Tis’ the season to be Kind and Grateful

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The Law of Attraction

 Most people have heard of ‘The Secret’, a book that was written about The Law of Attraction. What is The Law of Attraction? Do good things to others and good things will come to you. Visualize what you want in life, let it manifest and it will be attracted to you. Basically, like attracts like. Think or do negative things and you will attract more negative things. Think or do positive things and you will attract positive things. There is one flaw though. If something tragic happens to you like a death or major life event, you could feel like you are responsible for it and you have attracted it to you. This is still one concept of the law I am a bit iffy about.

 The Law of Attraction teaches you how to take control of your future. It consists of many different exercises to help you do this. As Christmas is just around the corner, I have decided to focus this post on two of the laws exercises,kindness and gratitude. It is a time for giving presents, love, hope, joy and being grateful for what we already have. Christmas presents are piling up and we are all busy trying to finish our last bit of shopping, wondering if you have bought the kids enough gifts and forgetting the real meaning behind Christmas. Christmas is a time were friends and family gather together to give thanks for the year that has past and wish hope and love for the future. I understand Christmas has a different meaning for everyone If you want to experience a truly magical Christmas, you must start with the basics. Kindness and gratitude should be on your daily to do lists but sadly some people just leave them until Christmas when they are forced by tradition to buy presents for people and say thanks.

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Kindness-the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. A kind act.

 Kindness is certainly something we are good at at this time of year. We give presents and cards to those whom we love and care about. But what if there was other less expensive ways to show kindness and bring a little more magic into your Christmas? Here are some suggestions of some random acts of kindness you could do this Christmas:

  • Visit someone you have not seen in a long time. Surprise them.
  • Visit old neighbours. See if they need help with shopping or chores around the house or maybe just a bit of company.
  • Buy someone a thank you card. Tell them how much you appreciate them.
  • Buy a small present and give it to the next homeless person you see.
  • Do a little extra around the house to help out your Mam or your partner or roommates whatever.
  • Say “I love you” to someone you love.
  • Say “please” and “thank you”—and really mean it. Don’t just open a card or present and not look the person in the eye when saying thank you. Or throw the card to one side and scan read it.
  • Forgive. Forgive those who have done you wrong. Forgiveness is a difficult thing to do but the sense of relief from letting go of those negative grudges is worth it.
  • SMILE- Smiling will radiate positive energy from you and pass it on to the next person.
  • Pay for the persons behind you in the queue’s coffee.
  • Give back to those less fortunate than you. Volunteer with the elderly people around your area or the homeless.
  • Make someone a cup of tea without them having to ask you first.
  • Throw someone a text or give someone a ring you have not spoke to in a while.
  • Make time for friends and family. Try be a bit selfless this time of year. It will attract better things for you.

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Gratitude-the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

 There is a key step in the Law of Attraction that people often forget to use. They get so wrapped up in making lists and visualization that they forget one of the most important and easiest parts of the Law of Attraction. Even when they do remember it, they don’t use it correctly. This important step is gratitude.

 Gratitude is a powerful Law of Attraction exercise. It raises your vibration and brings you into harmony with the energy of the Universe. Gratitude can immediately transform all areas of your life.

 Every day you see people whose lives are wonderful and those whose lives could be better. The ones who could have a better life have one thing in common – they lack gratitude for what they already have. They can’t gain more so long as they fail to appreciate what they already have. Their lack of gratitude closes them off from receiving more and they aren’t grateful for what they’ve already received.

 No matter how bad someone’s life may be, there is always something to be grateful for. As soon as they find it, their life will improve.

 Complaining is focusing on what the mind perceives to be a problem. The Universe knows there are no problems. Everything was created by you and you can change everything you have created – for better or worse.

 If you want to lose all the wonderful, amazing things in your life…if you want your days to be harder…if you want to struggle to pay your bills…if you want to feel unloved or lose relationships…all you have to do is COMPLAIN.

 If you want your life to get better in every possible way…if you want more than enough money…if you want incredible, loving relationships…if you want to be happy and fulfilled…all you have to do is be GRATEFUL.

