Doing Life Together
Doing Life Together
By Christina Abernethy
Instead of judging another mom on her parenting skills, we keep an open mind and believe that she’s doing the best she can.
Instead of staring at someone who “looks” or “acts” differently, we wave and say hello!
Instead of watching someone struggling to hold their grocery bags or push their cart, we offer to help them.
Instead of complaining about the things we hate so much, we start showing more gratitude for the things and people we’re thankful for.
Instead of ignoring the homeless man on the corner, we give him a cold drink and a snack.
Instead of saying “I’m fine”, we start reaching out and saying “I need help.”
Instead of making fun of someone, we give them a compliment to make them smile.
What if we take every day as a new day to improve ourselves?
A new day to be a little better than yesterday?
To be kinder.
To be more honest.
To be more caring.
To be more helpful.
What if this year is the year we start accepting and loving each other more?
What if we start changing the way things have always been?
What if we focus on building each other up and not tearing each other down?
What if we supported each other instead of walking away?
What if we all smiled a little a brighter and laughed a little more?
And what if we start today?
Christina is a dedicated wife, mother of three, and passionate advocate for people impacted by disabilities. She has coordinated events to fund research, supports and service dogs for families. She has served on local committees, coached an adaptive cheerleading team, and won awards for successful fundraising endeavors including those for “Team Bubba,” honoring her son with autism. She is the founder of Love, Hope, and Autism and is proud to be the coordinator for Changing Spaces Pennsylvania, a movement to build accessible restrooms with powered height adjustable adult-sized changing tables across communities to promote inclusion. She is working with legislators to pass a bill in Pennsylvania that would require such facilities in hospitals, airports, museums, rest stops, malls and more.
Christina also works as a Family Support and Community Engagement Specialist at Achieving True Self, supporting families like hers. Christina is committed to spreading a message of heightened awareness and acceptance of differences, ultimately inspiring hope. For her efforts, she won the ACHIEVA Award Of Excellence for Family Support in 2018 and in 2019 she was awarded a medal by the Autism Connection of Pennsylvania.
She is a two-time best-selling co-author, most recently including “You Are Not Alone: Stories, Resources and Hope From Autism Moms” -- a book that is filled with inspiring stories, helpful resources, and ultimately hope for families to let them know that they are not alone in their journey and that they too were made for more.
Yesterday was just another day. I had to pull myself out of bed, fight through the pain, soreness and tears while I got myself and my kids ready for the day. All I wanted to do was hide under my covers until these heavy clouds passed away, but that wasn't an option. I stood in front of my door, took a deep breath in desperation and perhaps with a tiny bit of hope that today might be different.
After I let out that long sigh, I proceeded to open my front door and what I saw was no short of a miracle. Look at the picture and see for yourself. Words cannot describe it and even this picture does not do it justice.
At that moment, I couldn't help but stop and take another deep breath, and breathe in hope and peace that transcends all understanding. Looking at this beautiful sky almost brought me to my knees (good thing I didn't drop because it would have been another problem to get back up :)
I have taken pictures of sunrises before but this one was different. Today was different. This sunrise painted the perfect picture of what I needed, way beyond the surface. There was my miracle! God knows how to touch those deep spaces in our hearts, those areas where no one can see but Him and sometimes He uses everyday things like a sunrise to remind us that He sees us. He sees me, all of me. And He sees you and all that you need.
As I stood there filled with awe, I was reminded of two things:
1. God's light is progressively and continually breaking through the heavy clouds in our lives, even when all we feel is the darkness that those clouds bring. God is fighting our battles, visible and invisible ones.
2. There's a bright and straight path on the horizon. We will experience the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living and even beyond. Our present sufferings are nothing to compare to the promises we have in Christ.
Can you see it? Can you see the light breaking through the dark clouds? Can you see the bright and straight path? As you look at this picture, I pray that you also see those things through eyes of faith and remember that "The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still." (Exodus 14:14).
We shall overcome... by the blood of the lamb and the words of our testimony. We. Shall. Overcome.
Blessings to you my friend.
Setting a goal is one thing that is relatively easy to do. The harder part comes when it is time to take action and reach your goals. Many people lack the willpower to do this and give up way too early. Are you that type of person or would you say you had sticking power?
Sticking power boils down to motivation, determination and drive. While numerous people assume that you need to have a certain strength to demonstrate these qualities, that is not true. While not everyone has these qualities born in them, they can be develop if you put your mind to it.
Having the willingness to learn how to develop these skills is going to have a huge impact on how successful you will be with your goals. Is your goal powerful enough for you to overcome obstacles?
If you answered yes to that question you are a huge step ahead of many other people. To learn how to become more determined and focused you want to start thinking in a more positive way.
You have to start believing in yourself in order to reach your potential. By using positive reinforcements you will start to believe what you are telling yourself each day. Honestly, if you don't believe in yourself how can you expect others to believe in you?
