Ho Ho Ho, Merry Thanksgiving and Happy 50% off!

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The holiday season is rapidly approaching!

Snow is falling in some areas, temperatures are changing in others, the Menorahs are being pulled out of the attic, and Christmas trees are being decorated; latkes are being made, the mkeka and Kinara are being placed; the social gathering invitations are starting to roll in, the smell of cookies baking is beginning to fill homes…

Whether you celebrate Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Christmas, or one of many other holiday traditions, the joy of the holiday celebrations are upon us!

American Thanksgiving is this weekend.

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This means:

bestbuy-and-walmart-black-friday-deals  black-friday  Black Friday Shopping (which now begins on Thursday, THANKSGIVING DAY, at most stores, meaning many people are missing Thanksgiving dinner with family in lieu of “doorbuster deals”)

    macysparade-cropped  macys-parade  macys-santa-and-sleigh the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with Santa Claus making his first appearance

o-prayer-thanksgiving-facebook  431e971b954b4ba1e6f07f2a58fd4dc6stuffing ourselves like turkeys as we enjoy time with family and friends (hopefully…if you aren’t on the social media diet plan this Thanksgiving)

images-3  images  images-1 NFL football

toysrus-cyber-monday-2016-dealsCyber Monday shopping (now…Cyber WEEK… both online and in-store, cyber no more!)

2014_0510_nbcuxd_upfront2014_christmasroccentr_alternateimage_1920x1080_ca  Christmas tree lightings in major cities (NYC, November 30th)

 and many more festivities.

So…unless we, as individuals, take the time to acknowledge Thanksgiving as a day to be thankful; gratitude on Thanksgiving seems to have been overshadowed by the consumerism of the holiday weekend, and possibly even by Christmas.

Did you notice, in fact, that Thanksgiving is no longer about Thanksgiving? It is mostly about preparing for Christmas!  We aren’t given the opportunity to even celebrate one holiday, before the next one has completely upstaged it.  Black Friday now begins on Thanksgiving Day. WHAT???

Christmas appears to now be a six-week celebration that begins Thanksgiving Day. Is this why statistically more US citizens have had a family turkey dinner at Thanksgiving than at Christmas, in past years… are they simply sick of the celebrations by the time December 25th rolls around?  With Black Friday bargains, and the need for more “stuff” beginning to outshine quality time and experiences with family and friends, in the eyes of many, will Thanksgiving dinners begin to dimish as well? Black Friday now begins on Thursday… what next?

images-2What if Thanksgiving were celebrated as Thanksgiving?  A time to observe our blessings and give thanks, rather than to take part in 50% off sales and pre-Christmas celebrations.

If the lines were not blurred and we took the time for three days of solace and gratitude in a hectic, highly connected world, would we not experience more peace and more joy this Thanksgiving?  Has the commercialism, the almighty dollar, the iPad on sale, become that much more important than our peace of mind?

Many Canadians have jumped on the Black Friday and Cyber Monday bandwagon.  And I have had my home decorated for Christmas for a week now (due partially to convenience, and partly due to love of seasonal ambience), as have many others.  So we are ALL at fault. However, when it comes to gift giving, our family, in the past few years, has begun to focus more on experiences and time together, than on material “things”.  I guess we just need to make sure we are ALL questioning what is important.

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In gratitude, joy and thanksgiving,

Krista


I Found It… The Secret To A Happier Life

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If I said I found the secret to a happier and more fulfilling life, and it is an effortless habit, that takes only minutes a day…

Would you be interested in knowing what it is?

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It can:

  1. Lift your mood
  2. Increase motivation
  3. Help you focus your time and energy on the things in your life that you really want to “live with intention
  4. Not allow you to take things for granted
  5. Lift your spirits; experience joy, even in more difficult times

thG4IX9KVM    Have you guessed yet? (here are a few more hints…)

  • Focus on what is already here, what already surrounds you
  • Focus on what you can be grateful for in your life

Focus on GRATITUDE EVERYDAY, throughout the day!

