Category Archives: happiness

Frey Freyday -Control/Connection

(Frey Freyday is simply a bunch of inspirational, motivational and other quotes meant to make you think, reflect, smile, even laugh a bit. Hopefully helpful, useful stuff….)

Control – [kuh n-trohl] – to exercise restraint or direction over; dominate;

Connect – [kuhnekt] – to associate mentally or emotionally

You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them. Maya Angelou

The secret of success is learning how to use pain and pleasure instead of having pain and pleasure use you. If you do that, you’re in control of your life. If you don’t, life controls you. Tony Robbins

I’m very happy with my life. I am what I am. I don’t worry about anything that I can’t control. That’s a really good lesson in life. Tom Watson

The world is so unpredictable. Things happen suddenly, unexpectedly. We want to feel we are in control of our own existence. In some ways we are, in some ways we’re not. We are ruled by the forces of chance and coincidence. Paul Auster

Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success. Paul J. Meyer

The business of business is relationships; the business of life is human connection. Robin S. Sharma

Live-tweeting your bikini wax is not vulnerability. Nor is posting a blow-by-blow of your divorce . That’s an attempt to hot-wire connection. But you can’t cheat real connection. It’s built up slowly. It’s about trust and time. Brene Brown

People are so fearful about opening themselves up. All you want to do is to be able to connect with other people. When you connect with other people, you connect with something in yourself. It makes you feel happy. And yet it’s so scary – it makes people feel vulnerable and unsafe. Toni Collette

I think any new technology that helps connect and create social cohesion is great. But at the end of the day, you and I are analog creatures. We have to take ‘oohs and aahs’ and convert them to 0s and 1s and then convert them back to ‘oohs and aahs.’ Narratives that work in social networks are the exchange of stories that are told well. Peter Guber

A great attitude does much more than turn on the lights in our worlds; it seems to magically connect us to all sorts of serendipitous opportunities and people that were somehow absent before the change. Earl Nightingale

I like to control everything, and you cannot control everything. You have to at some point say, ‘I let go and I’m going to let the cards fall where they fall… For a control freak, it’s hard. Naomi Campbell

WORDS TO LIVE BY:

CONTROL and CONNECT

We humans like to control things – our ego believes that we can and should control anything. When we are fearful or when we come from a place of scarcity, we like to control. Control gives us a false sense of security.

Connection is what humans are really about when we’re in our best state of mind. We connect to others, we connect to nature, we connect to our creative self. We can connect with work, happiness, grief, struggle, triumph and loss. For those that believe, we can be inspired and connected to God, the Universe or the Source. We connect better when we come from a place of certainty, calm, and abundance. (In this case abundance isn’t referring to monetary or materialistic abundance – here abundance means an abundance of love, creativity, family, friends, and the connection to all of these.)

Often parents take the role of controlling their children or their child’s life. At first, when they are you, this is often needed. But as they get older, all parties might do better if the parent tried to connect more with the child and control less. A worried parent will try to control their child or the situation, which can stifle the child, hamper the opportunity to grow, and even hinder the parent/child relationship. By taking time to connect with a child (at any age) instead of trying to control, more intimacy is built, more insight, trust, and understanding comes about.
Men and women both have male and female archetypes. For instance, when a father is nurturing to his child, he may be coming more from the female archetype, more from connection. When a mother tries to control the child or the child’s situation, she is coming more from the male archetype and less from connection.

Control in any relationship; parent/child, husband/wife, etc. typically leads to less intimacy and the relationship growth slows.One human shouldn’t and really can’t control another in a healthy relationship. There may be situations where a mother is being more controlling and she isn’t connecting enough. This is typically a male archetype which can also make her less attractive to the opposite sex. Her attempt to control can push others away. Likewise, a male without any control can have the same result. There has to be a balance of sorts for each sex, there has to be the appropriate amount of control and connection.
As I stated before, our egos give us a sense that we can control life. We rarely do. Planning certainly helps and planning can feed creativity and opportunity, but control cannot. Planning a life or a situation or planning together for a strong relationship is wise but ultimately after the planning is done, we must let go and have faith.

Similarly, planning and giving gentle guidance to a child is helpful and nurturing yet we also must trust in our child and trust in the world and we must let go. Knees will get skinned. Bones may even break. Hearts will break. Mistakes will happen. Yet our guidance along the way will kick in and the child will learn and succeed.

