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Living In Gratitude: 6 Steps to Living in the Moment

We live in an age of constant distraction. Every day, we are bombarded with a myriad of interruptions, which have only gotten more frequent thanks to ever-evolving technology. We can be consumed by self-consciousness, anxiety and stress. These disturbances often have us fretting about the future or contemplating past mistakes. They take us away from living in the present moment.

We’re living in a world that contributes in a major way to mental fragmentation, disintegration, distraction, decoherence. ~ Buddhist scholar B. Alan Wallace

Our thoughts often control us, “coursing through our mind like a deafening waterfall”. Buddists refer to it as the Monkey Mind, because our consciousness vaults from thought to thought like a monkey swinging from one tree to another. This inhibits our ability to live in and enjoy the present.

Mindfulness is when we learn to quiet our monkey mind and live in the moment in a state of “active, open, intentional attention on the present.” Being mindful allows us to observe our thoughts without judgment. Rather than letting our thoughts control us, being mindful awakens us to experience life in the here and now.  Read more

Living In Gratitude: 20 Things You Will Be Glad You Did In Life

I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I just lived the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well. ~Diane Ackerman

1. Traveling 

Traveling broadens our horizons. It exposes us to new cultures, food, languages and ways of thinking as well as the awe-inspiring beauty of the world.

2. Learning another language

Being able to communicate in languages other than your native tongue is a wonderful gift.

3. Being brave enough to do new things

Not letting fear hold you back enables you to experience new adventures and learn new things. After all, you had to do everything for the first time…

4. Making physical fitness a priority

Your body is amazing. Take good care of it so it will carry you through life, to new places, up hills and into valleys. Read more

Living In Gratitude: Just For Now

Just for now, without asking how, let yourself sink into stillness.

Just for now, lay down the

weight you so patiently

bear upon your shoulders.

Feel the earth receive

you, and the infinite

expanse of sky grow even

wider as your awareness

reaches up to meet it. Read more

Living In Gratitude: 6 Ways to Grow Gratitude at Work

Gratitude can have such a powerful impact on your life because it engages your brain in a virtuous cycle. ~Alex Korb Ph.D

On a surface level, appreciation is good for employee engagement, motivation and retention. Employee recognition and appreciation can create a unique company culture and strengthen employee relationships. Companies can deliberately infuse their cultures, from top to bottom, with the proverbial “attitude of gratitude.” Employee appreciation boosts performance and engagement as well as the employee’s well-being and health. When coworkers show appreciation or gratitude towards one another, a more social and prosocial interaction is created.

By implementing gratitude into company culture, employees are more willing to spread their positive feelings with others, whether it’s helping out with a project or taking time to notice and recognizing those that have gone the extra mile.

The greatest psychological effect of appreciation is the happiness and other emotions immediately felt when we either give or receive gratitude. Gratitude creates good feelings, cheerful memories, better self-esteem, feeling more relaxed and more optimistic. All of these emotions creates a pay it forward and  “we’re in this together” mentality in the workplace, which in turn, makes your organization more successful. Plus, the dopamine effect will encourage a continuous cycle of recognition if everyone participates. All of these emotions, plus many more, are what most employers want out of their staff to again, create unity. Read more

Living In Gratitude: 7 Ways To Train Your Brain To Be Happy

Neil Pasricha is a Canadian author and speaker who advocates positivity and simple pleasures. He is known for his New York Times best seller, “The Book Of Awesome”, as well as his TEDx talk, “The 3 A’s of Awesome”.

Backed by loads of research, his book, “The Happiness Equation”, discusses how we can train our brains to be happy. Happiness is something we do to make life ‘awesome’ rather than the result of everything being awesome. It comes from conscious awareness and thought using practical, effective and enjoyable strategies.

1. Three walks a week

Researchers have found that the more physically active we are, the greater our overall feelings of excitement and enthusiasm. And it doesn’t take much: just 30 minutes of brisk walking, three days a week will do it.

2. 20-minute replay

Taking 20 minutes each day to write about a positive experience allows you to relive the event. It can be anything but the focus is that it was something that made you feel good. The purpose is to rekindle those happy feelings. Read more

Living In Gratitude: Finding Your Zen at Work

When we know how to take care of our strong emotions and to establish good relationships at work, communication improves, stress is reduced, and our work becomes much more pleasant. This is a huge benefit not only to ourselves, but also to those we work with, to our loved ones, our families, and the whole of society. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Each of us spends a considerable amount of our daily lives at work and we should use this time to create a better world, challenge ourselves and creating a sense of personal growth and enjoyment.

Zen Buddhist master Thich Nhat Hanh, credited with being the father of mindfulness in the West, has developed a checklist to ensure that we stay in balance and are able to see our work in the context of creating a better world.

Here are Thay’s 15 practical steps to bring mindfulness to our work:

Read more

Living In Gratitude: 4 Things That Make Us Happier

Neuroscience has proven that gratitude makes us happier, affecting our brain at a biological level.

The benefits of gratitude start with the dopamine system, because feeling grateful activates the brain stem region that produces dopamine, the chemical that makes us feel happy.

Another powerful effect of gratitude is that it can boost serotonin, which helps maintain the balance of moods as well as contributing to wellbeing and happiness. Thinking of things for which we are grateful  forces us to focus on the positive aspects of life. This simple act increases serotonin production in the brain.

It’s not finding gratitude that matters most; it’s remembering to look in the first place. Read more

Living In Gratitude: The Science Of Smiling

A smile is a curve that sets everything straight. ~Phyllis Diller

When we are happy, our natural response is to smile. But when we smile, is our natural response to be happy?

Its been scientifically proven that even faking or forcing a smile will minimize stress and makes us happier.

This was what psychological scientists Tara Kraft and Sarah Pressman discovered when they had 169 participants produce one of three facial expressions:

  • a neutral expression
  • a half smile
  • a big, ear to ear smile

Only half of participants were told to smile.

Once their expression was ‘in place’, participants did a series of stressful, multi-tasking activities. The researchers monitored heart rates and self-reported stress levels while the subjects completed these various tasks. Read more

Living In Gratitude: Wholehearted Living

Wholehearted  living is about engaging in our lives from a place of  worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion and connection to  wake up in the morning and think, “No matter what gets done  and how much is left undone, I am enough.” It’s going to bed at night thinking, “Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.” ~Brené Brown

Brené Brown is considered one of the biggest ‘thought leaders‘ of the modern era. Wife, mother, author, teacher and speaker, she has done extensive research into what it means to live a wholehearted life. She has discovered that there is ‘no amount of success, money, power or influence that buys you a free ride‘ in dealing with personal vulnerability and shame. Read more

Living In Gratitude: Blessings In Disguise

And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.

~ Gilbert K. Chesterton

California has been experiencing a historic drought over the past four years. Initially, not many of us paid much attention to our decreasing levels of precipitation but during the past year or so, we have had to address our lack of water to ensure we had enough to meet our needs.

In times of abundance, we tend to take things-like water-for granted. We got used to letting the faucet run while we hand washed dishes and brushed our teeth. We would indulge in long, relaxing showers, washing our cars in the drive and nurtured expansive, verdant lawns.

Those things have changed as we’ve become more aware. From this drought, most residents of California have a renewed appreciation of how vital and precious water is. We are now embracing conservation methods that include the practice of letting our grass go brown or replacing it altogether.  Read more