Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thankfulness: Not Just One Day A Year



Today is Thanksgiving Day in the States, a national holiday.

Many (but not all) Americans will have the day off of work. The reason for the day is ostensibly to "Be Thankful." Realistically, though, people are going to eat a lot of turkey, stuffing, and pie; watch some football or a parade; and maybe have a nap or play some card or board games. Some of the hard core Christmas shoppers will start shopping the "Black Friday" sales early that evening (made possible by people who take time away from their families so that people can shop). 

Thanksgiving Day gives me time with my own family, so I like it. We get to enjoy each other's company, eat some good food, take a walk in the beautiful park near my house, watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and the National Dog Show, and get that nap in.

At any rate, regardless of what day it is, I tend to be thankful all year round, not just one day a year when we're "supposed" to be. So without further adieu, let's sum up some small portion of that:

my latest gratitude journal
~ I am thankful for my husband and family, our home and cars, our jobs and health, and our ability to pursue our hobbies. 

~ I am thankful for the multitude of amazing friends I have made over the years, and the wonders of social media and modern communication that allow us to be in touch so easily. Not only does social medial enable us to stay in touch, it's how I met so many of the people I cherish as friends.

~ I am thankful that I am about to finish filling up YET ANOTHER gratitude journal. I am also grateful that I was gifted with several beautiful blank journals to be filled (one of which is shown here). 

This isn't all I'm thankful for, but it's a good start. Gratitude is an important part of my happiness formula, and keeping these journals has done a lot to turn my worldview around from a negative one to a positive one. 

I tend to write either in the morning, especially if I'm in a negative mood, because it starts the day off right and helps me re-train my brain; or in the evening, as a way of wrapping up the day and reflecting quietly on something that went well. 

Keeping this journal has helped me remember what's going well in life when times are dark.  Entries don't need to be long, wordy, or complicated, either. Sometimes a powerful observation can be made in only a few sentences! 

Finally, journals aren't just for writing in; you can read them, too! I love reading my old entries! They are such a pick-me-up.

So...wherever you are, whether it's Thanksgiving Day or not, and whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not, feel free to comment below: what are you grateful for? Do you keep a gratitude journal? And if not, what's your favorite way of acknowledging the good things in life?

Oh, I might add one final point: I'm grateful for all of you. Thank you for following me here! 

Happy Thanksgiving!  


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Friday, November 17, 2017

Words = Power

How many times have we said something like the following:

"I'm so stupid, I can't believe I just did that."
"I couldn't possibly do that; I don't know how."
"My head is KILLING me!"

Now, hold up! What we are telling ourselves by saying these things? 

What we are actually saying, is: I am a stupid person. I am incapable of learning new things. The pain I am experiencing is so bad I might as well be dead.

What a bummer!

Did you know that words have power? I believe that speaking things into existence affects our reality by coloring our expectations. We are training ourselves to expect certain outcomes when we employ certain verbal patterns. 

What are the outcomes of this behavior? Well...we have an expectation of feeling stupid, so we lose our self-confidence and never reach for the stars. We have an expectation that a skill or activity is out of our league, so we don't even try to expand our skillset, forever stagnating in a state of discontentment. We have an expectation of pain to be "killing" us, so that headache gets worse, and worse, and worse, til we cancel all our plans for the evening and go hide in a dark room. (And I'm not saying people don't have legit issues with migraines, etc., but bear with me and let me use the average, every day headache as an example, okay? Because I have personally done this.) 

So, the $64,000 question is: WHY are we doing this to ourselves? Is it nature or nurture? Is it something we learn from those around us? Has society, with all of its negative news and pessimistic social media feeds, conditioned us to expect bad things?

What's the worst thing that can happen if we stop speaking negative words? 

Let that percolate for a few....

Yeah, I can't think of anything bad, either. 

By changing our internal monologue (or external dialogue), we can change our perception of our world. We can change our power in a situation. We can decide how we are going to proceed instead of blindly extenuating negatives. 

So, where to start? Here are some ideas (and I've been practicing these, myself, because practice is how you get good at something):

Step 1: Ask "What am I saying to myself--or to others--that affects my life/their lives negatively? What negative messages am I amplifying?" (Go ahead. Ask yourself this. I'll wait.)

Step 2: Pay attention to what you're saying and when you're saying it. How many times a day are you saying it? What are your triggers? It'll probably open your eyes to some patterns. (I know it has certainly opened mine!) 

Step 3: Stop the behavior in its tracks. Recondition yourself to expect positives instead of negatives. If negative talk starts, stop it and change it. To illustrate this, let's take those negative examples from above, and turn them around to be positives:

"I am NOT stupid; I am an intelligent human being who sometimes makes mistakes."

"I am CAPABLE of learning something new and fulfilling my dreams."

"My head is NOT killing me. Sure, it hurts, but it is not killing me, and I don't need to stop living my life because of it." (At this point, I'll pop a Tylenol or something, stop complaining, and go on with whatever I was doing.)

Finally (and I think this one organically happens after Steps 1-3 start getting habitual), Step 4 is: Ask yourself, "If words affect my and others' reality, then what positive messages can I put forth into the world? What words can I use to make the world a better place?"

[I'll let you in on a little secret: Step 4 is why I started positively b.e.e.]

So...in the spirit of Step 4, I truly feel moved to spread the following message. Write it down, okay? If you take nothing else away from this post, please take away this one thing:

Words have power, so empower yourself
(and others) with 
the right words. 
 

As always, please feel free to comment below if you have an insights or inspirations about this topic.

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