have a chance in a million of overcoming depression without it.

Think life has dealt you more than it’s fair share of blows? Do you think that the world needs to pay for the pain you have suffered? Did you lose sight of the light at the end of the tunnel so long ago that you have also lost sight of the tunnel? Well…get over it. Take that baggage that, to this point, you have insisted on carrying with you everywhere you go and hand it over to the Lord and get on with your life. I’m not saying you have to hand it over but the truth of the matter is that unless and until you hand it over or chuck it far away, you have little to no chance of overcoming depression.

Does that seem unfair? Let me tell you a big, well-known secret: LIFE IS NOT FAIR!!!

Now that we have gotten that out of the way, let’s do something positive with our week! Let’s learn to be grateful! Having gratitude is one of those win/win kind of deals! You win and so does everyone in your life! I have a whole list of wonderful articles to share with you this week! Be sure to go find yourself a notebook that you can write in. Then, continue reading today’s inspiring article! I hope you start feeling the positive effects of having gratitude starting today!:

How to Develop a Gratitude Mindset

Gratitude, the cardinal moral emotion that promotes cooperation and makes our society civil and kind, is the feeling of reverence for things that are given, according to Bob Emmons Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis and the founding editor-in-chief of The Journal of Positive Psychology.

Many of us spend most of the year thinking about what we want and what’s next. It’s not until Thanksgiving that we’re reminded to think about what we’re grateful for and how to express that gratitude.

Expressing thanks shouldn’t be a once-a-year tradition. It is possible to cultivate a gratitude mindset that will stick with you throughout the year. A gratitude mindset means lower levels of envy, anxiety, and depression as well as increased optimism and well-being. Research recently conducted at University of California-Davis found gratitude gives the person expressing it the power to heal, to be energized, and to change lives.

What Are the Benefits of Gratitude?

Gratitude can impact the physical, psychological, and social aspects of an individual’s well-being, studies show. Positive psychology sees gratitude as one of the keys in turning potential negatives into positives.

Here are some of the benefits that come from adopting a gratitude mindset.

Physical benefits:

  • a stronger immune system
  • less bothered by aches and pains
  • lower blood pressure
  • sleep longer and feel more rested upon awakening

Social benefits:

  • more compassionate, generous, and helpful
  • more forgiving
  • more outgoing
  • feel less lonely or isolated

Psychological benefits:

  • higher levels of positive emotion
  • more alert, alive, awake
  • more joy and pleasure
  • more optimism and happiness

The Challenges to Gratitude

Being thankful might seem like a simple task. There are roadblocks to gratitude, including narcissism, materialism, and even overscheduling. There are also the myths that gratitude expressed at work is “kissing butt,” that it can lead to complacency, isn’t possible in the midst of suffering, or makes you a pushover.

Gratitude is stronger when it is shared. To sustain your gratitude mindset, find a way to verbalize, write it down, or share through social media. Just like meditation is a practice, so too is gratitude.

3 Quick Gratitude Boosters

Keep a Gratitude Journal: At the end of each day, make a list of three things you are grateful for. Think of everything from running water and a cozy bed to no red lights during your commute and having a great friend at work. The list can be endless! As you practice, you strengthen the neural pathways that help you find even more things to be grateful for. Pretty soon, gratitude will be your attitude.

In one study funded by the John Templeton Foundation as part of the Greater Good Science Center’s Expanding Gratitude Project, middle school students listed five things they were grateful for—for two weeks.  They were then compared to a control group documenting their everyday events. At the end, the gratitude group reported more satisfaction with their school experience.

Write a Gratitude Letter: Choose someone who has made a positive impact on your life. Write he or she a letter explaining how and thanking them. Be specific and include lots of description. You can either mail the letter or just tuck it away. Expressing your gratitude heightens it.

Receive Gratefully: Many of us are better givers than receivers. Put your focus on your experience of receiving gratitude. When you’re given a compliment, do you belittle yourself by saying “it was nothing” or by playing down your role? Notice your experience as a recipient and try to receive complements or thanks with grace. The law of giving and receiving places equal emphasis on both sides.

Gratitude is essential for happiness. By setting the intention to prioritize gratitude, you have already begun to adopt the mindset. So thank yourself!

This article was written by Tamara Lechner is and shared from the following website: http://www.chopra.com/articles/how-to-develop-a-gratitude-mindset

 

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Gratitude is a Short Cut to Happiness

Happiness will never come to those who don’t appreciate what they already have Zig Ziglar

I have so much to be grateful for…so do you! Even in the hurtful, unfair and painful moments in life, we are blessed with abundance! All we have to do is look – there is goodness and kindness and inspiration everywhere if we are willing to look!

