Saturday, July 30, 2016

A Dozen Reasons Why You NEED to Keep a Gratitude Journal

If you’re not keeping a gratitude journal yet, maybe these snippets from scientists and leading thinkers and publications will jump start your practice. There could easily have been 100 snippets here … but the point isn’t to read about keeping a gratitude journal … the benefits only come when you DO it.

The Gratitude Miracles Journal grew out of my personal intention to practice gratitude and combines all the science I could find with the easiest, fastest way to embody gratitude. It will be available from mid-August. Follow this blog by email for the release announcement. 
After completing six-weeks of using this journal daily, I can only say "Wow!" I'm an optimist so things seldom exceed my expectations. This one has. So, I hope you'll try it ... whether it's this journal or a different one, the practice is powerful.

The BIG One: Be Happier. The best way to reap the benefits of gratitude is to notice new things you’re grateful for every day. Gratitude journaling works because it slowly changes the way we perceive situations by adjusting what we focus on. While you might always be thankful for your great family, just writing “I’m grateful for my family” week after week doesn’t keep your brain on alert for fresh grateful moments. Get specific … Read more here: The Science Behind Gratitude

Gratitude Makes You Love Your Life. When you live your life in gratitude, you maintain an awareness of all things that are good in your life and focus less on what’s not working. When you acknowledge what is going right in your life, it’s impossible to become stuck in negativity. Gratitude keeps you thankful, happier, and more positive. Read more here: 6 Ways to Love Your Life More.

Attract More Good Stuff. Appreciation is one of the highest emotional states you can experience. When you cultivate gratitude, you’re able to feel true joy and contentment, no matter what you have or don’t have in your life. And since the Law of Attraction states that like attracts like, when you’re grateful for what you already have, you will naturally attract more for which you can be grateful. Read more here: 6 Daily Gratitude Habits

Be Healthier. Studies have shown that people who regularly practice feeling thankful have a leg up when it comes to their health. Robert Emmons, a psychology professor at the University of California at Davis, has been a leading researcher in this growing field, termed “positive psychology.” His research has found that those who adopt an “attitude of gratitude” as a permanent state of mind experience many health benefits. Read more here: A Dose of Gratitude

Greater Success. Science tells us that people who are thankful for what they have are happier and reach their goals with greater ease. Your future health and happiness depends largely on the thoughts you think today. So each moment of every day is an opportunity to turn your thinking around, thereby helping or hindering your ability to think and feel more positively in the very next moment. Starting and/or ending each day by thinking of something you're grateful for is one way to keep your mind on the right track. Read more here: The Many Benefits of Expressing and Receiving Gratitude

Higher Energy. In adults with neuromuscular disease, a 21-day gratitude intervention led to higher energy, more positive moods, a greater sense of connectedness with others, more optimistic ratings of their lives, better sleep duration, and better sleep quality (Emmons). Read more here: The Benefits of Adding Gratitude to Your Attitude.

Teaches Self-Discipline. One of the biggest struggles writers deal with is the ability to sit down and put pen to paper, even when they don’t feel like it. Starting off slow makes it easier. A gratitude journal can have a double-whammy effect in this case, teaching you to be thankful for what you have while also making you learn to discipline yourself to do a task for a few minutes at a time. It’s a great way to learn self control for any aspect of your life.

Improves Psychological Health. Gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, ranging from envy and resentment to frustration and regret. Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., a leading gratitude researcher, has conducted multiple studies on the link between gratitude and well-being. His research confirms that gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression. Read more here: 7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude

Less Physical Pain. Indeed, it seems there are few conditions or examples in which gratitude doesn’t appear to have a positive effect. A psychologist from the University of Birmingham noted in 2013 that the “list of potential benefits is almost endless: fewer intellectual biases, more effective learning strategies, more helpfulness towards others, raised self-confidence, better work attitude, strengthened resiliency, less physical pain, improved health, and longevity.” Read more here: 5 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude

Makes People Like Us. A five-minute a day gratitude journal can increase your long-term well-being by more than 10 percent.a1,a2,a3 That’s the same impact as doubling your income! Read more here: 31 Benefits of Gratitude

Sleep Better. And perhaps the most popular practice is to keep a “gratitude journal.” As we’ve reported many times over the years, studies have traced a range of impressive benefits to the simple act of writing down the things for which we’re grateful—benefits including better sleep, fewer symptoms of illness, and more happiness among adults and kids alike. We’ve even launched our own digital gratitude journal,, here on Greater Good. Read more here: Tips for Keeping a Gratitude Journal

Ability to Focus Improves. In today’s society, keeping a gratitude journal is a must for all up and coming Career Girls. In her latest book Thrive, author (and powerhouse) Arianna Huffington explains the huge role her gratitude journal had in propelling her to success, and honestly, it makes perfect sense. Read more here: Gratitude Journal - First Step to Success

Saturday, July 16, 2016

My New Backyard: A Miracle

Click here for video.
Week 3 of Gratitude Miracles ended yesterday … and, fittingly enough, with a miracle.

