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Archive for August, 2008

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”
G. K. Chesterton

Numerous studies have proven that gratitude plays a significant role in a person’s sense of well-being.  I encourage my clients (and everyone around me) to practice gratitude daily by greeting each day with five things you are grateful for,  saying a daily prayer of gratitude, or just mentally listing your gratitudes for the day.

That daily gratitude results in higher levels of enthusiasm, determination, optimism and energy should not come as a surprise to anyone.  However it also results in increased alertness, increased creativity and expansive thinking, less depression and stress, and… people who practice daily gratitudes are more likely to take better care of themselves (eating better and exercising more regularly) and also tend to make more progress toward personal goals.

People who practice gratitude ARE happier!  And we all want that.  Like any new habit, you need to build your gratitude muscle in order to reprogram your subconscious mind.

How can you begin to practice gratitude?

Look at your surroundings.  Start by listing all the things in your environment you are grateful for.  Everything from the fact that your internet connection is working (and it must be if you’re reading this), to the people and things you love.

Take a trip to the beach, a local park, even the mall.  Notice all the things there that you enjoy.  Are you grateful for all the laughing children?  The beauty of nature?  The sounds of the surf, or the music playing in the car on the way to your destination?   All the green lights that you sailed though on your way.  Pay attention.  Enjoy.

Share your gratitude.  Acknowledge the people around you for the things that they do.  Thank your parents for all they have done for you.  Track down a former teacher and acknowledge them for the difference they made in your life.  Write a friend a letter of thank you, just for being your friend.  Share the thanks!

So take up a challenge…practice gratitude for the next 30 days and see how it changes your life.

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RESOURCES FOR GRATITUDE
Head on over to http://www.unleashgratitude.com:3000/ and subscribe to their no-cost weekly Gratitudenews—a “weekly shot of gratitude in three minutes or less”.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9z2ELaBVJY  The gratitude dance! This will make you smile.

http://www.gratefulness.org/t/abc.htm  The ABCs of gratitude

http://www.acomplaintfreeworld.org   Creating a habit of being complaint-free.

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It’s mid-August, and almost everyone I know (but me) is on vacation. 😉  From working with clients and, of course, observing my own reactions–there are three areas that contribute to post vacation blues: coming back to the daily routine, coming back to a pile of extra work because you were gone, leaving the relaxed, exciting or hedonistic period of your vacation behind.

I recommend that folks do several things to eliminate these blues.

  1. Pay all the bills before you leave on vacation.  There’s nothing worse then coming home and having to sit down and pay bills.
  2. Several weeks (not days) before vacation, try to do a bit extra each day so that you don’t have massive catching up to do when you return (beyond the obvious emails, mails and voice mails), and if you have an assistant, colleague or virtual assistant who can sort through your emails, mail and messages so that you only have to review the most important ones…do that too.
  3. Plan for a catching up day or two when you get back.
  4. Leave the house clean…better yet, have someone come in and clean the house before you get home.
  5. Schedule some things to look forward to after you return.  A mini weekend vacation (even at home) where there’s just relaxation and fun to look forward to.  A massage. A concert or theater.
  6. Shake up the “daily routine” and bring the hedonism home.  Figure out what was the most fun about your vacation (the meals?  Drinks at the pool?  Reading under a tree?  Sightseeing?)  And find a way to incorporate a bit of that into your life.  If on vacation your favorite part of the day was breakfast on the balcony overlooking the mountains, then find a way to bring that mood to your daily breakfast.  Was it the excitement of sightseeing?  Most of us have never seen all the sights in our own regions.  Make plans to meet friends for lunch when you return.  Keep things fresh and interesting (unless you love your daily routine) because that (and not checking email regularly) are one of the things we love so much about vacations.
  7. Bring the vacation home.  Incorporate the foods of your vacation via restaurants, recipes, books.  Get a CD that brings home the music of the area.  Buy some fluffy towels that rival those of the posh resort.  Instead of funky souvenirs (unless you actually display those in your home) buy something that will bring you joy every time you look at it…a photo, an object, or frame photos of yourself on vacation and put them up prominently.
  8. Above all, while vacations are great…do something with you every day life that makes it as joyful as a vacation.

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