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.
Any kind of power is a magnifier. One main source of power comes from our financial standing. However, commensurate with financial power is moral power, which is a power that has indelibly shaped our world by bringing out both the best and the worst in people, individually and collectively.
It is not helpful to simply avoid money or spiritual knowledge so as not to be corrupted by it. This only leaves people who are less thoughtful in charge of our world and our souls. But how do we move forward on our life paths in ways that both support our spiritual advancement and ensure that we cause more good than harm?
After a number of personal and private events that have pointed to the repeated misuse of power by spiritual leaders, I have been thinking hard about how we spiritual seekers can be more responsible with our own power.
While the misuse of power is disturbing wherever it shows up, it is particularly disturbing when it involves those people who are ostensibly meant to be guides for our spiritual development.
We expect these leaders, consciously or unconsciously, rightly or wrongly, to show us how to be good people—people with refined inner consciences. We assume this will be demonstrated through both their examples and their teachings.
They do not need to be perfect—in fact, a spiritual teacher’s human limitations can be their best teaching tools—but they at least need to be above the worst acts of exploitation and abuse. Shouldn’t they have figured out how not to perpetrate hate crimes, support extreme injustices, and harm innocent children?
Unfortunately, as it seems, many have not.
And others, while not making the worst of mistakes, still falter and blur ethical lines.
All people make mistakes in the course of their lives. All people deserve to be forgiven and to have the opportunity to set things right. But if you have harmed people, isn’t that a sign to return to the foundations of your spiritual practice? Isn’t one of the foundations of spiritual practice acknowledging your mistakes and truly making amends?
Again, I do not think that spiritual leaders need to be perfect paragons of morality—in fact, I think that this perception is in part what creates these problems.
My questions are simply these: How does someone who commits themselves to a spiritual path come to act in this way? What makes it possible to grow in spiritual insight and power and still be able to justify the exploitation and abuse of others? And, for all of us who are on a serious path of spiritual development, is there anything we can do to ensure that we do not also go down the same road?
The answers are many and nuanced, but the main issue is perhaps the result of spiritual versus psychological development. While true spiritual development requires a continual practice of ethical and moral growth, it is possible to grow in spiritual skills without growing psychologically. This means the person gains spiritual skill and power but does not have the psychological development to hold this knowledge.
There is a longstanding split between the psychological and spiritual approaches to development, each one wanting to stake a claim on “the best approach.” Many spiritual people believe that their spirituality is an advanced stage of development that puts them above the need for psychological refinement. Many others don’t even know the different uses and purposes of these two different systems. It is perhaps more beneficial to see the two as mutually supportive approaches where one without the other not only limits our growth, but also sets us up for significant problems. If, for example, I am a gifted healer and medium but I have not yet resolved my inner misogyny or contended with the shadowy aspects of my sexuality, then I might function excellently as a healer and medium but still be challenged by my human beliefs and unacknowledged desires.
Many mystical traditions account for the need for psychological growth as well as spiritual development. In these cases, most often the psychological maturity of the person is seen as a necessary precursor to their use of certain spiritual tools. However, in a world where many of the teachings of the mystical schools have been lost or corrupted by unhealthy power dynamics, the seeker is often left without a clear path.
I have seen many spiritual people abandon their psychological development, believing that they have expanded beyond it, only to be diminished by that lack. They overly identify with the spiritual part of their experience, which allows for their human drives to operate more and more in shadow—sometimes with the complete denial of their existence.
While I believe that the secular and the spiritual leader are very different in many ways, I also believe that one key problem they have in common is how their power distorts their view of what is ethical. This power, especially when the ego attaches to it, can result in many unhealthy distortions that lead to harmful behaviors.
Spiritual leaders face the unique pitfall of being able to easily rationalize—to themselves and others—that their behavior is sanctioned by greater powers and is therefore justified. But this is simply their ego. More dangerously, followers of such leaders are all too likely to project their own disowned spiritual power onto the leader, making it even easier for that leader to believe in the propriety of their actions. This puts the spiritual leader—or anyone on this path—at a great risk of losing their way.
