Gratitude, thanks, paying forward, positive relationships, happiness

Just as I was leaving my office last night, I discovered THE most beautiful bouquet of flowers sitting beside my door awaiting me.
I was so taken back by the thoughtfulness of whomever had arranged this lovely gift, and when I opened the card and read that it was from my clients who participated in our 13-month Group Therapy for Women, I felt a profound sense of gratitude for them, and for the work that I have the privilege to do as a psychotherapist on a daily basis.

 

Both I, and the members of this group, felt that we’d come to a natural end to the sessions over the previous month, and last Wednesday was our final one. These wonderful women decided that they wanted me to know that they were thinking of me on the first Wednesday that we didn’t meet, and the action they took to show me that also reinforced what had been said the week before: that our work together over those many months had been very meaningful to each of them.

But, as I’ve said to them many times, it’d been equally meaningful to me both as their therapist, and as a human being. We all felt grateful for one another, indeed.

So, what I’m writing about today is gratitude, and its ability to help us maintain a wider perspective of our lives, especially when life is particularly challenging and, even when it feels downright disheartening.

Psychologist Shawn Achor, author of “The Happiness Advantage” and “Before Happiness”, and who is at the forefront of a relatively new movement in the field known as “positive psychology”, presents research data that supports the idea that taking just a few minutes each day to write down 3 things that you’re grateful for that day for a period of 21 days can actually change the way you view the world, and your life, in particular.

In other words, rather than just focusing on the negative aspects of your life, research suggests that over this period of time, you’ll begin to notice more of the positive ones. (The most important part of this exercise is that you need to identify 3 uniquely positive things for each day; they can’t be the same day after day, for example, “grateful for your good health”.

Instead, your list of 3 needs to be different each day, and in this way, the mind is ‘forced’ to seek out the positive aspects of the day that might’ve been casually overlooked due to a narrow, or habitual, focus on what’s wrong with your day.)

He argues that the purpose of this exercise is not to ignore or minimize the hardships one might be experiencing but, rather, it’s to bring a more balanced view of one’s life into perspective.

In doing so, we can avoid ‘Eeyore” syndrome, that is, a feeling that all is bleak (and it’ll likely remain that way), and will be able to see with greater clarity the things that perhaps need to change in our lives but also, and more importantly, as Achor suggests, we can see what exists that we can truly feel grateful for.

In the end, maybe a successful and happy life might be as simple as adopting an attitude of gratitude.

So, take the challenge, and see for yourself if you feel more positive about your life after 21 days of looking on the bright(er) side!

by SUZANNE ST. JOHN SMITH

How to Change Your Life in Just 5 Minutes a Day

There are many things that can make us happy: reading, healthy food, listening to good music, running and taking walks every single day, coffee with a friend… Why aren’t we doing all these things? The usual answer is: “there’s not enough time.” Well, time is a factor we can’t change. There’s no way to make a day last for 26 hours, so we’ll use that extra time for extra pleasure. We have to work with what we have, so the question is: how do we squeeze in some happiness in 24 hours?

The problem is in the approach. There are people who work really hard, have a great connection with their families, and still find time to prepare their meals and exercise in the morning. Their days are not longer; they just use the time more wisely. Can you find 5 minutes of your time for an activity you like? Those 5 minutes can really change your life. Think of it as an investment in your personal growth.

5 minutes a day. Everyone has them!

Changing Your Life in 5 Minutes a Day

During these 5 minutes, you’ll be doing something important: building a daily habit of appreciation. It will be like a daily meditation that will push you forward through life… hopefully, with a smile on your face. You can’t meet all friends, read a book, watch a movie, or exercise in 5 minutes.

However, this habit will teach you to appreciate the time and make a wiser decision. You won’t even notice how you’re finding more time for those pleasures in future. Let’s see how it’s done. These are all things you can do in 5 minutes:

Take a Regenerative Shower

Have you ever felt the healing effects of water? You’re feeling exhausted after work. You don’t have a single atom of energy left in your body. After a shower, you feel much better. Water does have such an effect on us, but we have to be aware of it if we want to experience it in its full glory.

