gratitude (9)

I believe sleep is like a therapy session when we get in a loop to unbuckle all the days' frustrations and trauma. Time to check out from the activity of the day. Just like a restart button to prepare us for tomorrow. When I wake up the following day, I expect to be both mentally and physically awakened. This will give me the right attitude to go through the rest of my day. In meditation, they usually say how one wakes up is a significant factor in deciding how one goes through the day.  A famous Indian author also shared some wisdom on waking up in the morning feeling fresh and energized. 9339655453?profile=RESIZE_400xHis enlightenment was that it's not really about the hours of sleep or the sleep quality. It is our quality of living that determines how peaceful we're feeling each morning rise. He advised that we focus more on enhancing our quality of life than increasing the quantity of sleep we have. When we work hard and take care of our health, we sleep better at night. Appreciating life, exercising, and creating good pre-bedtime routines also affect how peacefully we'll feel waking up in the morning.

Appreciate life

So often, we tend to take life for granted. We start living as if the next day is guaranteed to us. But it is not. Life itself is a gift. The more we get to understand it, we start appreciating it more. Now when we appreciate life, we look at each morning with a different lens of understanding. In such a perspective, we learn to smile with gratitude as we open our eyes to each new day. We're not waking up to stress or lack, but living in the moment with gratitude to what's already there. We should appreciate life more for us to have more peaceful mornings.

Monitor your nighttime routines

Everything we do before bedtime determines the quality of sleep we'll have. Drinking too much water before bed will give us many trips to the bathroom during the night. This will affect our sleep cycle and have us feeling not well-rested in the morning. Certain foods take more time to digest. To avoid feeling bloated and suffering from heartburn, it is advised to eat 4-5 hours before bed.  Drinking caffeinated drinks before bed increases our brain activity. This will keep us tossing and turning for hours after turning the lights off. Smoking is also to be avoided due to the effect of nicotine which increases heart alertness.

Moreover, taking a shower before bed helps increase our quality of sleep. The bedroom's atmosphere or environment can induce better sleep. Sleeping in a cool, quiet, dark room and a comfortable bed is ideal.  Even the color of the bedroom walls is crucial. An hour before bedtime, we should try to do something relaxing. Toxic habits such as falling asleep on the phone or in front of the Tv triggers insomniac behavior. This can alter ones' sleep patterns.


Stop hitting the snooze

Waking up gradually to natural light could be a preferred alternative to using an alarm clock. Most people would undoubtedly struggle to do without this tool. However, it has been found that the device has its shortcomings. In some cases, waking up to an alarm clock inflicts sleep anxiety, a rise in blood pressure, heart rate, and even stress levels. The anticipation and worry not to miss a '5am alarm' could promote insomnia. Now instead of having a good nights' sleep and waking up on time, you'll wake up with an adrenaline rush and panic attack. Don't hit the snooze button. The longer we stay in bed, falling in and out of sleep, the more exhausted we'll feel once we get up. Imagine a scenario where you decide to hit the snooze button a couple of times in the morning. Five days later, you then decide you need to wake up on that first alarm sound. In this case, the brain gets confused because you've already disrupted your sleep cycle. You're jumping in and out of your sleep cycle. You could drift off into the first stage of sleep, which is the worst time to wake up, leaving the body in shock. This is known as 'sleep inertia,' which causes that familiar feeling of drowsiness after you wake up. Instead, we should try and wake up at the same time every day naturally.

Exercise and Stretch regularly

Exercising and stretching in the morning is a great way to get us rejuvenated and awake. Regular exercise impacts the release of certain chemicals in our bodies. An increase in Serotonin levels stimulates the brain, activates our vitals, and improves our appetite. When we exercise, our bodies release dopamine and endorphins in our brains that make us feel happy. Stretching too loosens the muscles.

Comprehensively to keep having more peaceful mornings, let us first attain inner peace. In Viggo Mortensen's words, "One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from a horse master. He told me to go slow to go fast." I think that applies to everything in life. We live as though there aren't enough hours in the day, but we will get it done quicker and with much less stress if we do each thing calmly.

It is not stress that kills us. It is our reaction to it. - Hans Selye

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Everyone has times in their life when things look grim. They might even seem to be hopeless. The world can feel like a scary place, and you alone in the middle of it. But history has shown that even in the worst of times, people have chosen to be hopeful. If you're finding it hard to believe that better times will come, here are five things you can hang on to.8280464685?profile=RESIZE_400x 

  1. Your Health

No matter what world of life crisis you're going through, if you have your health, you're wealthy. You might take it for granted, but being strong and healthy is probably your biggest asset.

