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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Real Leaders…Serve the Lord

Real Leaders are ordinary people with Extraordinary Determination John Seaman GarnsReal Leaders…what are they? Do they have to be famous? What characteristics do they all have?

I believe that the best of the best – those who leave their footprint on this world in a way that resonates throughout the eternities are those who live their lives as directed by their hearts.

What does your heart tell you? Does it speak to a certain calling? Does it call you to a certain work?

I believe that as we listen to our hearts, our hearts will speak to of us our purpose. We all are meant to lead in our own way. That doesn’t mean we have to be world famous or even the best educated. It does mean we have to be willing to listen and then follow through with our “heart directives”.

I challenge you to listen to your heart today and take note of what it tells you! Just think about the difference Mother Teresa made in this world because she listened to her heart! I hope you enjoy the 20 Facts about Mother Teresa!

20 Facts about Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa is a household name for her good works, but many people don’t know much about her beyond “nun who helped the poor.” Here are 20 facts about Mother Teresa.

1. Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu was born Aug. 26, 1910, in Macedonia to a financially comfortable Albanian family (they owned two houses, one of which they lived in). Her father died when she was 8, ending her family’s financial security.

2. Agnes was fascinated with missionaries from an early age, and by 12 she knew that she would commit herself to a religious vocation.

3. When she was 18, Agnes left home and joined the Sisters of Loreto in Rathfarnham, Ireland.

4. Although she lived to be 87, she never saw her mother or sister again after the day she left for Ireland.

5. After a year learning English in Ireland, Agnes transferred to the Sisters of Loreto convent in Darjeeling, India.

6. She took her vows as a nun in 1931, choosing the name Teresa to honor Saints Therese of Lisieux and Teresa of Avila.

7. Therese of Lisieux, the patron saint of Australia, is also the patron of missionaries, florists and AIDS sufferers, among others. Spain’s patron saint, Teresa of Avila, is also the patron of religious orders and lacemakers.

8. Sister Teresa began teaching history and geography in Calcutta at St. Mary’s, a high school for the daughters of the wealthy. She remained there for 15 years and enjoyed the work, but was distressed by the poverty she saw all around her.

9. In 1946 Teresa traveled to Darjeeling for a retreat. It was on that journey that she realized what her true calling was: “I heard the call to give up all and follow Christ into the slums to serve him among the poorest of the poor.”

10. It took two years of preparation before she was able to begin doing the work she felt compelled to do. She needed to receive permission from the Sisters of Loreto to leave the order – while retaining her vows – as well as permission from the Archbishop of Calcutta to live and work among the poor. She also prepared by taking a nursing course.

11. In 1948 Sister Teresa set aside her nun’s habit – adopting instead the simple sari and sandals worn by the women she would be living among – and moved to a small rented hovel in the slums to begin her work.

12. Teresa’s first year in the slums was particularly hard. She was used to a life of comparative comfort, and now she had no income and no way to obtain food and supplies other than begging. She was often tempted to return to convent life, and had to rely on her determination and faith to get herself through it.

13. One of her first projects was to teach the children of the poor – drawing on her experience with teaching the children of the rich. She didn’t have any equipment or supplies this time, but she taught them to read and write by writing in the dirt with sticks.

14. In addition to promoting literacy, Teresa taught the children basic hygiene. She visited their families, inquiring about their needs and helping provide for them when she could.

Mother Teresa

15. Word began to spread about Mother Teresa’s good works, and soon she had other volunteers wanting to help. By 1950 she was able to start the Mission of Charity – a congregation dedicated to caring for “the hungry, the naked, the homeless, the crippled, the blind, the lepers, all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society, people that have become a burden to the society and are shunned by everyone.”

16. She went on to open a hospice for the poor, a home for sufferers of leprosy, and a home for orphans and homeless youths.

17. Mother Teresa was honored with many awards throughout her life, from the Indian Padma Shri in 1962 to the inaugural Pope John XXIII Peace Prize in 1971 to Albania’s Golden Honour of the Nation in 1994… and, most famously, the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.

18. She refused the traditional Nobel honor banquet, instead requesting that the $192,000 budget be given to help the poor of India.

19. She continued her work with the poor for the rest of her life, leading the Missionaries of Charity until just months before her death Sept. 5, 1997.

20. After being beatified in 2003, Mother Teresa was canonized on Sep. 4, 2016. In a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis declared her a saint, yet noted, “With great spontaneity, I think we will continue to call her Mother Teresa.”

Today’s facts about Mother Teresa were shared from the following website: http://www.legacy.com/news/explore-history/article/20-facts-about-mother-teresa

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Looking on the Bright Side of Life…Having a Positive Attitude

If you don’t look for the Bright Side You will probably never find it

If you don’t look for the bright side you will probably never find it – Sheila M. Burke

I often work with people who are trying to improve their lives. Some of them are trying to improve their health and some of them are trying to overcome the pain and fear of previous life experiences. The interesting thing, for me, is that no matter what the life issue they are dealing with – I virtually always see a need for a more positive attitude. When we look on the brighter side of life and have a more positive attitude, we immediately open the door to healing and to solutions.

Think about your own life. Do you have a tendency to think or expect the worst?  Have you bought into the lies that the world tries to convince us of or have you made it a habit to buy into real truth? There is a quote by Thomas S. Monson that says, “Your future is as bright as your faith”. I believe that Thomas S. Monson is right on target.

Having said that, I do not believe that a positive attitude makes life easy breezy and that all problems flee at the thought of encountering a positive attitude. I do believe and have witnessed that a positive attitude makes every problem more bearable and more easily solved.

Think of Thomas Edison and all of his failed attempts at inventing a light bulb.  Thomas Edison never put a number on how many times he was willing to try. With his positive attitude in hand, he simply learned from each failure and kept trying.

