“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
It is not always easy to give thanks, but this is the very thing we must do in order to see God’s will accomplished in our lives. This is how we move into higher realms of faith for ourselves, for our city, and for our nation.
Thanksgiving has great power to bring joy and break the power of the enemy. Whenever you give thanks to God, despite the most difficult circumstances, the enemy loses a big battle in your life. When you give thanks in the midst of difficulty, you bring pleasure to God’s heart. He is looking for Christians who live in a realm of praise and thanksgiving where the enemy no longer has an ability to hold or manipulate that person. Satan is defeated when we have a thankful heart because thankfulness during difficulty is a sacrifice pleasing to God.
Are you thankful? Are you thankful for your present circumstances? Are you thankful for your salvation, your friendships, and your job? Thankfulness is a key to your life. It is the key that turns your situation around because it changes you, your outlook, and your attitude. There is power in a thankful heart.
This story was written by Debbie Przybylski and is shared from the following website: https://www.crosswalk.com/special-coverage/thanksgiving/thanksgiving-the-power-of-a-thankful-heart-11616835.html
“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.
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/
It is never my intent to minimize depression or insinuate that depression is a cake walk. I have been in those trenches of depression. It was the most difficult time of my entire life. However, I also do not want anyone to think that depression has to be a lifetime sentence of misery.
As I write this, I can see the big picture of my own illness with greater clarity and perspective than I was able to see my life through my depressive period. Then, it was just getting through each breath and hoping that nothing would send me spiraling deeper into the abyss.
If someone would have told me that I had contributed to my own depression back then, I would have argued that they were wrong. The truth is that I did contribute to my own depression. I was not eating as healthy as I should have been, I ran on adrenaline like it was cheap fuel, I never took time to “replenish” myself, and I allowed myself way too little fun and relaxation.
A part of my depression was related to the 24/7 pain of migraine headaches but I could have done things that would have helped me and my depression by making better life-style choices. If you are going through depression, you can help yourself, as well. I can’t promise that your depression will go away like a frightened mouse but I can promise that improvement can be made – if you are willing to make the essential changes.
As I re-experienced heaven during my near-death experience, I learned how wonderful heaven is. I also learned how priceless and precious life is. Life is a gift that we need to live wisely and passionately. We each have a precious and meaningful life and life mission to fulfill. No one else can do for us what we each are called upon to do by our Creator.
With that in mind, hang in there! Keep fighting! …and be sure to read today’s article. It has wonderful ideas to implement to help yourself get better!:
30 Ways to Improve Your Mood When You’re Feeling Down
“The secret of joy is the mastery of pain.” ~ Anais Nin
When I was eighteen, I got depressed and stayed depressed for a little over a year. For over a year, every single day was a battle with myself. For over a year, every single day felt heavy and pointless.
I have since made tremendous progress by becoming more self-aware, practicing self-love, and noticing the infinite blessings and possibilities in my life, but I still have days when those familiar old feelings sneak up on me.
I’m not always self-aware, I don’t always love myself, and sometimes I agonize over everything I don’t have or haven’t accomplished.
I call these days “zombie days.” I’ll just completely shut down and desperately look for ways to distract myself from my feelings.
I suspect we all have zombie days from time to time. I think it’s important to give ourselves permission to not always be happy, but there are also simple ways to improve our mood when we’re feeling down.
Everybody is different, and everybody has different ways of dealing with pain, but if you’re looking for suggestions, you may find these helpful:
1. Step back and self-reflect. Whenever I start feeling depressed, I try to stop, reflect, and get to the root of my feelings.
2. Reach out to someone. I used to bottle up my feelings out of fear that I would be judged if I talked about them. I’ve since learned that reaching out to a loving, understanding person is one of the best things I can do.
3. Listen to music. Music can heal, put you in a better mood, make you feel less alone, or take you on a mental journey.
4. Cuddle or play with pets. I have really sweet and happy dogs that are always quick to shower me with love whenever they see me. Spending quality time with a loving pet can instantly make your heart and soul feel better.
5. Go for a walk. Walking always helps me clear my head and shed negative energy. It’s especially therapeutic if you choose to walk at a scenic location.