Look after your body, eat well, stay fit, and be game-ready for the next opportunity. 

  1. The Sun will Rise Tomorrow

Even the worst day comes to an end, and you get a chance to do better Tomorrow. Brooding over past failures is as pointless as worrying about the future. You can only deal with what is right in front of you.

Take your motto from Scarlett O'Hara and remember that Tomorrow is another day. 

  1. You Are Full of Potential

Do you believe you can live your best life? Do you think you can be successful, famous, and happy? Or does it feel to you that success is only for the lucky few?  

All humans are born full of potential. The only thing stopping you from meeting your potential is you. Change your mindset from self-doubt to self-confidence, and you can do whatever you set your mind to. 

  1. Learn to Look on the Bright Side

It's improbable that everything in your life will go wrong at once. So learn to hang onto the good things in your life and be grateful. No matter what situation you find yourself in, it could pretty much always be worse. 

If you look for abundance, you will find it. Practice looking for things to be thankful for, starting with being alive right now. And remember, hard times come and hard times go. Better times are just around the corner. 

  1. Challenges Make You Stronger

If you're down in the trough of a life crisis, remember that when you come out of the other end, you'll be stronger and smarter than before. You will have learned things about yourself and what you're capable of that would never have occurred to you before. And despite feeling crushed, you have triumphed. You made it!

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Practicing gratitude has a significant impact on your life, health, and mental and emotional well-being. But it doesn’t end there. It will also impact those around you and the world at large when you start to turn your gratitude outwards and share it far and wide. 8168036282?profile=RESIZE_400x

Roman writer and philosopher Cicero called gratitude the parent of all virtue. In other words, if we practice gratitude, we’re also getting better at things like kindness, generosity, orderliness, courage, honesty, and respect, to name a few. What does this mean in practical terms? If we practice gratitude, we can’t help but become a better person. 

Now let’s take this a step further. What if, instead of feeling grateful for the things in your life, you take it out into the world at large? What could happen? What force of good could you create? There is no way of knowing how many lives you could influence for the better. Let’s take a look at how you, I, and everyone else reading this can start to turn their gratitude outward and share it with those around them.

Random Acts of Kindness  

Do something kind for a stranger. Accomplishing this can be as simple as giving an open and honest smile to a stranger on the street or a few kind words and a compliment for the cashier ringing up your groceries. Or it could be taking a meal to an elderly neighbor or buying a drink for a person in the coffee shop drive-thru line. Make it a goal to do something kind for someone each day and do it intentionally. 

Respect And Thank Those Who Serve You  

Many people in our communities serve us, from first responders to the waitress at your favorite restaurant. Make it a point to be respectful and thank them with words, with actions, and in the case of that waitress, with a generous tip. Make them aware of how grateful you are for everything they do to make your life easier. 

Volunteer In Your Community  

Volunteer to show your gratitude by donating your time and your skills in your neighborhood. There are many opportunities for anyone to volunteer in various projects and for a variety of different causes. See what’s available around you and make an effort to put in some time to volunteer each month. Not only is it a fantastic way to give back and spread gratitude, but you’ll be amazed at how much you get out of it. 

Develop Deeper Relationships

Last but not least, I would like to encourage you to work on developing deeper relationships. You will have a stronger sense of gratitude and lead by example when you take the time to listen and actively work on coming closer to the people you love.

Now that you have some ideas, the ball is in your court. What will you do today to spread gratitude in your circle of influence? Go out there and make an impact. Make the world a better and more grateful place.

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Practicing gratitude and focusing on positivity is easier said than done, especially if you struggle with anxiety and depression. If you ever find yourself spiraling into the bottomless pit of depression, then get help if you need it.  There’s nothing wrong with talking to a counselor or getting therapy. It’s the smart thing to do.8167922476?profile=RESIZE_400x

There’s a lot you can do to get yourself unstuck from all that negativity. Start by acknowledging your feelings and putting them into words. How exactly do you feel? Is it anger or annoyance? Frustration or disappointment? Try to be specific. Dig deep. Yes, it can be painful, and some people prefer to avoid thinking about these feelings, but the first step to getting yourself unstuck is determining exactly where you are emotionally. 

Once you’ve identified the feeling, you can start to work on discovering what caused them. Sometimes the answer is obvious. Other times, not so much. In either case, I encourage you to dig deep because often, the obvious answer isn’t the real root cause. Yes, you may be mad at our spouse for running up the credit card bill, but if you dig deep, you may discover that some underlying core values don’t align between the two of you.