Using visualizations is another great way of developing your mindset and your self confidence. Once you can 'see' how you are going to look and feel your motivation will remain high. The minute you let self doubt creep into your mind you are travelling the road to destruction. When you think that something is not possible a shield goes over your eyes and you cannot see the right path anymore.
In order to win at goal setting you need to begin with an open mind. Set yourself mini goals that you need to reach in between. This way you are building stepping stones to your success. With each stepping stones you get closet to your main goal and your energy and determination is renewed.
How to you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! Start by breaking down your main goal into mini-goals. Then set stepping stones for each mini-goal, then for each stepping stones, set actionable steps you will take. Whenever you perform one of these steps, remember that you are doing something towards your end goal. In time, all of these small actions will build upon each other and they will help you reach your goal. Don’t forget to reward yourself as you are taking those small action steps.
Remember that some goals are huge and may take longer than one year to accomplish. There is nothing wrong with allowing yourself more time as long as you are working diligently towards it.
Most importantly, you don’t have to struggle alone. Create a support system of peers, mentors, coaches, and even resources to help you achieve your goals.
If you are ready to thrive in 2020, join us at THRIVE 2020 today!
Chou Hallegra, the founder of Grace & Hope Consulting, LLC, is a Mental Health & Ability Consultant specializing in stress management, suicide prevention, trauma recovery, inclusive practices, customized employment, Person-Centered Thinking, social skills development, and support brokerage. She is also a best-selling Author , Speaker and Certified Life Coach on a mission to help people rise above their circumstances so they can be more and do more in life. Find out more at www.graceandhopeconsulting.com
By Cherie Faus Smith
The months leading up to my 50th birthday were filled with emotion. One moment, I was excited and looking forward to the new decade. The next minute, I was filled with fear.
Age is just a number and it certainly shouldn’t define me.I tried desperately to see the cup half full. Time after time, doubt would creep in. I’d begin to feel extremely unsure of myself. Oh, the wondrous power of negative self-talk.
Then, I remembered a conversation with my mom many years ago. Her words of wisdom helped me see the light. She said that after turning 50, she no longer felt the need to ask for others’ approval, she felt more empowered in making decisions, and didn’t care what others thought of her.
What was I afraid of? After all, I have survived three abusive relationships. I’m a melanoma survivor. I live with an anxiety disorder.
Fifty should be a piece of cake.When the day I dreaded finally arrived, it was almost anticlimactic. To celebrate, my husband threw me a party with family and my closest friends. It was an amazing bash and to see so many people in one room having fun, sharing stories, dancing, and eating delicious food warmed my heart.
Nothing untoward happened. My spirit remained intact and all the jokes about turning fifty were kind. Looking at my loved ones around me as we celebrated, I could even see the years as awards earned rather than burdens borne.
I felt welcomed to my fifth decade.As I approached my birthday, I hoped I’d hit the milestone with grace. I certainly didn’t want to become a woman who sees an age spot or gray hair and freak out. It’s super easy to go down that dark hole and get lost in the stories we tell ourselves.
I choose to embrace the changes with my body and be grateful to be alive.
On the practical side, I’ve learned three things since turning 50:
Because I have a passion for supporting women, I created a Facebook Group called Sisterhood of Fabulous and Fearless Women. Would love for you to join.
We’re all entering a new decade with 2020. So whether you’re embracing a birthday or the new decade, will you share something you’ve learned in the comments, too? Or just suggest a place for a bra fitting. I’d love to hear from you.
Cherie Faus-Smith is a bestselling author, keynote speaker, & transformational coach focusing on women over 50. Her goal is to inspire women (like you!) to live life on their own terms. Cherie’s been a guest on Good Day PA and, most recently, was the keynote speaker at the YWCA's fashion show event to raise money for their Domestic Violence program.
She shares her experiences with surviving domestic abuse and being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder to inspire women to live life to the fullest, push their comfort zones, and thrive.
Find out more about Cherie on her website. Also, you can follow her on Instagram and Facebook.
By Karima Leslie
For those who suffered in 2019, you are not broken, you are breaking through. It's been a hard year. Physically, mentally, emotionally.
But the yearnings of your heart do not go unnoticed.
Your pain does not fall on deaf ears.
For those filled with dread by the new year, be careful not to let all that you've faced in 2019 fill you with anger or resentment or guilt.
If 2019 was filled with hardship, it's a feat in itself just to say you survived.
Be proud of that. Be proud of you.
You made it through so many challenges, so many hurts, so many unexpected events you wished you could have prevented. And the ache in your heart is not being ignored.
You are loved and being cared for in ways you could not even imagine; you only need to open your heart to that love again.
You are so strong and so brave and now that 2019 has come to a close know that this dark season you are in will eventually come to a close as well.
You will get through this.
