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Living In Gratitude: 3 Life Lessons About Relationships

Since 1938, the Harvard Study of Adult Development has tracked the lives of 724 men over 75 years. This rare and enlightening study has gathered information about these men’s work, health, home life and more from the time their were teenagers to now, when many are well into their 80s.

After three-quarters of a century and tens of thousands of pages of collected data, one main insight rises to the top.

Good relationships keep us happier and healthier.

Three primary lessons about relationships came from this incredible study:

  1. Social connections are really good for us

People who are more socially connected to family, friends and community are emotionally happier, psychically healthier and live longer than those without deep social connections. People who are lonely and isolated are not as happy, suffer from declining health as they age, their brain function decreases and they live shorter lives. Read more

Living In Gratitude: Gratitude Opens Your Heart To Love

Gratitude opens your heart to love.

Studies on gratitude show that those people who are grateful have more friends, deeper, more meaningful relationships and healthier partnerships/marriages.

Gratitude creates an amazing ripple effect in our relationships.

When we appreciate those around us, we begin to understand on a deeper level how much our friends, family and loved ones bring to our lives. Support, laughter, connection, conversation. And when we express that gratitude to each of these people, not only does our heart swell with love, but it positively affects the people for whom we are grateful. Our gratitude makes them feel loved, wanted, needed and appreciated. And when they feel all of these positive things, they in turn, ‘pay it forward’ by expressing their appreciation to the ones that love, guide, and support them.

Ways to show gratitude to the people you love:

1. Share a specific example of something they did for you and how it made a difference in your life. Read more

Living In Gratitude: The Four Agreements

As humans, death is not our biggest fear but instead we fear taking the risk to be alive and express who we really are. ~Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements

From the moment we are born, we begin forming ideas, beliefs and images of how we should act, what we should and shouldn’t do and how to behave. We learn to live our lives trying to satisfy other people’s demands and expectations because we are afraid of rejection, of being singled out, of not being good enough.

Every one of us has created a unique image of perfection that we not only judge others by but ourselves as well. This ‘perfection persona’ is what we believe is necessary to be accepted. It embodies our physical appearance, our work ethic, our success, our personality. Yet no matter how hard we try, no one, including us, will ever live up to this idealistic image. Read more

Living In Gratitude: 15 Ways To Live Life to the Fullest

As you grow older, you’ll find the only things you regret are the things you didn’t do. – Zachary Scott

We only have one life to live. Below are some wise words of advice on how to make the most of each minute, each day, each year, so that we live our live to the fullest.

  1. The most important person in your life is the person who agreed to share their life with you. Treat them with the importance and appreciation they deserve.
  1. No one knows if they’ll a live a long life or a short. But either way, it pays to take care of yourself. Exercise, eat right, manage your stress, drink enough water, get 8 hours of sleep, floss your teeth. Your odds for a long, healthy life increase by doing all of these things.
  1. Stuff is just stuff. Don’t focus on acquiring material objects. Hold onto time and acquire experiences instead.

Read more

Living In Gratitude: The Power Of A Hug

A hug is like a boomerang – you get it back right away. ~ Bil Keane

Hugs are powerful.

They can be the comfort we need at the end of a long, frustrating day.

The impetus to express our grief.

A display of complete happiness.

An expression of thanks.

A hug can communicate, “I have missed you” as easily as “You will be missed.”

They can mean the difference feeling connected and feeling isolated.

Between hope and despair.

Never underestimate the power of a hug or our ability to ground another person long enough for them to catch their breath, to feel connected, to feel loved and appreciated, to see the possibilities they may have missed.

Hug often.

May your day be filled with gratitude and good things.

Living In Gratitude: Resolve To Be Grateful

Be in love with your life, every minute of it. ~Jack Keroac

Every moment of life is an adventure and the start of a new year always holds the promise of a fresh start. Many of us choose this time to ‘start over’, to make changes in our lives for the better.

For those who’ve made a New Years resolution or two, consider making a resolution to be more grateful. Nurturing one’s gratitude can provide profound and life-altering changes.

Feeling and expressing appreciation spills over into all areas of life. Read more

Living In Gratitude: Living Wholeheartedly

Living wholeheartedly happens when we engage in life 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: 7 Ways to Make the World a Better Place

You make the world a better place by making yourself a better person. ~Scott Scorrell

During our lifetime, each of us makes an impact on the world around us. One of the most significant impressions we can make is by doing what we can as individuals to make the world a better place.

Here are 7 ways we can have a positive influence.

1. DO NO HARM

If everyone endevored to achieve this goal, our world would be transformed. We should all do everything we can to live by this motto. Help others. Be patient. Smile more. Say thank you. Be courteous. Make eye contact. Spread kindness, love and goodwill everyday.

2. ENJOY YOUR TIME

Instead of focusing on the negative, look at what is wonderful and amazing. Sure, it’s easy to get caught up in what isn’t going our way, to complain, argue and get upset. Yet by looking for the good and being grateful for it, we can shift our outlook and enjoy what good the world has to offer. Read more

Living In Gratitude: Giving Thanks

I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual. ~Henry David Thoreau

With Thanksgiving just a few days away, it is the perfect time to talk about giving thanks. After all, that is what this day is all about: gathering with those we care about, sharing a feast and expressing gratitude for our abundance.

Each year brings a cornucopia of things into each of our lives: challenges, changes, adventures, opportunities, losses, renewals, laughter, sadness, lessons and stresses.

It is always easier to appreciate the obvious positives – a promotion, wedding, graduation or birth – but many of us do find ourselves lacking when it comes to being thankful for life’s hardships, losses and even day to day irritations.

Yet gratitude isn’t only about being thankful when things are good but about finding the blessings in all things.

Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation. ~Brian Tracy

Read more

Living In Gratitude: 8 Ways to Stop Worrying

Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow. ~Swedish Proverb

Our imaginations are such an incredible gift, allowing us to daydream and envision incredible wonder.

As children, we used our vivid imaginations to create fun and exciting playmates and spectacularly fantastical situations in which we would ‘live’ for hours on end. Imagination was fun, funny and adventurous.

As adults, our imaginations often become a work-thing of worry.

We fret tirelessly over horrible situations our imagination dreams up, things that could happen, might happen, but most likely won’t happen. These worries drain us of our productivity, create undue stress, affect our sleep and our relationships.

Worrying is like sitting in a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but it doesn’t get your anywhere. ~English proverb

Here are a few healthy habits that can help minimize worrying.

1. Realize most of what we spend time worrying about never comes to fruition

And if it does, we generally have spent hours stewing over a much worse outcome.

As Winston Churchill once said, “When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.”

When we find ourselves worrying, we should ask:

“How many the things I feared would happen in my life actually did occur?”

By answering this question, we put things into perspective. We frequently find that the majority of our worries never came to light or were considerably less worrisome than we envisioned them to be.

2. Avoid getting lost in vague fears

We can easily work ourselves up over nothing when we let our imagination run wild when we lack clarity in a situation. Vague fears can lead to over-exaggerated scenarios. Gain clarity on the situation by taking deep breath and asking, “What is really the worst that could happen?” Then, spend some time identifying a solution should that unlikely scenario occur. This practice saves time, energy and a lot of suffering. Read more