How to Truly Give Thanks at Home this Week

Giving Thanks: Thursday is More than Just a Day for Food and Football

Two friends giving thanks for each otherIn the United States, it's Thanksgiving this week.  As we prepare delicious food, plan on parades and games, take the time to  give thanks  and acknowledge others in special ways, especially at home.

Do things for others without being asked. Go the extra mile to help clean, wash laundry, buy groceries. And get them something you know they will love.

If you're skillful with tools, ask if you may fix things around the house of the one you're visiting. Ask what needs to be done.

Listen to an older family member.  Ask questions and give them your full attention.  They don't have it very often. Give thanks for their wisdom and knowledge.

Use touch to convey your thanks and love. Giving a shoulder rub can ease tension instantly. Hugging your mother will melt her heart.  Patting a child on the back and letting them know they did a good job elicits a smile.

Cook with love.  Make foods that you know people dear to you appreciate and crave.

Do something unexpected but highly appreciated. Perhaps bring a new game for the kids or take everyone outside on a nature walk.  Share photos of recent work you have done.  Interview family for a future archived family video.

Don't take others for granted. If your family is small enough, write a hand-written card for each one letting them know what you specifically appreciate about them.

Turn off your devices and be present with others.

Enjoy your holidays by expressing gratitude from your heart.

 

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Could Ecotherapy (Being in Nature) Relieve Your Stress?

Nature:  Free and Easy Cure to Anxiety and Depression

Did you know that most Americans suffer from nature deficit disorder?  A typical American spends 80-90% of their time indoors- and sadly too much of that time is spent sitting.  The more time people spend inside, the more anxious an depressed they get.  The solution is simple and free: spend time outside in nature.   Doing so can:

• Cut anxiety and depression

• Boost feelings of well-being

• Improve your health and reduce blood pressire

• Increase your social interaction with others

• Improve your breathing and intake of Vitamin D if you spend 20 minutes in the sun

Gardeners have long understood this, as having your hands in soil relieves stress and connects you to the earth.  Doing so helps you get out of your head and your worries, and enables you to focus on the present- one of the keys to being happier.

David Strayer, a psychologist at the University of Utah, takes students out in nature  to reconnect with their creative problem-solving and mental clarity.  With so many distractions and constant technological stimulation, our brains get tired and don't function as clearly as they should.  His backpacking group of Outward Bound participants did 50 percent better on creative problem-solving after only three days in the wilderness.1

So the next time you are feeling down or overwhelmed, get outside in nature.  Just 20 minutes can revive your body, mind and spirit.

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  1. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/07/13/ecotherapy.aspx?utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20170713Z1_UCM&et_cid=DM150364&et_rid=2078706039

It’s National Hug Day!

happy hugStart Hugging Now: Celebrate National Hug Day

Hugging is an essential key to health and well-being.

“We need 4 hugs a day for survival.
We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance.
We need 12 hugs a day for growth.” Virginia Satir

We all need to be touched.  Babies who are not held and touched die. Since it's national hug day, I thought I would share a few benefits of hugging:

• it lowers stress levels
• it improves sleep
• it strengthens internal body systems like digestive tracks
• it boost seratonin, the feel-good hormone
• it builds trust
• it promoted feelings of well-being and safety

Nick Ortner has a new book on hugs for children that you may want to check out: www.barkleythebear.com/hugs

So spend some time today hugging others and see what magic results!

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Having a Pet Could Save Your Life

Pets Heal on So Many Levels

CatbeingheldLR"Cathy, Eric and their son Michael Keesling had retired early after handling a flooded basement and setting up a gasoline pump to empty it. Their beloved mellow cat, Winnie, sat in the window enjoying the sounds of the evening. All of sudden, Michael passed out in the hallway. Cathy and Eric soon lost consciousness as well, because of a gas leak. The normally gentle Winnie sprang on Cathy, pulled her hair and yowled in her ear to wake her up. Cathy kept blacking out, but Winnie insisted. Finally, Cathy called 911 and the family was rescued. If Winnie had waited 5 more minutes, they would all be dead!”

Pets are amazing healing agents and powerful lifesavers.  Trained dogs today can detect bladder cancer by sniffing urine and fire dogs can identify arsonists by smelling gasoline on their hands.  Service pets save the lives of their owners every day. They are also great stress relievers.

One study cited on WebMD found that 48 stockbrokers who adopted a pet had lower blood pressure readings under stress than non-pet owners. Another study found that those suffering from serious diseases, such  AIDS or cancer, are far less likely to be depressed if they have a strong tie to a pet.