How to Have a Better Year In 2020
I’m (your guest blogger Karima Leslie, Spiritual Life & Business Coach) excited to share a series with you on How to Have a Better Year in 2020. Each blog will contain resources & guidance to help you heal, recover, and flourish this year. You’ve faced challenges in your life and things are about to get a whole lot better. I’ll show you how.
January 2020: Learn to Ask for Help
Don’t wait until things get bad to ask for help. Waiting until your situation gets dire & desperate to ask others for help is like waiting until your teeth start falling out to go to the dentist. It’s never too late to get help but asking for help early on is a sign of wisdom, not of weakness.
It’s ok not to be ok. It’s ok to need help. You don’t have to go it alone.
Resources for Emotional & Mental Health Support:
Life Coaching & Mentorship
US2-1-1 Crisis support
Low Income Mental Health Services:
2-1-1 Crisis support
Canadian Low-Income Mental Health Services by Province:
Canadian Mental Health Helplines:
Resources for Financial Help:
USAmerican Index for Financial Assistance Programs
American Non-profit Food Assistance Programs
American Non-profit Medical Cost Assistance
Canadian Financial Assistance Programs
Canadian Non-profit Medical Cost Assistance
Certified Spiritual Life & Business Coach, Karima Leslie, provides one-on-one online and in-person coaching sessions to help women kill overwhelm, boost confidence, & conquer fear. She is currently running sessions focused on clarity for life direction, support in creating meaningful goals, assistance through life transition & changes, and encouragement in pursuing all that you want to achieve.
Founder of Arise and Thrive Co., check out her services & resource on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AriseandThriveCo/,
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/ariseandthriveco/ , or contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to book a free session and find out your next step is to making 2020 a better year!
What is the reason you set goals? Is it because all of your friends are or do you find that setting goals help to improve your life?
Goals can definitely help you improve your life and they can help you make your dreams come true. Let's look at some of the top reasons why goal setting is important.
Setting a goal can help you measure your progress. The minute you set a goal you become responsible for attaining it. You now have a place to start from and a completion date. This allows you to see how far you have come and how far you still have to go.
Setting goals can help with team building. When everyone involved has a common goal to work towards people come together and work hard to get the goal accomplished. By setting a team goal your entire business can become more productive.
Setting goals helps give you a sense of direction in your life and in your business. Having a clear and specific goal gives you a purpose; you have something to work towards. Who doesn't want to have something to look forward to?
Setting goals defines a purpose for you. This applies to both personal goals and those set by your employer. How many times at work have you tried to look busy? But when you have a goal to reach you are automatically busy all the time as you don't want to be the one to miss the goal.
Setting goals helps you plan out a method for reaching them. If your employer tells you that you have to finish a 20,000 word report by the end of the month, you don't want to miss your deadline. Instead you will focus on how to create a plan so that you make your deadline. If reaching your goal means involving other people to help you then you will figure out a plan to do so.
Setting goals gives you energy and determination. As soon as you set a goal your mind starts to think about them and this gives you increased energy and drive. If you know you have a goal to reach at work, you are more likely to wake up feeling energized and ready to tackle the goal each day. When you don’t have a goal, the thought of going to work each day is without purpose other than to supply you with a paycheck.
Setting goals gives you a sense of pride. Smart employers will know that when they give their employees goals they are filling them with a sense of urgency and pride. Companies that continually set goals for their employees often report that morale is much higher and that their productivity levels are high.
Goals provide you with measurements based upon your performance. This can be great for individuals to measure their progress as well as being a good way for businesses to ensure that their goals are on track. When a result is expected from you, you are going to automatically place more effort and focus on it to achieve it.
Goals can help team members bond together. When people are placed into teams each person is working towards the goal. No one wants to be responsible for not meeting the goal and this pushes people to work together and bond. Employees that do not always get along could benefit from being placed into a team goal setting event. Individual preferences will have to be put aside while everyone works towards meeting their goal.
Team goal setting can also help employers identify possible team leaders for future promotions.
Ready to set your goals? Grab your journal and get started today!
Chou Hallegra is a best-selling author, a sought-after speaker, a Certified Life Coach, and a multi-credentialed Mental Health and Ability Consultant. She is passionate about helping people rise above their circumstances and enjoy life to the fullest. Find out more at www.graceandhopeconsulting.com.
By Holly Miller
After almost two full weeks off of school and a really nasty upper-respiratory virus, I found myself unmotivated to start a project I so happily signed on for earlier when the world seemed a lot more bright, shiny, and promising; this blog. And every year I have to remind myself that ‘this is just how it is’ this time of year for me. As a teacher who also struggles with anxiety and depression, having my routine shaken up, spending hours of unstructured time alone, and then being thrust back into ‘the real world’ again after winter break can be really tough. And I know it can be so hard on my students too. After the lights are taken down and the cheerful trappings of the season are packed away, the world sometimes looks even darker than it did before the holidays.