Similarly, in our own lives, we may skin our proverbial knees and make mistakes – and we should all realize by now that we really can’t control much. The ego is wrong. Judgement is wrong. Let’s let go of the fear and have faith. Let’s connect with our world, our loved ones and ourselves and let good things come our way.

Frey Freyday was actually born out of something I created called “Words To Live By” (WTLB). Going forward, I will now not only share the quotes, as you may be used to receiving, but also a related (WTLB). In 1999, when we had our first daughter, I was contemplating how I would raise my new beautiful child, and I was thinking about how I can best educate her and my other children about values, morals, and other key thoughts about life. School offers education. Religion offers some values and morals. Parents offer most of it, sometimes intentionally, sometimes accidentally.

So I created a (WTLB) book, like a dictionary, which lists things like honesty, love, persistence, etc. with a definition that I created, with my wife’s input. I then turned it into a workbook with one word per page and space below for notes. For years we would discuss with my two daughters and they would draw pictures and make notes in the blank space. I may share some of those images with you. As they got older, they were less inclined to draw and more open to quotes and references from adults, hence where Frey Freyday came from….

Frey Freyday – Focus

(Frey Freyday is simply a bunch of inspirational, motivational and other quotes meant to make you think, reflect, smile, even laugh a bit. Hopefully helpful, useful stuff….)

Focus – [foh-kuh s] – to concentrate: to focus one’s thoughts. a central point, as of attraction, attention, or activity:

It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.-Aristotle Onassis

Successful people maintain a positive focus in life no matter what is going on around them. They stay focused on their past successes rather than their past failures, and on the next action steps they need to take to get them closer to the fulfillment of their goals rather than all the other distractions that life presents to them.-Jack Canfield

Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.-Alexander Graham Bell

Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have. Make the Now the primary focus of your life.-Eckhart Tolle

One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular.-Tony Robbins

You’ve just got to focus on excellence and try not to be distracted by the news and the rumors and the absurdities of the stories that were coming out.-James Daly

Enlightened leadership is spiritual if we understand spirituality not as some kind of religious dogma or ideology but as the domain of awareness where we experience values like truth, goodness, beauty, love and compassion, and also intuition, creativity, insight and focused attention.-Deepak Chopra

Accidents, coincidences, and serendipities are the disguises I use to sneak magic and miracles into your life without arousing suspicion that the game is rigged, the dragons are fake, and you’re about to hit the biggest “home run” of your life. Just keep focusing on what you want and move ahead. Now, please don’t ruin this for anyone – The Universe http://www.tut.com

The key to success is to focus our conscious mind on things we desire not things we fear.-Brian Tracy

Word to Live By:

Focus – Where focus goes, energy flows. And where energy flows, whatever you’re focusing on grows.

I think that most of us “know” that our life is controlled by what we focus on. However, most of us don’t often consciously try to change our patterns about our daily focus. Most of us probably aren’t aware of where we put our focus.

All the time, we have negativity, conflict, hostility, resistance, loss and scarcity around us. The news and media seems to spend their time and focus on this, and much of society gets swept away in this bundle of nervous energy, stress, and worry.

I know a few people in my life that are loving, caring, bright people but they get swept up in this worry and negativity. When I see them the conversation often leads to, “Did you see the sad news about…..”, and they remind me of something in the news about crime, downtrends, or something negative. I think we all do this from time to time. Is that useful?

But that’s not the whole picture.

Everyday there are good people, improvements, good events, uptrends, kindness, success, celebrations, laughter, and opportunity. Because humans are wired the way we are, this sort of thing doesn’t make the headlines. We don’t hear about these things nearly as much.

First, don’t watch the news. I’m not saying don’t skim headlines and be aware of current events – a quick scroll over headlines is often necessary. However there is very little benefit from sitting and watching local or national news, in my opinion. How is it useful that you sit and get bombarded by the telecast that includes the latest political conflict, crime sprees, fires, natural disasters and such? Gee, let’s watch that and then try to go tackle the day in a positive, upbeat manner. Do you feel empowered after the news? Likely not.

In our personal lives it’s the same thing. Our jobs have points of resistance and conflict. Management may ‘pressure’ the workers. There may be hostility. Some people highlight the negative no matter how well things are going. Some of your friends may only care about putting in a day’s work with the most basic, minimum effort just to get by.

