Sunday, February 22, 2009

Want to Feel better? Try Gratitude!

In these times of economic stress, fast-paced lifestyles, trying to accomplish more with less available time, we barely stop to eat with our families, let alone have time to ourselves to just think, to just 'be'.

The pressure is on to be, do and have more than ever. Just to get started about our modern lifestyle: we eat highly processed foods and sugars, drink gallons of caffeine (Statscan reported the average Canadian drinks 516 cups of coffee and 312 cups of tea yearly), are sleep-deprived, don't exercise enough or at all, spend too much time in front of the tv or computer, and not enough time outdoors. No wonder we are all exhausted and don't feel like getting out of bed in the morning.

There are so many things we can do to improve our lifestyles, if only we had the time or made it a priority. The key is to commit to making, small, easy changes over time.

One small thing we can do is to start our day, spending 60 seconds or more, thinking about what we have to be grateful for in our lives.

No matter what our challenges, there is always someone out there whose lot is worse than ours. Additionally, no matter what our situation, there is always something to be thankful for, even if it's for something simple like the sun shining outside. Recognizing these facts, on a regular basis, will increase our joy, and start our day with a positive outlook. When we start with that mindset, we are better able to cope with stress, accomplish more, and be happier then when we don't.

When I take time to meditate, or even just 3 minutes at the beginning of my day, no matter what ugly challenges I have to face, it always turns out better on the days I've stopped to count my blessings and just 'be' for a short while.

(c) Susan James, All Rights Reserved

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