Posts Tagged ‘depression’

Gratitude as the Gateway

 

Whatever the circumstance, gratitude can open the door from chaos to order; blocks to breakthroughs and endings to new beginnings filled with possibility. Gratitude is truly the gateway to happiness and more importantly, satisfaction with life. When we choose to look at what is right in our lives, we shift our focus and instantly our energy as well as outlook changes. The darkness of self-pitty and depression instantly become lighter, fear turns into renewed faith and despair turns into hope the minute we surrender and accept where we are in the moment. Being grateful for all the blessings we have in the moment open a space within us to accept the unacceptable with grace and ease. This practice paves the way for peace and clear thinking in which solutions can present themselves. When we are locked by resistance, we block God’s help. Gratitude breaks through the resistance by reminding us things could always be worse and helps us to put everything in perspective. Of course, we may not like the situation, but we must accept it nonetheless.

Acceptance does not mean forgiveness, or turning the other cheek. Acceptance, simply means acknowledging what is. It is what it is. This mindset helps take the emotion out of things and automatically takes the charge out of things. Try it and see for yourself. I’ve been using this technique for almost a year and the results are phenomenal. Of course this tool requires practice as our human tendency is to react out of emotion first and resist looking at things objectively. Unfortunately, this is the way most people handle problems, challenges and uncomfortable situations. However, it doesn’t have to be this way when you practice gratitude regardless of the outcome.

Starting today, write down everything that is working in your life. Using complete sentences, journal what you appreciate about your life and the people who make it better/worthwhile. Think about a challenge, problem or particularly difficult situation or person and find 10 things to be grateful for. Look for the positive in the person or situation and notice how you feel. Notice your energy level as it begins to shifts. Sleep on it. That’s why I love doing this practice right before bed, because the brain will contemplate it all night long in our sleep as it passes from our conscious mind to the subconscious mind where the real shifts occur. The next day, I usually feel entirely different about the whole situation and can see solutions that I couldn’t before. Tell me about your experience and comment below.

Until then, trust the process of gratitude and allow it to transform your heart, mind, and life.

 

Where is Gratitude in your life?

 Today, I decided to kick of this post with a good, ol, fashioned poll. See link below to participate!

What do you think about Gratitude? I want to know because I think it’s worth looking at in order to become present to our everyday blessings.  Author, Melody Beattie has a great little book out called Gratitude; Affirming the Good Things in Life.  Inside, Beattie reminds us of the principles of Gratitude; recognition, affirmation, acceptance, and goal-setting. What aspects of gratitude stand out for you?

Acceptance of our current circumstances, shifts our attention from drab to fab in the blink of an eye, uplifting our attitude as well as our mood making stress a thing of the past. Now this doesn’t mean we have to love everything in this world, but it does mean we need to accept life on life’s terms. When we practice acceptance, space is opened for gratitude to rush in and that’s where the magic happens. Our whole outlook on life begins to change and fear, negativity, along with depression simply fade away.

As Beattie so beautifully reminds us, “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

According to Gogratitude.com, “Gratitude is the Master Key that opens all doors of possibility”. They even have a flash movie and a 42 day gratitude journey with inspiring  and educational videos to kick-start you on the grateful path. Although they call it an “experiment” what more could you ask for to try a gratitude practice of your very own? What have you got to lose anyways… our old ways of being will certainly be there.

I for one, can attest that when I come from a place of gratitude, my heart is open and my eyes are anew; life looks a little brighter, my face and body become more relaxed, my finances increase and judgement simply disappears. So why don’t you come along and take the gratitude challenge with me by seeing how this practice can add years to your life in a prosperous and joy-filled way!

[polldaddy poll=5536043

Lazy Days

I love lazy days. I didn’t always though; in fact, they have become an acquired taste I’ve learned to enjoy without beating myself up for being non-productive. The reality is, lazy days allow us to rest and rejuvenate from a week or month of fast-paced, busy living! Some of you might be saying, “that’s what vacation is for”, but how often do we fill our vacations with hectic schedules in different scenery? I know I do because I don’t want to waste a minute of it, sleeping or heaven forbid relaxing as there is always something to do or see that’s new and it fills my need for adventure.