If life has been unfair, dwelling on all the ways that you have been wronged will not change the outcome. In contrast. dwelling on all of the things that you can do to live a more positive life, in spite of the unfairness, will yield blessings and a greater amount of God’s light in your life. Who doesn’t want more light and happiness in their life?!!

Today, I share a wonderful story by an anonymous author. I love the lessons contained in it! I hope you enjoy!:

Regret City

I had not really planned on taking a trip this time of year, and yet I found myself packing rather hurriedly. This trip was going to be unpleasant and I knew in advance that no real good would come of it. This is my annual “Guilt Trip.”

I got tickets to fly there on “WISH-I-HAD” airlines. It was an extremely short flight. I got my “baggage,” which I could not check. I chose to carry it myself all the way. It was loaded down with a thousand memories of “what might have been.” No one greeted me as I entered the terminal to the Regret City International Airport. I say international because people from all over the world come to this dismal town.

As I checked into the “Last Resort” Hotel, I noticed that they would be hosting the year’s most important event — the annual “Pity Party.” I wasn’t going to miss that great social occasion. Many of the towns leading citizens would be there.

First, there would be the “Done” family; you know, “Should Have,” “Would Have” and “Could Have.” Then came the “I Had” family. You probably know old “Wish” and his clan. Of course, the “Opportunities” family; “Missed and Lost,” would be present. The biggest family there would be the “Yesterday’s.”

There are far too many of them to count, but each one would have a very sad story to share. Of course, “Shattered Dreams” would surely make and appearance. “It’s Their Fault” family would regale us with stories (excuses) about how things had failed in their life. Each story would be loudly applauded by the “Don’t Blame Me” and “I Couldn’t Help It” committee.

To make a long story short, I went to this depressing party, knowing full well there would be no real benefit in doing so. And, as usual, I became very depressed. But as I thought about all of the stories of failures brought back from the past, it occurred to me that this trip and subsequent “pity parties” COULD be cancelled by ME!

I started to realize that I did not have to be there. And I didn’t have to be depressed. One thing kept going through my mind, I CAN’T CHANGE YESTERDAY, BUT I DO HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE TODAY A WONDERFUL DAY. I can be happy, joyous, fulfilled, encouraged, as well as being encouraging.

Knowing this, I left Regret City immediately, and didn’t leave a forwarding address. Am I sorry for mistakes I’ve made in the past? YES! But there is no way to undo them.

So, if you’re planning a trip back to Regret City, please cancel all those reservations now. Instead, take a trip to a nice place called: “Starting Again.” I like it so much that I made it my permanent residence. My neighbors, the “Been Forgiven” and the “We’re Saved” are so very helpful. By the way, you don’t have to carry around the heavy baggage anymore either. That load is lifted from your shoulders upon arrival. But don’t take my word for it, find out for yourself.

– Author Unknown

Story shared from the following website: http://www.motivationalwellbeing.com/motivational-stories-6.html

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Follow Your Heart….

Pursue what catches your heart, not what catches your eyes Roy T. BennettIn my experience, the heart is not given its due respect. As the recipient of a host of various experiences involving the heart and my Creator, I believe that not only is the heart vital for knowing and understanding God – it is also of prime importance in understanding ourselves.

In today’s complex world of technology and insistent demands, it can be so easy to quit listening to our hearts. Yet, that is exactly where all of the answers are that we need!

Our hearts can tell us what our true passions are as well as provide answers from God, himself.

However, the heart does not shout and it does not demand attention. In order to get the full benefit of our heart, it must be listened to. In order to listen, we must allow ourselves quiet time, time to reflect, and time to commune with God.

If you want peace and joy in your life – make time to listen to your heart! I know that you will be blessed for doing so!

Instead of an inspirational story today, I found a poem that I wanted to share. I hope you enjoy!

Follow Your Heart

Although it’s been said many

times before

It’s a powerful message, so I’ll

say it once more…

Follow your heart, go wherever

it may lead,

Follow your heart and you’re

sure to succeed!

For when you follow your heart

and do what you love,

God gives you guidance and help

from above…

And things start to happen that

you never thought could,

And dreams come true…that you

never thought would!

For God’s given each of us a

special part to play…

So follow your heart and you

won’t be led astray!

©Faye Kilday 2000

Today’s poem is shared from the following website: http://www.inspirationalstories.com/poems/follow-your-heart-faye-diane-kilday-poem/

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Excellence – We Are What We Repeatedly Do

I think we all crave excellence. What I think most of us do not crave is the effort that excellence takes. Some may say that we are inherently lazy – I think mortality makes it easy to shrink from the pain of growth. Excellence comes from what we repeatedly do – so does failure.

Therefore, in order to become excellent, we must cultivate habits of excellence – do things right, grow our minds, enhance and refine our skill set, think positive thoughts, take responsibility for ourselves, etc.

Excellence is never the easy way but it is always the best way!

I hope you enjoy the writings I share today from Ralph Waldo Emerson!:

Thoughts About Living with Excellence

Skill to do comes of doing. Do the thing and you will be given the power.

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or find it not. What you are comes to you.

Don’t waste yourself in rejection, nor bark against the bad, but chant the beauty of the good. Set down nothing that will not help somebody.

Put your trust in ideas and not in circumstances. Thought is the blossom; language the bud; action the fruit behind it.

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it well and serenely.

To finish the moment, to find the journey’s end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, is wisdom.

Unless you do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will not grow. We aim above the mark to hit the mark.

Written by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Words from Ralph Waldo Emerson are shared from the following website: http://www.agiftofinspiration.com.au/stories/excellence/Thoughts%20on%20Living%20with%20Excellence.shtml

 

 

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