There is so much out there to do and learn and see and experience. How can anybody be bored for one second? It can be overwhelming at times, but it is all ours for the taking if we choose to become participants instead of spectators. Live as a lifelong learner and you will never be bored. Keep opening your mind to new experiences and accept the stimulation of change and challenges to keep your energy flowing, your neurons firing, and your brain expanding. If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it – so start exploring and discovering.
Check out books, surf the Internet, take adult education classes, attend seminars and conferences, participate in recreation programs, and travel to local or exotic destinations to expand your horizons. Keep growing your dendrites in your brain to keep yourself vital by continuously flexing that muscle in your head by doing crossword puzzles, reading, painting, and other activities that keep you moving and thinking and trying new things. Boredom is a state of mind and drains our energy quickly. Decide to be a discoverer and get curious about the world to defend against energy drainage.
Focus your attention on what you have and not on what you don’t have. There is so much to be thankful for that we don’t even think about it until it is taken from us. Start your day thinking about the things for which you are thankful or start a gratitude journal and write down a few daily things for which you are grateful. There is a very good chance they will add up to more than you had imagined.
Start a tradition on Thanksgiving to read your list of grateful things to your partner or family for some surprising warm fuzzies. To bring this idea into sharp focus, visit a third-world country, or a culture with sharply contrasting beliefs and economic situations, and your perception of abundance and gratitude will be forever altered.
When we fill ourselves up being grateful and appreciative, we edge out the resentment and anger that has a nasty way of sneaking in and usurping our energies. (Remember the power of negative energy?) Instead of being angry at being stuck in commuter traffic, change your perception to being grateful for having a nice air conditioned car with a great stereo system and a home or gainful work you are driving to or from. Being grateful and appreciative helps us take less things for granted and helps build up our stores of positive energy for a time when we may need it most.
Appreciation for who you are and for others who provide support to you, the team, the family, or the organization. Gratitude, acknowledgement, and appreciation improve the spirits of the giver as well as the receiver. It is physiologically impossible to be in the state of appreciation and the state of fear at the exact same time. When we remove fear from our lives, we remove a huge energy drain and barrier to gaining more energy.
So if you start to feel fearful, change your mind to feeling appreciative about some other aspect of your life to take your mind off the paralyzing affects of fear. Experience with thousands of audience members around the world confirm the research that appreciation improves motivation, self-esteem, productivity, and positive feelings. When we are appreciated, we feel better about ourselves and better about the person who is appreciating us. It creates a positive energy cycle and a connection between the two people or the person and the organization.
That is why it’s so critical to give recognition to improve retention in organizations. Likewise, it is just as critical to give recognition to improve retention in marriages. The wooing shouldn’t stop after the wedding. When people feel appreciated, they are more likely to keep giving and doing the behavior that gets appreciated. When the appreciation falls short, then the behavior starts to fall shorter, then the appreciation dwindles until there is a mutual shutdown by both parties. Before you know it, the positive cycle of giving and appreciating has turned into a downward spin of “why bother” or “what have you done for me lately?”
If you want to keep up the positive behavior, then you’ve got to keep up the positive rewards, and appreciation is one of the positive rewards we all seek. Be aware, be appreciative, and be grateful for the things and the people that come into your life.
The study of the science of happiness has just recently caught up with what generally happy people already intuitively knew. In the past couple decades the science of Positive Psychology has learned:
- Happiness does not come from genetics, luck or chance
- Happiness has a lot less to do with circumstances than we originally thought
- Happiness is not the result of some big, momentous occasion or event or goal attainment – it is realized by all the little small, daily things that add up moment by moment
- Happiness is created by thing simply, daily things we decide to do – how we choose to move through the world
- Unhappiness is created by NOT choosing to do those simple, daily things that we recognize as the things that create our happiness – we must identify the things that we are doing first so we know which things to keep doing and keep putting in our lives so maintain our happiness and be consciously aware of the things we add to our lives that bring us joy and happiness as well as those things that create unhappiness and delete those things.
