Tag Archives: grateful

5 Ways to Harness the Power of Gratitude

Sue Curr Motivational Speaker & Empowerment Coach

Gratitude Can Be Severely Underrated

The practice of gratitude as a tool for happiness has for many been popular for years and is becoming widely accepted by increasing numbers of people who have witnessed firsthand the beneficial changes the act of being grateful has brought into their lives. Indeed, long-term studies support gratitude’s effectiveness, suggesting that a positive, appreciative attitude contributes to greater success in work, greater health, peak performance in sports and business, a higher sense of well-being, and even a faster rate of recovery from surgery.

But while we may acknowledge gratitude’s many benefits, it still can be difficult to sustain. So many of us are programmed to notice what is broken, undone or lacking in our lives. In order for gratitude to meet its full healing potential it needs to become more than just a word we pay lip service to. We have to learn a new way of looking at things and begin to think differently in order to create the shift needed in our mindset to facilitate the long-lasting and sustainable change it takes to establish it not only as a new habit but a way of life and that can take time.

That’s why actively practicing gratitude makes so much sense. When we practice giving thanks for all we have, instead of complaining about what we lack, we give ourselves the chance to see all of life, everything; the good, the bad & the indifferent as both the opportunities & blessings that they truly are.

However, it’s important to remember that gratitude isn’t a blindly optimistic approach in which the bad things in life are whitewashed or ignored. It’s more a matter of where we put our focus and attention. Pain and injustice exist in this world without a shadow of a doubt but when we learn to focus on the gifts of life, we gain an often previously unfelt sense of well-being because gratitude in and of itself helps to restore balance and gives us hope.

Sue Curr Motivational Speaker Coach Author

What’s on your list?

For me true wealth lies in life’s intangibles and on a daily basis if we choose to see them there are many things to be grateful for: the beauty of a sunrise or sunset, colorful autumn leaves, legs that work, friends who listen and really hear, waves crashing on the shoreline, chocolate, fresh eggs, warm jackets, tomatoes, the ability to read, the unbridled laughter of children, our health, butterflies………………

 5 Ways to Start You On the Road to Practicing Gratitude

  • Keep a gratitude journal and establish a routine where you spend just 5 minutes of every single day (for me bedtime is the ideal time) and write down as many things you can for which you are grateful AND why. It doesn’t matter what or why. It doesn’t have to be anything other than something – anything – which has/does cause you to feel grateful in some way…there are no limits & trust me when I say that in ‘giving voice’ to your gratitude in this way you will very quickly come to realize just how much you truly have to be grateful for
  • Make a gratitude collage; paste, copy, stick, draw again it doesn’t matter how you do it, just that you give it a try. How amazing would it be whenever you feel sad, upset or miserable say to be able to glance at a visual reminder of all that you have to be grateful for. Think about it you glance over & in one spot you instantly see images of your kids, better half, a sunrise, next/last year’s holiday destination maybe even a picture of yourself before & after a life altering experience (losing 100lb in weight for example) ANYTHING for which you’re grateful. How would that make you feel, how powerful would that be in lifting your mood?
  • Practice gratitude ACTIVELY at every opportunity. When we make a conscious effort to be thankful by showing others that we appreciate them on a daily basis the world around us responds in kind. The most obvious example of this would simply be the act of showing your appreciation by actually saying thank you be that verbally, by text, a nice card or even sending a small gift as a token for something that others have done and not even necessarily for you.
  • Instigate a gratitude challenge. When you or those around you start complaining about something challenge yourself or them to find the hidden positive, blessing if you will no matter the situation. It’s not always easy but it is possible, remember it’s a simple law of physics that for every negative there is an equal and opposite reaction. Given time and practice you’ll be amazed at how better you start to feel.
  • Take time and be mindful of how being grateful impacts positively on your life. Notice how your attitude and that of those around you change for the better. Concentrate on living fully in the present and notice how deeply grateful you are becoming for even the most mundane of things which have previously gone unnoticed and then celebrate the new improved reality which will begin to unfold around you.

When we make a conscious choice, because like everything it is a choice, to make practicing gratitude a way of living an inner shift begins to occur and you may be delighted to discover how content, realigned, more focused & fulfilled you begin to feel and which has the most profound of effects in every area of our lives be that home, personal, relationships & careers and that sense of fulfillment my friends is:

 GRATITUDE AT WORK!

