Thursday, October 29, 2009

Three Keys to Unlocking Your Thankfulness for All Things

By Julie Marie Rahm

Last week I suggested a gratitude habit as a way to feel happier. The question that often follows that suggestion is "How can I be thankful for ALL things?". Here are three ways.

The first and easiest key is to be thankful for the good things in life. This is a great way to begin a gratitude habit. Master the first key before moving on to the second.

The second key is to begin looking at the setbacks, difficulties, and disappointments in our lives and start to find some thankfulness for them, too. After all, wouldn't life be dull without them? Being tested as we ride the rollercoaster of life helps us grow and expand into our full potential. When we take steps toward embracing our pain, it transforms our experiences into something more manageable and meaningful. This illustrates how the results we get in our lives depend on our responses to circumstances rather than on the circumstances themselves. We have a choice in the way we respond.

The third key is to replace reacting with creating. When something happens that you perceive is bad, can you turn it around? Answer these three questions: 1. How is this event a gift for me? 2. What is it I really want? 3. What is wonderful in my life right now? "Are you kidding me?" you may ask. Try this. Every time you hear yourself grumbling, follow it with a statement of gratitude. For example, "I had to park far away from the mall and will have to walk a long way with my packages - and I am grateful for strong legs and the exercise I am getting on this walk." Or, "I just broke the kids' habit of cereal before bedtime and the first night my husband is home from deployment he offers the kids cereal - and it is good to have him home and to have a husband who loves our children."

The practice of thankfulness is not living in denial. Rather, it is an antidote to negative feelings. We can choose to meet our situations with open hearts instead of dwelling on frustrations. We can accept what comes our way and be grateful for the opportunity to grow while still taking appropriate action.

Carry the three keys in your "tool belt" and you will always be prepared to unlock your gratitude.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Feel Happier in 10 Minutes or Less

By Julie Marie Rahm

Having a tough day? Remember the notepad in your "tool belt"? It is time to break it out and begin writing. The best recipe for feeling better almost instantly is listing everything you can think of for which you are grateful. Pause every day for two weeks, eight times a day and write ten things for which you are grateful. After two weeks, throttle back to four times each day for the next two months! Be specific and think of as many new things as you can each day.

After being grateful for 80 specific things a day for three days your list will get very interesting. It may read something like this. I am grateful for being alive another day; for clean sheets; for a soft bed; for two legs to get out of bed and walk to the bathroom; for clean, hot water; for a clean shower; for clean, soft towels; for a clean toothbrush and toothpaste; for being able to brush my own teeth; for a choice of breakfast food; for ant-free food; for green grass; for breezes to cool the temperatures.

At some point you run out of your own things and become grateful for things on behalf of other people. Your focus moves from yourself and your family to others. You may be grateful for the new home your best friend just purchased, or the business success your brother has had, or the health of your neighbor's new baby.

When you run out of other peoples' things, the real magic begins. You start to think of what you will have and what other people will have. Your list starts to read something like this. I am grateful for the quick recovery from surgery my brother will have; and for the sales my friend in real estate will make this month; and for the dream home our friends will buy.

Build thankfulness into your life and see your world change. Pay attention to people for whom everything seems easy. Good things seem to continuously flow their way. Being thankful for all things is their secret. Whatever happens they are continually happy with their lives.

I have personally made this gratitude exercise a part of my life. It has been a magical journey! And, I feel great every day.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Five Must-Have Tools for a Mindset Tune-Up

By Julie Marie Rahm

The way you think is fundamentally responsible for the results you get. It's true. Your thoughts form the beliefs you have. Your beliefs create the expectations you have. Your expectations drive the results you get. Life really is that simple. You get to choose your thoughts. The tricky part is that you have about 60,000 thoughts each day, most of which you do not even know you are having, because they occur in your subconscious and unconscious mind. So how do you ensure that your thinking is aligned with the results you want? You equip your frame-of-mind "tool belt" with these five "tools":

1. A Hammer. Use your hammer to hammer out thoughts that make you feel badly. If you are not feeling good it is an indicator that your thoughts are not aligned with what you want.

2. A Flashlight. Use your flashlight to illuminate the thought behind the way you feel. Once you identify the thought you can trade it for a slightly better-feeling thought. Keep trading up until you feel good again.

3. A Magnifying Glass. Use your magnifying glass to find what is right and good about your life right now. Through the magnifying glass what is good dwarfs everything else.

4. Vice Grips. Use your vice grips to hold your thoughts on all that is right and good in your life. Take time to appreciate what is in your grips. What you appreciate appreciates.

5. A Notepad and pen. Use your notepad and pen to record your thoughts and feelings. Pause throughout the day and write down ten things for which you are grateful. Gratitude is the best remedy for feeling better fast and keeping those good feelings!

Equip your "tool belt" with these "tools" at all times. When bad-feeling thoughts creep in you will be prepared to be happy again by tuning up your mind and tuning out the negative!
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