Gobble Gobble Gratitude

Writing this on Thanksgiving is appropriate as it is a day when many of us do focus on our blessings. But what about the other days of the year?…I would guess not unless the habit is being nurtured.

 We are genetically programmed to scan our environment for threats to our survival. Maybe it is not a Wooly Mammoth chasing us anymore but perhaps it is a job that is not secure and threatens our survival in that way.  So the worriers of the past have survived and passed down this trait.  Our bodies cannot decipher old school threats from the modern ones. This fact has us look at the negative in sharper focus than the positive.  

We can create new habits and influence our outlook in a meaningful way.  My love affair with the brain has to do with how, with some help, it can be shaped and molded in beneficial ways to live better, more peaceful, happier and healthier lives.  The neuroscientists call this phenomenon plasticity.

The research is clear- expressing gratitude has benefits proven by science; psychological, physical and social benefits. A 2005 study (Seligman, Steen, Park and Peterson) concludes that keeping a gratitude journal causes less stress, improves sleep quality and builds emotional awareness. Many other studies find additional benefits that are just a Google away!

As a life coach, I offer texting or emailing in between sessions as part of the package. These communications offer brief encouragement and are in no way meant to replace sessions.  I have clients now who send me a daily text of gratitude in their lives.  It is a perfect way for them to stay accountable until the habit is firm and more automatic.

It should take no more than two minutes a day to jot down one to three positives. Writing it down in detail helps but is not necessary.

So the question I have received is what if there are simply no positives. I would gently disagree and say there always is, if one digs deep enough. In the midst of a very difficult divorce, which is now an amicable situation, I was at a low point.  Extremely low.  In my driveway, I was sitting in my car on a cold, gray winter day feeling lost. It began to snow big, beautiful fluffy flakes, the kind that float.  Amidst my fear and grief, I saw beauty and I felt joy. All those things could exist together.  I picked up a mandarin I had on the passenger seat and slowly peeled it and ate it sweet and tangy section by sweet and tangy section.  It gave me the glimmer of hope I needed to help my children and I through a tough time. And I vowed to be grateful for the simple things when the big things seem daunting.  Begin small.  A pen that writes well. A warm bowl of soup. A smile from a stranger or a loved one. And build upon it. The more we seek out the positive, the more it seems to seek us.

After a Thanksgiving filled with love and laughter and scrumptious food, I felt ridiculously blessed when my little dog Darth, curled up on my lap and gave out one of his signature contented sighs.

Start today.  Start simply. And watch the blessings stack up. 

Tell me about you!

Don’t Hire Jackie, Hire Me
THE CONNERS - "Keep on TruckinÕ" - In the premiere episode, "Keep on TruckinÕ," a sudden turn of events forces the Conners to face the daily struggles of life in Lanford in a way they never have before. "The Conners" premieres TUESDAY, OCT. 16 (8:00-8:31 p.m. EDT), on ABC. (ABC/Eric McCandless) SARA GILBERT, LAURIE METCALF

Don’t Hire Jackie, Hire Me

My career as a life coach started 14 years ago. The question I was most asked then was, “What is a life coach?” Flash forward to 2019; most people now know what this profession is and what it means. It is even finding its way into the wacky writing of sitcoms.  In the show The Conners, Jackie Harris, Laurie Metcalf’s character is dabbling in coaching. She claims she IS a life coach, albeit a nightmarish, quirky and questionable one.  With her intense and unconventional methods, it stands to reason that she is trying to open up a stew restaurant to add to her income.

So in the real world, why hire a life coach? The general answer is to succeed at life. Two more specific reasons are to gain clarity and add accountability. Even when we know what needs to happen to achieve a goal, the amount of distractions that pull us away has increased exponentially. (A future blog will be solely dedicated to this phenomenon)  Even as I write this, I know well enough to know that my phone needs to be in the other room or this will not be written efficiently…or at all. While attention spans have decreased, anxiety and depression have increased. People under 25 are among the most afflicted.  

What can you do about this? Small daily changes that move you in the direction of long term goals.  And an experienced coach (me not Jackie) can help you become and remain focused.  

There is a myth frequently written or spoken that is takes 21 days to create a new habit. Research has debunked this; said research is in line with what I see when clients create new and better habits…It takes longer. 

Phillippa Lally, a health psychology researcher at University College in London published a study in the European Journal of Social Psychology which found the average rate of habit formations was 66 days and the longer timeline stretched to 254 days. A few fast folks took only 18 days but this, in my professional experience, is rare. The people in the study had to track their progress and had a built in support system.

A life coach is a personal and professional support system for you.  For your hopes, dreams, goals and well being.  Coaching can help you dismantle the internal and external obstacles to your success.  Accountability for your stated goals. Clarity for what holds you back.

Ever since I was a little girl, I have cared deeply about helping people. You could say it is woven in my DNA. Hire a lifetime of experience for deep and lasting change.  

Tell me about you!

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