Growing Gratitude: A Valuable Life Skill

Growing Gratitude: A Valuable Life Skill

What would life look like if we experienced more gratitude? Imagine your satisfaction when someone expresses gratitude for your efforts; or your contentment  when feeling happy about life, right in this moment. We can all have more of that because growing gratitude is a valuable life skill we can learn!

The simple attitude of gratitude is one of the most powerful creative energies we can work with. It transforms our consciousness because energy flows to whatever we focus on, and makes it grow.

Gratitude also increases happiness. When we express genuine appreciation for the goodness we already enjoy each day, we cultivate happiness in our lives.

Perhaps you have not yet lost the twenty pounds you want to, but you have learned to make better food choices. Or you have not yet found the love of your life, but you have been blessed with loving relatives and friends.

It’s a simple yet powerful principle: You can develop more of what you desire in life by noticing what you DO have already and growing an attitude of gratitude for that. You have the power to create more of what you love by expressing genuine appreciation for the good things you already have.

Expressing gratitude is a learned skill. It is done not in a superficial or schmaltzy way, but through genuinely heartfelt, eyeball-to-eyeball or heart-to-heart connection. It involves appreciation delivered with real meaning rather than some perfunctory mumblings or syrupy platitudes.

Just think of all the meaningful things that you have already enjoyed today: the smell of coffee that got you going, a warm shower, soft towels, a selection of clean clothes in your closet, sunshine warming your face, tantalizing aromas all around, the ability to walk and talk… there’s so much to be grateful for!

Once the habit of growing and showing attitude takes hold, you’ll start noticing more and more of life’s blessings around you. Gratitude expands our hearts to notice more of what we already have appreciation for.

Imagine how relationships would be enhanced if you used the same approach to express appreciation for the people in your life!

Take a few moments to consider the relationships you’re grateful for. Reflect on the qualities you appreciate in each of your relatives and friends: the smile on a child’s face, the hug of a loved one, the spontaneous playfulness of a friend… and even their individual ways of craziness! We can find something to be grateful for in every person or situation.

I had an eccentric great-aunt who had the knack for making keen observations about others at the most inappropriate times. I used to blush in embarrassment at her unflinching directness, yet when she was no longer able to attend family gatherings, her special brand of candor was sorely missed. Only then did I realize how her unique brand of eccentricity enriched our lives.

Perhaps there are a few people with varying degrees of eccentricity populating your life as well. They also have a role to fulfill — even if it is to stretch your tolerance level, teach patience or give you an opportunity to forgive! And yes, they offer you an opportunity to grow more gratitude.

Expressing gratitude is a priceless gift we can offer ourselves and others. Now is a perfect time to express your gratitude to people who have touched your life. Let them know what you love about them and how it makes you feel. You’ll add meaning to their lives while strengthening your relationships.

Growing gratitude is indeed a valuable life skill we can learn to enhance our quality of life.

About The Author:

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit https://adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

How to Stay Strong When Things Go Wrong

How to Stay Strong When Things Go Wrong

Do you wish you could stay strong when setbacks hit and things go wrong? If so, you’re not alone! Setbacks and disappointments are a part of life, but learning how to effectively deal with them, can help to strengthen us from within.

When faced with setbacks, disappointments and stagnation, the first thing to do is not to fight back harder, but to step back and regain perspective before proceeding. This may feel counterproductive at first, but it is vitally important.

When we get so focused that we see things as black and white, good or bad, we can get boxed into rigidity. Truth is, life consist of an entire spectrum of possibilities, rather than just two choices. Stepping back and refocusing opens our minds to more ways of seeing and acting in life.

It does not always require a major shift; even a small tweak can make a difference. Just step back and shift your perspective enough to include one more way of looking at that situation. Is it really true that you are the only actor responsible for creating a desired outcome? It may be more accurate to say you represent one of many conditions that need to come together for something to unfold.

Even when we put our best into something, the outcome might not be what we expected. There may be very strong messages from inside and around us telling us that the outcome is the most important thing, yet that is a limited perspective. The outcome is less important than cultivating our capacity to be with whatever is, even when it is not at all what we have wished for.