 In a world dominated by technology, the simple act of saying thank you, showing that you appreciate what has been done for you or given to you by someone, is being left behind. We can simply hit a “like” and “favourite” button and not have to think about saying “thank you” in real life. Christmas is not the only time of year we should show gratitude but here are some suggestions:

  • Write someone a note or card to tell them how much they are appreciated. My brother and I leave sticky notes on each others bedroom doors on random mornings.
  • Listen and show interest. This can make people feel heard and understood. It may seem small but it can have a positive impact on someone. Let people know you are there for them if they need to talk.
  • Like kindness, gratitude is about saying thank you also.
  • Take the time to appreciate the small things- be mindful when drinking your cup of tea or eating your mince pie. Take it all the flavours and thoroughly experience it.
  • Be enthusiastic about your work colleagues and family members. If they complete a task, show them how much you appreciate it being done. Send a kind email saying thank you.
  • Keep a gratitude journal. All it requires is noting one or more things you are grateful for on a daily basis. No fancy notebook, no computer program required.
  • One activity involves writing a gratitude letter to someone who had an impact on you whom you’ve never properly thanked.
  • Share the day’s grateful moments around the Christmas dinner table this year. The conversations that follow may give you even more reasons to give thanks.
  • If you identify something or someone with a negative trait (the cold conference room), switch it in your mind to a positive trait (the conference room with a great view).
  • When you find yourself in a bad situation ask: What can I learn? When I look back on this, without emotion, what will I be grateful for?
  • Vow to not complain, criticize, or gossip this Christmas. If you slip, keep going. Notice how much energy you were spending on negative thoughts.
  • Sound genuinely happy to hear from the people who call you on the phone. Whether they respond with surprise or delight, they’ll feel valued.
  • Be genuine. False praise is easy to spot, and it undermines your trustworthiness.
  • DON’T brush off a compliment given to you. It’s like returning a gift.
  • Start a gratitude jar and write one thing you are grateful for each day. Open it on New Years Eve to read about all the things you were grateful for throughout the year.

 

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 I hope this post has brought an extra bit of sparkle into your Christmas. It’s nice to be important, but its important to be nice!

 

J x

 

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A Year of Living Mindfully: Week 13

EXPERIENCING THE UNPLEASANT

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This weeks small exercise was about paying attention to experiences we don’t like. Noticing when there is a sense of resistance, of “not wanting”, “not liking”. Also noticing any thoughts, emotions and bodily sensations that come alongside this.

It recommended keeping a diary of these experiences. Write down what you noticed, what you experienced and reflect.

Would you normally have noticed any of this?

  • WHAT IS IT?
  • WHAT THOUGHTS ARE ARISING?
  • CAN YOU NAME ANY EMOTION?
  • WHAT ARE YOU NOTICING IN THE BODY? (BE SPECIFIC)

When something unpleasant happens, can you identify where you usually feel it in your body? How did this exercise compare with becoming aware of pleasant experiences?

I decided to reflect on an unpleasant experience of feeling ‘fed up’ in work one morning.

WHAT IS IT?

 I was feeling fed up in work. I did not want to be there anymore. I felt a resistance to wanting to move my body never mind do actual work.

WHAT THOUGHTS ARE ARISING?

 I hate this place. When will I move on? I don’t feel challenged. I need to move. I am bored. I really do not want to do anything today.

CAN YOU NAME ANY EMOTION?

 Sad. Frustration. Dread.

WHAT ARE YOU NOTICING IN THE BODY?

 A feeling of heaviness in my chest. I feel drained.  Slowed down. Stiffness. My body did not want to move. My face felt long and weighed down.

 Again, this exercise highlights the whole connection between thoughts, feelings, behaviours and bodily sensations. Another self awareness exercise. By zoning in and noticing these experiences we can start to control them more and more.

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J x

A Year of Living Mindfully: Week 12

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Appreciating the Good

They say we can ‘redress’ our natural bias towards negativity by focusing on the pleasant and positive experiences. Because there is no survival benefit to enjoying pleasant experiences, they usually happen momentarily and are gone. 

Mindfulness is all about being able to bring that small experience into awareness for as little as 60 seconds in order to save it in our long term memory. (Have we all seen ‘Inside Out’ the children’s movie?). These small pleasant experiences are usually appreciated and made more aware of by the young. In the movie ‘Inside Out’ they explain how aware children are of small happy moments and how such small things can impact on a child’s development. These happy moments are stored in their long term memory until bigger emotions take their place. This could be as simplistic as when the first time their Mother made them laugh or the first time they tried to eat jelly. The feeling of happiness children experience usually sits with them a lot longer than in adults.  As we grow older these experiences go unnoticed because adults are usually  preoccupied with more ‘important’ things in life like how they are going to pay the bills or who’s turn it is to take the bins out. The minute happiness occurs in an adult they have already jumped onto a new feeling or a new thought. Children are the most mindful of us all.

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BANKING THE GOOD

Sometimes people are surprised at they way a seemingly insignificant experience creates a strong sense of pleasure, which they experience again when they reflect on it- an added bonus. Our natural negative bias means we usually forget a transitory pleasant experience- the warm sun on our face, the scent of a flower, the smile that lights up a child’s face when they see us- but if we pay attention to the experience, noticing its different elements, we “bank” it in our long-term memory and life starts to feel richer and more fulfilling. 