6. Drink something healthy and reinvigorating. For some reason, orange juice always puts me in a better mood and makes me feel revitalized and serene. There are many health and mood benefits of drinking orange juice and other fruit juices.
7. Write. Writing is usually the first thing I do when I’m feeling down. It always helps me get my thoughts and feelings out in front of me.
8. Take a nap. Sometimes we just need to recharge. I always feel better after getting some rest.
9. Plan a fun activity. Moping around never helps me feel any better, so it usually helps to plan something fun to do if I’m feeling up to it. It can be something as simple as creating my own vision board or something as big as planning a trip.
10. Do something spontaneous. Some of my favorite memories entail choices I made spontaneously. We should all learn to let go of routine every now and then and do something exciting and unplanned.
11. Prioritize. Sometimes I feel depressed when my priorities are out of balance. I try to make sure I’m giving a fair amount of attention to all the priorities in my life, such as work, relationships, health, and personal happiness.
12. Look through old photographs or snap some new ones. Sorting through old memories or capturing new ones usually puts a smile on my face.
13. Hug someone. I am definitely a hugger. Hugs are such an easy way to express love and care without having to say a word.
14. Laugh. Watch a funny movie or spend time with someone who has a good sense of humor. Laughing releases tension and has a natural ability to heal.
15. Cry. I don’t like crying in front of people, but whenever I have an opportunity to slink away and cry by myself, I always feel better afterwards. Crying releases pain.
16. Read back over old emails or text messages, or listen to old voicemails. Whenever I feel dejected or bad about myself, I like to read kind emails and comments from my blog readers or listen to cute voicemails from my grandmother. Doing so reminds me that I’m loved, thought about, and appreciated.
17. Reconnect with someone. Get back in touch with an old friend or a family member that you haven’t spoken to in awhile. Reconnecting with people almost always puts me in a good mood and fills my heart up with love.
18. Write yourself a letter. I try to separate myself from my ego and give myself a pep talk every now and then. Cicero said, “Nobody can give you wiser advice than yourself.”
19. Try a deep breathing exercise. There are all kinds of deep breathing exercises out there. Find one you like and do it whenever you’re feeling stressed or overly emotional.
20. Cultivate gratitude. Practicing genuine gratitude on a daily basis has been a major source of healing in my life. When I step back and notice everything I have to be grateful for, it makes me feel like I have everything I need and that nothing is lacking. It makes me feel whole.
21. Re-watch a funny or inspiring YouTube video. I recommend Webcam 101 for Seniors. That video cheers me up every time. There are so many funny and inspiring videos online.
22. Bake something. Baking has always been therapeutic and entertaining for me. Plus, I can eat whatever I baked and share it with others afterward.
23. Get out of the house. I work from home, so a large majority of my time is spent indoors, planted in front of my laptop. I have to make a point to get out every now and then, whether it’s to get some fresh air or go out to eat with a friend.
24. Focus on what truly matters to you. Sometimes I forget what matters to me and what isn’t that important. Some things just aren’t worth getting too upset over.
25. Take a negative comment or situation and look for something positive about it. If someone says something negative to me or I get stuck in an unpleasant situation, sometimes it helps to look at it from a different angle. Perspective is everything.
26. Daydream. Take a mental vacation. Let your mind wander for a while.
27. Let some natural sunlight come in. Opening all the blinds and curtains and letting natural sunlight flood your home can help elevate your mood.
28. Take a mental health day. Sometimes we just need to take a day to clear our heads and nurture our souls. My mental health has a history of being a bit erratic, so nurturing it is a priority in my life.
29. Let go. This is a very simple mantra of mine. I usually say it to myself multiple times each day, which has been very liberating and empowering.
Article written by Madison Sonnier and shared from the following website: https://tinybuddha.com/blog/30-ways-to-improve-your-mood-when-youre-feeling-down/
I don’t think that anyone would be surprised to learn of the power that music has to alleviate symptoms of depression. What surprises me is how little those with depression use music to help elevate their mood and overcome their mental illness.
