Gratitude and appreciation are two powerful weapons we can use against depression and anxiety.
In fact, Dan Baker writes in his book, What Happy People Know, that it is impossible to be in a state of appreciation and fear at the same time.
Here, then, are some ways we can cultivate gratitude.
1. Keep a gratitude journal.
According to psychologists such as Sonja Lyubomirsky at the University of California-Riverside, keeping a gratitude journal —where you record once a week all the things you have to be grateful for — and other gratitude exercises can increase your energy, and relieve pain and fatigue. In my daily mood journal, I make a list of each day’s “little joys,” moments that I would fail to appreciate if I didn’t make myself record them, such as: “holding my daughter’s hand on the way to the car,” “a hot shower,” “helping my son with his homework.” This exercise reminds me of all the blessings in my life I take for granted and encourages me to appreciate those mundane moments that can be sources of joy.
2. Use the right words.
According to Andrew Newberg, M.D. and Mark Robert Waldman, words literally can change your brain. In their book, Words Can Change Your Brain, they write: “a single word has the power to influence the expression of genes that regulate physical and emotional stress.” Positive words, such as “peace” and “love,” can alter the expression of genes, strengthening areas in our frontal lobes and promoting the brain’s cognitive functioning. According to the authors, they propel the motivational centers of the brain into action and build resiliency.
“Gratitude is the heart’s memory,” says the French proverb. Therefore, one of the first steps to thankfulness is to remember those in our lives who have walked with us and shown kindness for deeds big and small. I have been extremely fortunate to have so many positive mentors in my life. At every scary crossroad, there was a guardian or messenger there to help me find my way. The mere exercise of remembering such people can cultivate gratitude in your life.
4. Write thank-you letters.
According to psychologist Robert Emmons at the University of California at Davis, author of Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, a powerful exercise to cultivate gratitude is to compose a “gratitude letter” to a person who has made a positive and lasting influence in your life.
Emmons says the letter is especially powerful when you have not properly thanked the person in the past, and when you read the letter aloud to the person face to face. I do this as part of my holiday cards, especially to former professors or teachers who helped shape my future and inspired me in ways they might not know.
5. Hang with the winners.
Peer pressure never really goes away, you know. Studies show that married folks hanging out with happy couples are more likely to stay married themselves; that if your friends eat well, their willpower will rub off on you; and that if you surround yourself with optimists, you will end up more positive than if you keep company with a bunch of whiners. By merely sitting next to a person who likes the words “thank you,” there is a high probability that you will start using those words as well.
6. Give back.
A while back I wanted to repay a former professor of mine for all his encouragement and support to me throughout the years. However, nothing I could do would match his kindness. No letter of appreciation. No visit to his classrooms. So I decided I would help some young girl who fell into my path in the same way that he helped me. I would try to help and inspire this lost person just as he had done for me.
Giving back doesn’t mean reciprocating favors so that everything is fair and the tally is even. That’s the beauty of giving. If someone does an act of kindness for you, one way to say thanks is to do the same for another.
Originally posted on Everyday Health.
I learned after years of working my tail off that if I did not take care of myself one of two things was going to happen. Either I was going to lose my health or I was going to lose in terms of my results. Self-care became my battle cry where as before I would sneer a little bit at people that talked about self-care thinking “How bourgeois!” Little did I know that I would be biting my tongue!
Not only did I learn the merits of self-care but I also learned that it was not as easy to get and keep on track with as I thought. In other words, the biggest tip for being your personal best is: Self Care, Self Care, Self Care!
Self Care is an investment in our personal resources. Whether what you demand of yourself is large or small you need to take care of your most important tool – you. Here are a list of 10 self care tools that you can use to be your personal best:
What are some ways that you care for yourself? Please share below!
Wow, I am really having a really busy time right now! I am writing this newsletter standing up at my kitchen counter scarfing down tangerines because I haven’t had time for a real meal. I know that I am often talking about balance but sometimes regardless of what you do you still need to sprint at full speed and this is one of those times.
Not only is it the holidays but I am working on a finishing up an new image for my business, making my national network TV debut , and starting my own radio show. In case you have to ask, that is a lot of work! 2014 is going out with a BANG or maybe that is better said with a ZOOM.
What I am really grateful at when I am this busy is how well I am supported. Not just by others but also by myself. It has taken time to put my life together so that I can persist and thrive even when I am in such a busy time!
I know Thanksgiving was two weeks ago but there is never a time where gratitude is unimportant. Today I want to talk about gratitude for support.