According to the the University of Minnesota’s Stroke Research Center, simply owning a cat can cut the risk of heart attack. After studying subjects for 10 years, those who owned a cat were 40% less likely to die from heart attacks.

doglickcatLRPet ownership:

• lowers blood pressure
• prevents depression
• reduces incidence of stroke
• helps improve physical activity
• helps people be more social
• reduces loneliness.

So if you are battling stress like 80% of Americans, consider adopting a pet at a shelter.  It could save two lives- yours and theirs.

 

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Are You Getting Enough Hugs to be Healthy?

You Need More Than You Think!

 

Me and Cinderella
Me and Cinderella- the woman who gave me my hugs growing up!

According to noted American pyschologist and educator, Virginia Satir, we need 4 hugs a day for survival, 8 hugs a day for maintenance, and 12 hugs a day for growth.

Most people are lucky if they get 1 or 2 hugs a day.

So up your intake and give hugs freely. . Recently, I was visiting one of the non-profits I volunteer for and talking to a little boy, stroking his back. He just leaned in for a hug, which I was more than happy to give.  We all need touch, and in this day and age, hugging can heal so much.  Take the time to give full-on, heart-felt hugs to others as a way of sharing.  The rewards for everyone are so worth it.

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Asking For Help is Smart

Don't Deny Others the Chance to Assist

Holding the hand of anotherRecently, I heard from a  friend in the hospital who is critically ill.  She had been there for 5 days and was calling to let me know.  I was so grateful to know what was going on, to be able to pray for her and check on her.  I only wish she had let me know sooner. Another dear friend recently learned he has cancer, but reached out to me weeks after the diagnosis.  Those are weeks I could have been there for him, helping him sort through solutions, fear and pain.

Most of us have a tendency to put others first, and to not ask for help. And that's a mistake.  Martyring ourselves by saying we don't want to bother others or trouble them denies us the gifts of love and support.  We also deserve help, especially in difficult times.

Some people prefer to go off and isolate themselves while they figure things out,
and I respect that.  However, isolation can lead to depression and negative thinking, at a time when loved ones could provide compassion and understanding. Scientists have shown that reaching out to other people during a stressful event is an effective way to improve your outlook.  So your perspective could improve dramatically.

You never know- you might get some great solutions to problems you are having, connecting you with valuable resources you never knew existed.  Share your life, share with your loved ones, and allow yourself to be supported. You are worthy of it.

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Express Gratitude for the Small Things

Acknowledge Each Other Regularly

Taking the time to thank your loved ones for their small acts of kindness goes a long way.  It's a key to a good marriage, friendship or family.

Thank you notes keep employees Fired Up!Certainly, one spouse may do most of the cooking and the other take out the garbage, but sharing your appreciation of each other throughout the week can help keep the love alive.  Making requests, rather than demands, is far more effective at keeping the love flowing.

Be Aware of Your Own Gratitude

Consider keeping a gratitude journal, where you record 5 things you are grateful for each day.  Some days it may be your health, other days it may be your home and loved ones, sometimes it may be that you made it home safely after a grueling trip. What's important is to acknowledge verbally that you have been blessed.  Some people prefer to do this once a week; either way is fine, so long as you acknowledge the good things in your life.

Gratitude teaches us not to take people or life for granted. It's one of the lessons the great late Christopher Reeves shared when he spoke- to appreciate every moment while you have it.  He was a very smart man.

 

 

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 ©2011 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved. No  duplication 
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Stress Express Tip: Get Lost in Someone Else’s Life

Relieve Your Stress by Being  Present in the Moment

When your life is too much to take, whether from business pressure or challenges at home, go visit a friend and be totally present for them.  Spend time helping prepare a meal, rebuilding a shed, playing with their children or pets- step into their lives for a day.

I did this when I went out of town to lead a stress management program.  A  friend of mine kindly let me stay at her home.

Giggling, bouncing 7 and 9 year old girls greeted me along with a very friendly golden retriever and a clever black and white cat. ( This cat can open doors by turning the doorknob!) They wanted to connect with me and I enjoyed meeting and learning more about them.  I forgot everything else in my life, came present and just enjoyed the moment.  And as I drove off to "Reignite the Fire" of others, I realized I had not thought about my life, my work or anything else but my friend and her family for several hours. . Refreshing & revitalizing!

 

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 ©2011 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved. No duplication 
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Conscious Acts of Kindness

Holding the hand of anotherA great many studies including one on 2000 people found that being kind to others decreases stress and enhances mental health.  Pick one day this week and choose to deliberately commit 5 separate acts of kindness.  These should be chosen and intentional acts, but they do not need to be big things.  Something as simple as paying the tokens for the people behind you in the toll booth or paying for the next person's coffee, or taking a muffin to 5 different people in your office- all of those would be great conscious acts of kindness which impact others and most importantly, make you feel happier.
Other examples:
• make a pie for a neighbor who has been shut-in
• pick up extra groceries for a lonely person
• bring doughnuts or bagels to work
• send flowers for no reason
• feed a homeless animal
• clean out your closets and donate to the homeless
Any step you take to share from the heart will make you happier.