What if you want to improve yourself? What if you have goals? What if you want to contribute, help others, succeed or otherwise accomplish something? Does the negativity of the media help? Do those naysayers and negative friends help?

Race car driving coaches teach drivers to focus on the desire path ahead, not the wall. When we drive on the roads, we don’t focus on the telephone poles, we look to where we want to go. Similarly in life we need to focus on the path, the mindset, the energy that we want in our future. Both choices area available to us each day.

I believe for happiness, success, peace of mind, fulfillment – each day we need to focus on where we want to go, our goals, our values, what we have (loved ones, accomplishments, memories) not on what we fear or what we lack. When we are in a state of uncertainty next time, let’s try to interrupt the pattern of scarcity or fear, then shift our focus toward where we want to go, what we have, and what we can do and furthermore consider what actions we can take in that direction.

Frey Freyday was actually born out of something I created called “Words To Live By” (WTLB). Going forward, I will now not only share the quotes, as you may be used to receiving, but also a related (WTLB). In 1999, when we had our first daughter, I was contemplating how I would raise my new beautiful child, and I was thinking about how I can best educate her and my other children about values, morals, and other key thoughts about life. School offers education. Religion offers some values and morals. Parents offer most of it, sometimes intentionally, sometimes accidentally.

So I created a (WTLB) book, like a dictionary, which lists things like honesty, love, persistence, etc. with a definition that I created, with my wife’s input. I then turned it into a workbook with one word per page and space below for notes. For years we would discuss with my two daughters and they would draw pictures and make notes in the blank space. I may share some of those images with you. As they got older, they were less inclined to draw and more open to quotes and references from adults, hence where Frey Freyday came from….

Simply Happy – finding happiness may be simpler than you think.

This is a rare email I send out on a very rare occasion..

Before you spend time watching some sitcom, watching sports or something you’re perhaps not even that interested in, consider this TED session from several smart people willing to share some good, interesting information that you might even enjoy.
Enjoy your Sunday and Best wishes for happiness….

Simply Happy

In this hour, finding happiness may be simpler than you think.

Is There A Secret To Happiness?

Read /Listen to this story

http://www.npr.org/programs/ted-radio-hour/267185371/simply-happy

Frey Freyday- Perspective

(Frey Freyday is simply a bunch of inspirational, motivational and other quotes meant to make you think, reflect, smile, even laugh a bit. Hopefully helpful, useful stuff….)

Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.-Marcus Aurelius

Human beings are natural mimickers. The more you’re conscious of the other side’s posture, mannerisms, and word choices – and the more you subtly reflect those back – the more accurate you’ll be at taking their perspective.-Daniel H. Pink

When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears. It is all about perspective.Tony Robbins

There are no facts, only interpretations.― Friedrich Nietzsche

We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.― Abraham Lincoln

When you wake up every day, you have two choices. You can either be positive or negative; an optimist or a pessimist. I choose to be an optimist. It’s all a matter of perspective.-Harvey Mackay


If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.-Wayne Dyer

Keep your perspective…..Remember, you’ve been through tough times before and your circumstances will change. The struggle will  lessen. It will hurt less one day. Trust things will improve. This too shall pass. Even if life stinks right now, you have to believe things will get better, there will be light soon, you will make it through. Remember your blessings and strength and values and dreams… those things will keep you grateful and ready.- Brendon Burchard

Some people see the glass half full. Others see it half empty. I see a glass that’s twice as big as it needs to be. – George Carlin

WORDS TO LIVE BY:

Perspective [per-spek-tiv] – the state of one’s ideas, the facts known to one, etc., in having a meaningful interrelationship.

There are two things to consider with perspective….