To find out more about making long-lasting, sustainable positive changes in your life I invite you to take the first step & connect with me to claim your FREE Strategic Discovery Call

Not for you? That’s great but should you know of someone who would benefit by reaching their full potential please feel free to pass the invite along.

‘Empowering You To Have The Courage To Be Who You Really Are”!                                    suecurr.com 

I can be reached via: Email – suecurr@suecurr.com  

Don’t Worry Be Happy

Dont worry be happy BLOG POST header”Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be”

Abraham Lincoln

We tend to lose sight of just how much we have to be happy for

Many years ago someone who subsequently became a very important role model in my life  told me

” Never forget just how much we have in this life to be truly happy for”

That statement as simple and truthful as it was impacted upon me on such a deeply profound level that I never ever forgot it. It wasn’t so much the words themselves  as the context in which they were offered.

I was 20 at the time and although I had met, fallen head over heels in love with and become engaged to the man who was to become my life partner and ”long suffering” other half of some 32 years of (at the time of writing) marriage I was deeply unhappy on many levels….a strained home life, stuck in a job I loathed, never enough money to do what we wanted to do…..all the usual daily gripes which cause us to be miserable,

And yet here was ”someone” having very recently lost her husband of many years after a relatively short but very traumatic battle with cancer offering me both a shoulder to cry on and sage advice. Of the pair of us she had far more cause to be deeply unhappy than me but although she was entrenched in her grief and struggling to come to terms with her loss along with everything which that entails she still found it in her heart to reach out and connect on a level which she could see I truly needed.

It was one of the most selfless gestures by someone I have ever seen and one which I never forgot even during the times of my deepest despair…..the days when I had reached the end of my tether, when I wanted to run for the hills and never come back.

The days when I really did contemplate that this world would be better off without me.

On these days and many like them since there has always been her voice in the back of my mind prompting me to be thankful for all that I have, to count my blessings and telling me ”Don’t worry be happy”!

There have been many, many times in the intervening years when I would have given anything to be able to hear her calm, gentle, measured voice but instead I’ve used the advice she gave me all that time ago to help me look at the world as though through her eyes.

As I matured I came to realise what it was she meant and now there is rarely a day passes during which I don’t give thanks for the fact that I’m still alive, that I’m ”relatively” healthy, that my family are safe and well.

That said as I’ve gotten older this perspective has deepened somewhat and now at the beginning or end….sometimes both…of my day I make a point of acknowledging and appreciating all that has, is and will be good in my life.

The stunning colours of sunrise & sunset, the innocence of a child’s infectious laughter, woodland walks or watching nature at work as the ocean pounds the shoreline.

I now live for but am not limited by the little things, the simple pleasures…hot buttered toast, a long lie in of a Sunday et al. I thrive on and thoroughly enjoy the company of and interaction with the people most special to me and make sure I validate them everyday….Make sure you tell someone how much you love them today because the chance may never come again.

These things and so many more like them help bring about a sense of calm and a peaceful mind. They help us to better understand what this life of ours is truly about and what it means to be alive in the here and now.

Many of us live our lives ruled by the man-made invention of time. We pray for the end of the working day, for the Summer holidays to get here more quickly. We wish our lives away because we aren’t connected to the present. We don’t appreciate it or the joys it brings us daily.

We wait impatiently under the mistaken apprehension that when….it stops raining, the holidays are here, we win the lottery etc, etc…then the elusive happiness will be ours for the taking.

That’s a massive error on our part!

STOP waiting for happiness to come along because it’s here already…..you have the power to CHOOSE it……stop imitating others as they wish their lives away….our time here is finite, don’t wait until it’s too late before you realise how good your life really is!

The old adage says ”Seek & Ye Shall Find”

By becoming more self-aware we come to realise that we don’t have to look too hard or long. We can simply look to what we already have, are surrounded by and be GRATEFUL for it. Stop waiting for a better life to come along, it’s already here ESPECIALLY when we don’t measure it in terms of time, money or materialistic ideals. By doing this we free ourselves from the curse of expectation and that in itself practically guarantees that we won’t be disappointed with the result!

Well over 35 years ago I had a conversation with someone who ended it by always telling me ”Don’t worry be happy”…..

These days a very wise 4-year-old can often be heard telling me ”Nonny don’t worry be happy”

I think that’s very fitting somehow and I know that the someone from all those years ago…..the Great Grandmother of her….very wise 4-year-old Great Granddaughter would be tickled pink to know that the apple hasn’t fallen very far from the tree.

