Using Gratitude to Move Forward in Life!

The news is depressing.  Your feed is depressing.  The world feels…well depressing right now.  It’s like a wet cloak…on a cold day.  You know you need to shrug it off to get warm, but where can you go to find warmth?

You look around to the chaos that is out there and you just don’t know where to go.  I’ll admit that I was like this for a very long time.  Then one day, I really have no idea what changed, but I decided I had enough.  I decided to say one positive quote a day to all my friends on social media.  Then I decided to blog.

If you use the search button with the drop-down of months and you go back a few years to the beginning, you will likely “read” me in a whole different way.  I was diagnosed with secondary depression after getting a bunch of invisible diseases...that had no cure.  Note, that word links to a search on the term “invisible diseases” so you can read my raw, angry, old posts. 

I never delete a blog post though…as I want you to be able to see my progression with not only my health, but my feelings.  As I started to practice focusing on the positives in my life, my life started to change.

I had been stuck, and was slowly, miraculously, getting UNSTUCK in all areas of my life.  I started being able to move again without pain…which was amazing.  I started my yoga teacher journey, which was painful in the beginning yet extraordinary in the fact that I was able to complete 200 hours of Vinyasa Yoga Teach Training.  Me.  Me who had hardly been able to move.

I started being asked to do important work…work that I had always wanted to do like to speak in London.  I wanted to change people’s lives after learning that I could truly move forward in life. 

So what changed?

  1. Me.  I had to get to rock bottom.  It sucked there.  Quite simply put it was like hell.  But one of my favorite quotes always said “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” and I believe ole’ Churchill was right.
  2. I had to tame my thoughts.  Erm mah gosh y’all.  My mind was like a mess.  A hot mess…except I was cold all the time, but you get the picture.  Thoughts create stress, and then the spiral starts.  I wasn’t sure if I was anxious or depressed.  So I did what I do best and wrote about it all to help others.
  3. I started writing more…because that’s what I do best.  I found out how therapeutic writing was and how it changes the thought patterns.  Releases stress and lets you clear your mind.  It literally became an itch in the night on nights the pain was so bad I couldn’t sleep.  I would write it out.
  4. I learned to be grateful.  I am never the same person year after year, and for that I am thankful.  Gratitude in the little things was so important to me.  It helped calm the mind and turn my emotions into a point on which to focus.  The pain was no longer the focus.  The present moment was.
  5. My well-being changed.  There are still days I need reminders.  No one is perfect, okay?  But I practice this constant state of being more mindful than I was on say an off day.  Being more grateful or more appreciative.
  6. Old me got angry really fast…gratitude helped me slow down my emotions.  I am not going to pretend that the Scorpio doesn’t still have her moments; however, I use my sensitive side to tap into the world.  I feel what’s going on, like in slow motion, under the surface, and think about what I can be learning in this situation.  What can I be thankful for?  Sometimes, it’s things like “I am thankful I have yoga.”  But whatever it is, I use it in my head because maybe the other person doesn’t have this kind of support or system and really just needs my compassion at that moment.
  7. Surround yourself with what you want to become…became my mantra.  My quote.  That I use daily.  It was so important to me to be able to offer that gift to others that I recently completed my course on using gratitude to shape your life and would love it if you are interested in joining the journey.  For the E-book only, click this link.

Ultimately, we are on this earth for a short while and I believe I was put here to help others wake up to the fact that we really do have the power to say this is not how my story is going to go.  The truth is, gratitude can move you forward in life and make the unbearable things more bearable.  While increasing your level of gratitude you are actually increasing your health and wellness.  You are learning to change your self-talk and that’s a powerful thing.  I hope to see you in my group soon.  Thank you so much for reading!

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Why You Aren’t Happy Right Now…and How to Change That!

One of the top questions I hear is “I am making improvements in my life, why am I not happy yet?”  I get asked this about many things, but in a nutshell, the answer is actually because you really haven’t thought about being happy.  Shock!  I have thought about it a hundred times…you think.  But it drifts off into the sea of other thoughts around what you need to make you happy.  If I only had…a bigger house.  If I only had…a relationship.  More money would really help make me happy.  You then carry on with your day and your thoughts about things that would make you happy.

Lots of people are looking for happiness in the wrong places.  Some people believe happiness comes when they get what they want.  Interesting.  What next?  Do we stay happy after getting what we want then?

