Defining Success Your Way

successHow often have you really thought about what success means to you?

As a young person, I did not think about it much, but when I did, it usually depended on the car you had, the home you lived in and the money you made. When we are younger, we rarely get asked the question, we just watched how the people around us moved, lived, and what was important to them.

As we grow up, we go after what we think success is and keep looking around the corner for happiness to just settle in. We have the house, the car, the bank account, and the 2.5 children…..Happiness/Success, where are you?! We did all of the right things, so why don’t we feel successful?

success2The problem with that is, we allowed someone else’s life to define what success would mean for us. We were trying to live THEIR life, not our own and now we are not fulfilled or happy with the life we have. Looking back at our model of the happy life, we didn’t question happiness/success because what we saw was “normal”. “Normal”, to us, was what our neighborhood, families, friends, and community looked like…from the outside. We learned the rules and expectations of life from what we saw, heard, or was taught in our little worlds.

Now that we are grown, we are expected to have a certain education/training and make our way in the world, look and be “normal” and that is considered success. The problem with that, for me anyway, is that there cannot be a one size fits all path toward what the world sees as success. That path may be perfect  for one person, but it was not the path that I felt would make me feel successful or happy with my life. I am not good with taking someone’s rules and running with their exact game plan to live the life that they live.

Everyone has a different story. We can follow the rules to the letter and still not be success1happy. Your life can look good on paper and you still not feel like yourself, not successful or happy with what you have accomplished.

If you have ever felt this way, it does not mean that anything is wrong; you just thought that you were doing “the right thing”. Most of us were not taught that there was any other way to do things. Once we figure out that the path we took is not fulfilling for us, we need to do something about it;

not just continue to live a life that was not meant for us to live. What I learned that I could not continue to do was keep putting effort into something that was not working for me. That is called…wasting time!! All of that effort into what seems like a prison that you may never escape….but you’re comfortable, right?

success4That old way was not working so it was time for a change! I needed to sit down with myself and really give some thought to what I love doing and how it makes me feel. I wanted to create my own definition of success. What did that look like to me? What would success feel like? How would I know I was finally there? In order to know that, we have to look at what is important to us, then live our lives in a way that lines up with that definition. I mean, we really have to be deliberate about how we want to live and focus on what brings us that most value and joy.

To truly live your definition of a successful life, I don’t even think you have to change everything. Small things make a difference, one at a time. There is no wrong or right way, there is only your way. We learn along the way what lines up with our vision for our lives. We have to asked ourselves the hard questions like, what do you really want? You probably will need time to answer that so you have to be patient with yourself but you need to know in order to be truly happy. We will know we are truly happy when we feel it in our body…when we feel that rush of joy and thrill, and a real sense of freedom when we figure it out.

We have to consider all aspects of our lives when we think about being successful. Wesuccess3 have careers and jobs, yes, but what about our relationships, personal development, spiritual growth, health, hobbies and leisure?  We can’t go back but we can definitely start right where we are in order to change direction and get moving toward what success means to us.

We have a destination in mind but we have to get there somehow. Our journey is going to take us many places and we are going to discover so many things about ourselves. Where we are right now in our journey is not WHO we are. This is just one step, one part along that path. That means that there is no need to be hard on ourselves, and we do not need to quit! It’s never too late, we are not too old, or too stuck to stop and change direction to go toward a life that we can feel fulfilled in.

grateful1We may sometimes feel that the life we want will be impossible to attain, but this is a lie! We can always choose to do things differently. We all know the definition of insanity right? SO let’s not be or go insane! Small changes…it is a process and we have to practice. Let’s go…one step at a time, just keep going.

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Being Yourself Changes Everything

SelfloveshipsWhether it is a friendship, relationship, or situationship, we should always strive to be ourselves no matter what. There are people that no matter what we do, we feel like “ourselves” goes right out the window when we are in their presence. We go into these “ships” with everything we have…impressing them, drinking and searching for everything we have in common, second-guessing ourselves…and we are shocked if we are rejected.

selfloveships3Meeting new people can be so much fun and exciting, but it can also bring out our fears and vulnerabilities. I mean think about it; we are basically putting ourselves on the buffet table…and they are more than likely going to judge us. When we choose to go on that lunch date, or to that club, or event with said person, we are so excited that we sometimes interrupt our reasonable thinking around this person. We “get to know” a lot of people and sort out who is going to serve good to our lives and finally, we think that THIS person comes close to someone who may add to our life.