Once you find the real reason for your negative feelings, you can start to work to resolve them. What that looks like will vary from case to case. The critical takeaway here is that it gives you something specific and meaningful to do. You no longer feel out of control or helpless. It’s something you can work with, and that alone will help you think more positively. 

In addition, it allows you to distance yourself a little from the negative feelings. You may still be upset with your spouse, but it also gives you the space to remember everything you love about him or her. It gives you the freedom to act outside of the negativity and have a good relationship while you work things out. And sometimes, it may give you the mental space you need to realize that it is up to you to decide if you want to continue to dwell in the negativity or choose a route of forgiveness. You can’t change everything or everyone. Sometimes your path toward positivity is to acknowledge your negative feelings and then let them go.

Of course, all of this is easier said than done. A journal can be a great tool to help you along the way. Try talking to a close friend or confidant when you feel stuck and can’t see a positive path. An outside perspective can give a lot of clarity. Meditation can be helpful, as well. 

Last but not least, surround yourself with positive people. Get outside and enjoy nature. Spend some time helping others. And don’t forget to remind yourself regularly of everything you have to be grateful for.

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We take a lot of good things for granted in our everyday life. Examples of this are a roof over our heads, a steady paycheck, a loving partner, the ability to go out for a run on the weekends. The specifics vary, but one of the significant advantages of modern lives is the many awesome things we can count on. We're not used to falling short, so when something happens, and our life starts to fall apart, it's easy to fall into thinking patterns that focus on lack and despair. 8162113488?profile=RESIZE_400x

Sometimes the bad things are a result of choices we made. Sometimes they are outside of our control. In either case, it is up to us to decide how we react to each crisis. One piece of advice that is important to remember no matter what adversity you face is to make sure you don't forget about how blessed you are. Gratitude can turn what we have into enough.

There's a quote I love and would like to share with you by Melody Beattie. "Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow."

Think about how you can start to do this in your everyday life. An excellent place to start is merely taking a deep breath and pausing when things go wrong, and everything starts to feel overwhelming. Then come up with one little thing you are grateful for during this time. It can be something as simple as being able to breathe fresh, clean air or living to fight another day.

Find that something and start to build on it. What else are you grateful for? Keep making that mental list until the desperation begins to lift, and you can begin to think clearly. When you do, you can start to find your way out, no matter how bad things seem at first. And remember, you never know what good might come from the struggle you are facing right now. 

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, and don't forget to count your blessings and use gratitude to turn what you have into enough. Our ancestors were great at this. It's time we picked that habit back up. Remember, "All things work for the good of those who believe." When you cultivate this belief, you will see the lessons to learn when life is falling apart.

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Happiness - A Conscious Focus

I’m going to let you in on a little secret I learned years ago that has served me well. What you focus on comes to pass. When you practice gratitude, you train your mind to be more positive, which has some interesting physical implications. Practicing gratitude and positive thinking directly affects your brain chemistry. That’s right, by focusing on gratitude and happiness; you control the release of certain chemicals and neurotransmitters that influence how you feel both physically and mentally. Let’s take a look at how that works. 8161385094?profile=RESIZE_400x

More Feel-Good Hormones  

Focusing on happiness and gratitude leads to the release of two “feel good” hormones - dopamine and serotonin. These two neurotransmitters are responsible for those warm fuzzy feelings. Yes, there are other ways to get them, like exercise and chocolate, for example. But who wouldn’t want to increase these powerful antidepressants with something as simple as giving and receiving gratitude, for instance? This stresses the point that you can make your happiness. And it’s not just a mental exercise. Focusing on positivity, making a conscious effort to be more grateful and happier changes the balance of hormones and neurotransmitters in your body and brain. 

In short, practicing gratitude and the resulting feeling of happiness are a powerful strategy to beat depression and anxiety, often working better than prescription drugs - and without the nasty side effects. 

Fewer Stress Hormones  

When you are anxious or scared, the body releases stress hormones like adrenaline, cortisol, and the likes. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It helps you react fast when you’re about to be hit by a car and make you run faster when you need to get away from someone. But it works against you and robs you of your health and wellbeing when it’s a response to something that isn’t a physical danger, like tax day or worrying about what your co-worker thinks of you. 

Stress hormones can lead to weight gain, depression, anxiety, and they take a toll on your heart. You know you should do what you can to reduce the stress you feel, and as it turns out, one of the most powerful strategies here is practicing gratitude and positive thinking. So choose happiness and know that you are doing wonders for your mental and physical health. 

So what’s the bottom line? When you are mindful of all of the things you are grateful for in your life, you can learn to appreciate all the good even in the midst of the bad and cultivate happiness. Stop waiting for the right person, the right circumstances. Don’t wait for happiness to find you. Be happy right now at this moment. And use gratitude to help you get there.

