Tag Archives: quality of life

Fourteen Reasons to be Grateful

iGnite -gratitude changes everything

Point to Ponder:
Do you regularly acknowledge what you are grateful for?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

As you have likely noticed, during the month of November we are celebrating gratitude! Not only are we eager to blast out our gratitude in our social media #ignitegratefulgram contest, but we are fired up to wear our gratitude loud and proud with our NEW ‘Grateful’ fall apparel.

We are not at all suggesting or asking that you post or wear your grateful spirit to be boastful about your “things”. Instead, the motivation behind our Grateful Campaign is to encourage the daily action of giving thanks for our amazing lives and blessings…because when life gets inevitably tough, a grateful spirit can change a bad day into a good day, and a good day into a great day, because gratitude changes everything. I’m hopeful that our Grateful Campaign will inspire and reignite a grateful spirit in everyone.

There is no denying that acknowledging our blessings on a daily basis leads to a physiological reaction that creates a happy and peacful state in the body. To go a step further, based on the findings from a fascinating gratitude experiment conducted by two psychologists, writing down what we are grateful for leads to even greater results. Check this out:

“Two psychologists, Michael McCollough of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, and Robert Emmons of the University of California at Davis, wrote an article about an experiment they conducted on gratitude and its impact on well-being. The study split several hundred people into three different groups and all of the participants were asked to keep daily diaries. The first group kept a diary of the events that occurred during the day without being told specifically to write about either good or bad things; the second group was told to record their unpleasant experiences; and the last group was instructed to make a daily list of things for which they were grateful. The results of the study indicated that daily gratitude exercises resulted in higher reported levels of 1. alertness, 2. enthusiasm, 3. determination, 4. optimism, and 5. energy. In addition, those in the gratitude group experienced less 6. depression and 7. stress, and 8. were more likely to help others, 9. exercised more regularly, and 10. made greater progress toward achieving personal goals. In addition, Dr. Emmons’ research shows that those who practice gratitude tend to be more 11. creative, 12. bounce back more quickly from adversity, 13. have a stronger immune system, and 14. have stronger social relationships than those who don’t practice gratitude. He further points out that “To say we feel grateful is not to say that everything in our lives is necessarily great. It just means we are aware of our blessings.” – The Change Blog

Something that I am experimenting with in our family is a gratitude jar. The jar sits in the middle of our dining room table and each evening at dinner, we talk about one thing we are grateful for, followed with writing it down on piece of paper and placing it in the jar. Because I have small children who can’t write, I have been writing what they say as as well as including the date. It has become a sweet and focused time which stirs up great conversation (even with a two and a four year old). My personal goal is to revisit the jar of notes during our Thanksgiving meal and to continue writing down what we are grateful for throughout the month of November and the remainder of the year.

Another idea is to print and cut out our Grateful Printables. Then, place your jar, printables and pen in a high-traffic area in your home and anytime you or your family members pass by it, drop a gratitude note in the jar. From a good nights rest, a warm a cup of coffee to the blessing of good health, family and friends, it all counts and taking the time to acknowledging your blessings will make a positive impact in your health, relationships and overall quality of life. And, several months from now or anytime you need a pick-me-up, all you have to do is read what’s in the jar and you are guaranteed a good laugh, happy cry and/or mood booster. Why? Because gratitude changes everything!

Action Item:
Print out our Grateful Printables. Place your jar, printables and pen in a high-traffic area in your home and anytime you or your family members pass by it, drop a gratitude note in the jar. Or, at dinner each evening have each family member write down and discuss what they are grateful for and place in the jar.

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What’s In Your B.A.G.?

When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around. — Willie Nelson

Action:
Celebrate our wise, faithful and intelligent presidents of the past by focusing on your blessings, celebrating your daily accomplishments and (together) setting and achieving your weekly and long-term goals.

by Neissa Springmann

by Neissa Springmann

Monday, February 15th is Presidents Day. While I’m aware that it’s a federal and school holiday accompanied by the usual store sales, I shamefully know nothing about President’s Day… so I googled it.  I found out that the real name for Presidents Day is Washington’s Day, in honor of George Washington’s birthday.  AND it turns out that not all states observe it the same way. For example, Massachusetts calls it Washington’s Birthday and honors the presidents that came from Massachusetts, while Alabama calls it Washington and Jefferson Day.  Who knew?

Regardless of what the day is called or how it is observed, we should be reminded of how George Washington and many of our early presidents put forth wisdom, faith and intelligence that have stood the test of time. The foundation and roadmap they laid out for us as well as their leadership and bravery is truly inspirational.  I am convinced they’d want each of us to live and pass on their legacy as an overflowing “BAG.”

BAG!? It’s an acronym that represents three positive and essential things that allow us to spin our new cocoons, morph into new Monarchs and fly to new, high, and exhilarating places. Choose the color, shape, style or brand of your B.A.G., while proudly carrying it with you everywhere you go.

B stands for BLESSINGS. Upon rising, throughout the day and when going to bed, acknowledge and be thankful for all of the blessings that are in your big, shiny new B.A.G. As discussed in last week’s Journal, it’s important that we love ourselves and view a compliment as a blessing, without pointing out our blemishes in return. Receive the verbal sunshine with a “thank you,” and only think and speak kind and positive words about yourself and others. Our language and thoughts are the software that drive our body’s hardware, and happy people focus on what they have vs. what they don’t have.   Stay focused on your blessings rather than your blemishes. WARNING: We’ll have the referee whistle on hand again this week; if a compliment is rejected or a blemish is called out, a compliment foul will be given!

A stands for ACCOMPLISHMENTS. Often when we think of accomplishments we think of big actions such as starting a business, getting a Ph.D., or running a marathon. But, it’s important that we experience and celebrate all of our accomplishments—big and small. We need not dismiss accomplishments such as getting kids successfully to school, seeing them successfully through school, crossing off all of our to-dos, exercising for the day, or paying bills on time. By dismissing these accomplishments we are selling ourselves short of an opportunity to feel great. Building our self-confidence is essential. A lack of self-confidence is the greatest deterrent to success, which is why I believe that exercise is so important. It’s obviously good for us, but it’s also energizing, invigorating and provides a wonderful endorphin rush. Regardless of what accomplishment we fulfill, it will be a result of disciplined efforts — which always have multiple and worthwhile returns!  It’s important that we celebrate our accomplishments and allow others to celebrate alongside us on a daily basis.

G stands for GOALS. Think back two years, or even one year ago. Are you healthier, happier and in a better place personally, professionally, spiritually, mentally, or financially? A way to increase your chances and chart your progress is by making goals for yourself. Providing goals can ensure that we are taking steps forward instead of walking in circles or even taking steps backward. When taking the time to write one or two goals down the result is always exponential. When we procrastinate and do not set goals we’re putting our potential for more success and happiness on layaway. By setting lofty and easily attainable goals you’re destined to experience accomplishment and be in a healthier, happier and better place… I promise!

As we begin our week with Presidents Day, I encourage you to fill your B.A.G.  with all things our past presidents would want us to focus on: blessings, accomplishments and goals. Eliminate all talk of your blemishes and celebrate everything!  Before the start of the week, write down your goals for the week. Leave time and space for spontaneity; however, plan when and how you will love yourself with exercise as well as other important and necessary tasks on your agenda. There’s no doubt we’ll take flight, experience success, and will celebrate on Friday and throughout the Journey.

This week’s video highlights how our little “accomplishments“ can make us so very very proud.

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