We cannot forget that we are trying to ADD this person to our lives. That means we have to know a little something about ourselves. Our likes and dislikes, our boundaries, and how we need and want to be loved are important when we are choosing a person to be in our lives. When we meet people, we should be doing it from a place of self-love so that we are our authentic selves and we don’t have to risk making a bad choice because we were not who we really are in the first place.  Keep these things in mind….

  1. You are hoping that this person can add to you, not just impress you. No one should selfloveships1be trying to impress the other. It is not a job interview, after all. Be yourself and don’t embellish. They are going to remember what you said and eventually you will have to cash that check that you wrote.
  2. Remember your values, then see if they match. You don’t need to do everything together. I believe that you should at least have similar core values, they generally stay the same. Our interests are gonna change as we grow. Have more than a surface conversation and find out what he/she believes in. What will they fight for? What issues are close to their heart? Shared values make for better conversations and bring you together when times get tough.
  3. DO not perform! When we meet people, we sometimes give them a filtered version of who we really are. We are afraid that they may think we are boring, weird, or even stupid. We really do want people in our lives that “get” us, truth be told. That means that we have to actually BE us to weed out those that can’t love the real us. It is good to find out early that this person cannot love the real you. Save yourself a whole lot of heartache and pain later on. Real people fall in love with real people.
  4. selfloveships4Both of you should be having fun. Who is great and making people comfortable? Relaxed? Laugh and have fun? (Hands raised). In doing all of that you cannot forget that you have to have fun too! Everyone has a role to play in our lives. Fall back a little and see if you are being asked questions, listened to, or engaged in conversation on the same or similar level of effort that you are putting in. Is that going well for you? You find out early and quick if this person is someone you can spent any length of time with and actually enjoy it.
  5. It should be easy. Relationships…friendships…situationships do not need to constantly be “worked on”. If you have to, I bet that is not a good one. We all have ups and downs, misunderstandings, but ultimately if you don’t like that person’s company..if you cannot rely on that person….you are wasting time. The best “ships” are fairly easy. If its hard when nothing hard is happening, what is going to happen when it gets hard? If you’re around this person and it is uncomfortable, combative, awkward, and pressure-filled, you feel bad about yourself, or the other person is trying to control you, find the door and exit stage left!

When we are meeting new people to add to our lives, we need to do it from a place of selfloveships2self-love. We have to know that we are worthy of being cared for just the way we are. It is not just about being loved….it is about being you and loving someone else. Coming from this place will cause the person to experience nothing but the real you showing kindness, self-respect, and vulnerability. If they reject you, it just means that is not your “person” and you can walk away knowing that you were being your authentic self and they were not a good fit. You do not want to find that out after you have invested more of yourself than you should have. You deserve to be surrounded by amazing people, be you and you will find them!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Control Yourself

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At any given time in a day, there are many people who are demanding some part of my time. With having clients in the salon, or children at home……just to name those out of many, I cannot seem to find the time to please each and every person that “needs” a part of me. I am a mom, hairstylist, daughter, friend….sister, psychologist….travel agent, event planner, homeschooling mom, maid, teacher, nurse, chef, uber driving crazy mom!! And that is not all! I try to fit everyone into my schedule and most days, I get it right. Most days, the majority of the people who have demanded my time are happy. All in all those are good days, but I think that I had forgotten something……If they are ever UNHAPPY, it is not my problem!! This is, of course, excluding my clients, their happiness is of the utmost importance to me and my businesses.

letsgetitstarted3Time management is not a huge problem for me until I start saying “yes” to everyone who comes to me with a question. That is my biggest problem. I am a problem solver and I love to see people happy so whatever I can do to see it happen, I’m there! And yes, I do complain about it as I do it, sometimes, anyway.