That’s right… it is GRATITUDE!

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Gratitude fosters happiness, and doesn’t everyone strive for happiness?

To cultivate both gratitude and happiness:

Pause/Breathe:    simply pause throughout your day, a brief pause, and ask yourself the question –  What or who can I be grateful for today, in my life? 

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Enjoy the View:    look around you throughout your day, and appreciate and acknowledge your surroundings, be grateful for them (the beautiful sunset, the laughing children, the cute puppy, the majestic mountains)

Be Insightful:    improve your self-esteem and self-confidence by being appreciative of yourself.  Make a habit of identifying things you can be grateful for about yourself each day (you helped someone out, you made a good decision, you met a goal, your sense of humour was spot on today)

The Little Things:    look for the small daily things you can appreciate, the things you may take for granted (your lunch, your dog welcoming you home each day, your car getting you to work each morning, the pen that allows you to write your thoughts/lists)

Timing is Everything:    You will learn to recognize and acknowledge gratitude all the time, before you know it! But until then, it helps to set aside 1 minute in the morning each day or 1-2 minutes in the evening, before bed, and use a journal or Gratitude Box

IMG_7189  GratitudePinterestLI   gratitude-journal--225x300  (see: New Years GRATITUTIONS (Part II) for some great ideas!)

Yell It From the Rooftops:    You can’t keep all of this gratitude bottled up inside! You need to express it! You are grateful for all that surrounds you and you are happier, so let others know you are grateful for having them in your life – make them happy as well!

So there you have it! The secret to a happier and more fulfilling life:

GRATITUDE!

Happiness isn’t about finding something new, it is about focusing on what is already here, and appreciating it, being thankful for it.

Gratitude turns what you already have into enough.

You can always choose to be grateful, which in turn, means you can always choose to be happy.  Think about it…

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With overwhelming gratitude for my multitude of simple life blessings, and in happiness,

Krista


New Years GRATITUTIONS (Part II)

wisewords_bannerNew Years’ Resolutions have a reputation for setting you up for failure more often than not… When I did a Bing internet search for “failure+New+Years+resolutions” it returned 18,000,000 results!  Can being grateful everyday have the same failed outcome?

There is a difference between setting a goal (resolution) just because the earth will begin another rotation around the sun, and your calendar starts on page one… and practicing gratitude everyday because, “Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”  – Eckhart Tolle

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If your goals for the New Year were the most common New Years’ Resolutions, for example:

  • to help others, be more generous and kind
  • live a healthier, more fit lifestyle, lose weight
  • pay off debt
  • get better grades in school
  • quit smoking, quit drinking

Gratitude would help you to achieve these and more.  

Gratitude, according to the “What Good Is Gratitude?” (infographic) makes us:

  • more giving
  • more community minded
  • healthier
  • make more money
  • have stronger relationships/friendships
  • perform better academically
  • make better choices, regarding addiction
  • live longer

Do New Years Resolutions provide these benefits?Can you achieve Resolutions successfully without gratitude?  No.

So, let’s then begin to refer to resolutions and Gratitutions and provide a frame of success and encouragement to achievement of goals each year!

As each New Year begins, how do you recognize it if you are celebrating the things you are grateful for from the previous year, and then creating an action plan for gratitude for the New Year?  If you aren’t setting new goals, as some choose to do, many unsuccessfully, with resolutions, on January 1st, what will you do instead?

GRATITUTIONS Examples:

Gratitude Jar

On New Years Eve or New Years Day gather with your family and/or friends and create Gratitude Jars.

Once a day, several times a week, once a week (on a Sunday, perhaps)… you decide… write what you are grateful for and place it in your jar. The following New Years Eve or Day, gather together and read all of the things you were grateful for throughout the year.  Then , start your jars again the next year with a celebration of gratitude, and continue to practice GRATITUTIONS!