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Gratitude is a powerful thing, and we're just scratching the surface when it comes to discovering the various mental and physical effects it has on us. Let's look at a few of those to give you an idea of what you can expect if you start to make feeling gratitude a daily focus.8159027667?profile=RESIZE_400x

The Mental Benefits Of Gratitude

Practicing gratitude helps your overall mental health because you instantly have a better outlook on life. Don't be surprised to walk away from your latest gratitude meditation with a big smile on your face. Of course, the benefits don't stop at increased happiness. Feeling more gratitude has been linked to a better self-image, less anxiety, and even reduced depression. This comes as no surprise to scientists who have recorded increased dopamine levels and serotonin after intentional gratitude meditations. 

The Physical Benefits Of Gratitude  

This is where it gets interesting. It's one thing to feel better emotionally, but the release of these "feel-good" hormones affects your physical body as well. Gratitude reduces stress, and with it, you're sleeping better, your blood pressure lowers, and you have more energy. As a result, you move more, leading to even better overall physical health. Maybe your gratitude exercise motivates you to go out for a walk, getting more oxygen into your body and loading up on Vitamin D. Being able to sleep soundly reduces appetite and less stress helps you make smarter food choices. All these things work hand in hand to turn you into a healthier and more robust version of yourself. 

Gratitude is particularly vital for heart health. Between the lower blood pressure and reduced stress, you are putting less strain on your heart. The added exercise and sleep strengthen your heart muscle and give this essential organ time to recover and heal overnight. With heart disease, one of the leading causes of death in modern society, there's never been a better time to practice gratitude and let go of stress. 

How can you tap into both the mental and physical benefits of gratitude? By feeling more of it. Of course, that's easier said than done. A great place to start is by creating a habit of thinking of at least one person or one thing you are deeply grateful for each morning as soon as you wake up. It sets the tone for the whole day and gets you off to a great start to reap these powerful benefits. Give it a try!

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Many childhood fairy tales end with the phrase, “…and they lived happily ever after.” Unfortunately, as we mature, we realize that happiness isn’t simply finding your “Prince Charming,” or discovering a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

But, many of us are still waiting for that knock on the door or that special “gift” or achievement that will bring us true happiness for the rest of our lives. We don’t realize that happiness is a journey – a pursuit that takes us down a long road of learning and weeding out those things in our lives that cause unhappiness or that we have to work at to overcome.

How do you know when you’re happy? It’s a surge of well-being that puts a smile on your face and a skip in your steps. You may know it when you feel it, but it only lasts a little while – like the first time you see your baby smile or celebrating that big promotion.

To find real and lasting happiness in your life, you need first to explore what you believe about happiness. What if you have it in one area of your life and not another?

Happiness is a pursuit that you have to work at -- and to do that you need to know what it is and what it means to have it in your own life.  

What is Happiness?

The dictionary defines happiness with many words such as contentment, joy, glee, good spirits and well-being. It’s a state of mind rather than a tangible object that you can hold in your hand and use when you need it most.

But, happiness is difficult to come by unless you know what will help you experience it. You may think that good luck in the form of a promotion, a windfall of cash or a loving relationship would bring happiness to your life.

You may be surprised once you reach those goals, that happiness is still eluding you. You may even think there’s something wrong with you because you can’t seem to grasp that ultimate goal of true happiness, no matter what good comes into your life.

The problem may be that you’re limiting yourself to happiness only in certain areas of your life. Maybe you’ve achieved business or relationship success, but still, feel a void that keeps you from being happy about it. You know you’re unhappy, but you don’t understand why.

Broadening your scope of happiness to other areas of your life can help you to understand what real pleasure is and to pursue it in a systematic way that’s sure to enhance your lifestyle and finally bring joy into those areas that were lacking.

How to Pursue Happiness

You may not realize that happiness is a life-long pursuit and not an “event” of something particular. Everyone has a right to pursue happiness. It’s so important that it’s even included in the Constitution of the United States as an “inalienable” right.

To pursue the happiness you’re entitled to, you need to know how to do it correctly. There are some direct routes to that sense of well-being and some ways that will never get you there.

The route to happiness begins with assessing the most critical areas of your life and discerning if you’re happy in that area. Are you emotionally satisfied – does your spiritual life need some more work to be happier?

Your relationships, job, and physical well-being are all part of the circle of happiness. If one link is broken, you aren’t as wholly fulfilled as you could be.

