Wednesday, November 30, 2011

10 Steps to Starting a New Habit and Creating Lasting Change in Your Life

If you want to change a habit, and make an everlasting change, the first thing to do is raise your standards. Change the belief and desire you have of yourself in the area you wish to change. Write down all the things you’ll no longer accept or tolerate and all the things you want to become and achieve. What do you demand of yourself?

A habit begins with a number of beliefs that together create a strategy. If repeated often enough, the strategy becomes a habit ... so how can you change a habit once it’s been formed?

It’s pointless to raise your standards and not believe you can achieve them; that’s called self-sabotage. Once you’ve raised your standards and decided on the habits you want to change, you must start to modify your limiting beliefs and remove your doubts by following this process:

1. Have a firm belief.

You need to have a firm belief, without any doubt in the achievement and success of your desires. These beliefs need to be like unquestioned commands. They’ll shape every thought, feeling and action you’ll take. Within the strength of these beliefs lies the “core” to real and everlasting change.

2. Your belief needs to be under control.

If not, no matter what you decide to change, you’ll never have the conviction to achieve your goals or the desire to truly change.

3. Create a strategy. 

Once you have the beliefs that will lead to your success ingrained within you, you then need to have a strategy to achieve the results. I’ve provided the example result of getting in shape below; follow this strategy to enhance your belief in your goal.

Set your beliefs that you're in great shape and physically fit; you know what you can accomplish (such as running a marathon); and you can see yourself doing this, you can hear the applause (or whatever sound) and you have the feelings. (Don’t use the phrase “I want ...” as that will result in your goal being pushed further in the future; use “I am ...”).

Enhance the whole image you’ve set in your mind.
  • Adjust the brightness to bring it to clarity.
  • Adjust the color to enhance its brilliance.
  • Adjust the size of the picture to make it life-sized.
  • If it’s a still picture, make it a movie; if it’s a movie, make it a still picture. Adjust the speed of the movie until it feels the most realistic.
  • If there are sounds, adjust these to make them heard in surround sound.
  • Feel the feelings inside you; relishing how good it feels when you can create the body you want.
Allow your inner being to do its part in fulfilling your goal  letting change occur. After these changes have taken place and been performed repetitively, a new pattern will develop that will create the habitual change within you.

Determine what has to happen for you to know that you’ve made the desired changes in your life. What would be the final step? Would it be that you can fit in a dress that you purposely bought for a special day? Would it be that people comment on the "new" you? You'll need to write down this final step as your evidence step.

4. Choose steps.

Choose several steps you can take each day that will assist you on your journey toward the new you, to make this new pattern ingrained into your subconscious mind and ultimately creating new habits. For the exercise example, your steps might include:
  • Set the alarm clock 45 minutes early.
  • Have workout clothes laid out the night before, for easy accessibility.
  • Take the dog on your walk; you’ll get companionship and the dog will benefit from the exercise, too.
  • Have a healthy lunch prepared the night before.
  • Stock your fridge with healthy snacks you can grab quickly when you’re hungry.
  • Plan all your meals in advance.
  • Schedule exercise, meals and other healthy activities into your day planner or PDA.
5. Be very specific.

Write down a date when you’ll start this new strategy and how often you'll do it. Choose the route you'll take in the neighborhood or which gym you’ll visit. State exactly in the present tense what you’re doing, as in, “I’m walking three miles today and will do so on Monday, Wednesday and Friday each week.” This is much better than simply saying, “I will exercise each week.” Being specific implies a commitment to your goal.

6. Make a commitment to start.

Think about what’s at stake and focus again on the list you made, thinking about how it’ll feel and what benefits you'll receive when you incorporate this strategic change into your life. We’ve all had the experience of wanting to start an exercise program “next week”; when next week comes and goes, we just put things off, and it never happens. Make the commitment to begin — and follow through.

7. Thank yourself for participating.

It’s OK to be grateful to yourself; this is a wonderful affirmation. Hearing the words "thank you" relaxes the muscles and deepens the resolve. If someone, anyone, thanks you for something, it naturally makes you feel good. You want to keep doing it to get that praise again, so praise yourself. Soon others will see the positive changes in your life and praise you, too.

8. Notice when you don’t follow through.

Ask yourself why, but be careful not to beat up yourself over a lapse. Do you need to alter the motivation or the steps to your new strategy? Was there something that created some doubt in your mind? If so, change it back. The results you get are the product of your thinking, so if you continue to be disappointed at what you achieve, you must be willing to ask yourself some hard questions and change your beliefs.