Today, in addition to a wonderful, inspirational article, I wanted to share a video clip of The Tenors. I love to listen to them and feel the inspiration of their music and I want to share a little of their musical inspiration with you, as well! Please be sure to listen to them and then read today’s inspirational message!:

Farewell, Grudge: 10 Reasons Gratitude is Essential

Gratitude can turn your life into an endless road of happiness. It can turn work into pleasure, difficulties into opportunities and challenges into adventures. Being grateful is more important than most of us think. If you want to be successful, you should learn how to be grateful for everything you have in life. If you can`t do that, you will never realize how happy you are. Here are a few indisputable facts that prove gratitude is a necessary thing to have in your life.

1. Gratitude includes everything

Every day is wonderful. No matter if it`s a bad or a great one. Great days bring us happiness. Bad days bring us wisdom that`s also a kind of happiness. Therefore, every day deserves to be thankful for. Same goes to people. Every relationship you have in life is a valuable lesson for you and every person you meet can be your teacher if you let them teach you.

2. Never wait for more but accept what you already have

There`s no need to ask for more because you already have everything to be happy. The best pray is gratitude. Don`t wait for more and you`ll get it. If you encounter a situation with hundred negative moments, point out at least one that`s positive and focus on it. This way, you`ll always see something to be grateful for.

3. The more you give, the more you get

Give thanks to the whole world and it`ll thank you in return. The more you give, the more you get. It`s all about gratitude. This feeling comes back to you all the time so if you feel like people don`t treat your help the way you deserve, maybe you weren`t grateful enough yourself in past. Say ‘thank you’ to anyone who helps you as it`s so easy in fact.

4. Life is changing

Life changes all the time. Be grateful for everything you have now as tomorrow it`ll be what you had. We don`t know what may happen the next day. It makes every moment unique and exciting that`s worth your gratitude. Just imagine how powerful people are indeed. We can do anything we want whenever we want it but we`re weak at the same time because we can`t get any moment of our life back. This dilemma is all about our unbelievable life that`s amazing and pitiful.

5. Gratitude helps you forgive

A grateful person never regrets about any difficulty in their life because they regard it as a useful lesson. They feel gratitude for all changes and stressing situations because they know it makes them better. You`ll never hold a grudge after a fight with someone if you`re a grateful person as you know that this experience will help you in future.

6. Happiness and gratitude

The connection between happiness and gratitude is fantastic. You may be happy but not grateful. But you can`t be grateful and not happy. When you realize that things you have really deserve your gratitude and mean a lot to you, it becomes impossible to be sad. Happiness is the state of mind that always includes gratitude. Thus try to see as much positive moments in your life as possible.

7. Gratitude means giving back

Gratitude means giving something in return. Compare everything you give to everything you get from others. We mostly get more than we give but we usually pay attention to our achievements and kind gestures. We like to praise ourselves for every trifle we do for others and we often miss the most important things people do for us. Give more and be thankful for what you get from others.

8. Don`t suffer from what has ended

We usually regret about some pleasant things that ended quickly. We want them to come back again and we want to be able to enjoy every blessing all the time. It doesn`t always happen so but it`s not a reason to feel miserable. Be grateful for everything great you have even if it ends quickly. Something amazing happens so why not be happy to enjoy all fun it brings you?

9. Gratitude never lets you take anything for granted

Never take anything for granted. What you don`t care about today may turn to be the only thing you need tomorrow and that`s true. You have caring parents, lovely friends, an interesting job and many other great things in your life. But do you often think how really happy you`re with all those advantages of yours? It`s better to bless them as often as you can until you have such a possibility.

10. Words aren`t enough for a true gratitude

Words aren`t enough to express gratitude in a correct way. Gratitude is something you show, but not only talk about. It`s something you prove, but not only promise. Words are nothing, in fact. They have a meaning but it`s something theoretical. You wouldn`t like to be theoretically happy, right? Thus try to show your gratitude on a daily basis.

It`s always better to live a life with a little more gratitude. It`s the thing that makes people happy and healthy. Some people say that we have everything for true happiness from the birth. The problem is that we can`t realize it because of the lack of gratitude. Our biggest mistake is that we always want more. What we have is never enough for us. Looking for more success and happiness is motivating – that`s useful – but on the other hand, it sometimes just makes us forget about a simple ‘thank you.’ Look around and realize that there are so many things to be thankful for in your everyday life. What other positive benefits of gratitude do you see?

Today’s inspiring article was written by Jennifer Houston and is shared from the following website: http://womanitely.com/farewell-grudge-reasons-gratitude-essential/

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Finding Happiness by Losing Our Self and Finding Our True Identity

No wonder we are instructed to lose ourselves (Luke 9:24) He is only asking us to lose the old self in order to find the new self. It is not a question of one’s losing identity but finding his True Identity Neal A. Maxwell

I have to make a confession. I have struggled with the concept of losing myself to find myself. Even after my near-death experience, I struggled. I have to give all credit to my ego in this struggle. For reasons I don’t even understand, I had a fear of losing the me that I knew and was (at least for the moment) happy with.

