1. Developing A Sense of Gratitude

    February 2, 2014

    Developing A Sense of Gratitude

    Sure, we all want to believe we are grateful for the things we have in this life, but how much do we truly practice gratitude on a daily (or even weekly) basis?  Being grateful for what one has seems to be a simple task, but surprisingly, for many people, it is not.  With the hustle and bustle of daily life, along with the development of new gadgets and gizmos everyday, it can be hard to stay grounded and appreciate the things that are a part of you life in the here and now.  Here are some tips for increasing (or developing) a sense of gratitude.

     

    Write it down – This might seem like a no-brainer; writing down what you are grateful for is simple.  However, it can be more difficult than you think.  First and foremost, you need to actually sit down and find the time to write.  As I stated earlier about the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it can be hard for many people to justify sitting down for a few minutes and write out these affirmations.  However, by keeping a visible list of things and people you are grateful for in your life, it can serve as a powerful reminder in times of need.  Whenever you are feeling down about life or struggling with some problem, you can pull out the list and remind yourself of just how many things you have to be thankful for.

     

    Letters of appreciation – Another great idea to help you feel more grateful about your life is to write a letter of appreciation to someone in your life.  You don’t actually have to send this letter if you don’t want to, but the act of writing down all the ways this person has helped you can send an important message.  First, it helps you realize that you are important and others do care about you.  And second, it allows you to take a moment to reflect on just how much another person was able to be there for you during an emotional or trying time in your life.

     

    Meditate – Getting in tune with your physical and mental states of being is another way to develop or strengthen gratitude.  Even sitting down for 10 minutes and focusing on yourself can help you appreciate how strong you can actually be.  Focus on your breathing, how it feels as it enters and leaves your body; focus on the physical sensations and the mental clarity that meditation can bring.  Learning to appreciate the amazing things your body can actually do helps you to feel grateful for health and well-being.

     

    Help someone in need –This can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be.  Maybe it’s a weekly standing date at the local shelter to lend a hand (or an ear).  Perhaps it’s volunteering once a month at the animal shelter.  Or maybe it’s simply helping someone with grocery bags outside the supermarket.  Whatever you do, no matter how large or small, the act of helping another human being helps you reconnect with your purpose in life and makes you appreciate the fact you can actually be of assistance to another person (or animal).

     

    Focus on what you have, not what you want – Sure, we all have wants in life.  We want to have more money, more time, a bigger house, a nicer car….the list could go on and on.  But instead of focusing on the things in life you don’t have, try refocusing your energy on what you do have.  For example, if you find yourself longing for more closet space in your bedroom and it’s stressing you out, think about the fact you are lucky to have your own bedroom – because there is someone out there sleeping on the floor (or worse, in a car or on the streets).  When you are upset because your best friend bought a new car and you’re still driving around in your clunker from college, think about that elderly gentleman who walks (rain, sleet or snow) because he can’t even afford a clunker.  When you keep the focus on what you actually have rather than what you don’t, you learn to appreciate the smaller (and greater) things in life.

    Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jstar/4345364420/

     

     

     


  2. How To Find Meaning In Your Day To Day Life

    August 31, 2013

    In search for meaning

    by Amanda O’Donnell

     

    Maybe when it comes to meaningful life you’re already set and have your goals defined. Maybe you have several things you’re working towards long term that you know will eventually bring you great life satisfaction. Maybe you’re raising kids and providing for a family. Maybe you have two years until that big promotion, or five until retirement. Maybe… Regardless if you’re lucky enough to have definite direction, playing out your daily life can be disheartening. Reminding yourself of your eventual accomplishments or the future enjoyment you’ll take from your life can get less and less easy. Your mind wanders, fills with doubt. What if this isn’t worth it? What if you never make it to the part of your life you’ve worked for? What if you’re wasting the right now?

    Finding solace in the everyday life can offer you relief from what can sometimes feel like the mundane passing of days and tasks. Here are some simple steps in the direction of your personal fulfillment.

     

    Remind Yourself Of Your Good Fortune

     

    Create a schedule or some system of expressing appreciation and thankfulness that best works for you. For instance set aside five minutes three times a day to sit and ruminate about the good things in your life. If your mind wanders and a good thing leads you to a less good thing and then a bad, refocus. Allow one good thing to lead to another good thing. Fifteen minutes a day might not seem long at all, but you’d be surprised about how many things you can give thanks for within a five minute of meditation. If you’re more comfortable writing the things down then do so. If you feel that actually saying the things aloud would mean a little more to you, then give yourself time in the morning to hear yourself say them. What might feel silly at first can really develop into a regular pattern of thought. Focusing your thought flow into a purely positive, appreciative stream (even if only for a few minutes) can make you more likely to naturally return to those thoughts later. You’ll find yourself thinking more positively about your life and situation, even when your five minutes are up!

     

    Make An Effort To Go Out Of Your Way

     

    Time and time again it’s been proven that people experience another level of fulfillment when helping others. It’s repeated back at us so often it’s become easy to write off this advice as cliched or empty. If you can’t see yourself taking all that much from an afternoon at the soup kitchen, then don’t spend an afternoon there. Sit down and really ask yourself what causes, groups of people or situations you have a vested interest in, and then think about what you could do to help. If you’re truly interested in the cause you’re helping, you’re more likely to know better how to help! And if you find yourself drawing up blank, then take it upon yourself to find something you have a passion for and make yourself of use. However, don’t think that helping people need always mean signing a volunteer list or setting aside three hours to hand out fliers on Saturdays. There are all sorts of ways you can lend a hand in your day to day life; take advantage of them! Bring a coworker coffee, hold the door open, ask someone who looks down how they’re feeling and offer an ear. When you start training yourself to consider others in various situations you’ll find yourself less focused on your own issues or dissatisfaction.

     

    Challenge Yourself

     

    Often feeling dissatisfied with your life or situation can just be a response to boredom. It makes complete sense. As your brain adjusts to the routine of your life and comes to expect certain daily things, the less stimulation you experience and the less chance for experiencing positive feelings! Some of the best feelings come from true accomplishment: setting out to do things we’re not entirely capable we can do and then doing them. You can challenge yourself and offer yourself these experiences in or outside of your daily routine. For instance, set personal goals for yourself in your daily work or at home. Assign yourself to create something. You haven’t read about something before? Do so! Set physical feats. Take weekend trips to places you haven’t been and do things you haven’t done and (better yet) are maybe afraid to do. Give yourself every opportunity to take something from your life and from each day.

     

    Author Bio: Amanda O’Donnell is a freelance writer for Zimmet Vein and Dermatology.

    Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/76029035@N02/6829334723