Gratitution or Gratitude Box

FullSizeRender (5)  It’s a Gratitude Jar, but in a box!IMG_7177

This is what we did this year as a family,with a few of our daughter’s friends, on New Years’ Day.

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Gratitude Journal

Similar to the Gratitude Jar, just a different format…  It’s a book instead of a jar!

You can write in a Gratitude Journal every day or once a week.  You can list three things you are grateful for, or you can write a story. This is your journal.  Again, just as you do with the Gratitude Jar, celebrate GRATITUTIONS on New Years Eve or Day with family and/or friends, each year!

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Be creative and create your own!!!

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So what is the benefit of Gratitutions versus Resolutions?

New Years Resolutions focus on what you do not have, what you have not yet accomplished, failures… each New Year.

New Years Gratitutions focus on what you already have, what you are grateful for from the previous year, and how you can continue to build on that successfully and positively to achieve new goals each New Year. 

Which one do you choose to ring in the New Year with this year?  I know which one I’m choosing… the soon-to-be-famous, GRATITUTIONS!

Wishing you a joyous 2016 and a New Year filled with an abundance of gratitude!

Krista

 


New Years “GRATITUTIONS”… Forget Resolutions (Part I)

This New Years, instead of making “resolutions“, why not change it up and make “GRATITUTIONS“?

What are gratitutions, you ask?  Well, first of all, let’s be honest, I made up the word… but it will soon be famous, I’m sure of it! 

New Years Gratitutions are a soon-to-be tradition. You reflect on the things you are grateful for from the past year, and create an action plan for gratitude for the New Year; rather than setting new goals, referred to as resolutions.  Why, you ask?

  1. Gratitude makes sense of your past, provides peace for the present and creates a vision for tomorrow
  2. Gratitude allows you to reach more goals, because your outlook changes and opportunities seem to open up everywhere
  3. Gratitude teaches you to appreciate the sunshine and the rainstorms, all of the ups and downs in life
  4. You can always choose to be grateful
  5. Gratitude turns what you have into enough and more

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The thing to understand about Gratitutions versus Resolutions is this:

New Year's Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions, list of items

According to John Norcross (Journal of Clinical Psychology), approximately 50% of the population makes resolutions each New Year.  Some of the most popular resolutions are: quitting smoking, weight loss, exercise, better money management and debt reduction.

“Cultural Procrastination”, an effort to reinvent oneself; this is Timothy Pychyl‘s definition of resolutions.  As a Carleton University psychology professor, he believes that although people make resolutions as a way of motivating themselves, they aren’t usually ready to change their habits. Thus the high failure rate of resolutions.  New_Years_Resolutions

I believe unrealistic goals and expectations are another contributing factor. Discouragement from goals not being met as easily or quickly as anticipated can lead to old behaviours returning.

To change a behaviour, you have to change your thinking!

Gratitutions allow you to see only the positive by being grateful for things, big and small, hourly, daily, weekly…. If your mind is focused on the positive, and the abundance that surrounds you, it is much easier to achieve a goal!

Resolutions on the other hand, focus on the opposite, what you do not have, what you need, what you have not yet accomplished, what you lack, … this is discouraging and not conducive patterning to change behaviours over the long-term.  Hence, New Years resolutions are famously known to fail.

Focus your thinking on successes and how you can continue to improve upon them, such as with my proposed, Gratitutions. In order to create new behaviours and thought patterns, you must create new neural pathways in your brain to change habits and behaviours; do this in a way that allows you to be positive, present, and mindful.  Do not live in the past (except to build upon positive experiences for which you are grateful) or future. Be aware of your physical, mental and emotional present state, and pause and be grateful for it. Use gratitude as your encourager, and you can achieve anything!

Part II, New Years GRATITUTIONS, will delve further into the failure of New Years Resolutions, the benefits of Gratitude, and concrete strategies to embrace New Years Gratitutions!  I will post it in a couple of days 🙂

Be kind to yourself, practice gratitude, check back before the New Year for Part II!