Things really start to get out of hand when the spiritual person starts believing that they are the same as the spiritual wellspring they draw from, which tends to result in their losing the connection to their human nature. And, because transcendence of the human experience is a part of most spiritual paths, it is very easy for the spiritualized ego to “jump the gun” and see itself as more advanced than it truly is.
The problem can be succinctly termed “spiritual bypassing”—when we avoid our human suffering with spiritual tools, skills, or mindsets. The remedy is to engage in rigorous psychological development—to emphasize the experience of the more fundamental and human aspects of the self so as not to lose sight of them while spiritually advancing. When we are truly on the other side of our human issues I have no doubt that we will know.
We can protect ourselves from gross oversights by tempering our advanced spiritual development with humility. If we recognize our limitations and the perils of advancing without attending to our limitations, we are more likely to act in a measured way, build a solid foundation, and not seek spiritual power that we are unable to wield in a healthy way. Unfortunately, there has been so much oppression of people’s spiritual nature that it is challenging to hold both humility and empowerment. This is perhaps one of the greatest challenges of the era.
We also benefit from not seeing the tools or the skills as the destination. For example, a specific diet or giving up one’s possessions are tools to create more awareness about how one operates or where one’s weaknesses are—but this does not make one more spiritual, nor does it ensure that we are immune to the misuse of spiritual power, just as being psychically open or knowing a lot of spiritual information does not imply a level of moral spiritual development. If we confuse the skill or knowledge with the development thereof, we have fallen prey to our own ego and we are at risk. If we support others in believing this confusion, we have slipped even further. The solution is to stop our obsession with the spiritual light show, the profound wisdom, or the latest uncovered gift, and get on with being a good person.
Three of the most powerful things we can do to keep ourselves awake as we grow and develop are to put ourselves in situations where our motives are questioned, to put ourselves in environments that are not “spiritual” by design, and (like everyone else) to put our spiritual practices in action by living a regular everyday life. In short, we remove the things that insulate us from knowing the truth about ourselves. We ask to be shown our limitations. And we live side by side with our brothers and sisters.
My prayer is that all the spiritual teachers and seekers continually find their way back to their hearts, that they have the courage and humility to see their transgressions, and that they have the willingness both to make amends and return to the source.
Whether you are already trained to work with people, or you are curious if coaching might be a good addition to your day job, learning how to coach people can be the key to your financial prosperity. Adding coaching to whatever you do is an easy way to increase your monthly income.
Even if you have no intention of ever calling yourself a Coach, learning to coach will help you gain fundamental interpersonal skills so that you can be better at whatever we are doing –parenting, sales, managing coworkers, or facilitating healing or transformational work. Developed from foundational helping skills from the field of psychology, Coaching teaches us how to best facilitate our interactions with others when we are trying to assist them.
Coaching skills will help you be more successful in almost any situation – in life or at work. If it seems like everyone you know is becoming a coach, it is because they are tuned into the opportunities that integrating coaching into their lives can open for them and they are pursuing them.
When I first started my career as a personal development coach, I added coaching to my healing and helping practice and it set me on the path to the success I have today. Learning how to coach opens the door for more success and better results. Increase your monthly income, strengthen your conflict-management skills, and boost your marketability by becoming a Coach.
The best thing about learning to coach is, you already have ½ the toolkit! Being a coach is founded in human experience and the ability to listen. Coaching training helps us realize how our human experience can best be used to help guide others. It teaches us how to listen more effectively so that we can better understand how to be of assistance.
You need that other ½ of the toolkit to really be effective. You need to learn the do’s and don’ts of the foundational strategies of coaching so that you can easily move past your own limitations to understand your client’s process. The second ½ of the coaching toolkit is about training your natural ability so that you can get the best results possible.
Life coach training teaches you how to build structure into your work with others and how to convert this structure into financial success. If you are already working with others in a helping/healing capacity, coaching helps you make this work more accessible and effective. First, because it helps you qualify the results that you can get for your clients and second because when it is joined with business acumen, it allows you to see how to leverage your work more effectively.
The Integrative Transformation Coaching training is designed to teach you how to bring coaching work to what is most important to you – whether this is the growth of your practice or being more effective in a specific of your life. Click here to learn more about how Integrative Transformational Coaching can help you be successful so that you can increase your monthly income.