And you would think that after over 30 years in academia, I would be used to this – having my routine come to a screeching halt and then having to re-start it again in the new year. But every new year presents the same main issue I always struggle with – starting again. Although it is never easy, I guess I have a good amount of experience in starting again (and getting 150 teenagers to re-start again with me when we return from break). While these are not groundbreaking tips, these are things that are tried and true and always help me struggle less when heading back to school after the winter break or just starting again in general. So whether you or your kids are heading back to school after some time off, here are some things to help.
1. Be prepared.
It always eases my anxiety by picking out my outfit the night before, packing my lunch, and knowing what I’m making for dinner when I come home from school. Having a plan helps push out some unease.
2. Ease back into your routine.
It’s so easy to get overwhelmed with things I need to accomplish. I allow myself some time just to go to school, put in a solid day, then come home and do nothing else. I try not to overschedule myself. I give myself permission to relax when I get home for the first few days back from break. While things need to be accomplished, giving a little downtime is absolutely necessary.
3. Plan something you look forward to.
One of my colleagues a few years ago started “Taco Night” in our group of teacher friends. Once a month, someone would take a turn to host dinner and we would all gather for a night of food and board games. It was fun to look forward to those dinners after the holidays were over. Something small like a movie night or allowing your student to pick a meal for dinner one night a week goes a long way.
4. Yoke unpleasant tasks with something you enjoy.
Getting back into a routine means getting back to things we don’t always love. I HATE doing dishes. (Yes, our house built in 1955 has never been updated to include a dishwasher). So I set my iPad up above the sink and watch Gilmore Girls while doing a task I dread. Pair something not so great with something enjoyable helps unpleasant tasks go faster.
5. Watch your self-talk.
Somebody once told me “speak to yourself as you would your best friend on their worst day”. I try really hard not to put myself down or beat myself up for things I didn’t accomplish. My mantra for teaching is “you get done what you get done, and whatever didn’t get done wasn’t all that important”. Our to-do lists are never-ending. So recognize good stopping places and congratulate yourself or your student for a job well done.
As we go into 2020, a lot of us may feel overwhelmed at the whole year ahead of us. Martin Luther King Jr. said “Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” I don’t know about you, but looking at the whole staircase raises my blood pressure. But taking the first step, that’s something I’ve done a hundred times and that something I can do again. I am looking forward to a year of blogging about mental health, education, and just being a human. And I just took my first steps into doing so!
While Holly Miller has eclectic passions, interests, and hobbies, she is easily summed up as a high school mathematics teacher who found a way to thrive despite her anxiety and depression. Her goal is to spread awareness about mental health, inspire those who struggle to see that they are not alone and show them that they can find light in even the darkest of places. She enjoys spending time with her husband Luke, their two dogs, two cats, and Russian tortoise. While she may not have many impressive credentials, Holly believes there is magic in the ordinary every day and that a simple life is a good life.
Holly can be reached email@example.com
It' easy to be grateful when things are going well, but do you keep that gratitude going when things get tough? Here are 3 ways to be grateful for the hard stuff. I also have a gratitude journal to help you cultivate an attitude of gratitude no matter what you're going through. Get it at http://bit.ly/gratitudejournal2019
We’ve come to the end of our mini-challenge, and we’ve covered quite a bit of information. You’ve learned why acknowledging, embracing and expressing gratitude is so important. You’ve also learned a few specific ways to begin a practice of gratitude in your own life. I’d like to expand on that as we end our challenge to provide you with a more in-depth list of helpful tips to tap into the power of being grateful. You can use these ideas as you move forward in creating your own routine.
Take a Gratitude Walk
Going for a walk is a great way to relieve stress and gain perspective. It offers a number of advantages. You leave your regular environment, get out in the fresh air and move away from distractions. It’s a form of physical exercise that comes with all sorts of health benefits. Walking can even be considered a form of meditation. It’s a fabulous way to focus on gratitude. During this particular jaunt, pay special attention to the things you encounter along the way. Chances are, you’ll discover plenty to be thankful for during your walk.
Make a Gratitude Collage
A fun way to acknowledge your gratefulness in a visual way is to create a gratitude collage. This process works in a similar way as a vision board. You can cut out pictures from a magazine or add personal photos. Your collage can simply be laid out on a poster board or you can get more creative and decorative. You can even keep your board electronically on Pinterest or some other app. The point is to collect images that move you to consider your good fortune. It’s a good idea to put your board in a place where you can see it or access it daily. You might even want to add to it to keep its momentum going.
Hold a Friendsgiving
Friendsgiving is like Thanksgiving, only with friends and chosen family instead of biological family. This special occasion is often held in place of traditional Thanksgiving for those who don’t have family physically nearby or who aren’t emotionally close with their relatives. Sometimes it takes place near the actual holiday. You can get creative, though, and hold your own special gathering, customized to your needs, any time you wish. A gratitude party or get-together can remind you of the people who are most important in your life and enhance existing bonds.