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This weeks exercise wanted us to make an intention to be more aware of those fleeting moments of pleasure. Do it every day for a week (or more). At the end of the week reflect on any new discoveries or insights.

What was the experience?

What thoughts occurred to you?

What felt sensations did you notice in the body?

What emotions were you aware of?

What are you experiencing now as you answer these questions?

This week I reflected on several positive experiences, one of which was particularly positive. Now its not every day or week I do this but as its coming close to Christmas I felt a bit emotional and giving. During the week I was shopping in Marks and Spencer’s and when you spend over 75 euro you get a free gift (a box with wine, Christmas pudding, biscuits, sweets etc.). I was delighted and immediately imagined myself and my best friend sitting on the couch having a nibble and a glass of wine. I was bombarded with shopping bags that day. I walked by sooooo many homeless people sat on the cold ground looking miserable. I decided F**k this I have enough treats at home, I’ll give this gift box to the next homeless person I see. So that’s what I done. And Wow. I have never seen someones eyes light up as much as this man’s did. “Thank you so much, you don’t realize how much I appreciate this. Seriously, Thank you”. My god I certainly would not have appreciated it as much as he did. I was so overwhelmed with gratitude (I had a little cry, as usual. I am an emotional being). I felt so happy that I had made someone look and feel the way he did. His happiness with the gift lasted a lot longer than mine would have. He sat there staring at it with joy, whereas I would have had the whole thing eaten at that stage. I reflected on how much I take for granted in life and how I need to start appreciating the little things more. It was a positive experience that will certainly be entering my long-term memory. Even reflecting back again writing this, all the same emotions I felt that day come flowing back. I received great happiness and pleasure from this small act of kindness. I also reflected on other small moments of pleasure throughout the week but this was one that stuck out for me.

What small moments of pleasure can you remember from the week past? 

J x

A Year of Living Mindfully: Week 11

What Attitudes are you Feeding?

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 Usually when we feel a particular emotion it leads us to having thoughts about the feeling and sometimes finding evidence to support it. We may also describe it with language like ‘what a nightmare’. It can be hard to figure out which came first. Did the thought come first? The emotion? The feeling? 

 When we catastrophe an experience, we allow the emotion to build up like an angry fire. The emotion then becomes out of control and we experience an unconscious mind/body chain reaction leading to us to feel even worse.

 This exercise speaks about how we have the potential to control our emotions. Now obviously we can only control our emotions to an extent. But as I always say, self awareness is key! By bringing thoughts or emotions into our awareness, we can watch our thoughts span out, become aware of the physical effects they have on our body and how overwhelming they can be. The first step is becoming self aware. We cannot change or do anything differently without becoming aware of it. Makes sense really. By acknowledging that a particular emotion is present, it allows us to react differently and puts a halt on the negative reaction  you would usually take. This whole exercise reminded me of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. We become aware of how our thoughts, feelings, emotions and behaviours are interlinked. By changing one part of the chain, we cause a domino effect thus changing the automated response. For example, when I am feeling sad I listen to sad music thus making me feel even sadder. I then start to think negative thoughts and might even have a good cry. This negative cycle has become a built in automated response. I am basically feeding into my feeling of ‘sadness’. To break this negative cycle, I might listen to happier music when I feel sad in order to help lift my mood.

 Mindfulness teaches us how to tune into our experiences on a regular basis, enabling us to tune into negative behaviours as they arise. We become aware of thoughts, emotions, feelings or behaviours and explore them. The book recommended using a gentle breathing exercise to bring ourselves back into the present moment. Again refer back to my post on Breathing or simply use my ‘Breathing through the feet on the floor’ (my fav). Obviously when you are feeling a bit angry, the last thing you are thinking of is doing a quick breathing exercise. But if we refer back to my post on changing automated responses, you will see how we easy it is to start a negative response but just as easy to start a positive response. Practice makes perfect. For something to become an automated response, it must be practiced. It must become part of your routine. It will take time and it will not happen over night.

 How about thinking of what you like to do when you are feeling sad? Now have a think about those actions. Do they make you feel better or worse? For example, I might have a glass of wine if I feel a bit down or stressed. The wine will usually make me feel even shittier and the next day I am even worse with a hangover. What was so positive about that? That is most defiantly a feeder behaviour. What could I do differently that might help me more? I could watch a comedy. I could go visit a friend. Things that could actually lift my mood as opposed to bringing it further down? Makes sense doesn’t it?

Practicing Patience

Be patient and remind yourself that to begin with you may notice only after the event and wish you could have responded differently. This is perfectly normal; just continue practicing and noticing the emotions that you feed. 

J x

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