Self-care helps me succeed and bring my best self to my work with you. I love what I do and all the lives I touch, but there is no denying that my job can sometimes be intense and draining. I put large portions of my self into my clients, my business, and my loved ones, which, if I’m not careful, leaves little time for me. After years of working without adding self care to my life mix, I realized that if I didn’t take care of myself one of two things would happen: either I was going to compromise my health or I was going to compromise my results in my business.
Self-care became my battle cry and I am now a steadfast devotee. Through practice, I’ve come to understand that, although practicing self-care can sometimes be difficult to fit into a busy day-to-day schedule, it’s merits are undeniable and necessary. When I made my practice of self-care a priority, both my health and my ability to get better results in my business increased. This was a win-win for my life. My strongest suggestion to help you be your personal best is: Self Care, Self Care, Self Care! Let yourself succeed. Self Care is an investment in your personal resources. Whether the achievement of your goals requires a lot or a little of your resources, you need to take care of your most important tool – yourself. Here is a list of 10 self care techniques you can use to be your personal best.
Movement and nutrition are essential to self care. Learn to lovingly and joyfully move your body. Dance, do yoga, stretch, walk or engage in more vigorous exercise. Feed yourself everything your body needs to be healthy. If you’re not sure what this is, start by drinking more water and eating more greens.
Both of these experiences have a positive effect on our overall wellbeing. They help us de-stress and relax. Animal’s playful and loving ways do wonders for our moods. And taking a walk in the woods can help us feel connected to the larger world. If you can’t get outside, get a plant, or two or three.
We’re wired 24/7 these days. We wake up and almost immediately look at our smartphone or TV. If you haven’t already put yourself on a technology diet, I’d suggest doing so. Limiting the amount of time you spend looking at screens can have a fabulous effect on your quality of life.
It takes two to tango. If you’re in a negative mindset, then chances are the people around you are too. Take some time to work on your mindset first. Bring more positivity into the way you think and speak. Then choose to be around people who reflect your new mindset, whether they are new acquaintances or not.
Nothing pulls your well-being down more than un-cleared anger and resentment towards others. The only person suffering from your negative thinking is you. People can be short-sighted and can sometimes make mistakes. Yet, holding onto the mistakes of others is the biggest mistake of all.
Spending time with people you love and doing fun things with them – especially things that include lots of laughter – is a wonderful way to relax and connect two important aspects of self care.
Obsessive thinking and worry are so commonplace that people think it’s normal to act and feel these ways. While common for sure, these are not healthy patterns. Learn to stop yourself when your worry or catastrophic thinking gets the better of you. Simply say stop and focus your mind on something more pleasant or productive.
Being of service is a powerful way to bring good feeling and wellbeing into your life. Service to others gives us a sense of purpose in the world. So, take a weekend to volunteer at a food bank, community garden or your local Habitat for Humanity. You’ll put some good juju in the world.
Sometimes you just need to tend to your emotional backlog. If you have a lot of built up emotion or if you’ve been dealing with a lot of stress, the best self care might actually be to throw a fit. Lie down on your bed and kick and hit the mattress with your arms and legs. Scream if it feels right. You’ll feel like a million bucks afterwards.
Nothing changes your attitude like gratitude. Take a moment every day to write or state at least three things that you’re grateful for. So many of us have so much to be thankful for. Remember this is a form of self care.
Download or print out this handy list and tack it somewhere you will see on the daily!
Oh, what tangled webs we weave! If the purpose of personal growth is to see ourselves and others clearly, then lies definitely get in the way. When we lie, we get out of integrity with ourselves. We could almost say that we lose a piece of ourselves in the process of lying.
Some people like to convince themselves that small lies don’t really hurt anyone. But what is the real price of being dishonest? Distance. When we are dishonest with others it is like saying we don’t want to see a part of someone or we don’t want them to see a part of us. It is a judgment that the other person is not strong enough to deal with the reality of things — or that we aren’t, either.