Look for Gratitude in Challenges
Let’s turn things around a bit. You probably know how easy it is to focus on the bad stuff. Sometimes we get stuck in the negative and allow it to weigh us down. That’s natural, but you can interrupt that cycle by consciously working to find the gratitude in life’s challenges. Look for the lessons or the silver linings. Be sure to write them down in your gratitude journal or make a note of them in some formalized way so that you can look back and remember the good that came from adversity.
One of the most impactful ways to gain perspective and be grateful for what you have is to help others in need. This can be through a formal volunteer effort with a philanthropic organization or it can simply be something like helping a neighbor you see who could use a hand with his lawn. No matter what the effort, you’ll reap the rewards when you pitch in to give to others. Try to do something to help someone else at least once a week, and you’re sure to experience a boost in gratitude.
Give these ideas a try. Research or brainstorm some additional ones on your own. Just get started so you can see just what a difference embracing a mindset of gratitude can have on your entire life.
We’ve talked about the process of writing in a gratitude journal and the kinds of benefits that activity can offer. Writing is a powerful process. Sharing your written words of appreciation with others can have an even bigger impact than journaling privately. Personal notes can really brighten a person’s day, and make many positive impacts in the lives of those receiving them and those giving them.
Writing Has Power
In a busy world, we can get caught up in ourselves and the things we absolutely must accomplish each day. It’s easy to forget to acknowledge the important people in our lives. It’s for precisely this reason that receiving a note of thanks or appreciation is so very meaningful. People simply don’t receive these spontaneous offerings on a regular basis. That’s why setting aside the time and taking the effort to write such a message is so powerful, for both you and the receiver.
Sharing Gratitude Strengthens Bonds
A personal note or message goes far to show you care. Words have meaning, but it’s often said that actions speak louder. The recipient of your note will be surprised to receive it. A positive surprise almost always improves someone’s day and mood. This can be especially impactful if you intentionally send your message to someone you know is going through a rough patch. Regardless, this small gesture will go far to strengthen existing bonds because it’s such a customized act. When people feel a personal attachment, they tend to experience feelings of closeness and meaning. Your written acknowledgement of their importance in your life will surely affect your relationship in a positive way.
Ideas to Get You Started
Your words of gratitude don’t have to be in hand-written form, though it truly is a nice touch that’s a rarity these days. You can send electronic correspondence, if you prefer. Your message doesn’t have to be long, either. Any written words of appreciation will be a start and can be quite meaningful.
Here are some examples:
***Grab my new gratitude journal and start cultivating an attitude of gratitude.
If you’re still on the fence about starting a practice of gratitude for yourself, I’d like to issue you a simple challenge. Just for today, find just one random thing in your environment to be grateful for. This is a low-stakes activity that can be a great way to jumpstart your pursuit of gratitude
What to Look For
It’s easy, really. There are things to be grateful for, even on the difficult days. In fact, it’s even more impactful when you discover little rays of light in the darkest times. You can look for anything within your daily routine that inspires you. If you don’t leave your home that day due to sadness or inability, perhaps the very roof over your head could be your source of gratitude. Even a beautiful flower out your window might be enough to influence your mood for the better. Find just one thing and focus on that.
What You Can Expect
Let’s be realistic. Taking a minute to notice one thing you’re grateful for in your day probably isn’t going to completely change your life. However, it could be a significant jumpstart toward moving you in the right direction. This is especially true when you’re going through a difficult period. Turning a long-standing low mood around even slightly by acknowledging one small good thing can be quite meaningful. Remember, our thoughts influence our feelings and behaviors.
Sometimes all it takes is one small catalyst to spark major change. Some consider this the “baby steps” philosophy. Every habit or practice begins with one small step. Taking a moment to be grateful for just one thing in your environment today can improve your mood, even just a little bit. You may notice a weight is lifted from your chest or that some of your anxiety has eased. Hold onto that feeling. Notice whether your perspective improves after reflecting on gratitude just once today. This lift in your mood and brightened outlook can lead you to feeling better, which then influences your actions in a positive manner. You might just notice it’s a bit easier to find that one thing to be grateful for tomorrow.
Give it a try. Find one tiny spark to light the flame of gratitude today. Be intentional in noticing the effect it has on you. You may find it’s simpler and more rewarding than you realized to begin your gratitude practice.
*** Are you keeping track of what you are grateful for? Here is a journal to help you do that!
You’ve probably heard of both meditations and affirmations, though you may be uncertain of just what they are and how they work. These two practices are actually quite simple to add to your routine or even to use in a particularly stressful moment to gain perspective. Let’s take a look at how to use gratitude meditations and affirmations to boost your spirit anytime.
What Are Meditations?
