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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We Were Not Placed on This Earth to Walk Alone!

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We were not place on this earth to walk alone. However, sometimes it can feel like we are alone. The truth is that we are never truly alone – no matter what we feel like,. Having been a sufferer of chronic pain and illness for a number of years, I wanted to share today’s story with you. Today’s story is by a man who suffered for several years from Illness and ill health. Ill health can teach us much about ourselves. As a person who went through 15 years of difficulties with my health, I can tell you that despite all of the difficulties, one of the most important things I learned was that I was not alone in my pain or my battle. God was and is always there for me and he is there for you as well!

A Lesson Learned: We Are Never Alone

A man wrestling with a chronic illness is led to the green pastures of Psalm 23.

I was 26 years old when I got sick. It started with a series of high fevers, some as high as 107 degrees. Then came the exhaustion. I experienced dizzy spells and nausea on a daily basis. The symptoms lasted for months, then years.

I was starting a career in the entertainment business, working at Disney, but I grew too sick to work. Friends, not knowing what was wrong with me, dropped away. I moved out of my apartment and back into the bedroom I grew up in at my parents’ house in Los Angeles.

Most days I could barely get out of bed. I saw doctor after doctor. I prayed. No one could figure out what was wrong. I couldn’t believe what was happening to me. Slowly but surely I was being cut off from everything I’d built my identity on, everything that meant life to me.

I tried to believe what my mom told me—that despite how things looked, God was at work in my life—but the more my illness isolated me, the harder it was to hold on to.

One February day two years into my ordeal, I had a conversation with God. More of a one-sided confrontation, really.

“You didn’t promise me that bad things wouldn’t happen. You didn’t promise that friends would still be there, or that I would get the answers I was after, but you know what you did promise?” I’d studied the Bible, read Psalm 23 closely. I knew I had a case. “Green pastures. Still waters and green pastures. Where are my green pastures?”

A week later I woke up early one morning and realized I couldn’t stand another day trapped in my bed. Not when everyone else my age was moving on with life. I made an impulsive decision. I always felt best in the morning, so I packed my car and told my mom, “I’m going to drive to Menlo Park today.”

During college I’d spent several months in the Silicon Valley town of Menlo Park, near Stanford University, helping my dad set up a branch of the medical company he runs. I’d attended Menlo Park Presbyterian, a big, active church with a thriving youth program. I loved that church and I loved that time in my life.

I could tell Mom was worried. She’d been taking care of me every step of the way, and she knew me better than anyone. “There’s a big storm coming,” she said. “The roads will be a mess. Are you sure you want to go now?”

I nodded. Even though I was in no shape to drive 400 miles north in the rain, I just had to do something.

“Really, Mom, will this storm be any worse than the one we’ve been going through?” I said, cracking a smile. “If I don’t go now, I might never get on with my life.”

Mom looked at me. “I understand why you need to go,” she said. “But I don’t think you’re stuck. We don’t know God’s plan here. He knows your heart and you just have to trust him.”

It poured the whole drive up. And it was still pouring when I arrived in Menlo Park. I made my way to the church. A pastor remembered me and signed me up to work with the youth program, where I could use my entertainment background to write dramas.

Then I ran into an old friend and she told me about a family who put up church volunteers. I could stay with them temporarily.

She gave me directions, and I set out for their house. It was dark and raining harder than ever. Normally I went to bed in the late afternoon. I hadn’t been up and active this long in months. I tried to ignore the exhaustion creeping up on me.

Soon I left the brightly lit streets of Menlo Park and began winding on dark, lonely country roads. The rain blurred my windshield. I turned the wipers on high and peered out. Where was God? Why had I thought he wanted me to do this?

Even if I found the stamina to work with kids at Menlo Park Pres, how would that help my illness? Every doctor I’d seen had agreed on one thing: I needed rest to fight whatever was attacking my body. I’d just driven 400 miles away from my place of rest.

Trees flashed past my window. I glanced at the directions. They didn’t say a thing about the road winding down into some sort of valley. Even with my high beams on, I could hardly see a thing. It felt like my life, descending further into confusion and darkness with each new turn. What was I doing wrong?

The words from Psalm 23 that I’d asked God about a week earlier were so clear about his promise to those who follow him. Yet I was still waiting for those green pastures.