Life is a series of complex decisions; however, what if it didn’t have to be.  What if you could declutter your life, get rid of things you don’t want and start over.  Interesting concept.  Downsize instead of supersize?  No way.  Hmm.  But what if?

Many people don’t believe happiness is a choice that only they can make.  I am going to provide you with some tips on how you can choose happiness over and over again, and maybe, just maybe, start to see that is not based off some magical formula, a fairy tale, or even a myth that has been handed down for generations.  Happiness is truly what you make of it.

How to Create Lasting Happiness Right Now:

    • Start a gratitude journal if you don’t already have one.  I know you guys have been watching my weekly talk about this on my fan page when I am Live, but have you started your journal with me?  I am not going to stop talking about it, because we focus so much on what’s wrong, we have forgotten our joys y’all.  I had to throw a y’all in there so you would know I am serious.  Just take a look at your feed.  Count the people who post their blessings…for REAL.  Umm hmm.  Not many, right? Anyway, my exact journal is posted above.  I love it!
    • Clear your space for happiness.  Do you get depressed in a dirty house?  An unmade bed?  Dirty sheets?  No nice smelly things like oils, etc.?  Start tidying up to make room for happiness.  Happiness can start with an intention.  We feel better now because we have done something.  It actually raises our vibration to walk into a nice, clean, insert favorite scent here, room.  I have a diffuser similar to this one to help me feel relaxed and at ease.
    • Work only on what you can change…about you.  So many times, I see people worrying about what others are doing on a daily basis.  The corrupt politicians, the boss, work issues, family who do x, y, z.  All these people have faults just like you.  We aren’t getting anywhere in this world by talking about what we don’t like.  Period.  It has not ever changed one thing in my life.  What has?  Focusing on what I can do to make things better.  Writing articles to help people.  Helping people take back their lives makes me happy.  No strings attached, just pure happiness.  As I work to promote the good I see, things inside of me change as well.  As I help others, I help myself.
    • Practice makes perfect-ish.  I wanted to use this old saying, but let you know that no one is actually perfect.  However, practicing gratitude and changing your focus over and over again can actually change your percentage of happiness.  No Way.  But yes way, because a fancy researcher said so.  According to Robert Emmons, PhD in his book, Thanks!: How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier, those who regularly practice gratitude can enhance this set point by as much as 25%.  I don’t know him, but what a cute book.  I am actually reading a similar one…but it’s almost too behavioral study based and long-winded for me.
    • Use a wide viewpoint…and not just a narrow one.  If you consistently see your problems as the only ones, then that creates an ego-based viewpoint of the world.  Be aware of your circle of friends, and what the world is also going through.  Cultivate compassion for others and their needs…but not to the point of using your needs as a basis for inserting it into every conversation.  That still brings it down to a narrow viewpoint.  Social media has made it more “me based” instead of “us based”.  Don’t be that way with your friends.
    • Always keep trying.  Just because you have a set-back, or something sad happens, doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to feel it.  Of course you are.  But don’t stay in that place forever.  Keep on going.  Just like I said last week, you have the power to live any reality you want simply by shifting your thoughts to where you want to be. 

happiness_oneselfStill looking for more support?  Check out the tops tabs.  Work with me, or the Head|Heart|Health Club.

 

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The Formula for Happiness.

fun people

We need to reverse the formula for happiness and success.  Do you follow the formula of if I work harder, I will be more successful and then I will be happier?  Watch this and see what you think.  The Happiness Advantage: Linking Positive Brains to Performance.  Your brain at positive is 31% more productive that at negative, neutral or stressed levels.  Hmm.

Did you realize that being happy has a direct correlation with your performance?  Finding a way to be positive in the present moment is imperative to you performing better.  But…how can we do that when we are under stressed out conditions?  Guess what.  I have some ideas.

Dopamine makes you happier and turns on all the learning centers in your brain.  What are you doing when you are not happy I wonder?  Are you making important decisions in an angry state? 

I’m going to be honest.  I used lots of research to come up with my programs that I just launched here under the work with me tab…but I want to be able to give you some ideas that you can begin to use now.