I moved to Grass Valley a little over a year ago. It’s a lovely area … tall pine forests, lakes and more cultural activities than any one person could possibly do in a normal week. Last year I was too busy refurnishing the house (I had downsized drastically on my last move, including all my furniture) and getting organized to pay much attention to the postage-stamp, bare dirt back yard fringed with solid ivy.

As the rains ended this spring, I started paying attention to the yard which borders on the office/pool area of the funky, mobile home park where I live (I liken it to camping in a forest … operative word: affordable). A friend was visiting one lovely day and I invited him to help me clear the yard of the ivy. He really got into it and started clearing some of the office lot that borders mine.

When I realized how much that extra space opened up my possibilities, the wheels started turning.

I realized some time ago that I have a “Photoshop mind.” It works in layers. I never have a clear idea of what the end point will be, but, if I take the first step … the first layer … then something calls me to the next one. Well, my first layer was figuring out what to do with the ton of rocks and mosaic yard art I had moved. (I had room for rocks but not for furniture.)

I’ve always wanted a rock garden so the pile of rocks were moved one-by-one to a point just beyond my lot. I figured if someone complained, I could always move them back. My local grocery store was selling some large pots for a very reasonable price so I put one of them in the midst of the rocks. A Japanese maple planted in that pot made a great focus point and boundary marker … and was also moveable, just in case.

And, that’s the way it went, one layer leading to the next. Yesterday probably wasn’t the last layer, but it was the one that made me realize I now had a real outdoor living area, including a moderately enclosed area for qigong so I wouldn’t feel like I was in a fishbowl, a table for eating or potting plants, a bright conversation area, and a rock/succulent garden altar complete with a rather beaten up but beautiful Quan Yin.

As I was sitting admiring the yard yesterday, I thought back over all the yards I’ve had and realized that this one is absolutely the best. It fits me … shady places to sit and enjoy the breezes or read, a place to meditate and do qigong, tiny spots of color and greenery that don’t overtask my brown thumbs … and close enough to the wifi that I can sit outside and work.

Even with all of that, It wasn’t until I was describing my yard to a friend this morning that I realized it was a miracle. (Mainly because she told me it was one.) 

Not only does it make me happy, it adjusted perfectly to all the yard stuff I’ve been carrying around for far too long, and it called synchronicities into being … from my friend who cleared enough ivy that I could see what might be, to a yard sale that offered me a dozen round stepping stones that were exactly what I didn’t know I needed, and five English laurel bushes that the previous owner had planted in a perfectly straight (and perfectly legal) line in the middle of the yard and are now transplanted to a graceful circle (outside my lot boundary) and will someday form a privacy hedge.

My friend reminded me that miracles are easy to miss. We have to watch for them and feel immense gratitude for them. Because I was working to pull this yard together, I didn’t think of it as a miracle. I forgot all the magic that went into it … the unused available space, the perfect mixture of trees that provide shade at all times of the day, the impulse to save way too many yard items in past moves, and my own willingness to take this step-by-step approach to creating exactly the outdoor environment I was longing for.

Above is video of my back yard miracle. I can hardly wait to hear about your miracles.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

INVITATION: PRACTICE Gratitude: the Experiment

Studies show that people who practice gratitude, feel happier, healthier and more successful. 

You're invited to try the Gratitude Miracles experiment for 21 days at no cost.

It will take about 2-5 MINUTES per day.
Simply subscribe using the box to the right and you will receive an email with the link to your complimentary pdf journal.

(If you don’t have enough time right now, 
please don’t try the experiment.)

Life is a do-it-yourself project.
No one can do it for you.
Same for gratitude.

Gratitude creates miracles.
(Not the walk-on-water, win-the-lottery
type of miracles ...
the unexpected-delights-that-make-you-happy-to-be-alive type.)

Only you can define what’s a miracle for you,
but if it makes you say, “Oh, Wow!” with a smile on your face,
it probably is one. Count it!

In the 21-day experiment, we think you will discover 3-5 (probably more) miracles that definitely make you smile and say, "Oh, Wow!" (Do you remember that those were Steve Jobs' last words?)

If you want a longer explanation of why it's important to practice gratitude, go to the page "Why Practice Gratitude?"

(Your email address will never be sold or used for any other purpose than this project.)

Monday, July 4, 2016

Gratitude and the Hero/Heroine's Journey

Click for more about this image.
 She doesn't call it that, but I believe this passage from Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love is a perfect description of the hero/heroine's journey fueled by the practice of gratitude (highlighted in yellow).

She states:

"I've come to believe that there exists in the universe something I call "The Physics of The Quest" — a force of nature governed by laws as real as the laws of gravity or momentum.

And the rule of Quest Physics maybe goes like this:
If you are brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting (which can be anything from your house to your bitter old resentments)
and set out on a truth-seeking journey (either externally or internally),
and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue, 
 and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher
and if you are prepared – most of all – to face (and forgive) some very difficult realities about yourself... 
then truth will not be withheld from you.
Or so I've come to believe."

 If you haven't read Eat, Pray, Love or her newer book Big Magic: Creative Living beyond Fear, they are both incredible reads.

Click here to see at
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