I am inspired by the work of D. Masaru Emoto. Dr. Emoto’s work with water crystals might inspire you, as well! Up to 60% of our bodies are made of water. I believe that Dr. Emoto’s work with water crystals applies to us! We are impacted by our thoughts and the music we surround ourselves with.
Today, I am including a YouTube video of Dr. Emoto’s work as well as an article that explains the power of music. I hope you will watch and learn and incorporate the power of positive music and thoughts into your life!:
Amazing Power of Music Revealed
More than 7,000 runners who raced earlier this month in a half-marathon in London were under the influence of a scientifically derived and powerful performance-enhancing stimulant — pop music.
The dance-able, upbeat music at London’s “Run to the Beat” race was selected on the basis of the research and consultation of sport psychologist Costas Karageorghis of Brunel University in England. He has learned how to devise soundtracks that are just as powerful, if not more so, as some of the not-so-legal substances that athletes commonly take to excel.
“Music is a great way to regulate mood both before and during physical activity. A lot of athletes use music as if it’s a legal drug,” Karageorghis told LiveScience. “They can use it as a stimulant or as a sedative. Generally speaking, loud upbeat music has a stimulating effect and slow music reduces arousal.”
The link between music and athletic performance is just one example of the inroads scientists and doctors are making into understanding the amazing power that music has over our minds and bodies. Science is backing up our intuition and experience, showing that music really does kill pain, reduce stress, better our brains and basically change how we experience life.
Music reduces stress
For example, more and more health professionals, including pediatrician Linda Fisher at Loyola University Hospital in Illinois, are playing therapeutic music for patients in hospitals, hospices and other clinical settings to improve their healing.
“The music I play is not necessarily familiar,” said Fisher, who is finishing up coursework toward certification as a music-for-healing practitioner. “It’s healing music that puts the patient in a special place of peace as far as the music’s rhythm, melodies and tonal qualities.”
Studies done in the early 1990s at Bryan Memorial Hospital in Lincoln, Neb., and St. Mary’s Hospital in Mequon, Wis., concluded music “significantly” lowered the heart rates and calmed and regulated the blood pressures and respiration rates of patients who had undergone surgery.
In 2007, a study in Germany found that music therapy helped improve motor skills in patients recovering from strokes, Fisher said. Other studies have found that music therapy can boost the immune system, improve mental focus, help control pain, create a feeling of well-being and greatly reduce anxiety of patients awaiting surgery.
Along those lines, music therapy was recently found to reduce psychological stress in a study of 236 pregnant women, according to researchers from the College of Nursing at Kaohsiung Medical University in Taiwan.
Women in the study who listened to pre-recorded CDs of soothing music for 30 minutes daily showed significant reductions in stress, anxiety and depression, said researcher Chung-Hey Chen, who is now based at the National Cheng Kung University.
One of the CDs featured songs such as Brahms’ “Lullaby” and “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” Nature sounds, children’s rhymes and songs and music by composers such as Beethoven and Debussy were featured on the other CDs. The results are detailed in a special issue The Journal of Clinical Nursing.
Music makes life better overall
Scientists also have confirmed that music definitely provokes memories, as we all have experienced, to the point where we don’t even have to hear a song. We just think of it and the memories flood in.
Music has also been found to ease labor pain, reduce the need for sedation during surgery, make you smarter, and diminish depression.
The right temporal lobe could be a key brain site for processing music, as one study found that subjects experience increased activity there when focusing on musical harmony. Other studies have also shown that the temporal lobe, in concert with the frontal lobe, is a key region for understanding certain musical features.
And while humans like to run to a beat, fish apparently also have their own version of this. In fact, the ability to keep track of time is fundamental to the behavior and cognitive processing of all living organisms, Mu-ming Poo of the University of California, Berkeley, wrote in the Oct. 16 issue of the journal Nature.
Among zebrafish, a neural “metronome” or biological clock may help them to remember rhythm over relatively long time periods, Poo and his colleagues found. When the beat stops, the fish apparently “remember” the beat’s rhythm and timing and often continue to wag their tails in time to it.
This finding and other research suggests that our ability and tendency to keep time with music is something we inherited from our earliest evolutionary ancestors.