An intersection. I slowed down. Here was the street. I turned and drove along another road. Finally the address in the directions. I parked. I grabbed my bag and made my way through the rain to the front door. I met the family and was shown to my room.

It was simply furnished with a double bed and a desk. The blinds were closed on a large window above the bed. I sank onto the bed. Cliff, what are you doing here? I asked myself. I crawled under the covers.

Rain lashed the windowpane. I was warm and dry, but I had never felt more alone. I prayed one last desperate prayer for peace before I fell asleep.

The next thing I knew light bathed my face. Groggily I opened my eyes. It was morning. The rain had stopped. Rays of sun slanted through the blinds above the bed. I reached for the cord. The blind inched up.

For a moment all I could do was stare out the window. Rolling hills, stretching as far as I could see. Last night I’d thought the road was descending, but it was actually rising. The house wasn’t in a valley. It was perched atop a hill, overlooking a majestic landscape. The grass, still wet with last night’s rain, glimmered, a brilliant vivid green.

Green pastures. Here, in the darkest valley of my life, God was present, as he had been from the moment I’d gotten sick. At every turn he’d met me—with his presence, with my parents’ support, with my mom’s loving care and unwavering faith. Who do you trust? a voice seemed to say. Who is your God?

I knew my answer. You are. You are the One I trust.

As it turned out I had to keep trusting for a long time. I was in Menlo Park only a few months before my illness forced me to return to my doctors in Los Angeles and to my parents’ house. It was another five years before a specialist at a research hospital in Los Angeles finally figured out what was wrong with me.

My system was infected with a rare drug-resistant bacteria. The high fevers and exhaustion were the effects of my body’s attempt to fight off the bacteria. The specialist had me try a 10-day, water-only fast to starve it out of my system. It worked. I regained a measure of health, but it took several more years to regain my strength.

I’m finally healthy now and am enjoying a successful career as an author. Some days I let my mind go back to my long ordeal. I wouldn’t want to go through it all again, but I wouldn’t change the work God has done in me.

I can still see those green pastures stretching to the horizon, pastures so green and beautiful that I could not fail to see the purpose of my being brought there. For seven years I was sick, but not for one moment was I alone.

Three Tips for Dealing with Chronic Illness

1. Pray and praise.
Prayer is the one resource everyone has when everything else seems gone. Pray in whatever way works for you, with words or silently. And praise. It is the quickest way out of the valley.

2. Don’t blame yourself.
People with chronic illness often feel their condition is their fault. It’s not. Focus your energy on healing, not on laying blame.

3. Trust God’s promises. Nowhere in scripture does God promise a life free of suffering. But the Bible is full of God’s promises to love us and be present when we hurt. Some of my favorites are Psalm 23:2, 1 Peter 5:10 and Psalm 91:11. And Psalm 103. I turned to that scripture so often that it’s the only page that has fallen out of my Bible.

Story is shared from the following website: https://www.guideposts.org/comfort-hope/health-well-being/healing/body/a-lesson-learned-we-are-never-alone?nopaging=1

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Dare to Make Your Dreams Become a Reality…

hope-is-the-only-thing-stronger-than-fear-lonely-1784160I am a huge Disney fan. I love the daring,  the creativity and the persistence demonstrated by Walt Disney. Can you imagine a world without Disney? What a positive legacy he left behind for each of us to enjoy! What a world he created because he was willing to dare to make his dreams a reality!

I love Disney not because I believe that he was infallible but because he exercised hope and dared to dream and he followed his heart. Following our heart is way more important than most people realize!

As we finish the week, I hope you will enjoy the following story!:

Think, Believe, Dream and Dare

An eight-year-old boy approached an old man in front of a wishing well, looked up into his eyes, and asked: “I understand you’re a very wise man. I’d like to know the secret of life.”

The old man looked down at the youngster and replied: “I’ve thought a lot in my lifetime, and the secret can be summed up in four words.

The first is think. Think about the values you wish to live your life by.

The second is believe. Believe in yourself based on the thinking you’ve done about the values you’re going to live your life by.

The third is dream. Dream about the things that can be, based on your belief in yourself and the values you’re going to live by.

The last is dare. Dare to make your dreams become reality, based on your belief in yourself and your values.”

And with that, Walter E. Disney said to the little boy, “Think, Believe, Dream, and Dare.”

~ Author Unknown ~

(Shared from http://www.lifeofhope.com/think_believe_dream_dare.htm)

 

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