I think it is safe to say we are all sick of hype and distortions of the truth that are in our face every single day. The bottom line is that, no matter what you do for a living, being truthful earns you big points with others. If you tell the truth, people can count on you — not to be sold to — but to help them make the choices they need to make to get what they want.
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!
The day that I reached the 300k mark in my business I didn’t feel happy. I had been frequently attending fancy events staying in fancy hotels –you know the kind with really large water features, perfect gardens, and extremely polite staff –the kind who say “can I do anything else for you miss” right after they have done anything for you. I had a book published. People were seeking me out for my expertise daily. I was on my way to the big time!
I did not feel happy because it was not in alignment with who I am. I love healthy organic food, funky boutique hotels, intimate and powerful events. I love things that feed my soul not just my wallet. I am in business so that I can go to a balmy tropical island in the winter and feel the sand on my bare toes, so that I can continue to learn what is going on on the cutting edge of my field. I am in business so that I can create quality. I truly believe that business can have the power to change the world and what is more, I know some key things that entrepreneurs like you are missing when it comes to creating your very own business.
I was not paying attention the way I needed to be. I was too busy doing. The answer to fix this problem is coming back into alignment.
Alignment is when who you are and what you are about is unobstructed by thoughts, emotions or experiences. A simple way to say it is: You are thinking, feeling and doing what is right for you. Not right based on what your ego might want but right for you from the place deep inside –the deepest truest part of who you are.
A definition of alignment is a position of agreement or alliance.
It is also possible to describe alignment by the saying that the inner and outer are in agreement. They are mutually supportive. One of the ways that we can tell if there is alignment is through the experience of resonance.
While resonance can be used to direct ourselves in other ways, it can help us now if we are on the right track by giving us that feeling of “home” or “rightness.”
In physics, resonance is “A phenomenon that consists of a given system being driven by another vibrating system or by external forces to oscillate with greater amplitude at some preferential frequencies.”
Again, another way to put this is that when you are in the presence of something or someone that is resonant there is an effect that happens. Something on the outside of you resounds with something on the inside of you letting you know that there is an agreeable relationship.
You can use this experience to help you make choices in all parts of our life.
Here is the trick. Often, we do not have contact with the deepest and truest part of ourselves and so we need to develop that as well. Here are some ways to listen to what is truly important about who you are and what you are desiring:
As with most consciousness skills, observation is the starting point. They require that you pay attention to what is often overlooked. Slowing things down or taking pauses throughout your day can help immensely when growing these skills. And these skills can help immensely in growing a more successful and fulfilled life.
Like this topic? Join me for more on alignment and resonance on this weeks Real Answers Radio. The show is live and I would love for you to call in with your thoughts and questions!
You have probably heard me say this a bunch by now but your life is what you make it. If it is lacking passion then, it is your job to bring it back. Sometimes, this requires a mental shift. Sometimes, this requires taking action to create more of what we want in our external life. A little of both can go a long way.
Recognize that passion wears different faces:
Pay attention to what a passionate life really means to you. Maybe it looks different in different parts of your life. Maybe passion at work looks different than passion with your lover, or passion about a topic. How do you know you are passionately engaged with each aspect of your life? Write it out so that you can clearly see when things are what you want them to be.
It is hard to feel passionate when we are under lock and key. If we are afraid to be vulnerable, we lose out on feeling connected to ourselves and really known by another person. Sometimes, showing love and showing joy can be as vulnerable or even more than when we need to show weakness. Are there places where you have a hard time being vulnerable? How can you open up those parts of your life?
Clean up your messes:
Baggage weighs us down and holds us back. When we live with a lot of unresolved stuff it stops us from being present and passionate in our lives. What grudges are you holding onto? What pain from your past is it time to let go of? Find a way to clear your past so that you can be in the present.
Let go of limiting beliefs about what is fun and what is not:
Work is not fun. Vacation is fun. Even if we don’t totally buy into that idea the vestiges of it –like I was mentioning in my note- are there nonetheless. If we think more about an attitude of passion or joy instead of an experience giving it to us then we might be a lot happier. What does an attitude of passion or joy mean to you? How can you cultivate it?