We all want what we want, and we usually want it an hour before we even ask. Something that I am learning is that I cannot be everything to everyone. In the past, when I could not help someone to THEIR satisfaction, I felt responsible for whatever they were feeling. Whether they got angry, upset, disappointed….you name it, I felt bad because I chose to help to a certain capacity or not at all. I have learned that I can say no honestly and feel okay with saying it without an explanation. I mean really, when I did things that I didn’t really want to do, I am surecontrolyourself1 that my body language and my face told them the real story. I wear my heart on my sleeve so I know they could tell what I was feeling but most of them were just selfish enough to be happy because they were getting what they wanted. When we say yes and we really wanted to say no, we are lying  and crossing our own boundaries.

We are not responsible for the way that someone else feels. When one person feels that they are responsible for another’s feelings, they are unable to be free from the other person….then, you really aren’t able to love them either. You may feel resentful or annoyed that they even asked. I read this somewhere….”Guilty compliance is never love; it is slavery.” That is powerful! A truer statement than that cannot be told when it comes to a “people pleaser”.

controlyourself2Allowing someone to cross boundaries that you have is hard enough to deal with but what happens when it is you doing the crossing? I mean, sometimes our sense of responsibility is so warped and we begin to believe that we really have control over another’s feelings! Not only that, we try to make others responsible for ours…..wrong!!

We have to take a good look at ourselves and become aware of our behavior when we are interacting with others. Are we being self-centered and trying to control our family and friends, coworkers or others with our anger and disappointment when we are not getting our way? What about others…are they doing that to you? People who attempt to control others with their anger, sadness, or depression are just immature. This is the way a two-year old behaves and we didn’t accept it from them so we should not accept it from an adult. grateful1

 

 

Alone And Not Mad About It

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When you are an introvert, people think something is wrong with you. Everyone loves a person that can work a crowd. Most people think to work in groups or on teams is the only way to find an answer to a problem. Are two heads really better than one? Is collaboration the only way of the future?

The more people that I talk to, the more I realize that there are a lot of people just like me. Sometimes I just don’t feel like going out to a party, or being the center of attention. My friends are always going out somewhere or hanging out over someone else’s house and I wonder why I just want to chill at home. Work in groups? Mostly, I would rather work alone! There is nothing wrong with me or many others. I read an article that says about 50% of the world feels the same way that I do.

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Now don’t get me wrong, I like going out, having friends, or occasionally being the center of attention. It’s just that being with people is not where I get the most value from my life. Being around others, even on social media is fun for me, but I can only take small doses. I always try to have space in my day to be alone so that I can recharge because being around certain people for too long can be draining for me.

Working with people, I usually sit back and let them do all of the talking. I may add something here and there but I will leave it all up to the talkers to run the meeting. Leave me to work alone, you will be surprised at what I come up with. When going out with my friends, I like going to quiet places where we can talk. When I can talk to you and get to know who you are, I can get the most value out of the relationship.

I am an avid reader and a podcast girl and some things that I have learned recently have really helped to add value to my life for sure. I am not saying that an extrovert could not use these same tips, I just know that as an introvert, I have really been able to enjoy my time a whole lot more knowing this information……

  • Learn to be an observer. Just doing something as simple as taking a walk through
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    the park and watching people interact gives you a chance to learn how people operate when they think no one is watching. Learn to look at ordinary situations in new ways.

  • Close your eyes in a dark room and enjoy silence. If you had read a few of my posts, you know that I am into meditation. My world is so busy that if I don’t take a moment to step away from it, I would probably lose my mind. We learn more about ourselves in the moments when we are least busy; when nothing is distracting us from the thoughts and feelings we have about ourselves and our day.
  • Learn how to talk to yourself. It’s perfectly normal!! I promise. You’re only crazy if you have dialogue with yourself. We all have an inner voice that talks to us. If your inner voice is negative, you may need to distance yourself from it the way you would if it was any other negative person. We have to learn to kind to ourselves and stay positive.
  • Avoid mindless consumption. When I am by myself, it gives me time to think clearly about my life and the direction that I would like to go. Our surroundings are filled with so much noise, it is good to take advantage of quiet time to reaffirm the path your life is on. Mindless consumption? Things like too much TV, binging on Netflix, randomly surfing the internet…Facebook! We are all guilty at some point but think about an occasional change…you can never devote enough attention to coming to a clear answer.
  • Volunteer your time. Contribute something positive to the world. Being a loner does not mean that you have decided to sequester yourself from the world, it just means that you can surround yourself with people and not depend on them for your happiness. Volunteer your time to a cause you believe in…contribute.
  • Understand that you are good enough all by yourself. You have to know your worth. You are priceless…valuable! You do not need the approval of anyone else for that to
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    be a fact. When I am alone, it is because I choose to be. It is easy to find someone to spend your time with, but when your standards are high when it comes to who is in your life, you hold off until you know this person is a great fit for you.