On the flip side, lazy days are schedule free with no time constraints or adventure. They are what my mom likes to call “drop dead days”. Morbid title I know, but it gets the point across. My mom has a bad habit of pushing herself to the brink of exhaustion before allowing herself to take one of these days. By then, she really was ready to “drop dead” and couldn’t push any longer. How many of us over-achievers or perfectionists does that sound like?

Nonetheless, you may be thinking, “What does this have to do with gratitude?”. Well read on. Just today, I gave myself one of these lazy days; well an afternoon, but that’s a start. Lately I’ve been feeling exhausted and run down, tired of all the commitments I’d gotten myself into and somewhat depressed. After church, I spent the rest of the day with my husband and our dog Buttercup. We played and talked; did much of nothing and it was wonderful. Just what the doctor ordered! Now I feel relaxed, refreshed, and motivated again;  my batteries are recharged and I’m more productive too.

So when was the last time you did absolutely nothing; perhaps took a nap or leisurely read a magazine, or even a few movies on TV and weren’t sick? Exactly. That’s the point of enjoying regular lazy days, cause they actually prevent illness! Plus you can enjoy them without all the nasty symptoms that come with a cold or flu. Which would you rather have; down time when on your terms or down time when you feel too bad to enjoy it!

My challenge for you is to choose regular lazy days before your life catches up with you or better yet, passes you by in a whirlwind of activity. Become the master of your schedule and take the time to smell the roses once in a while; it will reduce your stress as well. I am sure grateful I did and my relationship will be stronger for it.

Puppy Love

What is more adorable that this? Puppies, like children, are so uninhibited and free; they seek only to provide joy through play and boundless love along with energy and of course wet kisses. Given the challenging times we are experiencing, what could be better than coming home to “man’s best friend”?  Besides, children or a loving spouse or partner, not much else comes to mind. In my opinion, puppies rule above all other pet possibilities as they are more loyal and trainable.  (they are also the most cuddliest)

Puppy love is easily visible with a speedy, wag of the tail and humans irresistible urge to pick them up cooing all the way. Puppy love, is 100% unconditional and the purest love affair of all, with limitless health benefits for everyone.

So, if you don’t have a puppy or dog, adopt one immediately; if you are already a canine parent, rejoice and enjoy in this special kind of love! I am so grateful for my new puppy Buttercup and all the joy, love, and fulfillment she has brought into my life. This time of year is challenging as my husband and I morn the loss of our daughter Faith Ann who would have been 4 years old. Buttercup’s ability to heal our hearts with comfort and happiness is priceless and the best anti-depressant available. If you suffer from heartbreak, anxiety or loneliness, give puppy therapy a try, allowing their love to wash away your sadness.

Rest, Relaxation & PJ’s

How have you been feeling lately? Are you snapping at your kids, spouse, or co-workers? Perhaps your productivity is slacking due to exhaustion or inability to focus?  Maybe it’s time for a “Mental Health” day. Call out from work, stay in your PJ’s and either go back to bed or curl up with a good book. We all need regular time outs from life to rest and relax in order to preserve good mental and physical health.

PJ’s (pajamas) are a girls best friend.  I love lounging in PJ’s all day when I haven’t slept well the night before or feel my head/life spinning out of control. The comfort of being in loose clothing surrounded my all my favorite things at home, is restorative to my mind and body.

Living in our fast-paced, high-pressured, society, we can’t help but over-do-it.  Between juggling all the responsibilities of career and family, it’s easy to become depleted, irritable, frazzled. Following the day-to-day grind, stress takes a tole on our nerves and attitude, making the basics of life impossible. The harder and longer we push ourselves, the greater chance for illness and depression. Taking some time to rest and relax, is a great way to avoid disease, accidents, and resentment while re-gaining strength and perspective. Slowing down clears the mental fog that happens when we’re on the treadmill of life and actually improves productivity and creativity.

Growing up, my mom would call these respites “drop dead days”.  Although they would only occur after relentless pushing of herself in trying to take care of household duties and me, these days would be my most favorite days with mom. The world would stop and quality time with self and each-other would ensue. Eating our favorite comfort foods and watching movies in our PJ’s was the highlight of my childhood and taught me a valuable lesson in the importance of taking time-out from the world and all its pressures. I am so grateful for those special childhood days with mom at home in our PJ’s, eating tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches, curled up together on the couch watching Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Today, I am thankful that I give myself permission to take these little Mental Health breaks before I need to go to the doctor and appreciate all the wise woman before me who say that it’s okay.