I think it’s a very sound piece of advice for all of us. So as you go about your day today REMEMBER whatever happens you have much to be GRATEFUL for so……..

”Don’t worry be HAPPY”!

Thanks for reading please feel free to leave a comment below or like & share. It would be great to hear your take on happiness…..have a nice day!

Mistake or Opportunity?

Mistake or POST

‘’ No matter how many times you stumble or fall, the greatest lesson is loving yourself through it all ‘’
Barbara Streisand

Mistakes! We’ve all made them right?

We all of us make mistakes some tiny, some huge & a small percentage of which could potentially be disastrous. In times of stress or emotional overload the propensity to make mistakes increases and because we are human so does our need to apportion blame. That blame could be leveled at us or by us towards ourselves as well as others and dependent upon our interpretation of the gravity of it so the level of blame and by association guilt increases in line.

Rarely does a mistake happen without an accompanying negative reaction in response and very often it is the reaction as opposed to the action (mistake) which is the cause of most stress for those concerned. Alongside that runs the at times almost overwhelming need to right perceived wrongs, justify how/why the mistake was made (to be fair sometimes by trying to absolve ourselves of any blame) and moreover apologise profusely & repeatedly as if insistent repetition of sorrow will right any adverse effects of the said mistake.

However the single biggest error of judgement we any of us make in the above scenario is that we quite simply forget that we are indeed human and as a result of which we have the option of choice and it is this factor alone when making decisions which is responsible for mistakes being made!

We all make mistakesThink about it there surely can’t be anyone who falls into the category of having made a mistake, taking that as give, the only thing that makes each of us unique in this area is our reaction. What is it that can determine such variety & extremities of emotion in situations which are perceived as being wrong in that a mistake has occurred? It has to be purely a matter of mind-set. There are those of us who go through life apparently oblivious to the results of their actions & to be truthful probably wouldn’t care less if they did. In stark contrast there are those who rather than cause upset, inconvenience or harm albeit unintentionally would go to the ends of the earth to avoid doing so.

Speaking for myself I accept that as a human I can & do (frequently) make mistakes and to be honest as each and every one occurs my reaction is dictated purely by the circumstances surrounding it as opposed to the actual ‘’error’’. For instance my reaction is more likely to be highly emotional if any mistake I may have made should impact negatively on another. Whereas if I poured milk on a desert instead of cream I would simply laugh at my own ‘’stupidity’’. In both scenarios though I would these days definitely adopt the sentiment that ‘’a mistake is only ever a mistake if we fail to learn from it’’.

It wasn’t always the case; as a person it took me a very long time to understand that making a mistake, any mistake is not only ok it’s actually acceptable because generally speaking it’s simply an error of judgement which at the outset wasn’t meant to intentionally cause harm. That said I could, would & still do even now on occasion fret, worry & obsess that something I had done or said maybe could have caused someone else at best an inconvenience, at worst a massive issue as a result. At times when an apology and/or reparation were rightly made (& accepted) even then I would work myself into a near frenzy as I allowed myself to become convinced of the fact that the only reason my apology had been accepted was nothing more than good manners on the part of the ‘’injured’’ party and that despite their acceptance they didn’t mean it because (in my mind) I was an idiot at the very least!

This statement alone says so much more about the frailty of the human psyche than anything else I think. The fact that even having been absolved of blame I (anyone) could & did refuse to accept that whatever the transgression, in the bigger picture of things it really didn’t matter and in many instances hadn’t even registered for anyone else.

Ere go what is important to one person is often not even a consideration for the next.

So to the matter in hand;

Think About ItA mistake is nothing more, nothing less than an error of judgement which was never meant to harm, distress or ridicule any person, thing or situation.

As such it is a waste of time and effort to pay more than the minimum amount of attention to it in order ‘’to put things right’’.

Any expenditure of effort should be limited to;
• acknowledging that a mistake has been made
• taking responsibility for it (where it was your mistake to begin with)
• defining what went wrong & why
• ensuring that you have taken the opportunity to learn from the experience and avoid repeating it in future

BECAUSE as Einstein once very rightly said;

‘’The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over & over again yet expecting a different result’’

The need to punish ourselves or indeed others for the mistakes we/they make has become almost second nature for us a species. We are all too ready & willing to jump on the universal bandwagon of negativity because truthfully it is often the easier and more popular option.