Creating Lasting Positive Change:

I referenced Shawn’s video, so watch it!
  • 3 Gratitudes, new things you are grateful for each day!  (remember my previous blog post??  I had not even found his research yet, but look at how forward thinking we are.  It goes together!)
  • Journaling (WAIT!  I didn’t even go to Harvard and I have been writing about this, and counseling my clients for a while.  Research skills work!)
  • Exercise, which yes, includes me continuing to bug you about my yoga research:)  Namaste happy.
  • Meditation…heyyyy.  Here is where I told you about my collaboration with a friend who does guided mediation.  Or you can sign up for free ones online…like Deepak speaking into your ear.
  • Last, but not least, what I wrote about last week.  Random Acts of Kindness.  My friend Shelli did some shout-outs on Facebook one day and let me tell you, it was nice.  It can be that small to you, but to the person you are praising it means you are thinking about them and that kind of recognition whether public or private is a happiness booster for both of you!

The interesting thing about all of this, is that if you use the search feature, you can see some of the things I have written about the above ways to create your lasting positive change.  I have also come up with workbooks and other things to help my clients over the years, but the bottom line is, if you do the work on the inside, you will start to see results on the outside.  ~Aimee

Want even more help?  Check this out.

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The Forlorn Stranger

I haven’t done one of these posts in a while, so here you go.  I can’t stop thinking tonight and that usually means I really have to write about it.  Whatever “it” really is.  Every November, I try to do the posts that show you who I am.  Not just because I am a Scorpio, but because it feels right to talk to you about giving back. 

The thing is, I need to give myself permission to be human too.  I don’t like the word “judge” because I feel that it is overused.  So let me paint this picture.  I had to take something back to the store.  I didn’t want to, and really wasn’t going out.  TMI, but I use excuses in my head like “It’s raining and I have PMS.” Whatever.  It was true.  However, somehow I decided to get in the car anyway and take something back to the store not near my house.

I had on my yoga clothes, and my hair was crazy…and I drive a pretty ermmmm beat-up looking mini-van.  BUT it’s PAID for.  And has GANDALF on the side as well as my “Not all who wander are lost” sticker…so it’s been good to me.  It might be leaking oil and perhaps my dad thinks it’s going to break down on me…but it gets me from point A to B.

I live with 7 invisible diseases still…give or take some symptoms that could count as more probably, but I look like a middle-aged, gasp, soccer mom.  I can pull off younger according to nice man at Trader Joe’s who ID’d me for wine saying I looked like a high schooler.  I think he just expected a tip.  Or an invite to drink wine.  Who knows.  But the point to this is, I AM JUST TRYING TO MAKE IT like everyone else. 

As I left the store after returning my cheap leggings, I decided to go next door to check out the work out clothes.  I almost missed him he as he blended into the wall.  There was a young man wrapped up with a sign saying homeless.  My heart skipped a beat and I timidly smiled at him, but secretly thought “Oh shit.  I never carry any cash.  I have to do something even if he isn’t for real.”  <<<< notice that last thought.  It’s ok to think that.

As I went to the dressing room, I dug through my purse to find a card and wrote the name of local shelters on the back.  I went in the line, and bought snacks and a bottle of water.  I put them in a bag with the card.  I walked outside and went right up to him.  He didn’t think I was going to stop.  I could tell.  His eyes looked like he was about to cry.  I glanced at what appeared to be a rather new suitcase, and really big at that, but thought, don’t “judge” that.  Look directly at him.  As I kept eye contact, I began to tell him about a few local shelters and I said here is a snack for you.  I asked him if he knew where a few were and he answered about one being only for women.  I wasn’t even trying to trip him up, but I remembered he was right.

I told him about a program I used to refer families to, and I said is this a recent thing?  He said he was “locked up” and lost his job.  I said okay, well if you promise to do what these people tell you, you can stay there.  He actually smiled a bit around the corners of his mouth and thanked me and said he would look into it.  As I walked away, I didn’t want to know his name.  I just got in my car and thanked Jesus and asked him to protect this unknown stranger.  My eyes welled up with tears as I remembered him looking like he was about to cry as I went up to him and made eye contact.

It was not my place to think about all the other people who I saw in the store.  It was not my place to think of the executive man in the suit.  The woman with riding boots and expensive clothes.  The ladies Christmas shopping already.  The woman who passed me in nice work clothes and watched what I was doing.  It was my place to think what if this was me?  What if this was my brother?  What if this was someone I knew?  What if this was an angel checking on humanity reporting back?  <<< Okay, but it could be.  Anyway, so I just wanted to let you know that I am not always an angel either.  But I do have a good heart.  So do you if you listen to it.

State of gratitude