- Happiness comes from conscious living and living purposefully – being in tune with what you allow in your life and deciding what you do and what you don’t, having the feeling of being in control of how you live your life
Some other rules of the road for creating happiness stemming from the scientific research as part of the Positive Psychology movement:
- Keep a positive mindset and speak in positive vs. negative terms
- Make a regular practice of counting your blessings and focus on gratitude and appreciation
- Do kind things for others and help make the world a better place in the service of others
Keeping a positive mindset and speaking positive words is more powerful than most people realize. There was some amazing evidence of this at the third World Congress on Positive Psychology as reported by the Center for Disease Control. They linked the incidence of atherosclerotic disease county by county of the northeastern United States with the amount of negative words used by those counties as evidenced by the Twitter posts. The study had analyzed 40,000 words in over 80 million tweets and when the results were overlaid with a county-by-county analysis of heart attacks, it was nearly an exact correlation. The words used that were predictive of illness were expressions of anger, hostility, aggression, disengagement and lack of social support.
The study also revealed the correlation of positive attitude and lower risk of heart attacks in a county-by-county study with these maps also being nearly identical – similar to the negative words and more heart attacks. The positive words that correlated with health included fabulous, helpful share, great, interesting, gratitude.
Being in the personal development field for over 30 years; this “new” scientific evidence only certifies what many of the thought leaders, motivational speakers and experts in the field of human performance have been saying for decades. I’m very grateful there is now science behind what we’ve been touting for a long time. It gives more intellectual weigh and credibility to what we’ve been sharing with our audiences on the positive side effects of positive thinking. It has opened doors and opened the minds of many in the corporate world, in government and in the general public about how their mindset and the mindset of an organization has a great deal to do with the morale of the people and their performance.
Combining Fun and Effectiveness is good business. Often, those of us in the personal development field have found roughly 10 % of those in our audience are really attuned to the positive thinking movement; but when you link that movement to the happiness movement, then the percentage of those who are willing to embrace it skyrockets to well over 50%. I haven’t yet met anybody who doesn’t want to be happy, though I’ve met many who want to be happier or even those who are happy, but didn’t know it because of their mindset and their choice of focus. How is your mindset? How are you choosing to be happy? Have you noticed what words you choose on a daily basis? Have you paid any attention to your tweets and Facebook posts and the type of words you are using? Try transforming your words and I bet you will begin to transform your life. I dare you…
I’ve been a student of the art of living simply and beautifully for a couple decades now. Ever since finding Alexandra Stoddard’s first books on the subject of leading a beautiful life and incorporating it into every single delicious aspect of my life. Why not surround yourself with beautiful things that have meaning and bring your joy? Why not surround yourself with beautiful thoughts, intentions, music, art, love, abundance and design? The philosophy oozes its way into they types of soap, lotions, potions and vessels that find their way into your home, the clothes that find their way into your closet, the work that finds its way into your life, and the friends that find their way into your heart.
I’ve been ruminating about the transition of of message that the world needs to hear and transitioning my work to mesh with what I’ve learned over the years, who I”ve becoming and am still becoming and what entrepeneurs and employers need to know as well as those that are in charge of their lives if not an entire company. The transition has moved from changing my own personal name with much thought and consideration of a grand representation of my life’s purpose but to my company name and what it/I stand for. Afterall, they are one in the same. My work is the outward expression of my essense and purpose: to be a successful artist and messenger in the community spotlight. So bringing the message of living and leading Hartfully has been years in the making.
Recently I hosted a “Gaia’s Girls Weekend” which truly expressed the art of living and leading Hartfully. Gathering some of my favorite women on Earth from “the Southern Contingent”; we enjoyed food, frolic, frivolity, friendship and a stretch limousine to take us to a grand estate for a peek into the truly elengant ways of Living Artfully. Indeed, our lives are works of art that we paint with every choice we make. This particular weekend was delightfully rendered with little scheduling to allow the energy to flow and to just BE with each other and connect peppered with some highlights of living lusciously and treating outselves beautifully. Why not treat ourselves to luxe indulgences to feel special now and again or at least more often than we have in the past. Why not experience the feelings of lushness and grace. What is holding you back from getting a limo now and again to whisk you and your friends off to an amazing day or evening celebration and joy? It doesn’t need to be for anything in particular. Give the gift of a great experience and see how it makes everybody feel…pretty darn good.