A meditation is really just a practice of taking some quiet time to be mindful and focus your attention on a particular thought or issue. It’s a moment of silent reflection that focuses you on the here and now. Gratitude meditations involve focusing your thoughts on being grateful for the particulars of your life or situation, even the ones that may not seem so positive. Your gratitude journaling can be considered a meditation, even. Any contemplative, purposeful time spent focused on being grateful can fall into this category.
What Are Affirmations?
Affirmations are short, concise and positive sentences that are meant to purposefully affect the ways in which we think and feel. These can be in both conscious and unconscious ways. What we think greatly influences how we feel and behave. Introducing these positive messages into your life on a regular basis can help you to internalize them and begin living accordingly. Gratitude affirmations focus specifically on being grateful and appreciative.
How to Use Them
Both meditation and affirmation are easy to put into practice. They can be used almost any time and anywhere. When you think of meditation, a long, intensive ritual may come to mind. In actuality, you don’t need to spend a lot of time meditating in order to reap the benefits. Simply sitting quietly for a few minutes and contemplating on what you’re grateful for can help to center you and to provide new perspective, which often will lead to feeling better. If you want something more structure or have more time, you can look up guided gratitude meditations online or grab a meditation app to try. I personally use Abide and Headspace.
When it comes to affirmations, a good practice might be to combine them with your gratitude journal. Write down positive messages that apply to your life and help to inspire or motivate you. Perhaps you want to keep them in a separate journal or store them online. Then you can pull out your collection of affirmations for a pick-me-up when you need one.
Gratitude meditations and affirmations are simple tools that offer a big return. They take only a few minutes to practice, and you really don’t need any special equipment. Give them a try when you feel you could use an injection of gratitude in your life.
***You can write you affirmations in your gratitude journal.
Once you get into the habit of contemplating what you’re grateful for each day, it’s time to consider making it a written activity. This can be intimidating for people who don’t like to write or who feel they may not have time to dedicate to such a practice. In all honestly, it really doesn’t take much more time to write it down than to simply think on what you appreciate, and you don’t need strong writing skills in order to jot down three sentences. Let’s see if we can’t make the process seem less stressful. There truly are some amazing benefits that come from the physical process of creating a record of gratefulness.
More About Gratitude Journals
While it’s called a “gratitude journal”, it’s actually a tool or a record. You don’t have to write in a paper journal. The important part is that you take the time each day to record a few things that make you feel fortunate. Doing so can actually help to manifest more positive things. Writing down what you’re appreciative of each day brings that sense of gratefulness to the forefront. It allows you to focus on the positive, helping you to spot opportunities you might otherwise have missed. Keeping a gratitude journal gives you a written record to pull out and look back on any time you’re feeling less than fortunate. It can provide you with motivation in the toughest of times.
Benefits of a Gratitude Journal
There are many benefits to keeping a gratitude journal. Instilling a writing practice in this way ensures that you maintain a focus on positivity. Sure, sometimes bad things may happen, but this overall emphasis on finding the good can help to provide you with the resilience to keep going. Your stress levels will decrease as you begin embracing an attitude of gratitude. Plus, the act of writing can be therapeutic in itself. Writing also helps to give you a different perspective on things that you might not see as readily without engaging in the process. You can identify patterns and insight into your life that might help you to find opportunities and to grow.
Tips for Using Your Journal
The most important thing when it comes to a gratitude journal is consistency of practice. Some journal twice daily. Others prefer once. Regardless, it will only be effective if you use it regularly. One of the best ways to help yourself want to use your journal is to choose a format you enjoy.
Don’t force yourself to write in a journal by hand if you prefer to use electronic methods. You can keep your records in a simple word processing spreadsheet or use one of many apps that are available for this purpose. On the other hand, if you are inspired by a beautifully-bound paper journal, find one that speaks to you and start writing your thoughts down immediately. No matter what you use, keep it handy by your bedside or on easily accessed devices.
Turn your routine into a ritual. Make it a process that feeds your soul. Incorporate your morning coffee into your journal writing or light a candle with a lovely aroma to accompany your routine. Just make it yours.
A gratitude journal can be an insightful and life-changing tool. Remember, you only have to write three simple things you’re grateful for. There’s no need to make it complicated. Start your record keeping practice today and see what it can do for you.
One really easy way to get started on a gratitude practice is to make a habit of counting your blessings both morning and night. You don’t even have to write them down, as in a gratitude journal, if that seems too overwhelming. Simply taking a few minutes when you wake up and before you go to bed is enough to begin cementing this new practice into your routine. Before long, you’ll be easily noticing that blessing abound. Here are some tips to help you begin.
Easing into any habit is usually the best approach. By making it easier on yourself, you’ll be more inclined to continue moving forward. So, try not to put too much pressure on yourself to come up with grand examples of gratitude when you’re just starting out. Just appreciating the bed where you’re starting and ending the day can be something to add to your initial list. Sometimes simply recognizing a tiny blessing can have a big impact.