9. Use your affirmations.

Often people will take the affirmations they’ve created and make an audio recording of them that can be played back each morning as they exercise. This is a great way to start the day on a positive and upbeat note while encouraging yourself to commit to your new habit.

10. Journal your progress.

This is very important. Journaling is a way to keep track of how far you’ve come and how much you’ve accomplished, which can sometimes be difficult for you to remember. Journaling can be as simple as a brief paragraph noting what days you performed a certain habit or task and what the outcome was. You can also use a journal to record specifics of your diet and exercise regime as well as how you’re feeling as a whole and any emotional events that are occurring. It's important to do this daily. The more specific you are with your journaling, the better reference tool it will become.

This post was written by Melonie Dodaro for

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Ginger-Apple Smoothie

This smoothie is a refreshing tonic, and one I enjoy making in the afternoon as a pick-me-up. Ginger is known for its many healing properties, and combining it with fruit mellows its pungency and spiciness. The green tea powder adds a smooth, rich texture and turns the smoothie a beautiful pale green color.

I usually find green tea powder in the baking section or the tea area of the grocery store; look for matcha green tea powder, as it’s the purest.


1 6-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
1 ripe banana
½ cup unsweetened apple juice
¼ cup soaked almonds (see below), drained
2 ½ tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. green tea powder


Grate the ginger over a bowl lined with cheesecloth or a paper towel. Gather the edges of the cloth and squeeze the ginger pulp to extract the juice. Discard the pulp Add the ginger juice and all the remaining ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Soaking almonds:

Recommendation: soak almonds because it makes them easier to digest.

Yield 2 cups

Place 2 cups organic raw whole almonds in a medium bowl and rinse until water runs clear. Place almonds in a four-cup glass mason jar. Add enough fresh cold water to cover the almonds by at least 1 inch. Cover with the lid and set on the counter, away from direct light for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours. The almonds will swell and the water will turn amber. They are ready to use.

This recipe, from Vegan Family Meals: Real Food for Everyone, was written by Ann Gentry for

Monday, November 28, 2011

Lift Your Mood

You spill a cup of coffee all over your desk. How do you react? If you're chatting on the phone with a new love interest, you shrug and chalk it up to giddy distraction. If it's right before an important meeting, you feel annoyed, even angry with yourself. Why the difference? In one scenario, it's just an accident. In the other, it goes to prove your day is doomed.

There's a reason for this: We view the world through mood-colored glasses, interpreting events according to how we feel at the time. But while we may swear that the guy who cuts us off in traffic ruined our morning, it's the way we respond that creates our experience. Life's little annoyances themselves don't sour a day; they serve as a reflection of the mood we're already in. "When you focus on negative thoughts or memories, you begin to interpret events around you through that lens, which generates more negative thoughts," says cognitive psychologist John Selby, coauthor of "Take Charge of Your Mind." It's a vicious cycle -- and one that can cause even the best of moods to plummet.

Research in cognitive psychology shows that our thoughts determine the quality of our emotions, moods, actions, and life experiences. "So nothing is more urgent or more important than learning how to take charge of our thinking," says Selby. He created a technique to break "thought addiction," or an inability to let go of past regrets and future worries in order to enjoy the present moment. The approach uses "cognitive shifting," which helps you move between states of mind and optimize your mental performance. In pairing that mental shift with specific phrases you say to yourself, you build a powerful habit that can overcome the tendency to "read" events in a negative way. In short: You stop letting little things upend entire days.

Although his sequence of exercises is deceptively simple, like any good skill, it requires practice. "You'll feel the effects right away, but if you continue to do it for two or three weeks, you will experience even more powerful results," he says. Then those flat tires, missed appointments, insensitive emails, and torn hems won't rankle you as they once did.

Click here to read the entire article written by Terri Trespicio for

Sunday, November 27, 2011

What's Your Spiritual Type?

What comes to mind when you think of a "spiritual" person? Maybe it's someone who never passes up a dharma talk, sings in the choir, or spends every weekend volunteering. Maybe she says prayers before each and every meal.

No matter what the outward signs, if you don't happen to share those habits, you might feel lacking in the divine department. Not so, says Jonathan Ellerby, Ph.D., spiritual program director at Canyon Ranch and author of "Return to the Sacred." "Spirituality is an essential dimension of being human, and as much a part of us as our bodies and minds. It's not a matter of whether or not you're spiritual, but of what kind of spiritual personality you have."