What a treat and a blessing to be able to bring my gal pals together and practive the Art of Living and Leading Hartfully. If we can’t live Hartfully, how are we expected to lead Hartfully? If we are not in touch with our purpose and message and the big why’s of ourselves and our hearts; how can we expect to show up and lead in any decent way? I’ve consulted with many leaders who have not found that balance of leading and living fully in their hearts and it’s not a pretty sight. What can you do for yourself to living and lead more Hartfully? More fully in your heart?
What small changes can you make to your home and office to be living more beautifully in what fully represents you? Might I suggest clearing out anything that doesn’t make sense any more. This could be items, thoughts, people, busy work, tasks, clothing, shoes, knick knacks and habits. What can you infuse into your life to help you live more Hartfully? What new habits, new friends, new work projects, new things in your surroundings could help you live more beautifully?
What can you do in the service of others to help you live more Hartfully? What can you do in the service of yourself to express your life more Hartfully? What can you do to bring in more beauty? It was such a treat to treat my freinds to a glorious day of living Hartfully – a cherished memory for all of us. Looking forward to practicing more Hartful habits.
So now that you’re past all the partying, whooping it up and forgetting about real life for severl weeks; it’s time to hunker down and get a little more serious about what you really, really, really want out of your life this year. I’m not talking about those crazy resolutions of losing weight, working out more and eating right…. although those may be a part of the plan. I’m talking the deeper stuff, the soul-connection kind of stuff that will move you towards your life purpose. What I call the Hot 100 list.
Writing down, or typing, cutting and pasting or digitally pasting photos, pictures, drawing and coloring AT LEAST 100 things you can do to move your life forward towards your purposeful goals this year. For left brainers and the check-listers; numer your page 1-100 and then write down your desires so you can feel the success when you check them off. For you right brainers, use the Vision Board method and cut and paste to your heart’s content. For the most bang for your buck, do both. And READ YOUR LIST and LOOK AT YOUR VISIN BOARD DAILY. Don’t sock it away on the shelf only to dust it off and look at it next year.
Studies have shown that these images get locked into your subconscious and there is a wee bit of magic that happens as you begin manifesting your list. It must be viewed often to keep it on the top of your mind and let is soak into the back of your mind. Stretch yourself to come up with at least 100. I always have more – there’s just too much to do, see, be to stop at 100. Let it simmer for a while, come back and add more. Some goals can take several years to attain and some can be done in an afernoon – write them down. One of my goals took 27 years to achieve. Don’t forget to celebrate your successes when you can cross one off the list.
As part of your assignment; take the Gratitude Challenge. I dare you to send 30 personal cards to 30 people in 30 days at http://socgratitude.com/9431
What’s really cool is that you can also create your vision board on one of the cards and send it to yourself so you have a portable version. I took a photo of mine and carry it with me on my iphone so when I’m in waiting mode; I can pull up my dreams and desires, read my life purpose, check out my life vision and then do a gap analysis and see what I already have achieved and what I still need to do.
Happy writing and card sending. Report back to me how it went. Cheers!
It’s a little odd to me that so much emphasis is placed on shopping around the day that is meant for being grateful. Others may say they’re grateful for the sales…. or grateful to get out of the house and away from football… or grateful that some have left the house to leave them alone to watch football.
As one who gratitude at the forefront of daily activities and not just focus on it for one day; it’s become not only a way of life, but a lifestyle and way of making a living through giving. How about we place more emphasis on the “thanks” and “giving” part of the holiday the other 364 days of the year and see what happens? Why not take the Graitidue Challenge and send a card of appreciation a day for 30 days to those to whom you’re grateful and see how your life changes, see what doors may be opened up, or what lines of communication may become unclogged, or what hearts may be opened up. You never know who may be hoping for something to happen in their life and you just may be the one to make it happen.