This means learning to be okay with not knowing, with not being able to control the outcome. We continue to practice and train our ability to at peace within, and we don’t take the outcome personally.

This is at the heart of authentic spiritual work: it includes both being and doing; awareness as well as the discipline of application. What keeps us pliable in this often challenging process, is the attitude of gratitude.

Gratitude is not dependent on external circumstances. We don’t feel gratitude just because everything is going great, although that’s important to acknowledge. We especially need to practice gratitude when things are not going the way we want them to. It’s when things go wrong, that we are faced with deeper attachments and desires that often masquerade as needs.

To stay flexible, we need to practice gratitude anyhow; similar to the concept of “hallelujah anyhow” that is often heard in black churches; giving thanks and finding gratitude not because of our circumstances, but despite them.

The challenge is to stay in a receptive, open place, not fighting against what’s happening, but digging deeper within to live from our core values, to be the difference we wish to see in the world, and to lead by example in making a difference despite the setbacks we may face. It requires us to dig deep and keep showing up, doing our best with the resources and gifts that we ourselves have been given to make this world a better place.

And when our best is not sufficient to change things around yet, we entrust the outcomes to a Higher hand and we stay the course with compassion for ourselves and others. Once conditions are appropriate, the outcomes will be sure. In the meantime, the work remains because living from our true core and purpose is the only meaningful way to live. Even when conditions are not yet appropriate for optimal outcomes to show up, we can say “hallelujah” anyhow, and stay the course.

Setbacks and delays are part of life’s reality, and they are fully workable. Our practice is to not pull away from the dissonance, not to withdraw from what we are faced with; and in that place where commitment and discipline meet the obstacles, our souls learn resilience and strength.

This is true especially when you feel outnumbered and alone. Don’t get locked into the duality of blame and shame! You cannot be successful by feeding what you are fighting, so when you reach this point, step back and regroup!

Do something good instead. Recognize that we need the shadow to show us the light, and navigate by forgiving the limitations of the shadow and finding a way to shine the light.

One of the biggest pitfalls in our society is the way in which personal preferences are mislabeled as needs. People often attempt to manipulate others by presenting their emotional preferences as needs, and then demanding these “needs” be met. Listen to individuals for a day and you’ll notice how often this is used to manipulate: “I need you to be quiet now,” “I need you to listen to me,” “I need you to do this right now,” and the list goes on.

In reality, these statements confuse emotional preferences with needs. They are indicative of misappropriate use of the limbic brain, where needs and preferences are often confused in early childhood. Adults who get stuck in this dysfunctional behavior, create a lot of chaos for themselves and others.

An emotional “need” is not the same as the biological need for oxygen, food and shelter; it is simply a preference. In fact, psychologist Steven Stosny identifies only one valid emotional need for adults, and that is to act consistently on deeper values.

When we consistently act from our deeper values, all the emotional preferences that parade as important needs, will either be satisfied as a byproduct of meaningful living, or they will drop away as unimportant in the bigger lens of living a purposeful life.

The best way to attain the life you want to have, is to approach it from the perspective of living it in alignment with your deeper values and meaning, not from emotional preferences masquerading as “needs.”

When you do that, you will find your roots digging deeper so you can stay strong when things go wrong.

About The Author:

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit https://adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

How to Restore Passion For Your Life

How to Restore Passion For Your Life

When was the last time you felt truly passionate about something? Felt good, right? And so it should! Good thing is, you can learn how to restore passion for your life.

Passion is most evident when body, mind and spirit work together to create, articulate or manifest feelings, ideas and values. Passion is ignited when all of you work together. It is the presence of your soul combined with the totality of all you’ve experienced, and it empowers to live at optimal levels.

Passion your natural state. When what you do is in alignment with who you are, it increases your energy. Passion is like water flowing along its natural riverbed, gaining momentum from its course – unlike many work environments, where it feels more like trying to force water up and over a mountain!

