Posts Tagged ‘family relationships’

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.

How to Set the Emotional Table for Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

Your flights have been paid for and now all that’s left to prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday is gearing up to spend time with your relatives.

For many people this is an exciting time, and for many more it is an anxious and stressful one.  With families come emotional buttons that have been embedded for years and are visible only to a select few.  This can affect the depth and tone of how we communicate with those who have impacted our lives the most.  Add to this the expectations of having the perfect family holiday and it is no wonder Thanksgiving is often disappointing.

The essence of Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on our many blessings, not the least of which are the important relationships in our lives. So could you proactively set the table for a loving and grateful holiday?  What if this may be the last Thanksgiving some of you spend together?  Regardless of your motivation, you can increase the prospects of having a most enjoyable holiday with your family by doing only one thing in advance.  Express profound gratitude.

Here are the very simple steps that will could an enormous impact on how much more relaxed you feel with loved ones.

  1. Make a list of the people you will be seeing who have made a real difference in your life.
  2. Write down bullet points of the contributions each of them have made and how it has impacted you.
  3. Express these sentiments to them – in a letter, email, call, poem, conversation, etc.

To help you in this 3-step process, download the Free Guide to Creating Your Own Gratitude Conversations by signing in at the bottom of the  website.

What better way to set the table for a relaxing and appreciative holiday than telling people how much they mean to you.  There is no need to bring up past grievances, just share what you love about them, to them and for them.  It is not who they are that matters the most, it is how they have impacted you that is the premise of these conversations.  You will be amazed at how great you feel and how easier family gatherings can be when people are in a state of gratitude.

An alternative to communicating in advance would be to plan to a one-on-one conversation with your life influencers.  If you choose this approach, make sure you have this discussion in a quiet place so that you both can get and give your full attention to each other.  You may want to record the conversation so that you can save it and savor it for the future.  Have someone take a picture of the two of you together and capture the memory of this moment.

I would love to hear how your conversations went or how expressing profound gratitude changed the tone of your Thanksgiving holiday.  Please share them either below in the Comments section or  privately by submitting them on the Share Your Story page of this website.

For more information about how to have these powerful gratitude conversations, check out my book, This is the Moment.  Consider writing a personal inscription inside the cover and presenting it as a special gift or hostess gift.