Posts

Living In Gratitude: Slow Down & Enjoy Life

Sustained busyness is taking a toll on the quality of our lives and our relationships.

Free time. Two words that most people, including children, are unfamiliar with and wish they had more of.

Our free time has been filled with work, errands, chores, extracurricular activities, social obligations, classes, projects…the list goes on. And to top it off, we are always connected. Thanks to technology, we are reachable at all hours, wherever we are, whatever we’re doing. All of these things can lead to feeling overwhelmed, stressed and irritable.

Being ‘on‘ all of the time, always rushing from one must-do task to another negatively affects our health and wellbeing along with our productivity, creativity and ability to focus. Our relationships can also suffer as we don’t have time to communicate and connect. The good news is, you can stop the ‘hamster on a wheel‘ mentality and slow down without falling behind.

Here are ways to slow down, relax and reclaim a balanced life.

Find your sweet spot

We all get to a point when we feel overwhelmed. Instead of trying to function in that state, give yourself time to wrap your mind around the task or situation at hand. Take a short walk, sit outside in the sun, listen to your favorite soothing songs. Give yourself an opportunity to find your sweet spot’, the place where you are both relaxed and productive. When we focus on all the details that need done, we get overwhelmed. Walking away for a few minutes allows us to reset and get to a place of acting mindfully versus reacting out of anxiety and panic. Read more

Living In Gratitude: Strive To Be Of Value

Strive not to be a success but rather to be of value. ~ Albert Einstein

In Western society, much of what defines a person, especially in their ‘career,’ is their success. And this success usually revolves around the monetary or material as well as ‘one ups-manship‘, that unspoken concept of ‘keeping up with the Joneses’.

We are taught to strive for success rather than to be of value.

When we offer value, be it to the company that employs us, our spouse, children and family or our clients and friends, we are, by default, successful. Others are innately attracted to and appreciate those who selflessly offer their help and expertise.
Read more

Living In Gratitude: 10 Simple Ways to Practice Gratitude

Never let the things you want make you forget the things you have. ~Unknown

Robert Emmons, noted researcher in the psychology of gratitude, was asked what were the three key things he wanted people to know about gratitude. “First, the practice of gratitude can increase happiness levels by around 25%. Second, this is not hard to achieve–a few hours writing in a gratitude journal over 3 weeks can create an effect that lasts 6 months if not more. Third, cultivating gratitude brings other health effects, such as longer and better quality sleep time.”

25% happier by practicing gratitude?  Then, a little time journaling our appreciation for long lasting effects along with better health? That’s a pretty good deal for the amount of effort.

Practicing gratitude is easy to do but can also be easy to put off. But, expressing and practicing gratitude makes a big difference in our life and the lives of others.. Get into the gratitude habit and experience the results.

What’s important is to practice on a regular basis.

Below are ten easy ways to kick it into gear and make gratitude a part of your life. Choose the ones that resonate with you and get started.

1. Put reminders (visuals) around your home. Write “Thank You” on a small river rock and before making the bed each morning, put it on your pillow. At night, as you pull back the covers, you’ll see this little rock and remember things during the day for which you are grateful. A warm comfortable bed is one of them. Posters, framed cards, or sticky notes placed in special places provide wonderful reminders. Read more

Living In Gratitude: Approve of Yourself

I love and approve of myself. ~Daily affirmation

We all have that little voice in our head, the one that so often whispers in our ear things that chip away at our self esteem.

“You’re stupid.”

“You’re lazy.”

“You’re not good enough.”

“You’re not skinny or fit enough.”

“You’re not wealthy enough.”

These self-deprecating mantras erode our confidence. They batter the shores of our self-worth. They drag us down and hinder our motivation.

Rather than continuing to criticize ourselves, it’s time we change what that little voice is saying. By shifting our inner self-talk to one of approval, amazing things can happen. We believe in ourselves, like who we are, can forego approval by others because we already know we are okay. Read more

Living In Gratitude: 6 Ways To Celebrate World Gratitude Day

When it comes to life, the critical thing is whether you takes things for granted or take them with gratitude. ~G.K. Chesterson

History of World Gratitude Day

The idea for an annual day of gratitude began in 1965 in Hawaii during an international Thanksgiving dinner and it has been celebrated on September 21st for the last 51 years.

Held at the East-West Center, the dinner was hosted by mediation guru, Sri Chinmoy, director of the United Nations Meditation Group. He suggested the idea as a globally unifying holiday and each person in attendance vowed to hold a gratitude gathering every September 21st in their own country.  The United Nations Meditation Group formally celebrated World Gratitude Day on September 21, 1977 at the New York Headquarters where Sri Chinmoy was honored for his work.  Since its beginnings, World Gratitude Day has been observed in numerous countries around the globe.

There has been an increasing awareness of the benefits of gratitude, appreciation and positive reflection.  World Gratitude Day is a reminder and an opportunity to reflect on all of the blessings we have in life. Expressing gratitude has been proven in numerous scientific studies to positively impact our well-being, making us happier, healthier, more social and overall more appreciative people.

World Gratitude Day 2016 is Wednesday, September 21st.

Here are six ways you can participate and contribute in this global expression of gratitude.

1. Be Courteous and Kind

Smile and say hello to people as you walk down the street or through a store or restaurant. Allow people on the roads and freeways to merge, invite that person behind you with one item to go ahead of you at the checkout counter. Read more

Living In Gratitude: 5 Ways Nature Promotes Personal Wellbeing

Nature holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive and even spiritual satisfaction. ~E. O. Wilson

Scientific studies show that being in nature has an overwhelming influence on our brains and our behavior. Being in nature helps reduce stress, anxiety, and worry while increasing our ability to focus, be creative as well as boosts our ability to connect with others.

