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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Begin and End with Gratitude

Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance Eckhart Tolle

HOW GRATITUDE CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE

“If the only prayer you say in your life is ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.” – Meister Eckhart

Gratitude means thankfulness, counting your blessings, noticing simple pleasures, and acknowledging everything that you receive. It means learning to live your life as if everything were a miracle, and being aware on a continuous basis of how much you’ve been given. Gratitude shifts your focus from what your life lacks to the abundance that is already present. In addition, behavioral and psychological research has shown the surprising life improvements that can stem from the practice of gratitude. Giving thanks makes people happier and more resilient, it strengthens relationships, it improves health, and it reduces stress.

RESEARCH SHOWS GRATITUDE HEIGHTENS QUALITY OF LIFE

Two psychologists, Michael McCollough of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, and Robert Emmons of the University of California at Davis, wrote an article about an experiment they conducted on gratitude and its impact on well-being. The study split several hundred people into three different groups and all of the participants were asked to keep daily diaries. The first group kept a diary of the events that occurred during the day without being told specifically to write about either good or bad things; the second group was told to record their unpleasant experiences; and the last group was instructed to make a daily list of things for which they were grateful. The results of the study indicated that daily gratitude exercises resulted in higher reported levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, optimism, and energy. In addition, those in the gratitude group experienced less depression and stress, were more likely to help others, exercised more regularly, and made greater progress toward achieving personal goals.

Dr. Emmons – who has been studying gratitude for almost ten years and is considered by many to be the world’s leading authority on gratitude – is author of the book, “Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier”. The information in this book is based on research involving thousands of people conducted by a number of different researchers around the world. One of the things these studies show is that practicing gratitude can increase happiness levels by around 25%. This is significant, among other things, because just as there’s a certain weight that feels natural to your body and which your body strives to maintain, your basic level of happiness is set at a predetermined point. If something bad happens to you during the day, your happiness can drop momentarily, but then it returns to its natural set-point. Likewise, if something positive happens to you, your level of happiness rises, and then it returns once again to your “happiness set-point”. A practice of gratitude raises your “happiness set-point” so you can remain at a higher level of happiness regardless of outside circumstances.

In addition, Dr. Emmons’ research shows that those who practice gratitude tend to be more creative, bounce back more quickly from adversity, have a stronger immune system, and have stronger social relationships than those who don’t practice gratitude. He further points out that “To say we feel grateful is not to say that everything in our lives is necessarily great. It just means we are aware of our blessings.”

NOTICE AND APPRECIATE EACH DAY’S GIFTS

People tend to take for granted the good that is already present in their lives. There’s a gratitude exercise that instructs that you should imagine losing some of the things that you take for granted, such as your home, your ability to see or hear, your ability to walk, or anything that currently gives you comfort. Then imagine getting each of these things back, one by one, and consider how grateful you would be for each and every one. In addition, you need to start finding joy in the small things instead of holding out for big achievements—such as getting the promotion, having a comfortable nest egg saved up, getting married, having the baby, and so on–before allowing yourself to feel gratitude and joy.

Another way to use giving thanks to appreciate life more fully is to use gratitude to help you put things in their proper perspective. When things don’t go your way, remember that every difficulty carries within it the seeds of an equal or greater benefit. In the face of adversity ask yourself: “What’s good about this?”, “What can I learn from this?”, and “How can I benefit from this?”

THERE ARE MANY WAYS TO PRACTICE GRATITUDE

A common method to develop the practice of gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal, a concept that was made famous by Sarah Ban Breathnach’s book “Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude”. This exercise basically consists of writing down every day a list of three to ten things for which you are grateful; you can do this first thing in the morning or before going to bed at night. Another exercise you can try is to write a gratitude letter to a person who has exerted a positive influence in your life but whom you have not properly thanked. Some experts suggest that you set up a meeting with this person and read the letter to them face to face.

Last year millions of people took the challenge proposed by Will Bowen, a Kansas City minister, to go 21 days without complaining, criticizing, or gossiping. To help condition the participants to stop complaining, they each wore a purple No-Complaint wristband. Several authors in the self-improvement genre have suggested that people do something similar to help condition themselves to be constantly aware of the things in life that they’re grateful for.

A variation of the wristband concept is to create a gratitude charm bracelet, with either one meaningful charm or different charms representing the things you’re most grateful for. For example, you could have a charm shaped like a heart to symbolize your significant other, figurines to represent different family members, an apple to represent health, a dollar sign to symbolize abundance, a charm that represents your current profession or a future career, and maybe a charm that makes you laugh to represent humor and joy.