Passion creates resilience. It enables you to overcome obstacles and to look beyond current setbacks to the infinite potential that’s yours to claim. The passionate soul discovers nuggets of potential in every situation.

Passion transfers vibrant energy to every person or situation it touches. You can’t fake it. Anyone can spot a phony by sensing lack of authenticity and depth in their actions.

And yet, many people run from passion because they’re afraid of being burned. They hang on to the pain of betrayed trust and misplaced confidences as a reminder to dampen their own passion, lest they be hurt again. Perhaps they held the bucket for soulless greed and overzealous egos disguised as passion. Consequently, they’re afraid of taking the risk to live life fully, openly and passionately. They may have even vowed to never go there again.

Instead, they opt for a more predictable, monochromatic existence. Rather than taking exploring the endless possibilities of life, they insist on hiding inside a safety bubble; giving up on adventure to exist in a sanitary, colorless world where nothing new happens.

What they really need is a return to passion!

If you want a juicy life, you need to open your heart and mind to the multidimensional experience of passionate living every day.

Can you imagine how much more meaningful our roles as parents, lovers, business owners, employees, teachers and leaders would be if all our actions were predicated on our true passion? There is no limit to how far your influence can reach! To tap into your potential, you must engage life with passion. By bringing passion to what you do, you express every aspect of your creative being.

Here’s the secret to living a passionate life: Never try to throttle down your passion for fear of what might show up! You cannot selectively suppress some part of your being without also suppressing the rest of your energy. When you suppress your passion, you also suppress your Life Force.

Truth is, every activity you engage in expresses the whole of you – much like one part of a hologram reflects the whole in its entirety. Even if you pick a narrow skill like running a marathon or cooking, your whole sense of self is expressed through that activity when doing it with passion.

When living from your passion, you bring your entire identity to the party, not just an isolated part. This may sound daunting, but actually it’s the most natural way to approach anything.

When you hold some part of yourself back, you deny it exposure to life; you repress its energy and keep it from learning what it needs to know. Imagine a baby who wants to learn how to walk but has these reservations:

  • I don’t want to look bad.
  • I don’t want to fall down.
  • I don’t want to fail.
  • I don’t want to expend all my energy.
  • I don’t want any pain.
  • I don’t want to suffer.

It would seem absurd! If these thoughts prevail, the chance for mastery could never present itself. Yet as adults we resort to such reservations all the time – and deny ourselves mastery as a result.

The minute a situation arises, all the negatives around that situation will arise in the mind along with all the possibilities. The key is that you have a choice about which to focus on!

When you choose to focus on negatives, you yield to subconscious fear to shut out understanding. Do that often enough and you become a victim, subject to bewildering fears that can threaten to overwhelm you. These fears aren’t coming from blind fate or misfortune; they simply represent holes in your awareness, the places where you haven’t dared to look yet.

To break free from such self-limiting behavior, try looking at an issue that has kept you from totally engaging in life. For instance, if you are worried about what others may think of your effort, then that is the issue you need to challenge!

When I launched out into a solo practice, well-intended friends questioned whether I would make it in a highly demanding field. I chose not to listen to the voices of apprehension; instead, I redoubled my efforts because my passion is to help people.

At the time, it was the scariest, riskiest, most challenging thing I could think of doing with my life. It was also the one thing that kept me dreaming and working against all odds. Today, I can look back at decades of amazing outcomes and success.

Choosing to follow my passion took me to the edge of my comfort zone and stretched me in every way possible. It also brought growth, joy and fulfillment into every area of my life. I wouldn’t trade what I’m doing for the world, because I get to use my innate gifts daily. I love living in alignment with my purpose and my passion!

What is that one, wild dream you have buried deep within? Is it time to let it emerge into the light where you can nourish it into a passionate path to fulfillment? How will you know unless you try?

You can restore passion for your life!

Start voicing your inner dreams and passions. Face down your fears, and treat your dreams like tender threads of gold, for they are every bit as precious. They form the fabric that fabulous lives are woven from!

About The Author:

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit https://adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

How To Recover From Setbacks In Ten Proven Steps

How To Recover From Setbacks In Ten Proven Steps

Disasters and upheaval happen in every life. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to recover from setbacks faster?