This journey through life can at times be difficult enough without inflicting negative self-talk upon ourselves when there really is no need. As with anything that is worthwhile it takes time & effort to be mindful of the fact that we’re all of us doing the best we can day to day and whilst we may not live up to the expectations of ourselves let alone anyone else then it really, really is alright because there is not one of us on this planet who is perfect.

Whilst being kind to & taking care of ourselves be it physically or mentally should always be our priority it needs to begin with accepting that although perfectionism is a wonderful ideal, realistically it sets us up for failure & at times emotional distress especially if we look upon any mistakes we make as falling short in some way, failing if you will instead of what they really are which is nothing more than:

Opportunities to learn & grow which by definition means we are succeeding

As we go through this life of ours then, we should all of us strive to remember that when on occasion we stumble and make errors of judgement that we are human & we were not designed to be perfect. Making mistakes is part of the tapestry of life, they are little more than pointers enabling us to increase our understanding. We need to be secure in the knowledge that regardless of anything it does not mean that by making mistakes we are lacking in any way rather the opposite in fact and that is simply;

We are ENOUGH just the way we are!

Choice, Life Is A Choice

Choice, Life Is POST

”It is our choices… that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities”  J.K.Rowling

Life!

The singular thing we all have in common. However having said that there are only actually two things which for sure will happen to us all.

We will be born. We will die.

Stark but nevertheless completely true.

Equally true is the fact that many of us do actually treat the experience that is life as a final destination. We all too easily lose sight of the fact that it is actually a journey. Each day, for each of us is completely unique and thus our journey in turn becomes as individual as we are and in all honesty most of us never even consider that it is our choices along the way which make it so.

The amazing thing is that we all of us do have the power of choice.

It is after all the most basic of our rights as humans. We can all of us, if we so choose be compliant and ”allow” life to happen to us OR we can become proactive and choose to be the architect of our own journey and subsequently our destiny.

So my friends I would urge that you give some thought to the gift which is your life and the like of which you will not receive again. As you go through your day tomorrow pay attention…..be mindful if you will.… as to the number of choices you will actually get to make during it’s course. In addition to the those you would make automatically……what to eat, what to wear, where to go…….concentrate on each moment as it occurs and realise that everything in life is a choice;

Positivity. Negativity. Gratitude. Happiness…all of it

Those choices in turn have the power to alter your life for the better or worse. Any given point on your journey through life is in direct correlation to your words, actions & attitude and it is you alone who are responsible for it.

There are those amongst us who will say ”Oh no it’s not  my fault… ???… did this, said that and so on which would all be very true HOWEVER the key here is that the other person is the one who has to take responsibility for their actions whilst it is YOU alone who must take responsibility for your REACTION to the situation/ feeling they created. You have the power to allow or disallow how anything impacts upon you. You can CHOOSE and it is this choice alone which will dictate whether you are compliant in or an architect of your life, your FUTURE!

So having urged you to be mindful as you go about your day tomorrow you should consider the possibility that you have inadvertently become compliant in ”allowing” your life to just happen to you. If you should come to realise that you have in fact been ”happily” accepting your lot then it may come as somewhat of a surprise to find that you have always had the option of CHOICE.

It would be unrealistic to assume that choosing a positive option will either be simple or easy

Indeed at times it will be very far removed from these two particular emotions. The difficulty comes with the slow realisation that (in many instances) we have been accepting the unacceptable as being the only option open to us without ever having truly considered any alternative just because ..”that’s the way it’s always been”….! When you think about it would you buy meat from the same butcher every week regardless of the fact that it had ”gone off” just because your family had always shopped there? Of course you wouldn’t because you would be able to see, smell & taste the badness.

However when it comes to something as intangible as ”happiness” our recognition and/ or acceptance of it is based on the largely intangible, meaning that whilst we can witness someones happiness by seeing them smile, we cannot touch it, taste it or smell it. By default therefore we become more inclined to be accepting of something which cannot be physically evidenced as being otherwise and as such it enables us to trust that things are as they should be.

After all how often do we say things such as; ” it was just a gut feeling” about something?

So having decided (which in itself is a choice) then that everything in life is a choice, let’s take the a fore mentioned emotion of happiness. People have often said to me things like ”you’re either happy or unhappy, that’s all there is to it” I would for a long time have agreed with them UNTIL that is I had my own what I like to call ”light bulb moment” and realised that I like you can choose happiness.

