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Have you been robbed of Gratitude?

grateful1While there is no one single group in the world who are intent on robbing us of our feelings of fulfillment, happiness and satisfaction with life – there are many things that when allowed, can rob us of all the feelings of success that we could have.  Gratitude is appreciating, recognizing and being thankful for what we have, those in our life, and the experiences we have in our life.  How do we become more grateful and how is it possible to lose those feelings?

What can rob us of our gratitude, satisfaction and happiness?

  • All those 40,000 plus commercials we view every year promoting ‘things’ that we see others going after that soon become ‘things’ that we feel like we need too.
  • Waking up on the wrong side of the bed, our attitude.  Allowing one thing in our day or in our yesterday to determine how we treat ourselves and others.  Losing our appreciation and recognition of all the good that others have blessed us with – because one person upset us during the day
  • Hanging out with those that can only see the negative side of any situation or conversation.  The more we associate with negative people – the less we appreciate the our circumstances.

What will help us grow our gratitude?

  • Recognizing that success is not just in our career and education. Success can and should be appreciated in our home life, in our hobbies and recreation as well as our giving to others.
  • Taking a moment each day to record on paper what we have to be grateful for during our day.
  • Spending some time to appreciate yourself for what you have, or what you have done or received during that day.  Yes be gracious to yourself.

During this month lets all lead the way for our own sake and that of our children by expressing our gratitude.  Your feelings of happiness and success will grow with each act of gratitude you perform.

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Gratitude or taken for granted?

grateful1When any person feels as though they are being taken for granted – it hurts.  None of us want to think that the services that we provide are just received without any thought of appreciation.  This is true in our personal relationships, with our children and in our career.

In reality though when things are going well – or the way we expect or would like them to go – we have a tendency to not notice or acknowledge.  When things do not go the way we wanted, expected or ‘need’ them to go – we are all over it.

This is the negative to positive ratio.  What do we generally see first when we are looking at our child’s report card?  (the positive or the negative, the A or the D).  When we looking at our child’s room (the clean or not clean)?  When do we speak up to an employee (when they made a mistake or given extra service)?  The list goes on.

What each of us crave is to experience the gratitude and appreciation of others.  Studies have shown though that each of us receive 7 times as many negative messages to the positive ones every day.   We have grown to expect that others will only see the negative (and comment on it) rather than see our gifts and positive contributions.

If you want to make a difference in the life of others – see the good in them first, before looking for their areas that may need growing.  Instead of focusing on how good we are – think about the good things that others have done for us.  Start with simple acts of gratitude – a smile, saying thank you, or writing a note of appreciation.


Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.
—William Arthur Ward

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Life Skills: Gratitude – The Definition

Word of monthEach month we will discuss a life skill with all of our students. This month the word is Gratitude.  This word will be defined in the following ways for our students.

Young students: Gratitude means: I am so thankful!

Older students: Gratitude means:  Appreciating, recognizing, and being thankful for what you have.

Each age group has a worksheet that parents can use to continue the discussion at home with their children, and one for adults to allow them to think more deeply about the skill and how it applies to them. Would you like to receive the worksheet? Stop by our studio at 133 Gibralter Avenue in Annapolis, MD and tell us the age of your child. We will give you a worksheet and invite you to watch Mr. Joe discuss the word with the students in class.  You can also follow our discussions here on this website.

If you would like to become a member of Balanced Life Skills, come TRY CLASSES FOR FREE.   We are not your typical after school activity, in fact we are an education center, working with our students on physical skills along with empowering families with compassion, awareness and respect – creating a culture of peace – through the arts.  We believe in every child and will build their confidence.  Balanced Life Skills serves the community and encourages each student to do the same.

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Health – mental and physical equally important

When we think of health many times our thoughts go to what we are eating, how we are exercising or are we getting enough sleep.  If we have been through a serious illness, we may be concerned about finding a cure or a way of not having it recur in our life or that of others.

Today though I want to talk about our mental health.  Give our children and ourselves permission to say to a trusted friend or parent:

“I am feeling very sad.
My stress is getting greater than I feel like I can deal with.
I am frustrated with my situation.
I keep exploding in anger at people I love. “

Some would say it is not my personality to talk about those feelings.  We know though that bottling them up inside ourselves can be dangerous not only mentally but also on our physical body.  I remember some 25 years ago feeling so stressed that I literally felt as if I was going to have a heart attack.  There were pains in the heart, faster pulse rate and an anxiety that was more than I could deal with.  I went to the hospital, I was so scared.

I learned to talk about what I was feeling.  I learned how to lean on others when I really needed to and to take better care of myself.  So please – take the mental health of ourselves and our children just as seriously as you do the physical health.  Doing so will help you to be a much healthier person and happier too!

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Health is a matter of choices

Word of monthWhile the consumption of healthy foods has improved over the last 20 years – the intake of unhealthy foods has also increased – actually outpacing the former. The lead researcher of The Lancet Global Health, 2015 – after studying the diet in 187 countries and 4.5 billion adults, has suggested that by 2020 75% of all deaths will be cause by non-communicable diseases. This problem could be greatly reduced by improving our diets.

When you combine this issue with 80% of young people not getting enough exercise, we can see how diabetes could very easily be inflicting 60-70% of all young people born after 2000 as they grow into adulthood.  As parents and adults we want to take a close look at how we are working with our youth. Are we setting the example for them in our personal diet and exercise habits? Are we encouraging them to maintain great habits of their own?

What steps could each of us take to lead the way in good health?

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