Add It On
A helpful method for remembering your new gratitude habit is to add it on to your existing routine. Whatever you normally do in the morning and night, be sure to include a few minutes to think of what makes you feel fortunate. For example, if you have tea every morning, this would be a good connection to make. Sitting down for tea will soon become a reminder to contemplate on your three things.
Create Visual Reminders
If you find yourself forgetting to do it or skipping out on your new task, add some visual cues to your environment. Post-it notes are great for this. Stick one on your nightstand. Add another to your bathroom mirror. Technology comes in handy for reminders, as well. Set an alarm on your phone so that you don’t leave the house or fall asleep without taking time to consider what makes you feel thankful.
Turn It Around
You can also try the opposite. Turn complaints around into something positive. Maybe you wake up with a sore back and don’t want to get out of bed. It may seem obvious, but reminding yourself that you’re in overall good health and that you have a safe place to sleep can do wonders for your outlook. Try to find the silver lining. It really works.
A good habit can be jotting things down during the day as they happen. It only takes a few seconds to make a note of what you feel grateful for in that moment. You can reflect on it later during your quiet bedtime routine.
Hopefully, you now see how getting into the habit of recognizing the good thing in life really isn’t all that difficult. A few small changes to your routine and you’ll find it’s actually quite easy to implement this practice.
Gratitude can be simply broken down to appreciating the good things in your life. It doesn’t always seem simple, though. When things are hectic or stressful, finding the silver lining can be challenging. However, learning how to embrace gratitude can significantly boost your happiness. Being grateful offers a host of other benefits you’re probably not aware of, too. Let’s take a closer look at the concept, ways it can improve your life and how to practice it.
There are many definitions of gratitude. Some people believe it’s a feeling or emotion. Others look at it as more of a mood. Still, some folks believe gratitude is a personality trait a person exhibits. These can all be correct. In essence, gratitude elicits satisfaction and appreciation in a person through feelings, actions or even inherent qualities. However, even those of us who may be more inclined to feel grateful on a regular basis through our glass-half-full-optimism likely need to work on evoking such an outlook. Gratitude can be viewed as a practice or something you perform regularly. Most people practice something because it benefits them. This is true of gratitude. As with other practices, you’ll get better at demonstrating gratitude the more you work at it.
Benefits of Embracing Gratitude
There are many benefits of gratitude; many of them have been scientifically proven. Once you begin to understand these, chances are good that you’ll see why it’s so important to develop a grateful mindset. Gratitude can have a positive effect on both physical and mental health. Research has shown it to improve relaxation, sleep quality and energy levels. Being thankful for your blessings can enhance your emotional wellness. You’ll deal better in crisis situations and find you’re more resilient when you’re able to look on the bright side. This can contribute to better relationships, too. Appreciating the positives in life can simply make you feel happier.
Ways to Practice Gratitude
Recognizing your blessings may not come easily at first, but there are some ways to help make it a habit and a regular part of your routine. One of the most convenient and impactful methods for cultivating appreciation is through keeping a gratitude journal. In this practice, you’ll write down three things each day that you’re grateful for, which makes it easier to notice and recognize those good things. Meditation has also been shown to help. Also, making an effort to thank someone each day, for even the smallest thing, opens your eyes and heart to abundance. Giving back and doing good for others can provide tremendous perspective, as well.
Now you have a better idea of just what making a concerted effort to count your blessings can do for your life. Embracing and expressing gratitude are more important than many of us realize.
What gratitude strategy will you practice today?
Do you find yourself looking at a glass as half empty instead of full? Do you tend to look at the things in your life that are going wrong instead of those going right? You can train your brain to go from negative to positive. This video is all about helping you change negative thoughts into positive ones and create positive pathways in the process.
Need help in this area? Then email firstname.lastname@example.org.
**This video was initially recorded in our women group.
Anxiety is something many of us deal with on a daily basis. However, there are individuals who are debilitated by constant thoughts of anxiety; so much that the daily activities of life are impacted.
While medication is available to help with anxiety, it doesn’t have to be the first line of treatment you seek out. Some medications come with lots of adverse effects and cause the user to build up a dependence. If you are seeking out natural ways to calm your anxiety- those without lingering negative effects and which are likely to help you cope better in the long run, then let’s explore some options.
Sleep Enough At Night
Lack of sleep causes your brain to go haywire- playing all sorts of tricks on you and decreasing your emotional tolerance as a whole. You may find that following even just one night of sleep loss your performance will decrease, and you will be prone to anger and agitation. Strive for a minimum of 7 hours nightly to keep your brain chemistry on point.
In our house, we use Melatonin and Lavender essential oil to help us fall asleep and stay asleep.
Exercise is one of the best medicines we have at our disposal, as there are few things that are comparable to the range of health benefits it offers. Exercise, similar to sleep, helps to naturally manage anxiety and depression, by increasing levels of feel good and stress busting chemicals known as endorphins.