  • Perspective about life, circumstances, your job, situation, etc.- If you change your perspective on or about any situation, it can change how you feel, think, and act about it – sometimes dramatically:… You may not like the job you have but to someone unemployed and struggling, they’d do almost anything to have your job….. You’re bored with life and you don’t have motivation but to someone terminally ill or paralyzed, your life is a dream. Often we aren’t aware of things around us and we can only see our situation from one angle. It can be as simple as the example of the ‘glass half full’. It can be something such as ‘life is a gift’ and seeing everything from that perspective. Gratitude is a wonderful perspective that helps us everyday in all situations – you can’t be fearful or angry or unhappy if you are grateful. Perspective allows you know realize that you always have choices, you can overcome, you have it much better than you think, and whatever your perspective is, it is correct! In other words, if you perceive that the world is bad or people are bad, then is generally is….and vice versa.
  • Happiness, productivity, health, relationships, money – so many things can be affected. Let’s just take happiness –by reframing a situation or part of our lives can make us happier: the power of reframing things cannot be overstated. What we have is exactly the same thing, the same activity, but one of them makes you feel great and the other one, with just a small change of posture, makes you feel terrible. Choice and uncertainty change our perspectives. Make sure that you understand that there is always another choice. Look for ways to find certainty. (Cognitive reframing is a psychological technique that consists of identifying and then disputing irrational or maladaptive thoughts. Reframing is a way of viewing and experiencing events, ideas, concepts and emotions to find more positive alternatives.)

–Change your perspective and you can change everything! Change the meaning associated with an event, a comment, a situation and you can handle it much differently.

  •  Perspective in regards to the ‘other person’s point of view’ – In any relationship it helps immensely to see the other person’s point of view. To be a leader, you really need to see other’s points of view. To negotiate better, to be a better doctor, nurse, sales person, employer, teacher, etc., it helps to see the other person’s perspective. Ironically, the more you know about the other person’s needs and wants, the better you can sometimes address your own. Perspective puts it all in perspective. In other words, what we take for granted, others envy. Seeing the other person’s view point also gives us a fresh look at our own lives and helps us reflect and grow.

What one thing can you see differently today?

Frey Freyday was actually born out of something I created called Words To Live By”(WTLB).
Going forward, I will now not only share the quotes, as you may be used to receiving, but also a related (WTLB). In 1999, when we had our first daughter, I was contemplating how I would raise my new beautiful child, and I was thinking about how I can best educate her and my other children about values, morals, and other key thoughts about life. School offers education. Religion offers some values and morals. Parents offer most of it, sometimes intentionally,sometimes accidentally.
……So I created a (WTLB) book, like a dictionary, which lists things like honesty, love, persistence, etc. with a definition that I created, with my wife’s input. I then turned it into a workbook with one word per page and space below for notes. For years we would discuss with my two daughters and they would draw pictures and make notes in the blank space. I may share some of those images with you. As they got older, they were less inclined to draw and more open to quotes and references from adults, hence where Frey Freyday came from….
–-

BONUS- Ted Talk – Perspective

http://www.ted.com/talks/rory_sutherland_perspective_is_everything

The circumstances of our lives may matter less than how we see them, says Rory Sutherland. At TEDxAthens, he makes a compelling case for how reframing is the key to happiness.

REFRAMING:

(From http://changingminds.org/techniques/general/reframing.htm )

To reframe, step back from what is being said and done and consider the frame, or ‘lens’ through which this reality is being created. Understand the unspoken assumptions, includingbeliefs and schema that are being used.

Then consider alternative lenses, effectively saying ‘Let’s look at it another way.’ Challenge the beliefs or other aspects of the frame. Stand in another frame and describe what you see. Change attributes of the frame to reverse meaning. Select and ignore aspects of words, actions and frame to emphasise and downplay various elements.

Thus, for example, you can reframe:

  • A problem as an opportunity
  • A weakness as a strength
  • An impossibility as a distant possibility
  • A distant possibility as a near possibility
  • Oppression (‘against me’) as neutral (‘doesn’t care about me’)
  • Unkindness as lack of understanding

You can often change a person’s frame simply by changing their emotional state, making them happier, more aggressive, etc. When they are happier, for example, they will be more positive and optimistic (and vice versa).

13 Surprising Ways to Make Happiness a Habit

13 Surprising Ways to Make Happiness a Habit COMMUNICATION MOTIVATION BY IBRAHIM HUSAIN

You know how some people seem to be happy no matter what happens to them?  They always have a positive outlook on life. They seem to enjoy things more than you and me, and their relationships with people thrive in a way that we only imagine.  You’ve probably wondered what it is about them that makes happiness so easy for them.  Well it turns out there is no special trick to happiness.  Just like anything else, it’s just something that we have to learn to make a habit.  Incorporate the following 14 behaviors into your daily life and you’ll find that happiness habits surround you.

