There's nothing like having a police officer unload your luggage from the back of a patrol car at a gas station to remind you of why it's important to thank a stranger.
A week ago, we were at the tail end of a 3 hour road trip to the airport from our mountain town, driving down hill at 75 mph when our car's electrical system COMPLETELY SHUT DOWN amidst busy rush-hour Denver traffic.
As the dashboard went from "every engine light, warning light on" red to complete darkness, we contemplated using the nearby runaway truck ramp. Luckily, my husband's skillful coasting took the car just a tiny bit further to a small triangular median between the onramp and the highway to pull over. Fortunately, we were alive, but the car was now completely dead.
To say this was scary and dangerous and a terrible way to start the Thanksgiving week is a gross understatement.
It was too dangerous to even open a car door to get out of the car, nearly impossible for an Uber to pick...
Well, we’ve officially transitioned out of the season of stuffing to the season of stuff. Thanksgiving is over, but it’s always a good time of year to give that thanks away.
Today is Black Friday and before you give your credit card a workout, take a minute to pass some gratitude gravy.
Black Friday can be rough on those who work in retail. Yes, investment bankers, CEOs, and stockholders love Black Friday, but those who are manning (and woman’ning) the stores often bear the brunt of shoppers’ seasonal anxieties, which isn’t always easy.
#GratitudeGRAVY day 14
For years I pretty much missed the point of Thanksgiving. Sad, but true. I'm the person who has literally lit my oven on fire while trying to broil bagels.
Despite the Thanksgiving hits and misses we've had chez Larock, I've come to realize that Thanksgiving is supposed to be a celebration of the great FULLness* of life with some of the wonderful humans that are in my world. Flawed and funny, weird and wonderful, I give thanks for all of them.
GratiTIRED? I get it. This is why gratitude fatigue is real…. And, while the healthcare industry is starting to realize that gratitude is some of the best medicine, the correct dosage for each of us does vary.
But stay with me. We are in the home stretch of #gratitudegravy and this next practice is one of the best gratitude practices for boosting happiness.
Think of someone who is still alive who has changed your life for the better. Pick someone who has never been properly thanked. It could be a teacher, a parent, grandparent, an old friend, an old boss, anyone who had an extraordinary impact on your life.
Ok do you have someone in mind?
Call the person or arrange a visit and...
#GratitudeGRAVY day 12
There are plenty of days, in this beautiful messy business of being human, where we might be feeling LESS than grateful for whatever is happening in our present or for what has happened in our past.
Gratitude is not a practice of "superficial happiology" - Robert Emmons, Ph.D
An effective gratitude practice does not require us all to become some kind of Stepford version of Miss Mary Sunshine. We are allowed to have bad days and not ride off into the sunset on our unicorn.
Heck, I had an entire decade of massive personal challenges in my business, in my marriage, in my everything, and there were plenty of days where I couldn’t muster up much gratitude.
A true gratitude practice is not one where we plaster a smile on our faces during the dark night of our soul.
#GratitudeGRAVY day 11
Several years ago, I was at a yoga retreat and one of my favorite teachers Patty Zimmer, said grace before we ate a meal together.
I'm not a very religious person, so saying grace isn't always in my repertoire.
Patty thanked everyone who made the meal happen, thanked the food delivery truck drivers, the cashiers at the store, the farmers who grew the food. She thanked as many as she could think of whose hands made the meal possible, not just the almighty ones or the ones in the kitchen.
I loved this practice and adopted it as my own. It’s a beautiful way of being grateful and full of grace.
Then, I stumbled upon a crazy gratitude story that took this one (or 1000) steps further.
A NYC-based writer named A.J. Jacobs was doing a similar practice with his kids. He said he’d been in a bad mood for a while and thought the practice would cheer him up, while also teaching the kids about the power of gratitude. So, as a family,...
#gratitudegravy day 10
I know this headline isn't actually newsworthy to any of you who have been watching Oprah for the past few decades. Gratitude went prime time A LOOONG time ago - when Oprah created a frenzy for gratitude journals just by talking about her own practice as being a key factor in her success.
The prime time that I'm talking about here is not too far off.
What's a Primer?
In psychology, primers are defined as conscious or unconscious cues that are paired together and create a behavioral change. (Adams-Miller and Frisch, 2009)
Psychologists have found that as much as 80% of our day’s activity is directed by our unconscious reactions to cues in our environment.
This Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving, I want you to gamify your gratitude. That's right be a gratitude gamer!
Another way that we can keep our gratitude practice fun and frequent (and to get our loved ones involved) is to gamify it.
Not only does being a gratitude gamer help our own practice stay interesting, but it also is a great way to involve others and reap the benefits of what psychologists call, the upward spiral of positivity.
The upward spiral is contagious, meaning the energy from others' gratitude can greatly increase our own and vice versa.
This next gratitude activity is an easy way to spark your specificity, get you moving and keep you laughing …
Plus, it’s a great gratitude icebreaker, and we all need to move around before or after the tryptophan hits the bloodstream...
Gratitude Gravy Practice #9
Gratitude Ping Pong
This game was invented by my mentor in positive psychology, Emiliya Zhivotovskaya.
It's very simple. You just take a ping pong and...
I lived in Provence, France during my junior year in college with a French family in a tiny apartment. 3 adults, 2 kids, one bathroom and no clothes dryer.
The mother of the family would kindly wash my clothes and hang them outside to dry on the clothesline.
This might conjure up romantic images of lavender-scented crisp linens in the French countryside, but the reality was that my undies were hanging over a parking lot, my blue jeans came off the line stiff as cardboard and the towels were as soft as sandpaper.
This certainly wasn't the great tragedy of my youth, but I will say that when I returned home, I had a new appreciation for clothes dried in a dryer. I had clearly taken the luxury of having a clothes dryer for granted my entire life.
As the chief laundress of my own household, on days that I'm less than thrilled to delve into a week's worth of wash, I can easily switch from being resentful to grateful.
I think about how grateful...
Gratitude GRAVY day 6
Today's gratitude challenge is so easy, you can do it in your sleep. In fact, that's exactly where I want you to do it!
Sleep is a critical process that restores our bodies and our brains. It doesn't matter how much gratitude we have for that daily jolt of caffeine, we cannot survive without sleep. I personally am a bit of a train wreck when I don't get enough sleep!
My mother's favorite coffee mug. Yes, my dad has a matching one! I'm grateful for my irreverent parents and their sense of humor!
In another gratitude study from Dr. Emmons Ph.D., in conjunction with the University of California - Davis Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the University of Miami, a group of participants were given the task of practicing gratitude before bed. Control groups were asked to either write about neutral events, hassles or social comparison before bed.
Not surprisingly, the majority of participants who were in the gratitude group...
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