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

Living In Gratitude: Make the Most of Every Day

As we get caught up in the tasks, responsibilities and stress of life, we can fall into a pattern of ‘just getting by’, letting our days blend together rather than making the most of them.

By embracing an outlook of living intentionally, we actively participate in life. We purposefully seek to add enjoyment, accomplishment, awareness and appreciation in every day rather than ‘surviving’ until the weekend.

Below are 10 tips to making the most of each and every day.

1. Start your day early

Those who rise early tend to be more productive, motivated and energized than those who sleep in. Mornings are quiet and calm, allowing uninterrupted time to plan your day, center yourself and kickstart your productivity.

2. Nourish your body properly

Food is the fuel you provide your body and the better the fuel, the more efficiently your body will perform. It’s easy to fall into a pattern of mindless eating or grabbing something quick, but it by shifting your focus, you can ensure your body receives delicious, healthy food at each meal. Read more

Living In Gratitude: Before Your Speak…THINK

This T.H.I.N.K concept is a gentle reminder to consider what we say before we say it. It allows us to communicate from a place of thoughtfulness and consideration. By employing the T.H.I.N.K. process, our messages come across more clearly and are better received and as such, our relationships benefit. It allows us to be aware of how emotions play a part in our communication.

I have a friend who always uses this theory, especially in tough situations. It doesn’t mean she can’t communicate her feelings and needs but it enables her to do so in a way that doesn’t inflame the situation while getting her message across in a gentle, kind, yet firm manner with everyone in her life. This is one of the things I greatly admire, appreciate and respect about her.

How we say things as well as what we say play huge roles in our ability to communicate. Keeping in mind the T.H.I.N.K. theory to help guide us as we speak with friends, family, coworkers, managers, strangers, children, telemarketers and everyone we encounter on a daily basis.

T – Is it true?

Is our message fact or is it an exaggeration coming from a place of frustration, irritation or anger? If what we want to say is indeed true, move to the next step. Read more

Living In Gratitude: Celebrate Everything!

Embrace life with enthusiasm.

When we make a commitment to mindfully live in this manner, we find that there is a lot to celebrate. In fact, there is something to celebrate in everything, in every day, big, small or in between.

Little kids are overjoyed by the simplest, smallest things. It doesn’t take much to give them immeasurable joy. Splashing in a pool, playing on a sandy beach, rolling in the grass, unwrapping a gift, eating their favorite foods. The young do things with unabashed gusto. They sink their teeth into each experience and live in the moment. They celebrate everything. (Well, maybe not absolutely everything but you get the picture.)

The same goes for dogs. They are thrilled to see you each and every time you come home, love to play and snuggle, eat and even sleep with gusto. Like children, dogs embrace life with heartfelt enthusiasm. Read more

Living In Gratitude: Appreciating Dr. Wayne Dyer

Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change. ~Wayne Dyer

On August 29, 2015, the world lost an amazing person when Dr. Wayne Dyer passed away. His positive outlook about life during good times and bad from a young age led to him being one of the world’s personal development and self-empowerment pioneers. He had and will continue to have a profound impact on the lives of many Read more

Living In Gratitude: Worry and Irritation Vanish

I have found that worry and irritation vanish the moment I open my mind to the many blessings I possess. ~Dale Carnegie

We all have times when we find ourselves fretting over something as well as times when we are simply annoyed.

I know that I’ve definitely spent time worrying about things that, in the end, turned out to be much less of an issue than I’d worked them up to be in my mind. Even if you have a circumstance that is truly worrisome, think about all of the time and energy you’re wasting worrying about it. Worry can lead to fear, which can emotionally and mentally cripple, keeping us in a stagnant state where solutions, opportunities and life in general pass us by. Read more

Living In Gratitude: Our Greatest Weapon Against Stress

…is our ability to choose one thought over another. ~William James

Stress can affect both our body and mind, impacting our overall health and wellbeing. We all encounter stressors in our lives but how we choose to manage stress is an important piece of the puzzle.

Identifying the cause of our stress and working to positively address a solution can make an enormous difference in our ability to reduce negative affects.

When in a stressful situation, we feel under enormous pressure and tend to tense up, become anxious, frustrated and even angry. Our thoughts often become ‘cannots‘ rather than ‘can dos‘, resulting in a paralysis of sorts where we are unable to work toward a resolution. Teaching ourselves how to think of positive outcomes allows us to cope and manage stress, thus reducing its impact and often leading us to solutions. Read more

Living In Gratitude: Blessings & Lessons

Some people come into our lives as blessings and some people come into our lives as lessons.

Both types of people have their place and both are valuable in their own ways.

The people who offer us love, friendship and support are those we should cherish and keep close. These are the relationships to nurture for years to come. Read more