  1. Change Your Perspective

There are plenty of reasons to not be happy.  Someone cut you off on the way to work.  You got a ticket.  You made a bad grade or got a less than stellar performance review, etc.  The interesting thing about not feeling happy when these things happen is that you aren’t in control.  You have chosen to let external forces dictate how you feel about life.  When you learn that you have control over these things, simply by changing your perspective, the whole world changes.  For example, take the “someone cut you off on the way to work” scenario.  By making an excuse for that person, such as that they are rushing to get their pregnant wife to the hospital (or some other emergency), you excuse their wrongdoing and are not negatively affected by it.  Hopefully they make it to the hospital in time and bring a beautiful child into the world.  It turns out Your Perception IS Your Reality.

  1. Get Some Sunlight

Sunlight makes us happy.  UV rays hit the skin and the body begins to produce vitamin D ( vitamin D deficiency is associated with depression, among other things).  When the sunlight hits your eyes it signals to your brain to slow down secretion of melatonin (a hormone that helps you sleep), and increases secretion of serotonin (a hormone associated with happiness and wakefulness).  What does all of this mean?  Getting more sun will make you happier.  If you aren’t getting at least 15 minutes of sun exposure on your skin per day, it’s a good idea to try and get out more.  Take a walk during lunch, sit outside for a few minutes instead of watching TV.  Make time for it.

  1. Make a Life List

Life lists are awesome.  They are the theme park of life planning.  Think about the things you want to experience and accomplish before you die.  While it may sound like a morbid pursuit, it’s actually pretty life changing and inspirational.  Especially when you make plans to start checking things off your life list.

  1. Learn a New Hobby

Hobbies are fun ways to experience happiness.  Whether you love to cook, play games, paint, or anything else, the joy of learning a new hobby is one of the most enjoyable endeavors you can embark upon.  When starting a new hobby, focus on the joy of just experiencing something new. There is something magical about being a “newbie,” because with every experience there is something to be gained.

  1. Focus on Appreciation and Gratefulness

Learning to show appreciation and to be grateful for what you have is, in itself, a reward.  People who express appreciation and take time be grateful are happier and have more positive outlooks on life. Start with a simple experiment.  Every night before you go to bed, write down something that happened throughout the day that you are grateful for.  It won’t take long before that habit changes your entire perspective.

  1. Meditate Regularly

While meditation often gets the reputation of being spiritual and strange to those who don’t partake, it has benefits for practically everyone who gives it a real chance.  I don’t see meditation as spiritual. I see it as therapeutic.  I sit quietly for 5-10 minutes per day (I don’t time it‒I just do it), and focus on me.  Sometimes I close my eyes; sometimes I don’t.  But I focus on my breathing, I take stock on how I feel (physically and mentally), and I visualize what my day is going to look like.  It’s almost like a pre-game ritual.  Try it.  You wont be disappointed.

  1.  Embrace Your Fears

Fear is one of the big zappers of happiness.  Fear leads us to worry, causing stress and a focus on negativity.  One way to stop fear is to begin welcoming it into your life.  Obviously you don’t want to jump into the deep end on this one, but start small and start tackling your fears.  You’ll find yourself stronger, more confident, and happier with every fear tackled.

  1. Smile More

Where I live, it’s a common occurrence to exchange smiles with anyone you come into contact with. I’ve traveled enough to know this isn’t a common practice everywhere, but I think it should be. Smiling is easy to do, feels good, tells your brain you’re happy, and can be the one happy thing the receiver of your smile sees that day.  You can brighten up the lives of people around you with just a flash of your pearly whites.  With that kind of power comes great responsibility.  Use it, and use it often!

  1. Exercise Regularly

There are numerous benefits to exercise.  I’m sure I don’t have to convince you of that.  Stress relief, health benefits, etc.  But my personal favorite benefit is the release of endorphins.  They are natural pain and stress relievers, and they make you feel great.  I didn’t believe in the endorphin rush, or Runner’s High, as it’s commonly referred, until I started running.  Now I can’t get enough.

  1. Embrace Your Negativity

Some people swallow and repress the negative thoughts and feelings they have, thinking this will somehow make them happier.  Unfortunately, it always seems to come back, manifesting in stress, physical pain, or otherwise.  The truth about the negativity is that it’s necessary to understand and accept that sometimes bad things happen.  Sometimes you will be stressed.  Sometimes things will happen that you have no control over.  Understanding and accepting this will reduce the stress you feel from repression, allowing you to get back to the things that make you happy.