You may have been spared the trauma of earthquakes, random violence or war… only to face work layoffs, escalating debt, or a devastating medical diagnosis. Perhaps you feel stuck working at a job you hate but can’t leave because of current market conditions, or you don’t know how to change a seriously dysfunctional relationship.

When setbacks hit, it is common to feel overwhelmed, helpless and scared. In fact, others may tell you that you are overreacting; things are not all that bad.

If that is true, why do you feel so bad? The current setback in your life may have triggered an avalanche of past trauma memories or flashbacks, evoking deep emotional trauma for you.

Your ability to bounce back from setbacks depends on many factors, including your natural resilience or ability to cope with stress, the severity of the trauma, and what types of support you have access to.

When setbacks leave you feeling disempowered and vulnerable, it may be tempting to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs. These substances may temporarily soothe you, but they make things worse in the long run. Substance abuse worsens many symptoms of trauma. It also leads to emotional numbing, social isolation, anger and depression. Ultimately, such forms of self-medication interfere with treatment and can add to problems at home and in relationships.

As news of disturbing events continue to unfold worldwide, it is more important than ever to sharpen your coping skills at physical, emotional and spiritual levels. It is up to you to put together your own disaster-preparation kit, so that you can be resilient in navigating the winds of change! Here are some positive coping strategies to help you get through times of stress and upheaval:

1. Recognize that you may be grieving. Grief is a natural part of the life cycle that follows loss. You may find yourself cycling back and forth through the five major stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Cycling through the stages of grief is normal – you are not losing your grip on reality. Allow yourself to grieve for the parts of life that you have lost, and take comfort in knowing that this process will come to completion in due time.

2. Honor your losses. Loss can show up in many ways. You may have lost your job, a relationship, a loved one, friends, pets, your home, possessions, your dreams, health, or your quality of life. Try writing about your loss or create a ritual to express your sense of loss. Rather than expecting to just “get over it” and move on with your life, take time to honor and affirm your losses – it is a valuable part of the healing process.

3. Talk to someone for support. During setbacks, it is important not to isolate yourself. Instead, make an effort to be with supportive people that you have carefully identified as safe. Face the challenges in your life and identify the most important problems. Then get help from safe friends, family members or professionals to help you address these so you can move past them.

4. Find your new normal. When life as you knew it ends, you may feel as if your entire infrastructure has collapsed, and previous guidelines lose meaning. You may find your emotions swinging from one extreme to another, temporarily losing your sense of what’s normal. When your personal world falls apart, it is important to remember that you are not alone, weak, or crazy. It helps to know your problems are shared by many others who have experienced – and survived – similar setbacks.

5. Break things into manageable chunks. When feeling too scattered to focus, recognize that your mind is trying to cope with your situation the best it can. Instead of berating yourself, take positive steps to regroup. Slow down. Give yourself time to focus on what you need to learn or do. Write things down and make “To Do” lists. Break tasks down into smaller, manageable chunks. Set just one realistic goal or task for each day. And get help if you need it.

6. Take time out when angry. The stress that accompanies major setbacks can create irritability and anger. This can affect your self-control, health and relationships. Anger can increase your heart rate so much that you cannot think clearly. Remember that staying angry doesn’t work. It actually increases stress and can cause health problems. Burn your anger off in the gym or get professional help to learn how to manage it more effectively.

7. Reconnect to positive emotions. After a major setback, many people have trouble feeling or expressing positive emotions. They may even feel guilty for surviving. This is a common reaction to trauma. It is not helpful to feel guilty for something you did not want to happen and cannot control. Instead, shift your focus to gratitude for surviving and resolve to make your life count!

8. Exercise positive thinking. Monitor your thoughts. If they cause you to feel stuck or helpless, switch to more helpful thoughts. For example, if you find yourself thinking, “I can’t do it,” challenge yourself with questions such as: “Is it really true that I can’t do it?” “Is it always true?” “Under what circumstances could I do it?” “What could help me do it?” Then select a more helpful train of thought that builds confidence. In this case, you might say to yourself, “With the right help, I can get through this.”