With heartfelt gratitude,

Krista

 



Endless… the Benefits of Gratitude!

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How can being more grateful benefit you?

  • it brings you HAPPINESS, despite your circumstances
  • boosts feelings of optimism, joy, pleasure, enthusiasm and others
  • reduces anxiety and depression (clinical studies prove this)
  • helps you to reach more goals
  • encourages deeper sleep, more energy and improved health
  • allows us to see outside ourselves and support others
  • increases our likability
  • more intense and passionate love life

I will put a personal spin on this! I believe that I have always appreciated the life I have, and the goodness and love and benefits I was provided throughout childhood, my youth and early adulthood.  However, it wasn’t until I was presented with more evident struggles, that I really became familiar with the benefits of gratitude, and how gratitude alone can keep your head above water some days.

My late husband fought the demons of severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which progressed to Borderline Personality Disorder before he took his own life; and although he loved our daughters and I, those demons affected all of us.

Our youngest daughter, internationally adopted at age 3, also fights her own demons.  She suffers from severe mental illness as well, due to horrific early childhood trauma. She has psychopathic/sociopathic tendencies, Reactive Attachment Disorder and Complex PTSD.

To say our household was stressful for many years, is an understatement.

Gratitude, which I encourage in our girls as well, provided resilience, happiness for us and a sense of stability that could not have existed otherwise.  It benefited us, particularly myself, as I was old enough to understand it, emotionally/socially/physically.

Emotionally, it allowed me to be more resilient, more relaxed, hold onto happy memories, have more positive feelings than negative ones.

Socially, it made me less self-centered, less materialistic, more optimistic, increased my self-esteem, helped me to achieve goals, be kinder, strengthened relationships, promoted forgiveness, made me more helpful, altruistic, compassionate and empathetic, .

Physically, I had increased energy, I was more motivated to exercise, had improved sleep, and was less sick.  Gratitude studies have shown that it strengthens the immune system, lowers the blood pressure, reduces symptoms of illness,…

What does Krista mean by gratitude??? Is this what you are asking right now?

How can this word, gratitude, provide stability in the midst of a storm?

How can it provide all of these benefits and so much more?

Gratitude is simply appreciating the little things (and sometimes the big things)!   It is not looking for extraordinary things and celebrating grand events, holidays, vacations, parties, accomplishments and trying to hold onto those memories.

Brene Brown said it best,

“I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness – it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.”

What are some of the little things we can be grateful for?

  • a smell
  • a colour
  • the ocean waves crashing on the shore
  • a childs laugh
  • your favourite meal or dessert
  • time with a friend or loved one
  • time for your favourite activity
  • a smile from a stranger
  • a beautiful bird flying by
  • food in your fridge
  • your home
  • your family

What if you noticed things like these, 3 times a day?

Really noticed them…

Now 10 times a day?

Breathe them in…

Now 25 times a day?

They always bring a spark of joy to you…

“Give thanks for a little and you will find a lot”

-Hausa Proverb

Recognize that there is joy everywhere and do not allow pain and adversity to overshadow it.

What if you always stopped to pet that dog, smell that flower, listen to your favourite song?  What if you always did that, for you?  Would you not feel happier and more resilient to the things that are not as appealing?

I don’t know the things that make you happy…  Think about them.  Really think… even make a list if that helps to get you started.

I, personally love dogs, textures, food smells, food, coffee, kids, babies, people, laughing, smiling, bright colours, oceans, sunshine, turtles, all animals (except jungle cats, I’m not a huge fan as they prey on some of my favourite animals), artwork, architecture, books, I could go on and on.

I always try to take the time to appreciate my passions, the things that make me happy, and to be grateful for them.

Now, consider this… being grateful doesn’t just benefit you.