This last Thursday I was at the Massachusetts Conference for Women. There were literally thousands of women in attendance and the message I kept hearing as I connected with people is “It is so good to be here because I feel so much support.”. I think most of us were on a high to see so many women stepping up for themselves and for the world and to feel that we are doing it together, each in our own way.
If you have every found yourself thinking that you did something all by yourself, whether you felt proud or lonely, you were wrong. While it is so important to acknowledge our own efforts, the bottom line is that we never succeed without the help of others. NEVER! As a matter of fact, there is really no aspect of our life that is untouched by another person.
That being said it might be helpful to take a moment and think about who is in our corner. Maybe it is time to let them know how grateful you are for their support. Take a few moments this week to go out of your way to notice the support you get from others and acknowledge them for their efforts.
I would like to lead by example:
First, a deep debt of gratitude goes out to my sister and right hand woman. Not only has she helped me advance my business but she is also a continual inspiration to me. I am certain I would not be the person I am today if she were not a part of my life –and I also forget many less appointments which simply cannot be overrated!
My second debt of gratitude is for my friends. It is a blessing to have the phone ring and hear a voice that has been a part of my life for years or even decades. Nothing beats laughing with someone who has seen you through both the good and the bad times.
Clearly that is just barely the beginning of a long list of people who have made my life what it is, made ME possible. As I said things are crazy busy and I am still standing here still writing this, finishing my tangerines. But now I am smiling. I may be busy and at moments stressed but I know I have the ability to face any challenge that comes my way because of my awesome support.
I know that my thoughts and emotions are a key ingredient in manifesting what I want in my life. That being said, I’m wondering if you know a strategy to keep myself at a high vibrational level? I find I get sucked down into the negative more than I’d like.
The true key to joy and happiness is through gratitude. Sounds simple, yes? Just be grateful for everything, and you will live in a state of bliss. Easy…
Let me break it down for you a little more.
The key to joy and happiness is gratitude, BUT, the key to gratitude is to be a master of your thoughts and emotions.
Let me give you an example…
You are driving down the highway and someone is driving exceptionally slow in front of you. You are heading somewhere and really just want to get home from wherever you were.
Now, you have a choice of how to respond to this.
You can choose to be annoyed, irritated, and begin the self talk of, “Why does this always happen to me? Look at this idiot in front of me, someone needs to teach him to drive. I wish this jerk would get over so I can pass him!” At this point you’re not feeling very grateful for this experience. And you certainly aren’t filled with joy.
You can choose to see this person in front of you as a gift. You can say to yourself, “Maybe I should slow down a bit. It is a beautiful day. Maybe this speed is a link in a chain of events geared toward helping me avoid an accident.” Now you’re feeling grateful and probably a little bit joyful as well.
The situation is the same in both scenarios, and you have the power to CHOOSE how you are going to respond to this experience. You have the power to choose to be joyful and happy.
This example can be replayed in ANY event in your life. You always have the power to choose your response. And your response is the key to your positive or negative experience.
THIS TAKES PRACTICE. And sometimes you may even need someone to remind you to stop and think about how you are reacting.
About the author: David Neagle’s core mission is to bring expanded awareness and Wealth Consciousness to as many people as possible, and to find greater ways of helping entrepreneurs and corporate sales professionals create massive cash injections more rapidly so they can lead their greatest possible lives and serve the greatest number of people. Learn more .
Frequently, when people are unable to reach their goals, they start to look for flaws in themselves, others, or their project. They might think, “What is wrong with me?” Or, “Why is it every time I try to move forward I have problems with this person or that person?” Or, they think, “Is this even the right idea? Maybe I have been wrong about the idea from the beginning.”
Sometimes people can even miss everything that is going right because of the fact that they are looking at only part of the information — the negative part.
This results in a loss of drive, focus, enthusiasm, and happiness. Chances are, if you are losing steam, there are some habits causing this that could benefit from being remedied. For example:
Perfectionism: A perfectionist sometimes gives up before even starting. Their standards are so high that starting new tasks is difficult because there is no way to master something and begin it at the same time.
Shoulds: Some people have come to believe there are absolutes guiding their life. For example: a person believes he or she should be an accountant instead of an artist. Or that other people should have done something different. Or he or she should have known better.
Same Wrong Way: People often think their success depends on their ability to do it the way others have done it even if they are completely unlike the others they are comparing themselves to. So they compare themselves to others, looking for what is lacking. Eventually, if you look hard enough, you can find it.
The simple but profound practice of gratitude is helpful in taming all of these beasts. When we remember to be grateful for who we are, the people we have around us, and the things we have, problems like perfectionism melt away.
It is impossible to be grateful and negative at the same time. Remember to tell yourself and others what you are grateful for, what is working and what positive difference you believe it is making.