  1. Challenge Yourself

One of the greatest things you can do in life is to set the bar high and then achieve.  By challenging yourself in ways that are achievable, but require work, you continue to work hard and improve yourself, often times leading to the outcome of being satisfied not with the accomplishment, but with the progress that you’ve made simply by having the goal.  Set challenging goals, and then create realistic plans to achieve them.  Every achievement becomes another step on the staircase towards your greatest, happiest self.

  1. Volunteer Your Time

There is no quicker way to feel happy than to help someone else, especially someone in need of help.  Volunteering your time is addicting, not just because you’re helping people in need, but because you feel good doing it.  It’s a humbling way to honor humanity and be grateful for the blessings that you’ve received.  There’s tons of reasons for the good feelings associated with volunteering, but suffice it to say it’s a no-brainer for both quick and long-term happiness.

  1. Posture and Breathing

Sit up straight, pull your shoulders back, and take a deep breath.  Do it a few more times.  Feel that? Posture and breathing have a profound affect on your outlook on life.  In just a few moments, hunching and taking weak, shallow breaths can sap the life right out of you.  Focus on sitting up with your shoulder back and taking deep breaths as often as possible, and you’ll be happier throughout the day.

What did we miss?  What steps have you taken towards making happiness a habit? Tell us your habit in the comments below.

When you correct your posture, especially if you work at a desk all day, you’ll be rewarding yourself later in life. Back pain, stress etc. It all gets sorted.

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/13-surprising-ways-make-happiness-habit.html

HERE IS A GREAT ARTICLE THAT CAN STAND ALONE AND SPEAK BY ITSELF. NOTHING MORE THAT I CAN REALLY ADD OTHER THAN PLEASE READ AND USE IT !

From Psychology Today Magazine………

Fulfillment at Any Age

    How to remain productive and healthy into your later years
    by Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D.

Giving thanks: The benefits of gratitude

      Why gratitude is good for your mental health

We all like being thanked. It’s a great feeling to have someone, especially someone who doesn’t stand to gain, tell us that we made a difference in their lives. In the past few weeks, I’ve had the good fortune of receiving some heartfelt thank you notes from students, pausing as they got ready to leave campus for the summer, or perhaps for good, to take a moment and let me know that something I said or did proved helpful to them. I’ve also had the good fortune of having favors done for me by people who went out of their way to help me solve a problem, fix something, or in fortunately only one case- return a lost cellphone. Being thanked and having reason to thank others are two sides of the same gratefulness coin. Both exemplify the positive in human behavior and provide us with a positive charge that boosts our emotional balance.

On the surface it seems like gratitude has everything to recommend it. There are a few gratitude traps, though. Some people feel uncomfortable about being thanked. They get truly embarrassed, dismissing the thanker by insisting that “it was nothing” (though clearly the thanker felt otherwise). There are also some uncomfortable aspects about thank-yous when it comes to thank-you presents that are overly generous or could be interpreted as bribes.

If you’re at the receiving end of a thank-you, you may feel unsure about how to reciprocate. Does a thank-you present require a thank-you note? What about thanking someone who’s helped you? Do you reward a person who returns a lost item with cash or just allow your relieved face to serve as its own reward? Then there’s the guilt factor: What if you let a few weeks slip by without sending a thank-you note for a birthday gift? Does it look worse to send a belated thank-you note or just to forget the whole thing and hope the gift-giver won’t notice? Thank-you notes inspire their own particular forms of angst, as was pointed out in one particularly insightful Social Q’s column of the New York Times (for the record: this column is a treasure trove of psychological insight on quirky behaviors).

It might be reassuring, then, to learn that the expression of thanks can be its own reward. Being the recipient of a favor can also make the favor-giver (if there is such a word) feel good too. Everyone benefits when thanks are freely given and just as freely acknowledged. 

There are always exceptional circumstances involving acts of extreme altruism. Heroes are known as the people who put the needs of others above our own. These cases put in bold relief the fact that a hero doesn’t expect thank-you notes or little gift baskets as acknowledgement of his or her sacrifice.

