Moving Forward

The moving truck arrives on Monday, Dec. 21, the first day of winter and I head South to join my husband after a longer than wished for separation (1.5 years of weekend visits and long distance phone calls) while waiting to sell a house. The past few weeks have been chock full of all that goes in to selling a house and preparing to move. In the wildness of boxes and packing material and lists of what stays, what goes, and what still remains to be done I was suddenly struck by the importance of taking a moment to reflect on what I am gaining and losing with this move; this great change.

Gains/Pros

Reunited with husband

Opportunity to “declutter”

Opportunity with husband to create a home again

Celebrate the support of family & friends

Reminder to the real joy of the holiday season: to share good wishes and time with loved ones, reflect on the passing year and consider what the coming year might hold

Losses/Cons

Physical proximity to some dear friends

Some sleep

Stress of any major change like a move

My family and friends have helped myself and my husband prepare for this move in many ways from bring over empty boxes and recycled packing materials, spending some time helping to pack, offering an ear and occasional tissue when venting was required, a place house sit in our new location so we can get some bearings about where find a new home of our own. We could not have better presents this year than this love and support. Thank you all.

Take a moment to reflect when the days and nights swirl and whirl of their own accord and you might just find some stillness and peace amidst the madness and distractions.

May the winter season of celebrations bring you and yours joy, love, hope and peace.

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Get More Gratitude- Three Simple Practices

Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone. ~ Gladys Bronwyn Stern

Gratitude: to feel or show that one values a kindness or benefit. (Oxford American Dictionary)

Martine Seligman writes  “Insufficient appreciation and savoring of the good events in your life and the overemphasis of the bad ones are the two culprits that undermine serenity, contentment and satisfaction.” However feeling and expressing gratitude seems to increase life satisfaction because it focus on and intensifies the experience of good memories about the past, both recent and more distant path.

So how to get more gratitude in your life? Practice. Practice. Practice. Here least three simple practices you can try. The most powerful for the majority of people are the Gratitude Journal, and the Gratitude Visit. These practices have been used by many people and have been show to increase people sense of happiness and feelings of well being over time. The third practice is a bonus, Everyday Gratitude, falls under the heading of manner don’t cost you much but can reap large rewards.

Gratitude Journal or Three Good Things

At the same time each day write down at least three things for which you are grateful. Write by hand to connection yourself physically with these good memories and strive to come up with more than three things, shoot for say 10. These may be things that went well that day or they could be other things in your life. Here are some examples:

“Hearing my nephews laugh over the telephone.”

“Managing my time well which enabled me to cross one extra thing on my list.”

“I did not blow up today when I got cut off in traffic.”

“Rufus Wainwright’s version of Zing! Go The Strings of My Heart.”

Gratitude Visit

In the simplest terms, write and deliver a thank you letter to someone you have not fully thanked for their kindness. Think about someone you who has had a tremendous positive impact in your life and whom you have yet to fully thank.  Take time over several days or a week to write a one page testimonial letter expressing you thanks for why you feel this deep gratitude. Once you have written the letter, deliver it in person and read it to them with your sincere emotions if possible. If not, read it to them over the phone. Let the recipient’s reaction unfold, slowly.

Everyday Gratitude, pass it along. – Bonus practice

Say thank you to someone everyday. Remember to verbally thank people – especially when they aren’t expecting it. Did the counter clerk do a good job, stop, look the person in the eye and offer a sincere Thank you. The small things really do matter and compound.

To get a sense of the full effect of how powerful these practices can be, try this. Write down your answers to the following questions on a piece of paper or journal first before you start these practices and then two weeks after you have been practicing. I bet you’ll find a shift up the scale.

  1. On scale of 1(lowest) –  10 (highest) how happy are you over all?
  2. On scale of 1(lowest) –  10 (highest) how well have you been getting along with people important you?
  3. On scale of 1(lowest) –  10 (highest) how well have you been taking care of your wellbeing?