Indeed, one person's brand of spirituality might look entirely different from another's. Chances are good that your interest in certain types of work, play, and other activities may be reflected or balanced by what engages you spiritually. The key, says Ellerby, lies in discovering your unique style so that you can optimize your spiritual tendencies and talents.

To that end, he has identified four distinct spiritual types: body, mind, heart, and soul. While we all embody some characteristics of each, chances are you lean more strongly in one direction or another. Read on to find the right expression of your sacred nature and connect with a sense of the divine in a way that really works for, inspires, and energizes you.

Body-Centered Seekers
If you gravitate toward physical activity and even derive satisfaction from physical chores, this is you. "The body is just as wise a teacher as the mind or the heart because spirituality is more than an idea," says Ellerby. "It's an experience." What's working for you in the spirituality department is that you appreciate the joy of being fully and physically present -- and that's vital to a strong spiritual practice.

Your Challenge Because you're athletic, you get competitive in practices such as yoga. This attitude can take you out of the more grounded, peaceful mind-set. And when pride and ego take hold, you may miss the spiritual aspect of a practice altogether.

Explore  See yoga, tai chi, qigong, or any other mind-body movement classes as a vehicle to spirituality, not just a sweaty workout. Incorporate movement into your own spiritual practice, even if it means doing a walking meditation every day along your favorite path. "By setting an intention as you begin any of these types of practices," says Ellerby, "you'll give your movement focus, changing the nature of the activity and gain a greater sense of connectedness and joy."

Mind-Centered Seekers
For you, intellect and knowledge lie at the heart of spirituality. You may be a philosophy or an English major, a deep thinker, a lover of books and brainy discussions. Life for you begins and ends in consciousness, in your ability to study and analyze ideas.

Your Challenge You've been accused of overthinking things, not to mention living entirely in your head. Sometimes this can cause you to get stuck -- mentally and spiritually.

Explore Use your intellect as a vehicle for spiritual growth, as opposed to an end in itself. That might mean diving into more spiritual fare (say, the Bible). Consider forming a spiritual book group to add a new dimension to your study. You'll engage your intellect while connecting with like-minded folks.

Heart-Centered Seekers
Your sense of satisfaction rests on your feeling emotionally connected and invested. Relationships are your interface with the world, whether that means with others, with the divine, or with yourself. More intellectual pursuits (like studying spiritual texts) may leave you cold, unless they facilitate connection with similar souls. In other words, you may enjoy reading Eckhart Tolle, but not as much as you would talking about it with others.

Your Challenge Because you value connection so much, you risk being overly dependent on others. You may lose yourself in someone else's spiritual path rather than shaping your own.

Explore  Capitalize on your emotional intelligence and knack for cultivating relationships. Find nourishment in volunteer work or other forms of service to your community (helping out at church or dedicating your time to a charity event). These people-centered activities naturally engender a sense of connection to others. If you've felt spiritually at sea in the past, you might benefit from working with a spiritual mentor, such as a life coach, rabbi, priest, or yoga teacher.

Soul-Centered Seekers
You possesses a deep and intense awareness of spirituality. You devour stories of saints, fantasize about traveling through India, and wonder about the monastic life. What you want most is to take your spiritual experience to the limit.

Your Challenge A hyperawareness of the transcendent may make you vulnerable in some ways. You risk going to extremes, using spirituality as a form of escapism.

Explore Maintain a healthy, realistic mind-set and consider where you're at mentally before you take on soul-centered challenges (e.g., starting an intense fast on the heels of a bad breakup). Mentorship is important, too. Plenty of organizations provide support and supervision to safely explore the kind of experiences you crave, says Ellerby. 

Look to balance larger-than-life adventures -- such as pilgrimages to spiritual sites, wilderness expeditions, solitary retreats -- with more moderate ones. Rather than a 40-day vision quest in the woods, "try two days of isolation, just in your apartment, for instance," says Ellerby. Or take a digital fast, shutting off the phone, TV, and Internet. Don't discount your capacity to access the deep spiritual experience in the everyday. 

This post was written by Terri Trespicio for

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks

give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever! 1 Chronicles 16:34 AMP

Give thanks for the marvelous life that you have.  Enjoy each moment & celebrate the present.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Pumpkin Pancakes

Yield: 6 servings


½ cup all-purpose flour

½ cup whole wheat flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon ground allspice

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

1 cup canned pumpkin

1 cup fat-free (skim) milk

2 tablespoons cholesterol-free egg substitute

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 tablespoons honey

½ teaspoon vanilla


In small bowl, combine flours, baking powder and spices. In large bowl, combine pumpkin, milk, egg substitute, oil, honey and vanilla.