9. Take time to relax. Consciously choose to focus on something positive to help you relax. Some helpful activities include mental calming with progressive relaxation, mindfulness meditation, or conscious breathing; physical exercise such as swimming, walking or yoga; spiritual activities such as prayer, chanting or singing; and other healing activities such as listening to quiet music, spending time with pets or being in nature.

10. Reach out to help others. Helping others in need or volunteering in your community can be powerful ways for you to heal. It relieves stress by taking your mind off your own problems for awhile, and helps you see them in a different light. Providing support for others can also make you feel more connected and empowered.

Together, these guidelines can help you bounce back from life’s setbacks stronger and wiser!

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

20 Proven Ways To Make Optimal Decisions

20 Proven Ways To Make Optimal Decisions

Decisions feature hugely in our lives – and optimal decisions are invaluable. At this very moment, your life is the product of every decision you’ve made along the way – both big ones and small ones.

Since you navigate life by the choices you make, you can substantially improve your outcomes by making more optimal decisions. Here are twenty proven ways to enhance your decision making.

  1. Take appropriate ownership. Recognize that some decisions that are not yours to make. Life flows more smoothly when you accept responsibility for your own decisions and give others the freedom to accept responsibility for theirs.
  2. Avoid oversimplicity. Making an optimal decision is a process of selecting from among various alternatives; it is not just choosing between right and wrong. Avoid over-simplistic black and white thinking, and you will find many additional options in between.
  3. Use the OAR approach in your decision-making. Consider the Objectives you desire; the Alternatives that are available and the Risks of every alternative you are considering.
  4. Do your research. Learn how others have addressed similar issues, expand your awareness of options and open your mind to possibilities you may not have not considered.
  5. Take time to be thorough. Consider all the alternatives and write down the pros and cons of every line of action. It clarifies your thinking and makes for a better decision.
  6. Avoid snap decisions. Move fast on reversible choices and slowly on irreversible decisions.
  7. Respect the value of timing. Choosing the right alternative at the wrong time is no better than the wrong alternative at the right time, so an optimal decision will ideally happen while you still have time to refine it.
  8. Never let decisions accumulate. Make step-by-step decisions as you go along – a backlog of many little decisions can bog you down mentally and lead to overwhelm.
  9. Take time to ponder. Review all the facts as soon as you are aware of a decision to be made, then set it aside. Let the options incubate in your subconscious until it is time to make the actual decision.
  10. Avoid decisions based on fear. Base your decisions on positive values and goals that are important to you, not on people or circumstances you want to avoid.
  11. Consider others. Your decisions may have a huge impact on other people, even though you are ultimately responsible for those decisions. Whenever feasible, ask for input from people who may be affected before you make your decision.
  12. Don’t wait for guarantees. Often, it is impossible to have 100% certainty that your decision is correct because the implementation and outcomes are still in the future. It is enough to do due diligence and make a choice now; you can fine-tune your decision later.
  13. Avoid analysis paralysis. Remember that not making a decision is actually a decision not to take action!
  14. Keep an open mind. Every decision is a learning opportunity: you have the right to make poor decisions as well as excellent ones, and you have an opportunity to learn from them all.
  15. Keep perspective. Don’t waste your time making decisions that do not have to be made – focus on essential decisions instead, and the others will fall into place.
  16. Consider practical factors. As part of your decision-making process, always consider how you would implement your choice.
  17. Assess the risk. Before implementing what appears to be the best choice, assess the risk by asking “What can I think of that might go wrong with this alternative?”
  18. Don’t waffle. Once you’ve made an optimal decision, don’t look back! Accept that you made the most appropriate choice given the information and options you had to work with and focus instead on your next move.
  19. Commit to your decision. Once you’ve made a decision, banish doubt from your mind; instead, commit yourself to making your choice an optimal decision.
  20. Celebrate optimal decisions. Commend yourself for the optimal decisions you have made, and you have more confidence the next time you are faced with a choice.

About the author

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit https://adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

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