I am grateful that the Lord is always willing to work with us layer by layer. That has been the process with me. Layer by layer the Lord and removed the part of me that has held me back. It is still an ongoing process.

What I have learned in the process is that the Lord does not want to camouflage us or eliminate our importance. We are all important to Him. What he does want is to take the parts of us that interfere with our happiness and ability to receive of abundance. He wants to take the parts of “me” that I too determinedly hang onto and replace them with better parts. Think rusted parts found in a salvage yard (that I am mysteriously attached to) replaced with celestial parts created and manufactured in heaven.

As I have allowed the Lord to do His work with me, I have been the true beneficiary. I have discovered talents and joys that I otherwise would have forfeited. I have found a deeper and more satisfying inner peace. I have been enabled to understand concepts and nuggets of truth that previously evaded me. I have been endowed with greater joy and happiness and life has been made easier.

Life holds a different story for each of us. However, we are each meant to find happiness and joy. It is within our reach and it is ours for the choosing. I hope you have happiness and joy in your life. If not, seek the Lord in prayer and ask Him to help you find it – and then open your heart to the changes He will bring into your life.

Today’s article shares some wonderful thoughts – I hope you will enjoy!:

FINDING INNER PEACE (AND HAPPINESS)

“Lose yourself to find yourself”.  What does this phrase really mean?

The self that is being lost is the self-image your mind has made.  Any false identification with thoughts, emotions, forms, or anything you can perceive.  This is often referred to as “ego”.

The self that is being gained is the deeper awareness that can perceive the self image.  The true self beneath the illusions of the mind.  Pure consciousness, free from false identity.

Lose yourself to find yourself means to let go of what is not real about you, so only the real can remain.

YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE ANYBODY

We are brought up to believe that we have to “be someone”, that life will be far better and more satisfying if we have a strong personality, can influence others and “make a difference” in the world.  This is a lot of effort, and in my own experience can create unnecessary pressure to be “something” or “someone” when it is not necessary.

Whatever work you do or contributions you make to the world, you do not have to identify with.  You actually serve and act more effectively when you are no longer acting to strengthen or maintain a false self-image.  What you do then becomes selfless and takes on a far greater power.  Then if you go through a period of inactivity, you are not dependent on activity for your sense of self anymore, so you will still be at peace and happy.

INTERACTING WITH OTHERS

The same goes for interactions with other people.  When you drop or at least begin to transcend your self-image, everything becomes easier.  You are not struggling to defend your self-image or who you think you are.  Instead you are simply there, fully present, from which any useful action, if required, arises.

Of course the ego in most of us often measures who we are or how good we are by judging the reactions of other people to us.  Most of us unconsciously believe that if we are more liked by people or people give us more positive feedback about ourselves, then this must mean we are better as people, or this gives us a right to be happy or satisfied.

If people do not like us or react negatively to us, there is often something inside that does not like it, that seems to take the opinions or responses of others as direct measurements of our sense of selves.

See what happens, if even for a moment, you can completely give up trying to be anything or anyone.  What happens when you can accept being nobody?  Being “nobody” is not a bad or a weak thing.  It is liberating.  It is just giving up your false sense of self.

It would be more accurate to say to “stop being anything” rather than “accept being nobody”.

When interacting with others, have no expectations of yourself.  You do not have to prove anything or do anything to make the other person happy or more comfortable.  Experiment with this.

You may well find, that then you behave in a totally natural and useful way.  When you give up your need to be someone or act a certain way to uphold an illusory self concept, or to gain any external (or internal) approval, suddenly you are freed from all anxiety or fear.  You become completely real and authentic.

From this place your natural state of peace and relaxed joy flows into your interaction, so you benefit the situation without even trying.  A greater power begins to work through you, but can only do this once you let down all of your walls and attempts to be someone.

THE REAL BENEATH THE UNREAL

When you are comfortable with being “no one”, what is left is your true nature – awareness, from which all “good” things come.  This is what is meant by “lose yourself to find yourself”.  There is no longer any fake ego covering up who you actually are.  Then you are far less likely to be disturbed by external factors, since they do not effect your sense of self – which is now pure awareness.

Do not identify with any self-image that your mind has created.  You are the awareness of the self image, unattached.

All actions that your body takes and all thoughts your mind produces occur within your own eternal awareness, the untouched presence.