  • Value other’s opinions, but value yours more. I do not ask anyone for advice unless I truly need it. The more time I spend with myself, the less input I need from others. Learn to trust yourself.  Not everyone has good intentions for the information that you are sharing and you know yourself better than anyone….trust yourself to solve your problem. When you trust yourself, you become stronger and more confident, which means that you will take on more challenges and accomplish things that you may have thought were impossible before.  You can, then, share your victory with your people and feel even better about your accomplishment.

Loving/Accepting Yourself..for real

curiosity5I don’t think a day goes by where I do not say things like, “I want to lose 20 more pounds…then I will be happy.” “If my waist was a little more snatched, I could wear that dress.” Anyone else?

I have been struggling with this for what feels like forever–always wanting to change something about myself. I keep telling myself that once I hit this goal, or accomplish that change, I will finally be happy. Now, I have hit many of my goals, but honestly, I felt nothing most of the time after I did. I was making it to the goal and not feeling any happier…but why?!

Eventually, I managed to completely confuse myself. I went from starving myself, to eating my feelings, back to starving myself in order to soothe that “unhappy ache”. It worked alright. I saw my weight go crazy and managed to cause some damage to my health. If I wasn’t obsessed with counting calories, I was obsessed with wings!!! Every single day! When I hit my goals and heard the compliments, I still could not shake the feeling that I was not enough. Still saw myself as unattractive and ugly.

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In the past couple of years, I have been listening to podcasts and reading a lot. I wanted to find tools to build myself up and encourage me to keep dreaming and reaching for my goals….I honestly got fed up with myself and decided NO MORE! I needed to heal my emotions because I was acting out of my feelings and that is dangerous. I have been really digging in to find what works for me and how to put boundaries up where they needed to be. That is definitely still a struggle for me.  I am happy to say that I really have been digging in and confronting my issues, meaning the eating, yes, but also some deep-seeded feelings like anger, and hurt, along with the body issues. I now journal heavily and meditate daily and found out where they were coming from and boy has that made a difference in my life. Addressing my emotions was a lot of work and I have made a tremendous amount of progress. One thing that has changed everything for me was learning that happiness is internal, not external. When you believe that you can be happy because of something external, you get into a bad cycle of desiring external validation, and you will feel up and down so you will continuously depend on achieving and receiving validation externally. Even when you do receive it, you will not feel any different, nor will you feel any more fulfilled….you will continue to search for more.

We just have to learn to accept ourselves….TODAY! Just the way we are…just like this. With that head of hair, that belly, those lips, that education. Just like this. If you don’t, it becomes impossible for us to accept ourselves when things change. If you do lose the weight or get the boob job, you will still be the “you” that you were on the inside. If you weren’t happy then, you will not be any happier when the change comes. You making more money? Still you. If you learn to accept the “today” you, you will be able to have better outcomes and create lasting change for yourself.

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When we accept ourselves……..

  • Happiness–this is what we all want. If we are always thinking about what we need to change, it is kind of a challenge to actually ever feel happy. Happiness is an experience, not a destination. Attempt to let go of all of the things you feel you need to change, and just enjoy you. Just as you are today. There are so many beautiful, funny, quirky, wonderful things to love about you today. Guess what? There is no amount of money, no certain weight or body type, particular car or house, that is going to make you happier. Look at the recent celebrity suicides that have occurred. They could buy any of those things and still didn’t find themselves “happy”.
  • Freedom. Accepting yourself helps you to find peace with who you are and where you are in your journey. You are free from the suffocation of self-judgement and public expectations. There will still be things that you want to change, but you have made peace with yourself and you can assess whether those changes are things you really want to improve or not.
  • Empowerment. Knowing who you are and accepting that person is your first step to self-empowerment. We are unique, yes! Knowing that stops the comparisons and you free yourself up to make changes that last and equip yourself with the power to do it.