Take that shower. Use a luxurious soap that makes you feel special. Relax. You have these 5 minutes to yourself. You’re important. You deserve to have a special moment in the day. Feel how the water washes the stress away. When you’re focused on the process of relaxing, you realize that this routine is more powerful than you assumed.

Be Grateful

Tomorrow, get up 5 minutes earlier than usual. Those 5 minutes don’t make a difference in sleep, but they make a huge difference when you’re awake. Before you get the cup of coffee and before you do anything else, just sit in quiet. Close your eyes and think of something you’re grateful for. You have your friends, your family, your home… the list can go on and on. Focus; don’t let your brain be drawn towards negativity. At the end of those 5 minutes, take a long, deep breath and be grateful for the air you breathe.

Do that every single day! When you start the day with positive thoughts, you have more strength to face any challenge that comes your way.

Set Priorities

Here is another thing you can do in five minutes: think of the most important things you need to do in order to live a happy life. Maybe you already have a schedule and your priorities are listed there, but this is a difference. Set long-term goals that would make you happier than you currently are. Do you want to start a family? Write that down. Think of everything you need to do in order to make that happen.

This practice will keep you focused on the big picture, which can get blurred under all daily errands.

Call a Friend

How long can a simple conversation take? Call a friend, every single day. Just ask how they are doing. Listen to them. Share your worries and happy moments. Texting is overestimated! When you’re actually talking to each other, you’re sharing real emotions and special moments.

Start Doing Something!

You have 5 minutes on your hands and you’re wondering what to do? Start a book. Even if you have only 5 minutes, you’ll read a page. Sign up for an online course! There are tons of learning opportunities you can explore, and the best part is that they are free. You think you don’t have time, but sign up anyway. Tomorrow, you’ll explore the course for 5 minutes, and it won’t take long before you make a strong commitment. Use that little time to take any action.

When you do something you enjoy, you suddenly realize that every moment of the day is precious. Instead of spending 5 minutes stressing over tomorrow’s assignments, you can use that time to relax. Instead of taking a shower just for the sake of being clean, you can really enjoy those moments and be alone with yourself. Even if you decide to do every single one of the practices above, it will take 25 minutes of the day. You have that time. Repeat your favorite thing every day!


Eva Wislow is a writer and career advisor at CareersBooster.com. She is on a mission to help people find their true calling. When she is not working, you can find her reading with a cup of coffee.

BY EVA WISLOW

How Ready Are You To Take On New Challenges Of 2017?

The as the New Year unfolds, we leave behind the worries and challenges of 2016 but bring the lessons we learned with us.

The year 2017 is another chance for us to create a story in the new chapter of our lives. This is the time to discover new things and explore new possibilities. However, along with new opportunities, 2017 is also a year full of new challenges. So let me ask you, how ready are you to take on the challenges of 2017?

If you not sure yet if are ready for the challenges, here are some simple tips all of us can make use of to prepare ourselves as the New Year starts.

Have Some Time For Self-Reflection

We don’t need to be in hurry all the time. When times get tough, sometimes, we just need to stop and ponder. Set aside time for self-evaluation. This is the time where we ask ourselves several questions with can help us determine your personal mission and our state of mind.

Self-reflection is especially useful when we are at our lowest and darkest time. We have to go to the deeper part of our soul to re-evaluate our goals. What we will discover about ourselves will help us come up with a set of rules and guidelines on how we are going to face the challenges ahead of us.

Be Creative

This year, it is time to think differently. Oftentimes, tough challenges need a non-traditional solution. You just have to summon your creativity and innovativeness.

Let us try to look at adversities at different angles. Maybe it is not as difficult as it may seem. Maybe it’s our approach that makes them difficult. Start from simple things and practice creativity. A simple garage makeover for our new home will help us exercise our creativity. It would be easier for us to think outside the box if we start from our simple daily activities.

It Is Ok To Let Go

There is a time that the best solution to overcome challenges is to let go and adapt. Overcoming challenges does not necessarily mean that we have to push our hardest to take control of the situation, there are times that we just have to go with the flow and let things happen.