Pour dry ingredients over pumpkin mixture; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Do not overmix.

Cover pancake batter; refrigerate 30 minutes to thicken slightly.

Lightly grease griddle or large skillet and heat until hot. For each pancake, spoon 2 tablespoons batter onto hot griddle.

Cook until bubbles appear on tops of pancakes, then turn them over and continue cooking until golden. Serve immediately.

Per serving (4 pancakes)

Calories: 157
Fat: 5 g (27% from fat)
Protein: 4 g
Carbohydrate: 25 g
Cholesterol: 1mg
Sodium: 211 mg

This recipe, from The Heartland Spa, was taken from

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Baked Tomatoes (Pomodori Gratinati)

When the bounty of the garden starts coming in faster than you know what to do with it, consider this deliciously different recipe.



2 medium/large tomatoes

1/4 cup bread crumbs 

2 tablespoons chopped parsley 

1 teaspoon minced garlic 

1/4 teaspoon salt or seasoned salt 

4 teaspoons olive oil 


Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut tomatoes in half. Scoop out seeds. Place on a lightly greased baking dish or glass pie plate. Bake tomatoes 10 minutes. Meanwhile, combine bread crumbs, chopped parsley, garlic and salt. Remove tomatoes from oven and pour off liquid. Top each tomato half with 1/4 of the bread crumb mixture. Drizzle 1 teaspoon oil of over each tomato half and return to oven and bake about 15 minutes or until tomatoes are tender. Can be served warm, but they are best if served at room temperature.

This recipe was written by Marsha Hudnall, RD, MS, Program Director of Green Mountain at Fox Run (Vermont), for

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

How to Meditate for Beginners

6 steps to getting started with meditation

Meditation is one of the most effective ways to take a break from the distractions of daily life and calm your mind. If you're new to meditation, the following steps can help get you started on the road to a quieter mind and a refreshed spirit.

Step 1: Gather meditation supplies

To start, figure out if it's more comfortable for you to sit still on a cushion, the floor, a mat or a chair. Some people use multiple cushions, while others find that it's most comfortable to meditate while sitting on a chair.

Another helpful item for beginners is a meditation timer so you can forget about time and just focus on meditation.

And, lastly, many who meditate find that a focal to help draw their attention away from the outside world to be very useful. 

Step 2: Block off time for your meditation practice

Start by making a commitment of 10-20 minutes at about the same time every day. If you’re a morning person, starting the day by quieting your mind might work best for you. For others, evening is better. Whatever time works for you is the right time.

Step 3: Create a meditation space

Find a space that’s uncluttered and private, away from outside noise — a room or just a corner — it doesn’t matter, as long as it’s quiet during your meditation session.

Step 4: Settle down in a posture

Whether you sit cross-legged on your cushions, kneel or sit in a chair, make sure the meditation position you settle into is free of pain and strain, and that you feel relaxed, balanced and connected to the Earth.

Step 5: Focus on your breathing

Once your body is relaxed, begin to focus in on your breathing. You can count breaths, or simply become conscious of your breathing. The goal is not to think about your breath but to quiet your mind and become aware of it. If you find that focusing on your breathing is tedious, try repeating a mantra, a word or phrase that means something to you, slowly and steadily in a soft, easy rhythm.

Step 6: Let thoughts flow through

The goal of meditation is to quiet the mind, but that’s often easier said than done. If thoughts creep into your session, don’t panic. Let them come, acknowledge them, then let them go. Imagine you’re sitting by a lovely stream, and, when you have a thought, place it into a tiny boat and send it floating away.

This post was written by E.C. LaMeaux for

Friday, November 11, 2011

Another Fast & Flavorful Vegetarian Meal

Vegetarian meals can be fast & full of flavor.  This is a photo of what my son & I ate for lunch today.  It took approximately 12 minutes to make from start to finish, and it tasted great too.

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup
Fresh Salad with Roma Tomatoes, Croutons, Balsamic Vinaigrette & Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Veggie Burger topped with Swiss Cheese, Mushrooms, & Onions on a Sesame Seed Bun

The weekend is a great time to explore new recipes.  Try a new fruit or vegetable this weekend, then come back to tell us about it. To find your local Farmer's Market or Wholesale Grocer click here:


-Promotes relaxation
-Helps to calm the mind
-Soothes muscle tension
-Eases congestion, sore throat & cough
-Stimulates & strengthens the immune system

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Clary Sage

-Uplifts the emotions
-Relieves muscle tension
-Decreases depression & anxiety
-Promotes Healing

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Foot Massage

Foot Massages improve circulation, relieves aches and pains and promotes relaxation. 