People have been discussing their profound experiences in nature for the last several hundred years—from Thoreau to John Muir to many other writers,” says University of Utah researcher David Strayer. “Now we are seeing changes in the brain and changes in the body that suggest we are physically and mentally more healthy when we are interacting with nature.

Nature holds the key

While Strayer and other scientists firmly believe experiencing the flora and fauna of our world benefits our wellbeing, people of all ages tend to spend a substantial amount of time indoors and online. The research on how nature improves our brains calls for spending more time outdoors to increase our health, happiness and creativity.

Below are 5 ways we benefit from being in nature.

  1. Decreased stress levels

Studies have shown that people tend to unwind and relax more when they are outside in a natural environment VS an urban one. This holds true whether they are in a forest or city greenspace. These people showed lower heart rates, better moods and less anxiety than those who were exposed to a purely urban environment. Scientists believe that humans are wired to be more relaxed and soothed in natural spaces and our bodies and minds behave positively in these natural environments.

  1. Boosts happiness and reduces brooding

A study conducted by Stanford University researcher, Gregory Bratman, showed that the emotional state and cognitive abilities of participants who took a walk in a natural setting were dramatically better than those who walked in an urban area. They reported feeling more positive and less apprehensive, ruminated less and performed better on short-term memory tasks than did the urban walkers.  Read more

Living In Gratitude: Insightful Words of Wisdom From Wayne Dyer

It has been just over a year since Wayne Dyer passed away and just about that long since we posted our blog in tribute to him.

A truly perceptive man, Wayne Dyer was a renowned self-help advocate, author and lecturer. Below are just some of his wise and insightful words of wisdom.

 

Our intention creates our reality.

 

How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.

 

When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.

 

You cannot be lonely if you like the person you’re alone with.

Cannot be lonely if like person you're alone with Wayne Dyer GH logo

Conflict cannot survive without your participation.

 

Read more

Living In Gratitude: 19 Ways To Minimize Stress

It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it. ~ Hans Selye

Stress is a part of daily life. This state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from the demands and pressures of life and work can result in headaches, fatigue, problems sleeping, difficulty making decisions and a host of other symptoms.

Below are 19 tips on how to manage and minimize stress.

  1. Chocolate meditation

  • Choose a chocolate that is indulgent or that you’ve never eaten. Dark chocolate is especially ideal for this exercise.
  • Open the packet. Inhale the aroma. Let it sweep over you.
  • Break off a piece and look at it. Really let your eyes drink in what it looks like, examining every nook and cranny.
  • Pop it in your mouth. See if it’s possible to hold it on your tongue and let it melt. Chocolate has over 300 different flavours. See if you can sense some of them.
  • If you notice your mind wandering, simply notice where it went and gently escort it back to the present moment.
  • After the chocolate has completely melted, swallow it very slowly and deliberately. Let it trickle down your throat.
  • Repeat this with one other piece.

2. Write down worries in a journal

The physical act of writing things down helps minimize stress by moving them from inside ourselves to an outside space.

3. Peel an orange

Studies show the smell of citrus is a tension tamer.

91 Savor each moment

4. Experience nature

Getting outside and enjoying nature is a great way to minimize stress. Focus on the sights, smells and sounds around you. Breathe deeply. Feel the movement of your body. Read more

Living In Gratitude: 10 Ways to Cultivate Meaningful Relationships

Don’t change so people will like you. Be yourself and the right people will love the real you. ~Anonymous

Social media has enabled us to stay in touch with friends near and far but it doesn’t necessarily equate to meaningful relationships.

Close friendships require time and energy. They need to be nurtured and attended to. Below are 10 ways to cultivate successful relationships with family, friends and even coworkers.

1.  BE HAPPY WITH OURSELVES

Liking ourselves is the foundation for others to connect with us. After all, if we fundamentally don’t like who we are, why would anyone else?

2. LEARN TO LISTEN AND UNDERSTAND

Be the person who listens, hearing others without interrupting. Listening is one of the greatest gifts we can give another person. Allowing someone to speak, be heard and understood is an invaluable part of every meaningful relationship. Read more

Living In Gratitude: Stop Autopilot Apologies

You teach people how to treat you by what you allow, what you stop and what you reinforce. ~Tony Gaskins

We all know people who apologize for everything, even if they’ve done nothing wrong. Maybe we’re actually one of those people.

There are times when an apology is warranted, but when we say we’re sorry for anything that makes us remotely ill at ease, this can quickly become a harmful habit, lowering our self-esteem, justifying other people’s poor behavior or actions, and turning us into a pushover.

Have you ever apologized when someone bumped into you in a crowded restaurant or store? Or when a peer critiqued your work? How about when someone did a chore or task that you were supposed to do but didn’t? Or maybe when you wanted someone to explain something in more detail?

This automatic apologetic reaction many of us have is used to diffuse confrontation, placate others and avoid making things awkward. That unwarranted apology automatically lets others know we believe we are at fault, even if we’re not.

And the more we make this autopilot apologizing a routine, the more we’ll use it in situations that DO matter. They also communicate that we’d rather be agreeable than honest. Over time, people will begin to see us as pushovers, someone who will take the blame, be the fall guy or girl and can (and will) be taken advantage of.

Pushover logo

So, how do we stop this pushover behavior?

Have An Apology Recap

When we find ourselves issuing an apology, we should ask ourselves two key questions.

  1. “Did I actually do something wrong?”
  2. And if not, “Did I want to communicate that I think I did something wrong?”

Read more