It took me quite a while to get into the habit of choice and for me it became easier when I realised that the opinions and or actions of others for instance, could only hold sway over my emotions if I ALLOWED them to. The bottom line is that we all of us have responsibility for what we allow in our lives. For me I have actively chosen not to allow or embrace negativity from any source. If we try and remember that the negativity we encounter on a daily basis particularly from another person is THEIR negativity and as such has no place in or power over our lives we soon come to realise that it’s just a small step to choosing between a smile or a frown!

In CHOOSING HAPPINESS I now also understand that (to quote the song) –

”You’re never fully dressed without a smile!”  and it feels AWESOME!!!

Happiness you will come to understand is not only a choice but a way of life and it’s contagious so………..what are you waiting for???

Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself!

Dont be so POST

”Love yourself first and everything else falls in line”

Lucille Ball

I have long struggled to reconcile myself to the fact that practicing Self Care  as opposed to being Selfish is not only ACCEPTABLE, it’s NECESSARY! Whilst for me at least being selfish has never been an option on this journey through life, the alternative and far healthier choice of caring  positively and in a loving manner for oneself, I have for a very long time mistakenly believed to be the same thing. In fact NOTHING could be further from the truth.

Self Care;  Looking after ones self in a healthy manner be it physically, mentally or spiritually
Selfish;  lacking consideration for other people; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.

When you look at the definitions side by side the difference in meaning is CLEAR for all to see. Yet in my minds eye the fact that on occasion when I chose to utter the word NO in response to say a request to do something for another the guilt and anguish I experienced at my own PERCEIVED selfishness  simply because I had ”refused to help someone” in some way, knew absolutely no bounds. Unfounded guilt, coupled with  equally unfounded paranoia that they would deem my negative response to their request as me being SELFISH fueled a self perpetuating decline overtime into the unrealistic realm of me responding with a compliant YES to requests REGARDLESS of whether I needed to do something different at the time or not!

In real terms what that meant on the most basic of levels is that in the great scheme of things when asked to do……..(you fill in the blanks)….and regardless of circumstance, situation, time constraints, personal commitments I would more often than not be heard to proffer an enthusiastic YES (when actually feeling anything but!) and usually at great personal expense in terms of the impact on both my physical and mental well being. Simply put I had done an OUTSTANDING job of convincing myself that without doubt to proffer an equally firm but polite NO would mean that I was SELFISH personified!

In essence I had decided at an extremely young age that I would in no way become a SELFISH person,  A noble premise but one in which aiming to achieve, I had unwittingly applied a totally unrealistic set of principles for negotiating the minefield of life. Principles which would see me time and again put the needs of others over and above those of myself regardless of personal cost. In all honesty the cost incurred was probably an equal mix in terms physical, emotional and mental decline. The concept of SELF-CARE never having even been allowed the opportunity to be considered. In my ”quest” to become ”all things, to all people” a modern day mix of Mother Theresa & Nelson Mandela if you will, my default setting had turned me into a somewhat substandard version of Mary Poppins as I had very definitely become ”practically IMPERFECT in every way”.

The pressure I had put myself under by striving to reach the unattainable saw me buckle under my PERCEIVED FAILURE to be the person I THOUGHT others wanted me to be as opposed to the person that I ACTUALLY AM! Such was my physical and mental decline that I was the last  one to realise just exactly what my self imposed mindset had cost me.

Almost too late I realised that those who I loved and who loved me in return did so simply BECAUSE of who I AM and NOT because what I can do for them. All they wanted (had EVER wanted) was for me to be HAPPY, HEALTHY & WHOLE! Were I on occasion willing and ABLE to help them out in some way then that would be ENOUGH.

I WOULD BE ENOUGH!

So late in the day I came to understand the concept of SELF-CARE! Together with it’s implications and benefits. The outcome for me (and hopefully those of you who may also lack self awareness) is such that as a matter of priority I  now strive everyday to seek BALANCE in life: a healthy, balanced diet, quality sleep and enough of it, to spend quality time with loved ones and above all else to make time to relax and just ”be” – whether sitting, reading, meditating, essentially doing something where I show MYSELF the love I now know I DESERVE and which without forethought I make so readily available to others.

When you truly come to understand AND practice the art of SELF-CARE, see it in action for yourself AND THEN realise that life as you knew it has not only NOT ceased to exist BUT in fact IMPROVED BEYOND MEASURE then you will know without a shadow of a doubt that to;

”Love yourself first and everything else falls in line”

……..probably number amongst some of the truer words ever spoken! Never lose sight of the fact that when it comes to being loved then you are right up there at the top of the list so remember going forward

”Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself!”