CONCLUSION

Once you become oriented toward looking for things to be grateful for, you will find that you begin to appreciate simple pleasures and things that you previously took for granted. Gratitude should not be just a reaction to getting what you want, but an all-the-time gratitude, the kind where you notice the little things and where you constantly look for the good even in unpleasant situations. Today, start bringing gratitude to your experiences, instead of waiting for a positive experience in order to feel grateful; in this way, you’ll be on your way toward becoming a master of gratitude.

Today’s article was written by Marelisa Fabrega and is shared from the following website: https://possibilitychange.com/gratitude/

 

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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 Sunshine…and Gratitude in Our Lives

Keep your face to the sunshine and you will not see the shadows Helen KellerWhat do you do to make sure that there is sunshine in your life? I’m not talking about literal sunshine here…I am talking about finding gratitude and finding and recognizing the good things that are a part of your life! Do you always try to make sure that you find something to be grateful for? Perhaps, do you keep a gratitude journal?

I have found that as I have deliberately made an effort to notice and be grateful for my blessings, that both my peace and happiness have compounded exponentially! The more I find to be grateful for, the more I seem to have to be grateful for!

There are so many ways that we are blessed! Whether I get to see a beautiful rose or hold a precious bundle of baby, I love that there are so many ways my life is blessed – all I have to do is recognize those blessings as I receive them and presto chango – my  my joy is multiplied over and over!

Some of the simplest things we do can mean the most to others and vice versa!

I hope that you will enjoy the story I share today. And… be sure to watch the video! It is wonderful the things that we can do to make a difference in the lives of others!

This Is the Best Thing You Can Do to Make Someone’s Day

Every act of kindness, no matter how large, starts with something small, something we all can—and should—do every single day!

I’m Will Rubio, one of the hosts of BYUtv’s Random Acts show. We take hidden cameras to unexpected places to expose random acts of kindness. We’ve filmed acts big and small, from building handicap-accessible infrastructure for folks who need it but can’t afford it to small-time good Samaritans returning a lost wallet or helping a badly burned beach-goer escape further sun damage. 

And as someone whose job is literally to do nice things for people, I’m not only a very lucky guy, but I’m often asked the question, “Where can I start?” 

It truly takes a village to do what Random Acts does, but every act of kindness, big or small, starts exactly the same way: with one compassionate person seeing a situation that they can help improve.

On Random Acts, it may be a neighbor, a coworker, or a sister who recognizes a need and sets off an incredible chain reaction of service. Not every act of kindness will be as grandiose as a secret home renovation or a surprise helicopter ride, but every act of kindness starts small.

Take the story of Emmalene Meyers. Like many young girls, Emmalene dreamed of being a ballerina—but her cerebral palsy makes even everyday tasks a challenge. Instead of seeing a limitation, however, Emmalene’s thoughtful friend Lily saw an opportunity. Lily envisioned Emmalene’s dream being brought to life onstage and enlisted Random Acts to rally the troops and handle the logistics. I won’t give away the tear-jerking details, but you can watch the magic unfold on the video below:


Random Acts: Unforeseena Ballerina – BYUtv

So, where can you start? They key is to be like Lily: look for an opportunity to make a difference, no matter how small it may seem, and then take that first step towards making it happen. Being kind and doing service is just like any other attribute you want to cultivate or goal you want to achieve. You have to work at it. But the more you do it, the easier and more fulfilling it becomes. Take my word for it!

After two seasons of hosting Random Acts, the joy of easing burdens and brightening lives doesn’t wear off. I sometimes think Random Acts might lose its luster eventually, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. When I finally meet the person we’ve been working to surprise and see their genuine shock and appreciation, it hits me in the feels every time. I cry more than anyone else on the show—and I’m not ashamed to admit it! 

After all, every act of kindness starts with a single person having a single thought. Be that person–be the nice you want to see in the world!

Today’s inspiring story shared from the following website: http://www.rd.com/true-stories/inspiring/how-to-make-someones-day/

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What Can You Achieve with the Right Attitude?

Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude Thomas Jefferson

When creating a meaningful life, it is never a question of whether there will be difficulties but when. Life is filled with moments that we can allow to crush us or that we can use to build a better us.

One of the best tools I know of to utilize in building a happy, meaningful life is exercising gratitude.

Gratitude and acknowledging our blessings always makes our lives better – no matter how difficult the difficulties are.

Today, I share a wonderful article by Marc Chernoff. I hope you enjoy it!

6 Things Happy People Never Do

Happy people do a lot of things.  They spend time expressing gratitude, cultivating optimism, practicing kindness, nurturing loving relationships, committing to meaningful goals, savoring life’s little pleasures, and so on and so forth.

But they NEVER…

1.  Mind other people’s business.

Forget about what others are doing.  Stop looking at where they are and what they have.  Nobody is doing better than you because nobody can do better than you.  YOU are walking your own path.  Sometimes the reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes circumstances with everyone else’s public highlight reel.  We listen to the noise of the world, instead of ourselves.  So stop the comparisons!  Ignore the distractions.  Listen to your own inner voice.  Mind your own business.

