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BE GRATEFUL

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Gratitude is a huge part of happiness because it changes our mindset so that we focus on the positive.

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Every morning, I write in my gratitude journal. Some days it seems like I don’t have much to be grateful for. Those days, I start with the things that I appreciate the most. I am grateful for my family, my home, my job and the possibility of tomorrow. Every single day, I start my gratitude journal saying: Thank you for this day, I am truly blessed to be alive. We all know that tomorrow isn’t granted to everyone, so it’s important to be thankful for today.


When we’re going through something difficult, it can be challenging to be grateful. This is when it’s most important to do so.

PARIS

A most recent example for me was when our dog passed. It was heartbreaking. How could I feel gratitude when my life felt so dark? My life felt dark because I was focusing on the loss instead of the time I had with our dog. Each time my mind led me to the final vet visit, I had to replace that with a happier brighter image. I’d put a stop sign up in my mind whenever I’d think of that final day. Instead, I’d recall the memory of our little dog stealing carrots out of the garden. I’d remember how she’d lift her legs as high as they could go when she was being lowered into water. Sometimes I’d replace it with the memory of how she’d look running across the yard. Or how she’d do anything for food.

I didn’t want that one horrible day to take away from the thirteen years of good memories. I didn’t want her death to be more prominent in my mind than all the love and joy she brought me. When I’d stop the dark thoughts and replace them with the happier ones, I felt instant relief. This allowed me to feel grateful for the many years we had with out little dog.

We’ve all gone through trying times. But not all of us realize that being grateful can help us overcome those times. Whatever you’re going through, realize that focusing on the negative aspect of it will make you feel bad. I know first hand how difficult it can be to rid yourself of those negative thought patterns. I know what it’s like to be so consumed with the darkness that you can’t see the light. I also know that even though we can’t always see the light, it’s always there. All we have to do is shift our thoughts.

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If you can’t find the positive in a situation that you’re going through right now then focus on the basics in your life. Some how, some way, you’re reading this now. That means that you have access to the internet. Be grateful for that. One simple thing. Then find another and another. Set a goal to think about 5 or 10 things you’re grateful for. Write them out. Write out why you’re grateful for them as well.


When dealing with financial issues:
Be grateful for all the money you’ve had in the past – somehow, you’ve made it to today with the money you’ve had
Be grateful for the many creative ways you’ve thought of to get money (taking in bottles, rolling change, selling things or tightening your budget)
Be grateful for all the places that money comes from and all the ways it can come to you


When dealing with difficult people:
Try to find something in them to be grateful for
Be grateful that this difficult person is teaching you. They’re teaching you about yourself, your triggers, your patience or your level of compassion and understanding.
At the very least, a difficult person shows you exactly how you don’t want to be.


When dealing with health issues:
Be grateful for the parts of you that are healthy
Be grateful for the healing that is happening in your body
Be grateful you have a doctor


When dealing with negative self-talk:
Be grateful for one thing in your appearance
Be grateful for one thing in your personality
Be grateful for the people who help you see the good things in yourself

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Today I encourage you to start practicing gratitude daily. Find a notebook or sit at your computer or write a note in your phone. Once a day, sit down and write out five or ten things you’re grateful for. No matter how small they seem. Be grateful you used your reward card and got a free coffee, be grateful when someone lets you into their lane, be grateful for the parking spot by the door, be grateful for your life. Go on Pinterest and search for ideas for your gratitude journal. Practice this daily for the next month and see how you feel.
Five to ten things for one month.

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I can tell you that this practice has made a world of difference in my life. I’ve been doing it a long time. When I haven’t been able to write my gratitude list, I feel like I’m missing something.
The law of attraction states that you get what you think about. Ask yourself: “Do I want to attract more of these negative things into my life or more of the positive?” The way to attract the positive is by being grateful. Give it a try and feel free to let me know how you feel.