Express your anger:
Anger and passion are on the same continuum. If you have totally shut down your anger, it will be very hard to experience a passionate life. This does not mean that you should be ranting and raving all the time. It just means that if you tend to say that you “never get angry”, you might want to take a look if what you are really saying is you don’t let yourself feel angry or that you are actually being apathetic.
Make time for it:
Everything important deserves its time. If you want more of something in your life, make a point of scheduling time to bring more of it in. Just by answering these questions and making some quick changes you will see a passion infusion in your life.
How long has it been since you leaped out of bed and excitedly entered your new day? Have you stopped thinking that was even possible? Being passionately connected to our lives is possible and here are some practical ways to do it. Join Dr. Kate along with special guest Sexual Empowerment expert and thought leader, Amy Jo Goddard as they discuss ways bring passion to every area of how you live on this weeks Real Answers Radio.
Like many of the personal development terms that have become common in our vernacular, life purpose is something that many people talk about and feel they should have and often times wonder how they would know if they had it.
While some people might think of life purpose in terms of fate or destiny, I prefer to think of it in terms of the expression of your whole self. In other words it is less important that we know it and more important that we are it.
In truth that is a little bit of a stretch, there is no way for us not to be our purpose. However, we can feel more or less connection and pleasure from it. And, that is the reason for us to “find” our life purpose.
In my Make It Happen Guide, I write, “Whatever you want or dream of you can have it. It is in you. You are the one you have been waiting for.” One of the problems with life purpose is that people go looking for it. Then because they are looking for it they feel perpetually disconnected from it. It becomes something beyond themselves that they must find instead of a natural expression of who they are.
So, connecting with your life purpose is really about connecting the deeper and truer aspect of who you are and to do that you can do the following.
I love this topic of life purpose and I look forward to talking with you about it more on my weekly radio show, Real Answers this week.
This week I want to talk about personal power and empowerment. What does it mean be in your power? What gets you there, what holds you there, and what gets you off track? When you know more about these dynamics you are able to harness really deep forces for creation and transformation.
What does it mean? The term empowerment was popularized in the 80’s. It was based on the idea of “giving to, or increasing, the strengths of other groups of people whether those are educational, spiritual or otherwise.” Personal empowerment then became a buzz phrase for when we “give” ourselves back our own power or when we feel our own sense of power without the need to hold it over another.
Like many expressions of the personal development field, the phrase personal empowerment states something in a way that helps us understand how to shift our perspective. We have the ability to do or say things that will give us more power. We have the ability to hold our power in a way that is more about our deep respect for our self than it is about holding it over or using it on another. Personal power and our own empowerment is the result of our knowing we have the ability to choose and in influence the many aspects of our life.
What gets you there? If we have the ability to empower ourselves then how do we do this? What are the practical everyday types of things that you can do to feel confident and able to move forward with whatever you want to create in your life.
From an energetic perspective, being in our power overlaps with other experiences such as being centered, grounded, connected to our self, or clear (other expressions that help us understand HOW to be more powerful.) When we cultivate these states, we cultivate a stronger sense of personal power.
What holds you there? Once we have discovered our own power, we soon find that we can just as quickly lose sight of it. To stay connected with our power, we need to put ourselves in environments that support us and learn how to support ourselves. We need to need to take care of ourselves in the deepest way possible. And, be more and more aware of the situation in which we lose touch with our personal power.
What gets you off track? Standardly, what gets people off track are the core patterns that disempowered them in the first place. Somewhere along the line, you were hurt while being in your fullness and this had you take a dramatic action to try and protect yourself. Once we have reclaimed our power we are most likely to let it go when we face replicas of these past events. You can easily find out what gets you off track by figuring out what you are afraid of or afraid of having happen.
Why is this really important? Staying connected to your personal power is foundational to being able to create the life and business that you want. Without it, we do not know how to see each situation as an opportunity and each moment as a choice. This limits what we can create and often leaves us playing the role of the victim rather than the role of the victor.
What is personal power and how can you connect to it and use it to propel your life? This week on Real Answers Radio, Dr. Kate discusses how personal power is linked to being able to create and manifest what you want in your life. From this perspective, tools for cultivating personal power are one of the most important things we can learn. Tune in to explore what being empowered really means and what you can do to step for fully into it.