If you stop to pet a dog, interact playfully with a baby, smile at a stranger, appreciate an artists’ piece of art… you are also filling their bucket with gratitude and thus joy and happiness.

The benefits of gratitude are simply endless!

Grateful for my walk, hand-in-hand with my true love along the ocean today,

Krista


Gratitude is a Choice… I’ve Made It, Have You?

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Do you find yourself in what feels like an uncontrollable downward spiral of misfortune, bad luck, resentment, failing relationships, emotional instability, pessimism, decreased self-esteem, or decreased energy?

Do you feel like things don’t usually go your way?

Do you frequently question how others can be so lucky?

Do you resent them for their good fortune?

Do you want to improve your physical health or reduce anxiety/depression through exercise or a better sleep routine?

Do you want to achieve a goal or increase your productivity?

Do you want to strengthen your relationships?

Even if you only answered yes to one of these, you can benefit from increased gratitude.

Gratitude opens the door to an abundant life! It turns what we already have into enough and more.

Over the past decade, researchers have really begun to delve into studying the benefits of gratitude.  These studies have documented the social, physical and psychological benefits, and these benefits are within reach to most anyone who practices gratitude, despite adversity.

To begin practicing gratitude, is a choice.

To make any change in your life is a choice.

Are you ready to practice gratitude? Are you ready to make this change? Then make the choice…choose to practice gratitude.

Unlock the fullness in your life and allow gratitude to create clarity for today and a vision for tomorrow. Gratitude allows you to see the positive through the negative, the calm through the chaos.

Begin to find emotional balance and happiness by simply acknowledging:

I am grateful for…

Choose to see what you already have as enough.

Open the door to YOUR abundant life!

 

Grateful for time to write about gratitude, as I sip apple cider in a cafe with my true love,

Krista

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


What Good is Gratitude?

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Gratitude: It’s a National Holiday… Check Your Calendar!

In North America, we recently celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving, Remembrance Day, Veterans’ Day, and now American Thanksgiving is just around the bend.  What do all of these celebrations have in common?  We express “GRATITUDE”.

On Thanksgiving, it is customary, to gather with family and friends and give thanks traditionally for the harvest of the preceding year and the many wonderful blessings and benefits we enjoy.

Remembrance Day and Veterans’ Day, both on November 11th each year, are memorial days observed since the end of the First World War to remember and honour the members of the armed forces who sacrificed their lives, and died in the line of duty.

GRATITUDE… One upcoming and three recent national holidays, on the North American calendar, that make us pause, take time out from weekly and daily routines, to remember and be grateful.

Do you take the time to acknowledge gratitude in your daily life when it isn’t on the calendar? Do you discuss thankfulness around the dinner table with family and friends more than once or twice a year? Think about it… how often do you reflect on the meaning of gratitude in your life?

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Have you ever wondered how important gratitude is to your happiness, well-being, your growth as an individual? Can anything new truly come into your life if you are not grateful for what you already have?

Henry David Thoreau may have said it best:

“I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual.” 

‘Perpetual’… Thoreau’s gratitude occurs repeatedly; it is continual, neverending, sustained, relentless.

Gratitude can change your view of the world! It is that powerful! Gratitude can change negativity to positivity, sadness to joy, scarcity to abundance, and so much more. If we are simply grateful for who we are, and what we have, not only can it turn what we already have, into enough; but, it can also attract more good things to come our way.

Count your blessings.

Allow yourself to enjoy those blessings.

Set aside your complaints and be grateful for what you do have.

Stop looking for what is missing.

Life isn’t about always having everything you want… Want what you already have.  And be grateful for it. Always.

Remember, the things that you take for granted, someone else is longing for.

Be GRATEFUL everyday, not only when gratitude is on the calendar.         You WILL see positive change.

“Gratitude can transform common days into Thanksgivings;

Turn routine jobs into joy;

And change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”

-William Arthur Ward

With Heartfelt Gratitude,

Krista