Value Others as a Way of Staying Fired Up!

keys to success

I received this poignant story via email today- I don't know the author but it is inspiring. Let me know if it touches your heart, too.

A young man learns what's most important in life from the guy next door.

It had been some time since Jack had seen the old man. College, girls, career, and life itself got in the way. In fact, Jack moved clear across the country in pursuit of his dreams. There, in the rush of his busy life, Jack had little time to think about the past and often no time to spend with his wife and son.. He was working on his future, and nothing could stop him. Over the phone, his mother told him, "Mr. Belser died last night. The funeral is Wednesday."

Memories flashed through his mind like an old newsreel as he sat quietly remembering his childhood days. "Jack, did you hear me?" "Oh, sorry, Mom. Yes, I heard you.. It's been so long since I thought of him. I'm sorry, but I honestly thought he died years ago," Jack said

"Well, he didn't forget you. Every time I saw him he'd ask how you were doing. He'd reminisce about the many days you spent over 'his side of the fence' as he put it," Mom told him. "I loved that old house he lived in," Jack said. "You know, Jack, after your father died, Mr. Belser stepped in to make sure you had a man's influence in your life," she said "He's the one who taught me carpentry," he said. "I wouldn't be in this business if it weren't for him... He spent a lot of time teaching me things he thought were important...Mom, I'll be there for the funeral," Jack said.

As busy as he was, he kept his word. Jack caught the next flight to his hometown. Mr. Belser's funeral was small and uneventful. He had no children of his own, and most of his relatives had passed away.

The night before he had to return home, Jack and his Mom stopped by to see the old house next door one more time. Standing in the doorway, Jack paused for a moment. It was like crossing over into another dimension, a leap through space and time.  The house was exactly as he remembered. Every step held memories. Every picture, every piece of furniture.....

Jack stopped suddenly. "What's wrong, Jack?" his Mom asked. "The box is gone," he said "What box?" Mom asked.. "There was a small gold box that he kept locked on top of his desk. I must have asked him a thousand times what was inside. All he'd ever tell me was 'the thing I value most,'" Jack said. It was gone. Everything about the house was exactly how Jack remembered it, except for the box. He figured someone from the Belser family had taken it. "Now I'll never know what was so valuable to him," Jack said. "I better get some sleep. I have an early flight home, Mom."

It had been about two weeks since Mr. Belser died Returning home from work one day Jack discovered a note in his mailbox. "Signature required on a package.. No one at home. Please stop by the main post office within the next three days," the note read. Early the next day Jack retrieved the package. The small box was old and looked like it had been mailed a hundred years ago. The handwriting was dif ficult to read, but the return address caught his attention. "Mr. Harold Belser" it read..

Jack took the box out to his car and ripped open the package. There inside was the gold box and an envelope. Jack's hands shook as he read the note inside. "Upon my death, please forward this box and its contents to Jack Bennett. It's the thing I valued most in my life." A small key was taped to the letter. His heart racing, as tears filling his eyes, Jack carefully unlocked the box.. There inside he found a beautiful gold pocket watch.. Running his fingers slowly over the finely etched casing, he unlatched the cover.. Inside he found these words engraved: "Jack, Thanks for your time! -Harold Belser." "The thing he valued most was...my time"

Jack held the watch for a few minutes, then called his office and cleared his appointments for the next two days. "Why?" Janet, his assistant asked. "I need some time to spend with my son," he said.

"Oh, by the way, Janet, thanks for your time!"

Think about this. You may not realize it, but it's 100% true.

1. At least 2 people in this world love you so much they would die for you.

2. At least 15 people in this world love you in some way.

3. A smile from you can bring happiness to anyone, even if they don't like you.

4. Every night, SOMEONE thinks about you before they go to sleep.

5. You mean the world to someone.

6. If not for you, someone may not be living.

7. You are special and unique.

8. When you think you have no chance of getting what you want, you probably won't get it, but if you trust God to do what's best, and wait on His time, sooner or later, you will get it or something better..

9. When you make the biggest mistake ever, something good can still come from it.

10. When you think the world has turned its back on you, take a look: you most likely turned your back on the world.

11. Someone that you don't even know exists loves you.

12. Always remember the compliments you received. Forget about the rude remarks.

13 . Always tell someone how you feel about them; you will feel much better when they know and you'll both be happy.

14. If you have a great friend, take the time to let them know that they are great. You will certainly brighten someone's day and might change their perspective on life..for the better. To everyone  I say "Thanks for your time and for taking the time to read this."