Technique: Begin this massage by placing one hand on the top of your foot and the other hand under the sole of your foot. Smoothly massage from your toes to your ankles. Slide your hand back toward your toes and repeat several times.

Next, support your foot with one hand and begin to massage each toe individually. Firmly squeeze each toe and gently stretch them with a gentle pull.  Use your thumb to do a firm line of pressure down the center of your sole; then repeat this movement on either side of your sole. End 
by massaging the arch and ball of your foot 
with firm circular movements of your thumb.

Repeat as needed.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Trust & Acknowledge

Trust in the LORD with all your heart 
And do not lean on your own understanding. 
In all your ways acknowledge Him, 
And He will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6 NASB

As you begin your week, do not try to figure things out or understand the things that seem unusual and out of order.  Lean on God and He will increase your understanding and make sense of every situation, clearing up all confusion and making your journey an easy one.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

6 Ways to Create a More Peaceful Workspace

To get to my desk, I have to step over a pile of clothes I’ve been meaning to put away, clear boxes of books slated for charity and dodge an “in” tray that rivals the height of my five-year-old. On my windowsill sits a forlorn fern in its final death droop. I sigh. My office is decidedly NOT Zen-like.

But oh, how I long for it to be. A desk free of clutter, with healthy plants, a place for everything and everything in its place. Those who’ve achieved it say I can expect a boost in productivity and enjoyment in work, and a decrease in stress.

Gina Mazza Hillier promises me nothing less than “greater joy” if I can see my way clear — literally. Hillier is author of Everything Matters, Nothing Matters: For Women Who Dare to Live with Exquisite Calm, Euphoric Creativity and Divine Clarity and someone who has created her own Zen-like office space in her home.

She makes it seem so easy.

When she decided to work from home, Hillier removed everything from the space that would become her office. Then, she says, everything she put into that empty space — from the paint on the walls to the fresh flowers to the whimsical artwork — was placed there with intention.

And that seems to be the key, say the experts. Creating a space that nurtures your soul, boosts creativity and productivity, and encourages success is a product of consideration. Serenity is no accident.

And don’t confuse serenity with being laissez-faire, say the experts. A serene office will help us get more work done with less stress, leading to a fatter paycheck and increased well-being. I’m convinced. So where do I start?

1. Wipe the slate clean to get serene

Like Hillier, personal organizer Betsy Simmons – dubbed the “Queen of Serene” by her clients – suggests a clean slate, whether working from home or in an office tower. “Start from scratch and designate or zone this space within it for a specific purpose,” she recommends. “Remove everything. A fresh coat of paint is a good place to start.” Steer clear of red, orange or yellow, which Simmons calls fast colors, noting that they’re usually the colors of choice for fast-food restaurants. Instead, she recommends blues, greens and lavenders…but with a bit of punch to keep you calm but moving forward.

Starting with a fresh slate, promises Simmons, means that you create an environment that will work for you.

Then determine what you need in this location. A desk is generally a given, but choose a style that suits your needs without compromising. It’s too important a piece to try and simply make do, believes Hillier. Hillier also subscribes — “lightly,” she says — in the principles of feng shui. Simmons recommends the desk be placed facing a door and without a window to your back. “Open space draws energy from you and you want strength behind you,” she explains. Get a comfortable chair that keeps your posture erect but relaxed. “Or use a ball,” suggests Simmons. “It’s great for your posture.”

2. Work the system

Create a system and work it until it’s second nature, says Regina Leeds, known as The Zen Organizer and the author of six books including the New York Times bestseller One Year to an Organized Life and One Year to an Organized Work Life (January 2009). “Another word for system in this context,” she explains, “might be ritual, habit or routine. If your day is run by the whims of others, you won’t get much done.”

Simmons agrees. “The more you can control and maintain the space, the more time you have to catch the curve balls that keep coming.” With that in mind, create zones in your office that reflect the different aspects of your work life — a priority zone, which is usually what you’re working on, a reference zone, and so on. Choose a system of organization — alphabetical, color-coded, by date or topic — that works best for you. Then stick with it, always returning things to their rightful zone.

Simmons also suggests that those of us seeking office serenity start each day with a plan. “Each minute of planning can save one hour of execution.” Then spend a few minutes at the end of the day on cleanup. “Do not pass it on until tomorrow!” she insists. “What a horrible way to start a day…by finishing up yesterday.”