Many real-life heroes also do not expect thank-yous. Yet, when we benefit from the labors that others put out for our sake, we feel internally driven to and want to express our gratitude. And that’s a good thing, in more ways than one.

Psychologists Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough point out that gratitude is the “forgotten factor” in happiness research. They point out the benefits of expressing gratitude as ranging from better physical health to improved mental alertness. People who express gratitude also are more likely to offer emotional support to others.

Expressing gratitude in your daily life might even have a protective effect on staving off certain forms of psychological disorders. In a review article published this past March (see below), researchers found that habitually focusing on and appreciating the positive aspects of life is related to a generally higher level of psychological well-being and a lower risk of certain forms of psychopathology.

Now how can you apply these ideas to your own life? Here are some suggestions to boost your own, shall we say, GQ’s (“gratitude quotient”):

1. If someone thanks you, accept the thanks graciously. Let the person know you appreciate being thanked. That’s all you need to do. Really.

2. If you find that difficult, think about why gratitude makes you uncomfortable. Do you not feel worthy of being thanked? In my study of personal fulfillment in midlife, I identified a subgroup of people whose own fulfillment was hampered by their lack of faith in their own worth. Chronic feelings of inadequacy can make it difficult for people to benefit from any thanks that come their way.

3. Look for small things to be grateful for. Not all acts of kindness have a capital “K.” A driver who lets you ease into a busy highway deserves a wave just as much as someone who holds open a door when you’re loaded down with packages. A smile will boost your GQ and make both of you feel better.

4. Don’t fret about gratitude infractions. If you forget to send a thank you note don’t worry about it and certainly don’t use elapsed time as an excuse to avoid the task altogether. Send a quick email and then get to the real thing. If you’re a chronic forgetter, though, you might try to figure out why. By the same token, if someone forgets to thank you, don’t ruminate over it, thereby raising your BP if not your GQ.

5. Keep your thank you’s short, sweet, and easy to write. One reason people procrastinate about writing thank you’s is that they want them to be original and not seem hasty, insincere, or ill conceived. This doesn’t mean the thank you should be one that is short enough to tweet but if you don’t build it up in your mind as having to be a magnum opus you’ll be less inclined to put it off. Whatever you do, don’t make excuses or lie about having sent a thank you that you never did (for more on lying and excuse-making, check out my previous post).

I’ll close by saying thanks in advance to anyone who chooses to add their comments to the discussion or wishes to forward the blog link. It’s the least I can do!

Follow me on Twitter @swhitbo for daily updates on psychology, health, and aging. Feel free to join my Facebook group, “Fulfillment at Any Age,” to discuss today’s blog, or to ask further questions about this posting. 

Copyright Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D. 2010

Frey Freyday-Beliefs

(Frey Freyday is simply a bunch of inspirational, motivational and other quotes meant to make you think, reflect, smile, even laugh a bit. Hopefully helpful, useful stuff….)

Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact. Belief creates the actual fact.-William James

– It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.-Muhammad Ali

One person with a belief is equal to ninety-nine who have only interests.-John Stuart Mill

– Envy comes from people’s ignorance of, or lack of belief in, their own gifts.-Jean Vanier

Nothing great has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside them was superior to circumstances. – Bruce Barton –

Realizing that our actions, feelings and behaviour are the result of our own images and beliefs gives us the level that psychology has always needed for changing personality.-Maxwell Maltz

It’s not the events of our lives that shape us, but our beliefs as to what those events mean.-Tony Robbins

– Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around.-Henry David Thoreau

– Frisbeetarianism is the belief that when you die, your soul goes up on the roof and gets stuck.-George Carlin

Words to Live By:

Beliefs – [ biˈlēf ] – Your beliefs are everything. Beliefs make up your personality, they create habits which lead to your lifestyle, your relationships, your career, etc. Beliefs can limit you or they can help you excel and grow. The meaning we assign to all sorts of things are related to beliefs. If you believe you’re smart, for instance, you will be more likely to act in a smart manner, make smart choices, and act according to that identity.
Bonus: Ted Talk – http://www.ted.com/talks/caroline_casey_looking_past_limits

Activist Caroline Casey tells the story of her extraordinary life, starting with a revelation (no spoilers). In a talk that challenges perceptions, Casey asks us all to move beyond the limits we may think we have.

%d bloggers like this: