I just got an email from Dayspring family homeless shelter in downtown Indy. They are struggling to meet the needs of the families that need food and shelter. If you have a little extra money to share with this amazing group of caring people helping desperate people, here’s how you can help: https://dayspringindy.org/. If you have another charity or person that is important to you, please reach out to them. They need your help.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/womensmedia/2016/07/08/8-ways-to-have-more-gratitude-every-day/#37dd2a601d54 Janet Miller is a serial entrepreneur, habit scientist and co-founder of Jen Reviews. She writes extensively and has been featured on Fast Company, The Muse, The Huffington Post and Tiny Buddha.
…A life well lived is one of gratitude and thankfulness.
1. Don’t be picky: appreciate everything
…The habit of being grateful starts with appreciating every good thing in life and recognizing that there is nothing too small for you to be thankful for.
2. Find gratitude in your challenges
Gratitude is not only about being thankful for positive experiences. In fact, sometimes thinking about negative or difficult situations can help to really nail down what you have to be thankful for. Dig a little deeper into some of your own past experiences and try to figure out how they have helped shape you into the person you are today.
3. Practice mindfulness
Sit down daily and think through five to ten things you are grateful for. The trick is that you need to picture it in your mind and sit with that feeling of gratitude in your body. Doing this every day will rewire your brain to be naturally more grateful, and you’ll start feeling happier after every session. It only takes eight weeks of gratitude practice for people to start showing changed brain patterns that lead to greater empathy and happiness.
4. Keep a gratitude journal
Write down your positive thoughts to further focus your attention on the subject. While you are putting the pen to paper, you have no choice but to consciously think about the words you are writing without other distracting, ungrateful thoughts.
5. Help Others
University of Pennsylvania professor, Martin Seligman, supports this theory with his research in Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being. After testing all kinds of variables that help improve our well-being, he found that volunteering is the single most reliable way to momentarily increase your well-being. In other words: helping others helps you!
6. Express yourself
Not only does expressing your gratitude for someone make their day a little brighter, but it can do wonders for increasing your own levels of gratitude and happiness in the long run.
7. Spend time with loved ones
Why don’t you make sure you’re listening intently the next time someone shares a story with you instead of waiting for your own chance to speak? Or start a conversation with a difficult member of the family by complimenting their new shoes or hair-cut.
8. Improve your happiness in other areas of your life
Once you are feeling the endorphins flow, showing gratitude will become even easier and you’ll start to be able to make list after list of all of the things in your life you’re thankful for.
It’s important not to use work to avoid loneliness. Work is helpful, but there must be ‘the rest of the day’. It’s not appropriate to go meet with friends of course. I walk the dog every night and speak to people who are doing the same with the appropriate space between us. My husband has converted his restaurant into a drive thru model, so he’s busy in the evenings. So, I’ve started some new habits:
TIME FOR PRIZES!! Send me a note about how you are using your extra time. You’ll get a prize! Lou.firstname.lastname@example.org
So, I’m a ‘do something aka anything’ kind of person. I have enough Dominance (DISC) to need to move. My exercise schedule has been disrupted and it’s tough to have the discipline to find new ways of doing what will make me physically and mentally well. But these are the very things that will help you through. Sometimes the dismay of the situation rolls over me like an angry wave. This is when it’s important to “Count Your Blessings”. Here are some questions to consider:
Many of the people who read this newsletter have computers, families, food and ‘shelter’. We can still work at home the way we work everywhere else, although children and spouses at home/work with you can be stressful at times. It is critical to set up and provide structure and meaning. Paula Moser shared a strong point with me “We have to have structure and follow it every day.” Structure gives us meaning and the ability to be able to focus our energy. It helps us cope and it helps our families feel safer.
But it does seem much more difficult to process and think. This is to be expected, thanks to our emotions. Remember, your brain is constantly looking around for scary things. It’s not too hard to find scary things right now. Once your brain determines that there’s trouble, it activates quickly (30-45 seconds). First, your brain shuts down non-essential activities (long term memories, your current location, people’s names, etc.) and focuses entirely on three activities: Fight, Flight and/or Freeze. As I Social Distance at my house, I’ve noticed that I:
Many call this a reptilian state. Like the brain of a lizard, it’s all automatic pilot. And even more annoying, the reptilian response drains very slowly. Depending on the intensity of the emotion, you could still feel like your brain is muddled four hours or more after the initial scary incident.
While the virus is on everyone’s mind (and should be), this constant anxiety creates a shut-down response. Don’t be surprised if you type something ridiculous or forget to save a file or any other activity that you are perfectly able to do. Don’t be surprised if this newsletter is a bit erratic.
TIME FOR PRIZES!! Send me a note about your Reptilian Brain, and some of the dumb things you’ve done while being Socially Distant. You’ll get a prize! Lou.email@example.com
Here’s a quick activity to use as you feel your negative emotions getting ready to embrace future disasters that haven’t happened yet:
Earlier this week, one of my daughters called and was concerned about her asthma and the virus. She felt everything was tightening up. All was well. I was chatting at work with a very solid person and confessed that I’m hallucinating chest issues constantly. This brilliant person started laughing and said ‘So am I!’
This brings to mind a very simple reflection that I have found helpful: “I am HERE. It is NOW.“ Three times slowly.
TIME FOR PRIZES!! Share a small mantra or meditation that helps you. You’ll get a prize! Lou.firstname.lastname@example.org
“And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.
And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.” - Kitty O’Meara
Thank you to my friend Rhonda Winter for finding this quote and sharing it. Stop what you are doing right now, take three big breaths with closed eyes and strong posture. Then read this quietly out loud as a mantra. Continue three times until you feel lighter.
Even just one week ago, I don’t think we thought we’d be where we are today. The situation is terrifying, primarily because I/we can’t let go of trying to control things even when we know that there’s very little we can do. And, like tall children, we don’t want to do what we must do. My hope is that I can keep my thoughts hopeful as others have taught me to help stop the ‘awfulizing’. I’m turning off the media frenzy and watching Ellen play crazy, childish games. I’m watching the late-night talk show hosts improv with no audience. Interesting times…