3. Clear the clutter

While every magazine promises us the key to curing our lives of clutter, why do so few of us succeed? “Getting organized is a skill,” reminds Leeds. If it’s not something that we learned from parents or that comes naturally, it’s something we not only need to learn now, we need to take action to implement. With that in mind, clear anything out of your office that isn’t directly related to your work or to helping you work. That means kids’ toys (gulp), family photos (double gulp) and any extraneous stuff that isn’t currently relevant to your work or to creating a peaceful space.

4. Green and light are a go!

Bring in live plants. Not only do they help clean indoor air, they’re a positive life force. And by all means, light candles that lend an air of calm. Ensure that they’re nontoxic. Artwork that inspires is a great addition to any office space. And don’t just think of your walls. A beautiful rug can be art for your floors. Hillier includes fresh flowers in her office space. “They add to my energy,” she says.

5. Use the zone concept to get more done

Keeping in mind your office zones, tackle work in the same way. Group together tasks, such as phone calls or errands, blocking out more time than you think you’ll need to ensure that you complete tasks and complete them well. Leeds reminds us that “Time is a commodity. It can be wasted but never recovered.”

6. Work to live, don't live to work

Our work should complement our lives, giving us greater meaning, greater joy and greater balance. An office space that soothes our soul while it stokes our energy will be a place we’ll look forward to entering. It will lead naturally to a career that enriches not only our wallets, but our beings.

This post was written by Leslie Garrett for

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

National Author's Day

Today is National Author's Day, so I decided that this would be a great day to add a new page for my two books, Set the Atmosphere: Preparing for Parenthood with the Word of God & 
101 Affirmations for the Mother-to-Be.

Set the Atmosphere is a devotional full of scriptures to guide you throughout the preconception phase, pregnancy, labor, and the first few months of parenthood.  This book empowers you to have your best pregnancy and birth experience, while continuously building your relationship with God.

101 Affirmations for the Mother-to-Be includes affirmations (energized, power-filled, life-giving words) to inspire, empower, and uplift you throughout your pregnancy and labor.

Both books are available in ebook format for Kindle (Additional formats are coming).  Set the Atmosphere is also available as a paperback book.  Check them out here: Books.

I am currently writing several more books, so please continue to check the Books page for new releases!

P.S. If you've always longed to become an author, today is a great day to get started! You can do it! Your words can leave a lasting impact on the world, so don't wait any longer. Today is your day!   

4 Ways to Express Gratitude Every Day

Learn how giving thanks can keep you feeling happy 

When newspaper headlines are screaming financial disaster and your nightly news station broadcasts war and devastation, it’s not hard to get swept up in the pessimistic world view that things are bad—and getting worse. Now, stop and think about whether or not that’s really true. If the world were so bad, would that person at the grocery store have let you cut in line when you were buying one item? How about the card your next door neighbor's child made you for Christmas? We often focus on all the problems we're having and forget about life’s small blessings.

That’s exactly the mentality Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Riverside, and author of "The How of Happiness," is using her 5-year, $1 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to explore. She has done vast research on the topic of long-term personal happiness and found that, among other things, expressing gratitude regularly contributes to it in a big way.

Here are four ideas on how to express gratitude every day.

Keep a gratitude journal

We often feel gratitude in the moment that kindness or generosity is bestowed upon us. The problem is that we soon forget about these moments and, during a dark time, we begin to feel they never come. A gratitude journal is where you can write down the things you are grateful for each day. And when the going gets tough, you have something to remind you there is hope.

Write a gratitude letter

Sometimes we need to take time to think about the people in our lives and how they contribute to our happiness and well-being. Instead of just tossing the idea around in our brain, write a friend a note telling her what you appreciate about her presence in your life. It’s not even important that you give her this letter; just the act of writing it out will solidify your feelings of gratitude for her.

Make a gratitude creation

Exercise your artistic side by creating something that represents what you are thankful for. A collage; a sketch; or, if you're a more adventurous artist, try a sculpture. By incorporating elements that represent things you are thankful for, you will have a visual reminder that life isn’t all that bad.

Make a gratitude appointment

Set a specific time to be grateful each day: when you wake up, when you go to sleep or before a meal. By setting this specific time, you will find yourself thinking all day of what you are grateful for, so at your “gratitude appointment,” you won’t be caught empty handed.

This post was written by E.C. LaMeaux for
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