Anxiety if partially worsened by high levels of adrenalin, and even though exercise does temporarily increase these levels, the endorphins temper its effects and leave your mood on a high for hours afterwards.
Earlier this year, I bought myself a full-body vibration platform and it has been one of the best investment I ever made. It’s perfect for me, especially due to my limited mobility, and get this: 10 minutes on this thing equals to 1hr of jogging!!! I can’t jog but I can stand or sit on this thing for half an hr. I even have my walker around it for stability. You can check it out here.
Eat Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate has numerous benefits on health, and is not your typical sugar laden variety. Dark chocolate is particularly effective in reducing the impact that the stress hormone cortisol has on our body, including precipitating anxiety.
Its mode of action is unique, as it relays relaxation from the stomach to the brain. Similar to the way that you feel nervousness in your stomach, the vagus nerve gets activated when you eat dark chocolate.
Try To Get Sunlight Daily
People in colder climates have been observed to develop a condition known as SAD (seasonal affective disorder), which comes on during the winter months when sun exposure is limited.
Symptoms of SAD include depression, irritability and increased anxiety, all of which resolve upon exposure to sunlight. If you do live in such a climate, and are unable to get exposure to the sun when winter comes, artificial light therapy also helps improve symptoms.
Consume More Omega-3
Omega-3 fatty acids are strong anti-oxidants, and may help to stem the cause of your anxiety. Typically, the two hormones that are elevated during anxious moments are cortisol and adrenalin, both of which respond negatively to the influence of oxidation.
Omega-3 fats combat excessive oxidation and are anti-inflammatory, helping boost production of serotonin and dopamine, and helping keep your anxiety response normal. I like THIS brand of Omega-3 supplements.
These are just a few natural ways you can combat anxiety. Start with one or two of these and add more as you are able.
You don't have to say, "yes" to everyone and everything. Work through the fears that lead to people-pleasing and build a strong self-construct. Here's a great resource to get you started: https://payhip.com/b/fWxt
A couple days ago, my daughter and I did a Facebook Live and talked about many of the things that our family does for fun. We also discussed why it's important to be intentional about building and cultivating relationships within the family.
What does your family do for fun?
How do you cultivate relationships within your family?"
There’s a growing number of people struggling with their work-life balance. A large percentage of American workers feel their job demands that they should be available 24/7 since they can check in from anywhere using their smartphone. This constant availability takes a toll on both a person’s mental and physical health. Humans need to socialize, relax, and care for themselves to stay happy and healthy.
Here are four simple ways to improve your work-life balance:
It’s easier said than done, but avoid checking your phone for work matters after hours. This constant checking may have become a habit you wish you’d never started, and if you are honest, practically all work-related matters can wait until the next day. It’s key to unplug from work when you get home each evening and on the weekends. Let your coworkers know you won’t be returning emails, calls, or texts regarding work after hours so that they can prepare for this change.
If you can’t seem to get all of your work done within your working hours, you aren’t alone. An alarming number of Americans work more than 50 hours a week, every week. Before you go to your request a reduction in your workload, take a careful look at how you are spending your time. Track it for a few days and see what’s causing you to stay late each night and come in early each morning. You will be surprised by the ways you can change or eliminate distractions and other time-wasters.
Take A Stay-Cation
Another vital way to establish a healthy work-life balance is to make use of all of your vacation days. A large number of US workers lose essential time with their family or with themselves because they don’t take all of their vacation days, or in worst cases, don’t have any vacation days at all. If you feel uncomfortable about using all your allotted holidays in one long vacation, schedule the occasional day off here and there to enjoy “stay-cations.” Breaking it up like this will give you the mental health days you need while ensuring you don’t come back to an overwhelming mountain of work.
Train Your People
Many of us grew up hearing, “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.” Unfortunately, this gets ingrained to the point where we feel we can’t delegate any tasks lest they end up back in our laps in worse shape than before. If you have employees you manage or freelancers you outsource to, take the time to train them well. Make sure they know exactly how to do things. Of course, this will take time upfront. But, once they understand your requirements, you’ll be able to hand off more work and give yourself some slack.
Feeling out of balance?
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Check it out at www.iamenoughinchrist.com
We need to create a safe place for men to share their feelings and seek help for mental health when needed. Our physical health affects our mental health. We need to seek help for all of us, not just part of us. We need to do a better job at supporting caregivers. If you are a caregiver, we are here for you. Reach out to us today!
Here are the websites I mentioned:
Stop living in your past.
Yesterday is gone
Take control of your present and live on! #RiseAboveYourCircumstances
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Chou is a best-selling Author, a Transformational Speaker, Certified Life Coach, Counselor and Consultant on a mission to inspire people to rise above their circumstances. She is passionate about helping others achieve emotional wellness, reach their full potential, and live fulfilling lives. You can contact Chou at email@example.com