When things go out of control and let us allow things to happen naturally, and more likely, things will work out better. Letting go means freeing ourselves from unnecessary sufferings which can bring us to a more peaceful life.

Chase Success But Be Guided By Your Happiness

Success is not as fulfilling as it may be when we are not happy. We’ve seen this in movies, people who gave up everything in life to chase success but in the end, they ended up still unhappy. Success and happiness should be on the same page to find fulfillment in life.

To be happier this 2017, we need to chase success as guided by where we will be happy. We want to achieve our dreams but chasing for our dreams won’t be easy. There will be trials, but what is important is that we chase our dreams because that is where our happiness is. And whenever there is happiness, there lies our success.

Last Words

None of us have an idea what lies ahead as this year starts but it doesn’t matter whether we have different struggles to take. We need to face it whether we like it or not and the outcome really depends on how well we handle the situation.

The tips mentioned above are just a few tips which could help us get a head start but what we can do is not limited. It is still up to us on how we approach every situation. What is important is that we learn from them and we keep our heads up as we face every challenge that comes.

From  : PICK THE BRAIN

Experience Inner Peace

Inner Peace. Isn’t that what we’d all love to experience consistently as we weave our paths through everything life gives us? The good news is that it is far simpler to attain than many of our outer (material or physical) goals. The bad news is that simple isn’t always easy! Attaining inner peace is not easy because it means replacing old habits with new, and that requires dedicated commitment. But the benefits are absolutely worth the effort.

Inner peace gives you the ability to live your life with a sense of happiness, satisfaction and fulfillment which is not disturbed or influenced by outside events. How do you acquire it? By living your life your own way, not how others think you should. By not worrying about what others think of you – we all judge others (both positively and negatively) according to our own values, but if we try to live our lives in a way which honours somebody else’s values rather than our own, we’ll always have a little gnawing discomfort going on deep inside.

To experience inner peace, we also need to be able to forgive and to let go of guilt. Forgive yourself and forgive others. Feeling guilty about past actions won’t change them and won’t make anybody feel any better (either you or the person whom you’ve hurt). Do what you can to put things right, resolve to do better in the future and move on.

Likewise, letting go of anger or grudges will bring about a surprising sense of peace. Think about it – how does holding onto these negative emotions help you? And do you think they hurt those against whom you hold them more than they hurt you? Not at all. They are your emotions and you are the only person whom they can harm.

Of course, it can be very difficult to forgive someone who’s hurt you, but what I’ve come to realize is that most people don’t maliciously set out to hurt others, and those who do are deeply unhappy themselves. The motivation behind their action was most probably some kind of fear rather than deliberately wanting to cause hurt or pain. And thought of in that context, it’s easier to let it go.

And with a little bit of practice at forgiveness, you may even find yourself getting less annoyed or angry with people in future. When you can shrug things off and not take things personally (it’s really about them, and not you at all), you’ll have a greater sense of inner peace. Our happiness is determined by how we think about the events in our lives, rather than by the events themselves. Take charge of your thoughts and you take charge of your emotions.

To achieve inner peace, you also need to let go of worry. Hmm, another tricky one! Worry is similar to guilt. Worrying about what might or might not happen is completely unproductive, and totally destroys your ability to enjoy the present moment. A great shame that, as the present moment is all we really have.

So, how do we learn to let go of worries, guilt and anger? Well, the first thing is to become consciously aware of what we’re thinking whenever we feel worried, guilty or angry. Notice what’s going on in your inner dialogue, and acknowledge that it’s your thoughts about the external event that’s causing you to feel the way you do, and not the event itself. Then reframe your thoughts to reflect what’s going on around you in a more positive light. Whenever you catch yourself thinking the old thought, banish it immediately and replace it with the new one.

“No-one can create negativity or stress within you. Only you can do that by virtue of how you process your world.” — Dr Wayne Dyer

This will take a lot of practice but with patience and persistence you will develop a lighter inner dialogue that promotes a feeling of well being and inner peace, and the world will feel like a far better place to live in!