With much kindness,
Dana

OVERCOMING FEAR

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BE SCARED AND DO IT ANYWAY

I’m afraid.

I’m afraid of so many things. I’m afraid of big things like dying or someone I love dying. I’m also afraid of smaller things.  Like putting myself out there.  I’m afraid to be seen.  I’m frightened of failing.  Oddly enough, I’m also scared of succeeding.  I fear that people won’t like me, of being misunderstood, and of people judging me. One of my biggest fears is that I’m not good enough.

My entire life I’ve let the fears win. Then one day, while my insides felt like melting wax, my heart raced and my eyes watered, I decided to fight back.

Even as I sat there thinking about it, I wanted to cry. I wanted to scream out from the terror that seemed to be consuming me. I wanted to stay safe and hide behind the fear like I’d done my entire life. Yet deep down, a spark flickered in the darkness and it wanted to grow. I knew that I couldn’t hang onto both. I had two choices.  I could let the fear win and snuff out the light for good.  Or I could feel the fear and push past it so that the light could grow and I could become who I was always meant to be.

I chose the light.

I often wondered why things seemed so easy for other people and so hard for me. I thought that those other people must have something I didn’t. Did they have magic that gave them unlimited confidence and high self-esteem?  They had no fear; how could they? Why was it so easy for other people to put themselves out there and be recognized?  Meanwhile, I hid in the shadows, terrified someone would see me?

At first, the answers seemed obvious. I lacked confidence and self-esteem.  I was afraid of not being good enough and of other people’s judgment. Then one day, I asked myself a question that helped changed the way I viewed the situation. “What if those other people are as afraid as I’ve been but they did it anyway?”

You see, as long as I believed that those other people had something I didn’t, it was easy to hide behind my fears. As soon as I asked the question, it leveled the playing field and there was hope that ignited the spark in my soul. The only difference between me and those other people was that they were afraid and did it anyway.

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That’s it. One small yet significant detail had kept me from pursuing my dreams and becoming the person I wanted to be. Rather than feeling afraid and doing it anyway, I let fear consume me and then stop me in every area of my life. I suffered from depression and anxiety. I belittled myself daily. I felt weak and insecure. I believed that there was something wrong with me and that I truly wasn’t good enough.

Then I asked myself more questions. What if I am good enough? What if I do succeed? What if I quit thinking and start doing? What if I try?

Again, my eyes welled up with tears.  My stomach turned to knots; my breathing became more rapid while at the same time I felt like I couldn’t breathe at all.  My heart raced uncontrollably. Panic had set in.

I stopped, closed my eyes, took in some deep breaths and asked myself what in the hell am I so afraid of?

Everything, was the answer from my subconscious mind.

What is the point of being afraid of everything?

If I don’t try, I can’t fail. I won’t know if the answers to the questions are true. Not knowing is better. Trying could lead to the discovery that my fears are true. If I’m not good enough then I would find out the truth. At least now, I can pretend that there’s a chance.

You’re right, I replied. But the point that my subconscious brain was missing was that the opposite is also true. If I don’t try, I can’t succeed either. I’ve learned as much from my failures as my successes in my life.  I would rather try and fail than to spend the rest of my life wondering “what if”.

So, here I am. . . trying. I want to lead by example.  By taking a chance and following my dreams, I hope to lend some courage for someone else to follow their dreams too. Maybe that person is you.

We decide how we’re going to live our lives. We control whether we let fear consume us or if we follow our light. Many people have fear. Lots of people who try things suck at them at first. The ones we admire, the ones we think have something that we don’t are the ones who were afraid and did it anyway. They’re the ones who let themselves suck until they didn’t anymore. Now it’s our turn to take a chance. It’s our turn to be afraid and do it anyway. It’s our turn to shine.

Join me on this journey of self-discovery, of conquering fears and living our best lives. Join me and let’s see where the light takes us.

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Want to share? What are you afraid of but are going to do anyway?