If you’re up for taking the Gratitude Challenge; send me an email Gaia@GaiaHart.com and let me know you want to take it and I’ll show you how you can easily send 30 cards in 30 days or turbo-charge your gratitude and send 60 cards in 60 days that will be delivered to the recipient’s mailbox by the postal service inside a stamped envelope all from the comfort of your home computer, or Ipad, laptop or even your Iphone. Anyplace you can get an internet connect, you can send a card or a gift that will be printed in 24 hours and shipped out immediately to anywhere in the world.’
The Wall Street Journal just ran an article this week about gratitude and how the workplace ranks dead-last on the list of places where thankfulness is practiced. How sad is that? We’ve been cooking along with recognition programs and incentives, then, wham, the economy goes south and so do the workplace “thank you’s”. With budget cuts go the formal recognition programs. I challenge you to not let a downfall in a formal program to create a downfall in your civil duties to spread gratitude throughout your office. John Templeton Foundation cited in the Wall Street Journal article that only 7% of bosses and 10% of colleagues on average are being thanked by their colleagues. Jack Welch, known for his tough management even says that it’s part of a manager’s job to show gratitude to their people.
From years and years of research and work in this field, I’ve experienced the same findings with my clients: when workplaces head towards the “no gratitude zone”, then morale, productivity decline and the profits are not far behind in the freefall. Gratitude is not only good for people, it’s good for business.
What are you doing to thank your colleagues, your clients, customers and your friendss throughout the year and not just on one or two days of the year? Sometimes it can fall on deaf ears in the clatter of everything at once on one day, but it is held in high esteem when it is given throughout the year on a continual basis. Go ahead, I dare you to take the Gratitude Challenge and see what happens in your life. Send me and email at Gaia@GaiaHart.com and I’ll show you how you can simply and easily send 30 cards in 30 days or turbo charge your giving to 60 or 90 cards in as many days. You’ll be glad you did.
Check out this video on the power of gratitude and sending a heart-ful card:
Thanks for stopping by – I’m grateful to have this forum for my toughts…. though my thoughts have had a different focus for most of this year….. more later on contraction and expansion……
Not all affirmations are created equally. I’ve been doing this and coaching this for several decades and creating effective affirmations is both an art and a science. I wanted to share some tips on writing effective affirmations that will work for you and not against you in manifesting what you want in your life.
1. Start with the words I AM. Whatever follows I AM will come looking for you. The Universe will give you want you ask for. If you’re saying I’m sick and tired of… Guess what? You will be sick and tired because that is what followed I AM. It takes some practice to convert old habits of saying whatever you’ve been saying behind I AM. This is one of the most powerful lessons in re-programming your mind and your mouth to bring about change in your life. Start with I AM and follow it by positive affirmations of your BE, DO and HAVE. Your subconscious follows that diretive and sets in motion things to make it true.
2. Use words that state the present tense and not the future so it is as if it already is. State it in the now.
3. Be specific – remember that the Universe takes orders directly and so does your subconscious. If you just say I want potatoes. The Universe doesn’t know if it’s French fries, mashed, boiled or baked. Be specific.
4. Involve as many senses as possible to make it real. What does your affirmation feel like, smell like, taste like, look like? What do you feel like when you hear it and say it – what kind of emotion does it involve and elicit? Make it dynamic and moving for you. This is not the time to be ho hum about things. What gets you excited?
5. State affirmations in the positive and not what you don’t want. If you want peace, don’t march against war, march for peace. Your subconscious needs direct orders – state what you want in a positive way so only the positive image is implied.
6. Keep it short and sweet. No lengthy affirmations with lots of “ands”. If one affirmation gets too long, break it into two.
I hope this is helpful in creating your list of affirmations and manifesting the life of your dreams. I’ve put mine on a card and carry it with me wherever I go and take a peek when I’m in the waiting room or travelling or have some down time to keep them top of mind. Cheers to manifesting your dreams!