So what have I been working on to get to true acceptance?

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  1. Let go! You have to let go of anything that does not serve your highest good. Every habit, relationship, friendships….all of it! Get rid of anything that doesn’t help you grow. You may feel lonely at times afterwards, but that feeling will subside. Replace the people and the habits with good/better people and habits.
  2. Mindfulness. Living in the present moment and appreciating it…that is mindfulness. A lot of times, we are so focused on the future and how things will be then, we missed focusing on what we have and do now.
  3. Gratitude. We have to be grateful for what we have. We must also be grateful for our abilities. We do ourselves a favor when we stop focusing on our shortcomings and be grateful for what we can do and what we do have. This will help us move closer to our goals.
  4. Control that inner voice. You hear him\her telling you that you are not good enough, that you won’t succeed, or that you suck. You need to reel that in and replace what is being said with positive words. “As a man thinketh….” Change your thinking! It is not simple, you have to be consistent, but it is possible for sure.
  5. Surround yourself with good….good people, good things….DO things that you enjoy, find joy! My grandma, recently, told me that I should not be around people who just like me. That I should be around people who love me, accept me just as I am. The more I get that, the more I will see….YOU will see that you don’t have to change to be happy with yourself at all.

Food and Nutrition: Are You Zinc Deficient?

zinc2Zinc is great for keeping our immune system running in tip top shape. It is a very important mineral that our cells need to keep our body running smoothly, especially our metabolism, growth, and senses. They say that real zinc deficiency is uncommon in North America because the average diet has plenty of zinc through the foods eaten. Beef and poultry provide the majority of zinc in the American diet, along with beans, nuts, certain types of seafood, and fortified dairy products. The only people that are at risk for true zinc deficiency are those that struggle with eating disorders, alcoholism, and digestive diseases. The symptoms of

true zinc deficiency can be severe and may include diarrhea, hair loss, loss of appetite, and eye and skin lesions.

Now zinc inadequacy is a different story, and is more common. It most often shows up inzinc1 adults over 60 but that doesn’t mean you have nothing to worry about if you are younger or are sticking to a mostly plant-based diet. Plant-based food can contain less zinc and legumes and whole grains have compounds that make it harder for you to fully absorb zinc. Your body does not store zinc like it does other vitamins and minerals so this can be a problem.

So how do you know that you are possibly not getting enough zinc?

  1. Hair Loss. Low levels of zinc can cause your hair to fall out. There have been reports that found that people that suffered from alopecia, an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss on the scalp and/or other parts of the body, are deficient in zinc. They are still doing more research on this to fully understand the connection, but there is a connection.
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    Acne flares. Researchers talk about zinc and its anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the amount of acne-triggered oil and bacteria in your skin. Of course, there are other things that may trigger your acne like hormones, birth control, your make-up or skincare, and even your diet. It is worth looking in to if you have other symptoms on the list.

  3. You have a chronic disease. Zinc deficency is linked to many health conditions…..diabetes, neurological disorders, autoimmune disorders, Alzheimer’s and many more. What is the connection you say? Zinc keeps our immune system running and promotes healthy cell growth. If you are not getting enough of it, your body cannot fight the affects of free radicals and inflammation spikes, which are two risk factors that are ties to chronic disease.
  4. Wounds do not heal properly. Remember that zinc is essential for your immune health so a deficiency can make you become more vulnerable to viral and bacterial infections. You cuts and scrapes may take longer to heal because your body relies on it to repair tissue.
  5. Your vision is getting worse. Our eyes contain high concentrations of zinc, particularly in the retina. Zinc helps to transport vitamin A from your liver to your retina to produce protective pigments in your eyes. With that being said, it is a key player in keeping your vision sharp.
  6. Food does not taste as good as it used to. Zinc plays a role in most of our senses, including taste and smell. People who are deficient in zinc can actually have difficulty tasting their food. Research has shown that just giving oral zinc meds to people with taste issues did improve their symptoms.
  7. Trouble hearing? A lack of zinc can mess with your hearing too! There was a studyzinc done of 100 people with tinnitus and around 12% of them had low zinc levels. And the study showed that the study authors believed that zinc could act as an antitoxidant and tame inflammation in the cochlea, or inner part of your ear, preventing severe symptoms or hearing loss.
  8. You stop growing. This one really is seen in young children with a zinc deficiency. Children need enough zinc in their diets because of its influence on cell development . This means a lack of it can stunt their growth. This would mainly affect those that don’t eat or don’t have access to animal protein. That is not the case with most of the children in the U.S. One hamburger patty has 5 milligrams of zinc, which is more than half of what a child needs in a day.