Keep your best wishes and your biggest goals close to your heart and dedicate time to them every day.  Don’t be scared to walk alone, and don’t be scared to enjoy it.  Don’t let anyone’s ignorance, drama, or negativity stop you from being the best you can be.  Keep doing what you know in your heart is right, for YOU.  Because when you are focused on meaningful work and at peace within yourself, almost nothing can shake you.  (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the “Passion and Growth” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)

2.  Seek validation of self-worth from others.

When you are content to simply be yourself, without comparing and competing to impress others, everyone worthwhile will respect you.  And even more importantly, you will respect yourself.

How are you letting others define you?  What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?

Truth be told, no one has the right to judge you.  People may have heard your stories, and they may think they know you, but they can’t feel what you are going through; they aren’t living YOUR life.  So forget what they think and say about you.  Focus on how you feel about yourself, and keep walking the path that feels best under your feet.

Those who accept you are your friends.  Those who don’t are your teachers.  If someone calls you something and it’s true, it’s not your problem because it’s true.  If someone calls you something and it’s not true, it’s not your problem because it’s not true.  Either way, whatever they call you is not your problem.  What other people call you is their problem…

What you call yourself, and who you decide to become, is your problem.

3.  Rely on other people and external events for happiness.

Unhappiness lies in that gap between what we have now and what we think we need.  But the truth is, we don’t need to acquire anything more to be content with what we already have.  We don’t need anyone else’s permission to be happy.  Your life is magnificent not because someone says it is, or because you have acquired something new, but because you choose to see it as such.  Don’t let your happiness be held hostage.  It is always yours to choose, to live and experience.

As soon as you stop making everyone and everything else responsible for your happiness, the happier you’ll be.  If you’re unhappy now, it’s not someone else’s fault.  Take full responsibility for your own unhappiness, and you will instantly gain the ability to be happier.  Stop seeking in vain to arrange conditions that will make you happy.  Simply choose to appreciate the greatness that is yours in this moment, and the right conditions will start to line up around the contentment you seek.

The greater part of your happiness or unhappiness depends upon your outlook, and not upon our situation.  Even if things aren’t perfect right now, think of all the beauty still left around you.  A good reason to smile is always one thought away; choose to tap into it any time you like.  (Read The Gifts of Imperfection.)

4.  Hold on to resentment.

Let today be the day you stop being haunted by the ghosts from your past.  What happened in the past is just one chapter in your story; don’t close the book, just turn the page.

We’ve all been hurt by our own decisions and by others, and while the pain of these experiences is normal, sometimes it lingers for too long.  Feelings of resentment urge us to relive the same pain over and over, and we have a hard time letting go.

Forgiveness is the remedy.  It allows you to focus on the future without combating the past.  To understand the infinite potential of everything going forward is to forgive everything already behind you.  Without forgiveness, wounds can never be healed and personal growth can never be achieved.  It doesn’t mean you’re erasing the past, or forgetting what happened.  It means you’re letting go of the resentment and pain, and instead choosing to learn from the incident and move on with your life.

5.  Spend prolonged periods of time in negative environments.

You can’t make positive choices for the rest of your life without an environment that makes those choices easy, natural, and enjoyable.  So protect your spirit and potential from contamination by limiting your time with negative people and the environments they inhabit.

When other people invite you to act like victims, when they whine and moan about the unfairness of life, for example, and ask you to agree, to offer condolences, and to participate in their grievances, WALK AWAY.  When you join in that game of negativity you always lose.

Even when you’re alone, create a positive mental space for yourself.  Make it a point to give up all the thoughts that make you feel bad, or even just a few of them that have been troubling you, and see how doing that changes your life.  You don’t need negative thoughts.  They are all lies.  They solve nothing.  All they have ever given you is a false self that suffers for no reason.

6.  Resist the truth.

It is a certain deathtrap when we spend our lives learning how to lie, because eventually these lies grow so strong in our minds that we become bad at seeing, telling and living our own truth.  Lives come apart so easily when they have been held together with lies.  If you resist the truth, you will live a lie every day as the truth haunts your thoughts every night.  You simply can’t get away from your truth by moving dishonestly from one place to the next.

So don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to hide the truth with deception; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion of what’s popular.  It is better to offer no explanation or excuse than a false one.  It takes courage and strength to admit the truth, but it is the only way to truly live.  Accept what is, embrace it fully, and live for the possibilities that lie ahead.

Today’s inspiring articles shared from the following website: http://www.marcandangel.com/2013/07/16/6-things-happy-people-never-do/

 

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