I’m a card-carrying member of the “non-commercialized holiday traditions” club. For most of my adult years I’ve not been a believer in the usual nostalgic American tradition of shop ’till you drop, unfettered consumerism type of holiday madness. I call it practicing safe stress over the holidays and quite frankly, every day. That’s why I loved living in Europe for 10 years with all those wonderful outdoor markets and much less commercialism at that time. Of course as a kid, I reveled in my parent’s consumerism as I opened present after present for Christmas. As the wise poet, Maya Angelou says, “When we know better, we do better”. Now it’s just embarassing to imagine how much value I put on that stuff as a kid. Ah yes, adulthood does have its advantages.
If you’re a fan of Oprah, you may have seen the following info in her magazine and if you didn’t catch it; I’m bringing it to you right here. Yes, I’m copying the info from her magazine word for word on page190 written by Lauren Murrow and Rachel Mount. I commend them on their research into what a few bills can do in somebody’s life. So, in honor of all Americans who may not have as much to give this season as well as those of you, like me, who take a vow to avoid all malls and shopping venues from mid-November until mid-January; I give you 17 ways under $20 to give this ThanksGIVING, your particular holiday or any day you feel like it. Starting at a buck, you can make a contribution to make changes in the world without adding to the pile of stuff for somebody.
- $1 for 2 books shipped to a classroom in Africa. In many African school rooms, 20 students share 1 textbook: www.booksforafrica.org
- $2 for a set of drumsticks for a low-income public school student learning to play the drums: www.littlekidsrock.org
- $3 for a field trip to a museum, concert or theatre production for a high-risk youth: www.createnow.org
- $4 for 2 hours of prepaid phone time for a soldier stationed overseas – calling cards for our troops: www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com
- $5 for a one-burner kerosene stove for a family that would typically rely on an open fire: www.foodforthepoor.org
- $6 for measles vaccinations for 15 children in a developing country: www.doctorswithoutborders.org
- $7 for a week’s worth of food for an abandoned dog or cat at a shelter run by the American Soiciety for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: www.aspca.org
- $8 for a medical teaching doll to be used in educating a child about his or her cancer treatment: www.stjude.org
- $10 for a box of nails uded to adapt a disabled veteran’s house from Homes for Our Troops: www.homesforourtroops.org
- $10 for a day’s worth of fresh fruites and veggies for feed 2 chimps, most of which have been orphaned by poachers at the Jane Goodall Institute’s Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehab Center in the Republic of Congo: www.janegoodall.org/oprah
- $10 for 2 specialized bottles for babies born with a cleft palate, who otherwise might suffer from malnutrition before receiving corrective surgery: www.operationsmile.org
- $10 for cloth and tools so an Afghan woman can become self-sufficient by taking a 6-month tailoring course through Creating Hope International and the Afghan institute for Learning: www.globalgiving.org
- $11 for 11 trees to be planted in Alabama communities devastated by the April tornadoes: www.arborday.org
- $12 for 20 pounds of multipurpose soap to help keep families germ-free around the world through Oxfam: www.oxfamamericaunwrapped.com
- $14 for 2 nutitious meals delivered by volunteers from Meals on Wheels to a housebound senior citizen: www.mowaa.org
- $15 for a backpack and school supplies for one homeless or low-income urban child: www.cradlestocrayons.org
- This item was not in the Oprah mag, but I wanted to offer it to you and your friends as a way to connect with loved ones over the holidays and every day. For $9.80 you can send 10 custom greeting cards or postcards to anywhere in the world with your own photos and personal message at www.BizBuilderCards.com and select the Pay-as-You-Go option to send some cards. You can send a couple more on me – my treat as an added bonus. The video will walk you through sending a card and the company prints it, stuffs the envelope, stamps it and mails it for you. If you have questions – send me an email Gail@GailHahn.com.
On a final note – for a little more money, you can donate to your local food bank or give some small business owners some work by giving the gift of their services to loved ones such as: house cleaning services, yard services, home improvement services, a massage, a mani/pedi or spa treatments, a home chef, or any number of personal services that include experiences rather than stuff to help support the small business community.
I hope this list is helpful. Big thanks once again to Oprah and her team for brining us enlightened ideas. (BTW – have you seen her Life Class show – awesome!) If you have more ideas of making a BIG impact on a small budget, let me know and I’ll share ideas. Cheers!