Tag Archives: happiness

Thoughts on gratitude

happinessishereI’ve been feeling really good lately. There are a lot of contributing factors, but I’ll talk about the top contender.

Gratitude.

You already know it’s good. It’s healthy. It’s important.

But unless you make an effort to practice gratitude, you won’t be transformed by it.

At my core I’m pretty optimistic and fairly reasonable. When I hear myself complain about false problems (“I hate that I’m so busy! I have social engagements every night this week!”), I’m usually able to snap out of it and remember that this is a good problem not a problem.

But there have only been three seasons in my life when I specifically remember making a daily effort to be thankful. More than just a quick “thakya” prayer. Each time I’ve engaged in an “attitude of gratitude”, I’ve been changed by it. My perspective shifts on nearly everything. I’m less likely to compromise or get stuck. I dream bigger and my mind doesn’t have time to think about the worst case scenario—I’m too busy dreaming about what’s to come. I see things with a new lens.

Last time I was in this habit, I spent my five minute drive to and from the office with music off and just saying what I was thankful for.

Now I meditate for 10 minutes. Either in complete stillness, just focusing on my breath. Or I time it for five minutes of gratitude and five minute of dreaming. That’s it! Only a few minutes! I also have a journal dedicated to writing down 10 things I’m thankful for, as well as 10 new ideas every day. I’ve been doing it more and more when I drive (not the journal part, the one before that) because wherever I am, it’s the happiest I can be.

Check out this short video on the Happiness Project. I watched it five days ago and I still think about it every day.

I hope you have a jolly day, full of hugs, smiles and good laughs. I’m glad you’re here.


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How to trick yourself into being healthy

Short version:

1. Sign up for race. 2. Eat healthy so training is easier. 3. Sleep more so training is easier. 4. Be optimistic so training is easier.

Long version:

December 15th. 11:27 PM. Picture yourself chilled to the bone in the middle of winter. Not because of the plummeting temperature, but because you have just inhaled a baby-sized portion of ice cream (baby-sized, of course, being the size of a whole baby). You feel okay enough because you are still a voting citizen and you still take your vitamins. You vaguely [clearly] remember telling a few [lot] of people that you are going to run a half marathon in March. “Cinnamon and gravy!” you say between gorge rallies, “For it is only 33 minutes until the early bird registration closes!” It is imperative that you save $20 as you pay to do what you most loathe.

This is when you are locked in. You thought that 5k Turkey Trot was God’s way of punishing you for not liking peas.You have been blessed and cursed with the frugality of your father and probity of your mother. You will not waste your (half) MARATHON fee. And you will certainly not flake out after telling your peers that you are, “so in this.” You know you have to run.

When you start training you will do everything humanly possible to make the race less hell-ish. You will buy wheat grass and scoff at those who do not understand that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. You will kind of try to get more sleep. You will not miss a workout on the schedule (at first). You will [hope to] say at swanky bar, “Oh yeah, once you’re past mile six, it’s so fun. Just plain fun. Gee whiz I wish I was running now. Don’t those marathons in Antarctica sound neat?” Your utmost desire is that running just not be terrible. Perhaps even comparable to the minor inconvenience of washing your car.

It won’t take long until you eventually really like running. This will be evidence of God’s grace. You will feel superhuman when you complete eight miles before work. Your feet will become calloused. Your socks will wonder why you’re putting sandpaper in them. You will smile and kindly tell them that it’s your strong feet and they mustn’t worry. Your socks will tell you that they are only strong in the first-world kind of way. You will have to agree. You will also actually get more sleep. You will find three miles to be child’s play. It will be wonderful. You will be proud. A half marathon is not impressive to five out of ten people, but you are part of the five who is impressed. Before you started training, you thought running was only used for ice cream trucks and indigenous survival. You did everything you could to catch a break in seventh grade track. All of the sudden, you no longer fear the running pirate ship and its mates. You are now one of them.

You will laugh as you tell your legs and heart that the joke is on them this time. You have successfully tricked those suckers into thinking they are having fun while they are really just working to keep you healthy. They deserve it though. And so do you.

photo via this isn’t happiness

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