More about music and workouts
For all you gym rats, here is exactly what listening to music does for your workout, Karageorghis said. First, it reduces your perception of how hard you are working by about 10 percent during low-to-moderate intensity activity. (During high intensity activity, music doesn’t work as well because your brain starts screaming at you to pay attention to physiological stress signals).
Secondly, music can have a profound influence on mood, potentially elevating the positive aspects of mood, such as vigor, excitement and happiness, and reducing depression, tension, fatigue, anger and confusion.
Thirdly, music can be used to set your pace — Ethiopian runner Haile Gebrselassie reportedly has asked for the techno song “Scatman” to be played when he competes (he won the gold medal in the 10,000 meters at the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000; “Scatman” presumably went unplayed during the race).
Finally, music can be used to overcome fatigue and control one’s emotions around competition. The hurdler Edwin Moses, who competed for the United States in the 70s and 80s and had a 122-race winning streak between 1987 and 1997, used laid-back soul tunes as part of his pre-race routine, Karageorghis said.
The “Run to the Beat” music was played as runners at the Oct. 5 half-marathon event passed by 17 stations, not throughout the 13.1-mile course, because Karageorghis’ research shows that music is most effective when we are losing steam, not as a constant stimulus. For the rest of us at the gym or on our a.m. jogs, he recommends two workouts with music to every one without, so the effect is not dulled.
Sports-music fusion festivals
Karageorghis and his post-doctoral researcher collected data during the “Run to the Beat” half-marathon, allowing them to test theories on thousands of live runners outside the lab.
Despite driving winds and heavy rain during the event, post-race interviews suggested that the runners found the music inspiring and fun.
In the future, Karageorghis envisions cultural festivals that involve a fusion of sports and music, where the crowd and the athletes are motivated by music playing at stations along a competitive route, while motivating one another.
“It is beyond the music,” he said. “The music creates an esprit de corps, a cohesion you don’t normally have in a mass participation event. One of the key causes of motivation is this notion of satisfaction of a psychological need for relatedness. Having music creates a common bond, a social gel, that allows you to almost satisfy this need automatically.”
Today’s article is shared from the following website: https://www.livescience.com/2953-amazing-power-music-revealed.html
When I was going through depression, there was nothing more important to me than to feel like I had a friend. Thank goodness my husband and my children were such good friends to me. Often, my other friends had no idea that I was going through depression – even though it felt like I had a neon sign hanging around my neck which flashed: “Danger! Danger! I’m hanging from the neck of an Emotional Wreck!
It was during my most difficult days that those friendships gave me strength and the desire to keep fighting. I hope that if you are going through depression, that you have good friends to turn to. In turn, be the best friend you can be. We never know what others might be going through.
If you are going through depression, find those that you can trust. I know that it is not always easy but …. it is possible. A true friend can help you through your hard days and laugh with you on the better days! We are connected more than we know on this planet. When we connect to others in a positive way, we help ourselves, we help others and we help the world!
I hope you will enjoy today’s story about friendship! It’s hard to place a value on friendship – it is such a priceless commodity! :
An Inspiring Story About Friendship
In ancient Greece, Socrates was reputed to hold knowledge in high esteem. One day one fellow met the great philosopher and said, “Do you know what I just heard about your friend?”.
“Hold on a minute,” Socrates replied. “Before telling me anything I’d like you to pass a little test. It’s called the Triple Filter Test.”. “Triple filter?”. “That’s right,” Socrates continued. “Before you talk to me about my friend, it might be a good idea to take a moment and filter what you’re going to say. That’s why I call it the triple filter test.
The first filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?” “No,” the man said, “actually I just heard about it and…”. “All right,” said Socrates. “So you don’t know if it’s true or not.
Now let’s try the second filter, the filter of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my friend something good?” . “No, on the contrary…”. “So,” Socrates continued, “you want to tell me something bad about him, but you’re not certain it’s true.
You may still pass the test though, because there’s one filter left: the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my friend going to be useful to me?” “No, not really.”
“Well,” concluded Socrates, “if what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?”
Story shared from the following website: http://www.videoinspiration.net/blog/short-stories-about-friendship/