Losing your false sense of self can seem scary, but it is only scary to the ego.  You can only lose what is not real about you.  The thing that does not want to disappear is the ego itself.

If you are identified with ego, you may believe you are afraid to let go of a part of your self image, or any thoughts or emotions you previously identified with.  The fear is of the ego, not of yourself. All it does is cover the truth and temporarily prevent you from realising it.

When you stop identifying with thoughts, emotions and self-image, you remain as awareness.  Lose yourself to find yourself.

Today’s article was written by Adam Oakley and is shared from the following website: https://www.innerpeacenow.com/inner-peace-blog/lose-yourself-to-find-yourself

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Happiness is a Choice

Happiness is a  choice. Nothing will make you happy until you choose to be Happy   Ralph Marston

It seems a life time ago and yet it seems just yesterday that I was literally fighting for my life. I was severely depressed and in horrible physical pain. I was suffering from migraine headaches 24/7 and the pain and agony that accompanied those headaches were wreaking havoc with my emotional health.

I might have given up had it not been for my near-death experience. After my experience, I understood very well what the ramifications would be if I took my own life. I knew that if I chose to end my life, I would also be choosing to lose God, my family, and all that I loved and gave me happiness.

Upon my return from heaven and my near-death experience, I worked like crazy to overcome my depression. It was an uphill battle all the way – a battle that saved my life and that has brought me enduring happiness.

For me, overcoming depression and choosing happiness was a multi-faceted effort.

I had to be deliberate in the use of my time. My health no longer allowed me to work for pay but I still had to use my time wisely. I spent several hours daily reading scriptures and inspirational materials. I spent several hours a weeks seeing my chiropractor and doing all that I could to improve the structural issues that I suffered from. I spent untold hours reading about health and doing all that was in my power to try to find out the cause of my headaches. None of it was fun and I didn’t “feel” like doing any of it.

But here’s the deal – it was my life and nobody cared about my life and my pain more than I did – not even those amazing people that love and gave support their to me. Therefore, I had to be my very best ally. (We all have to be our very own best ally.)

When we make a choice to be happy – it cannot be conditional. It cannot hinge on if our boss is in a good mood. It cannot be influenced by our pocketbook or our fame. We have to choose to be happy and we have to do all of the necessary internal work.

All personal improvement, including the choice to be happy, comes from within. We choose with our thoughts and our true intents. We can present a fake facade for only so long and then our true colors start to show themselves.

Some of the most important ways we choose happiness is with our efforts to be grateful, the company we keep, the thoughts we choose to think (yes we have a choice), the entertainment we enjoy, the music we listen to, and the efforts we invest in to develop a  relationship with God.

We cannot always choose our circumstances but we can choose the attitude we will have no matter what our circumstances are.

The fight for happiness will not be won in one day or with one small change. It will be won with each day of consistent effort. Some days will be harder than others – but it will all be worth the effort.

I hope that you will choose happiness in your life. I hope that today’s excerpt from the article The Gospel Path to Happiness by Jeffrey R. Holland will further inspire you! I am praying that you will choose to make happiness a part of your life!

Choose Happiness

Second, learn as quickly as you can that so much of your happiness is in your hands, not in events or circumstances or fortune or misfortune. That is part of what the battle for agency was over in the premortal councils of heaven. We have choice, we have volition, we have agency, and we can choose, if not happiness per se, then to live after the manner of it. U.S. president Abraham Lincoln had plenty to be unhappy about in the most difficult administration a president of the United States has ever faced, but even he reflected that “most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”6

Happiness comes first by what comes into your head a long time before it comes into your hand. Joseph Smith was living “after the manner of happiness” in a very unhappy situation when he wrote from Liberty Jail to those on the outside who were also the victims of great injustice and persecution:

“Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God. …

“The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth” (D&C 121:45–46).

“Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly.” That is not only good counsel against the modern plague of pornography, but it is also good counsel for all kinds of gospel thoughts, good thoughts, constructive thoughts, hopeful thoughts. Those faith-filled thoughts will alter how you see life’s problems and how you find resolution to them. “The Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind” (D&C 64:34), the revelation says.

Too often we have thought it was all up to the heart; it is not. God expects a willing mind in the quest for happiness and peace as well. Put your head into this. All of this takes effort. It is a battle but a battle for happiness that is worth waging.

In a popular book a few years ago, the author wrote: “Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and … [look] for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness … to stay afloat on top of it.”7

I love the phrase “participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings.” Don’t be passive. Swim upward. Think and speak and act positively. That is what happy people do; that is one aspect of living after the manner of happiness.

Today’s excerpt from the article The Gospel Path to Happiness by Jeffrey R. Holland is shared from the following website: https://www.lds.org/ensign/2017/09/the-gospel-path-to-happiness?lang=eng

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