Even if you notice a few of these symptoms, many can be caused by other issues. There is no clear test for zinc deficiency so it may be difficult to tell whether this is the problem.

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We do not need a ridiculous amount of zinc everyday. We can just load up on foods rich in the mineral, like oysters, beef, baked beans, cheese, oats, lobster or crab, fortified cereals, chicken and yogurt. Women should aim for 9 milligrams while men need 11. There is a limit of 40 milligrams per day for adults because taking in too much can actually block your absorption of other nutrients, like copper or iron. You can also have toxic effects such as vomiting, cramping, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and headaches. That is why most people don’t need  a zinc supplement, unless you are part of a high-risk group ( if you have a GI disorder or stick to a plant-based diet). A multivitamin that includes around 10 to 15 milligrams of zinc may be sufficient. I would talk to your doctor if you have a questions about your vitamin and mineral intake.

 

Gratitude

grateful2Gratitude– The quality of being thankful, readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

I always thought that I knew exactly what gratitude was until I really looked at this definition. I mean..the QUALITY of being thankful! To me, that means more than just saying thank you. When I look at gratitude now, I see it totally as an action word, just like love. You can’t even say the word unless action has been put to it, in my opinion anyway. When you show your gratitude, you feel indebted to a person for their kindness or support. That is much more than a thank you for me.

gratefulWhen we have so many obstacles are in front of us and a fistful of tears, it is hard to see the good that is happening in our lives. Sure, we will not see the good in what makes us feel stuck, but what about appreciating what doesn’t have us stuck? Gratitude helps us to look at our situation in a way that makes our issues less painful and aid in us being more positive and actually looking for a solution. The things is that most people are just not made that way. Gratitude is a skill that has to be practiced. I have definitely been working on looking at things differently and practicing gratitude in the midst of my obstacles and it is hard work, but it has been worth it. The author of “Thanks! How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier.”, Robert Emmons, says that there are three stages, recognizing what we are grateful for, acknowledging it, and appreciating it. I mean, that sounds simple enough right? I know that the benefits have been life-altering for me. SO what have the benefits been?

  1. Gratitude has helped me put my situations into perspective. When I practice being able to see the good and the bad in it, I complain less and it makes it harder for me to feel stuck in my situation.
  2. Gratitude has made me see what I truly have. I am more aware of what I amgrateful1 grateful for and it has lessened my tendency to want more. I have actually been spring cleaning and giving away massive amounts of clothing, shoes, and accessories after cleaning out my closet. I am so proud of myself and everything feels so much bigger and cleaner. You know when things are cleaner, your overall feelings are lighter and brighter for some reason.
  3. Gratitude just makes us happier. Gratitude definitely strengthens our relationships, reduces stress, improves our health, and just makes us happier in general.

I started practicing being more mindful of the world around me. That is one way that we can cultivate gratitude. Take a look around and be amazed again at all of the goodness that we daily take for granted.

discipline3We do not need a bunch of special or expensive things to practice gratitude, just your heart and your head will do. Some people may need a tool or two to help them be consistent and track their progress so here are a  few things that may help……

  • The Gratitude Jar- This is a site that lets you share what you are grateful for with the world and you can view other’s statements for inspiration.
  • A gratitude journal- I love to journal so I have a few of these. Writing down what you are grateful for lets you see where your mind is. I have everything from birds singing or my green tea with a splash of lemon to my sons and the laughter we share. I would encourage you to write at least 5 things a day. After a crazy day, it can really draw you back to the things that really matter in your life.
  • Red Stamp- This is an another app that will send personalized cards and notes any way that you want. Whether it be through email, text, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and paper mail, you can show someone you care for that you are grateful for having them in your life.

We are going through so much, yet we have lots to be grateful for. As we work through our situations, we should work ON seeing the good. We should look at what happened, but also what could have happened and be grateful for the yes and the no.  grateful3