Posts Tagged ‘Attitude of gratitude’

School-Aged Children Get Into the Act of Gratitude

Friday, December 10th, 2010

As a wonderful contrast to all of the recent stories about school bullying and children in crisis, it was wonderful to see how the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) designated November 8–12, 2010, as National School Psychology Awareness Week.

More impressive is the exercise they use to “strengthen positive relationships and increasing positive experiences.” It is called Gratitude Works and it encourages students to write letters of gratitude to someone who has made a difference in their lives or the lives of others. The intention is to “reinforce students’ practice of gratitude as one of many pro-social behaviors that can foster individual resilience and well-being and contribute to overall positive school climate.”

Recently I had the opportunity to speak to three graduate management classes at Hofstra University about my yearlong journey of expressing gratitude. I was pleased to receive dozens of emails following those lectures from the students who had done their “homework” almost immediately. They had contacted someone who was a significant life influencer and told him or her specifically how they had affected their life. Every message I received was filled with enormous positive energy, peace of mind and pride in having created even deeper relationships.

Expressing profound gratitude can never start too early. Even school-aged children can think of at least one person who has impacted their life. There are several good reasons to start expressing your appreciation to these people now. The sooner you tell them how you feel, the longer they will be able have to take pleasure in the message. They’ll probably be inspired to help others; in fact, the ripples may very well be felt far and wide, and all because you made these individuals aware of how important they are to you.

Also, keep in mind that expressing your gratitude will likely enhance and enrich your relationships with these wonderful human beings and by starting young, you’ll have more time to enjoy them.

Another consideration is that it’s often easier for young people to speak openly and express heartfelt feelings. Plus, the earlier you do so, the more likely it is that you’ll get better at it, and the effort will become habitual. It’s like exercising an undeveloped muscle.

So what is stopping you? School-age children are doing it. College students are doing it…Why not you – why not now?

To read the full article about the National School Psychology Awareness Week, click here. http://www.columbuslocalnews.com/articles/2010/11/08/news_from_readers/doc4cd6c6c448c62562727008.txt

Nephew Shares Blessing of Gratitude on WPIX-TV in New York

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Most people know that you like and love them, but very seldom (if at all) do they know how they’ve specifically impacted your life.  In this brief segment on WPIX-TV in New York I touch on the four key elements of an extraordinary expression of gratitude.

My nephew, Eric Herrenkohl was one of the 44 people on my yearlong journey to express profound gratitude.

You can also see what our gratitude conversation meant to him during this television segment and the action he took immediately following our time together.

 

For your own peace of mind so that you don’t have any regrets, have your gratitude conversation with those significant people in your life today. If you are not sure how to start, sign in at the bottom of this page and download your FREE guide. It will show you the simple steps to creating your own gratitude conversation.

Once you start your journey I would love for you to share your experience with our community. Please go to the Share Your Story page on the website and ignite sparks of gratitude.

Expressing Profound Gratitude: Are You Reaping the Rewards?

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

We hear and read about how an attitude of gratitude and how it can help us through tough times. This is very true. Equally as important is how expressing profound gratitude can transform our levels of happiness on an even deeper level. It can also a bring us that often elusive peace of mind.

Robert Emmons, Ph.D. is the author of Thanks!: How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier, which I acknowledge in my book, This Is the Moment Recently Dr. Emmons wrote an article that summarized very concisely what we can gain from expressing and feeling gratitude.

“We’ve studied more than one thousand people, from ages 8 to 80, and found that people who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits:

Physical

  • Stronger immune systems
  • Less bothered by aches and pains
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Exercise more and take better care of their health
  • Sleep longer and feel more refreshed upon waking

Psychological

  • Higher levels of positive emotions
  • More alert, alive, and awake
  • More joy and pleasure
  • More optimism and happiness

Social

  • More helpful, generous, and compassionate
  • More forgiving
  • More outgoing
  • Feel less lonely and isolated

Take another look at the list that Dr. Robert Emmons shares above – if a daily supplement pill promised these results, would you take it?

The practice of expressing deep gratitude to those who have impacted our lives in important ways can yield all the above benefits and some additional ones. Further, if we fail to express this level of appreciation, to others, the outcome is usually painful regrets for all that was left unsaid. Given all the benefits of expressing deep gratitude to others, both for ourselves and the recipients, why don’t we “just do it”? Because it is not normal or customary. In one of my chapters “Hesitancy is but One Step from Action” I sleigh these perceived obstacles including I’m too Old, I’m too Young, I’m too Busy, I’d be Uncomfortable, It Doesn’t Matter, or They Know How I Feel.

After I’d completed my yearlong journey of gratitude and one of my friends asked, “What did you get from all this?” “What was it really like for you?” It was almost as if he was asking me to reveal a secret, and it prompted me to drill a little deeper for a response.

Two of several immediate responses came to mind. First, I had a much deeper appreciation of just how important these relationships were to me. It felt like I was seeing them in “high definition”. The second thought was: peace of mind. I didn’t realize I was getting it at the time I was having my conversations or even after I’d finished them. I only got in touch with how peaceful I’d become sometime later when I was faced with a crisis. Which I go into more detail in This is the Moment.

Don’t wait until you have a health crisis to express profound gratitude, do it today for all the reasons Dr. Emmons’ study reveals, and much more.

To read the entire online article by Robert Emmons, Ph.D. click here: “Why Gratitude Is Good”

To get started on your own gratitude conversation, sign in at the bottom of this page under Ignite Your Spark! and get your FREE guide.

Beyond an Attitude of Gratitude.

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010


We are all guilty of taking things for granted.  Lots of things.  We even resort to excusing the behavior as human nature even though we know it does not serve us well.  We know the value of raising our level of consciousness and being mindful of all that we have.

Let me share a couple ways I try to make it a part of my life.  When I open my eyes upon awakening in the morning, I say to myself “Thank you, God, for another day to do good things”.   Having lost my father when I was 17 years of age, I know all too well that life is short, precious and unpredictable.  I am also aware of how much the body has to do to “wake up and move.”   It is something that I love to acknowledge and celebrate and it is a great way for me to begin my day.

As the day progresses, I think about all the other blessings in my life…food on the table, fresh air, modern conveniences, and people in my life.   Like many of you, I have developed an attitude of gratitude or at least I try to.

These are what I refer to as internal expressions of gratitude.  They are usually expressed to ourselves.  Many of you may even use journals to capture these emotions.

Growing up we are taught to say “thank you” when someone does something for us.  Although our gratefulness is expressed to others in these cases, it is usually for an individual act.  I refer to this as an episodic thank you.

I wanted to share the “pure gold” of gratitude that I discovered when I recently took a year of my life to connect and communicate with those who have had an important influence in my life.  This process was externally expressed gratitude and it affected me in a profound way.   I told each of these life influencers how my life had been enhanced because of them and how grateful I am was.  I refer to this as systemic gratitude since it usually relates to a series of impacts over many years.

The insights from this experience were profound.  When Hay House Publishers asked that I write I book about this year long journey, I could not miss the opportunity to share this experience.  It is my hope that This Is the Moment will both raise the level of consciousness of the value and importance of expressing deep gratitude as well as give the reader all the tools needed to capture this opportunity.

Can you think of someone you want to acknowledge for his/her important influence in your life?  Just one person.  How did they influence you?  I invite you to share your thoughts in the Comments section below or on the Share Your Story page here on the website. By sharing your thoughts, others in our community will be able to better reflect on their own lives and identify those who they may want to acknowledge in the future.

In future blogs, I will tell you how I selected the people on my journey and what I said to them in the hopes you will be inspired to reach out to those who have made a real difference in your life.