Think about various areas of your life and whether you’ve achieved the happiness level you long for. For example:

Physical Fitness – You may be happy with your weight, but how about your physical stamina? If you need to add another dimension to your fitness routine (or begin one), it will not only help you have more self-esteem to follow through and succeed – it will make you happy. Your physical well-being is a vital link in the happiness circle.

Spirituality – You don’t have to belong to a church or to a particular religion to gain happiness from spirituality. Connecting with nature and helping others are just two examples of how you can find and enjoy spirituality in your own life. Developing and living a belief system is vital to your overall happiness.

Love Yourself – You won’t be very loveable to others if you can’t love yourself. Love yourself enough to take care of yourself, to make time for only you and to build your self-esteem by surrounding yourself with positive people rather than negative ones. When you love who you are, a certain level of happiness is reached that others can’t provide.

Take Care of Yourself – Get plenty of sleep, eat a healthy diet and get enough exercise to feel better and have more energy for things you want to do. A big part of happiness is good health, so take steps to improve that link in the circle if needed.

You can probably think of other areas in your life that need work to make you enjoy and be happy with them. Research happiness as you would a place you’re moving to or a career path you think you want to take. Leave no stone unturned in your quest for happiness.  

Looking for Happiness in All the Wrong Places

Every day, we’re bombarded with advertisements about “things” that can make us happy – a new car, bypass surgery to lose weight, a different hairstyle or a new dating partner. Billions of dollars are spent each year on things that are touted as “sure things” to make us happy and content.

You may feel great when you first drive that new car, lose weight or sport that new hairstyle, but eventually the glitter wears off, and you’re left with the same unhappiness you felt before you bought the “things.”

Contrary to popular belief, that multi-million dollar home, expensive jewelry, exotic cars, and world travel doesn’t bring automatic happiness to your life. There’s no doubt that money can make your life easier, but it can’t make you happy unless everything else falls into place.

The world is full of mega-rich people and families who live their everyday lives in the throes of depression and unhappiness. There are many reasons why money isn’t making these people happy.

Lousy health could be one reason, and fighting and angry discourse about the money they have could be another. Inner happiness isn’t determined by how many things you can buy or how many degrees you’ve obtained – it’s an emotion that’s both elusive and attainable – if you know how to pursue it.

Pursuing happiness is the right of all of us, but it may not be easy for some. It helps to visualize happiness as a circle which is linked together by several happiness goals and methods of achieving those goals.

When there is happiness in each link of the circle, true happiness is achieved, but a break or crack in a relationship can cause the sphere to weaken, and your joy won’t be complete.

Rather than spinning your wheels in trying to bring happiness to your life on outside pursuits, it’s far more effective to pursue happiness from the inside. Studies of history and recent research prove that materialistic comforts haven’t led to complete satisfaction.

Part of the problem is not knowing what will make us happy – and part of it is not knowing how to pursue it. Whatever we seem to do and acquire, happiness remains out of reach.

Just as true happiness is often confused with acquiring things, the pursuit of happiness can be confused with having a “perfect” life – which isn’t attainable. We can reach a level of contentment that makes us complete without always having things go our way.

Problems and obstacles are needed in our lives so we can learn along the way. It may be challenging to feel grateful for a problem, but viewing it in that light can bring a type of happiness into our lives.  

Giving Happiness a Chance

After you take a careful look at your present life and what makes you happy – and what doesn’t, you’ll be better able to formulate a plan for happiness. Rather than waiting for it to arrive at your doorstep, you’ll have a clear path of how to pursue it.

Rather than spending your hard-earned money on things that will make you happy for a few minutes or a day, spend it on gathering knowledge and experiences that will improve your outlook on life and make you a better person.

One way to make yourself happy is to become debt-free. Pay off those high-interest accounts and begin to save money for pursuing what you love in life. Maybe you could take more trips or invest in the education of a child.

Those types of things you can do for yourself will serve to bring more lasting happiness than material things and boost your self-esteem and life-experiences. Donating your time to a worthy cause rather than writing a check is also a great way to get in touch with who you really are and what makes you happy.

If you don’t have peace of mind, begin now to discover what happiness means to you and how you can pursue it successfully. It’s a journey that will bring you much satisfaction and finally complete the circle with links that genuinely make you happy.

Image by Andi Graf from Pixabay     Image by rawpixel from Pixabay

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6 Ways Gratitude Improves Your Life

While it’s easy to say, “Maintain an attitude of gratitude, focus on the positive, and you’ll be happier” putting it into practice is quite difficult. It may even seem insurmountable when you face certain challenges. However, trying to find the positive, in whatever you’re going through, will save you a lot of stress. You may even find a useful solution to the problem you’re facing.
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7 Day Mental Diet

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