30 August 2012 at 3:44 pm #12157ken lParticipant
Good Afternoon Folks
When I first started going to GA and one of the topics would be gratitude I didn’t get it,How could anyone with the problems I had at the time be grateful for anything.My life was falling apart.Didn’t know if my family was going to leave me,bank was about to take my house and wasn’t sure if I was going to lose my job.But I did what was suggested to me and kept attending meetings.Actually went to three meetings a week and a two hour a week group problem gambling session with a counselor.Over time things started to fall into place and my life without gambling ODAAT was turning for the better.Not perfect but better and I started to develop a feeling of gratitude and most times I was grateful for the smallest of things.A smile on the face of one my kids.A coffee with an old friend who still wanted to be a friend even after all the lies I had told them to borrow yet more money with which to gamble with looking for that big win so I could pay off all my debts and live happily even after.But we all know how that goes.Anyways over the years I have learned to focus on what I have and not on what I don’t have or on what I thought I needed to be happy.Big part of my recovery these days is being in a positive place and this article I just read last night has lots of great suggestions and reasons to be grateful.Hope you find it helpful.Have a great evening.
Ken L YBIR
People who “count their blessings” feel better than those who don’t
By Jenny Stamos Kovacs
The holiday season is about more than just Thanksgiving turkey and Christmas presents — it’s also about spending time with loved ones and appreciating what you have. But it’s easy to forget about the true meaning of the holidays when you’re caught in the chaos of baking and decorating, hosting and shopping. What follows are six reasons for saying thanks.
Get Grateful: It can boost your happiness. In one study, subjects who “counted their blessings” on a weekly basis reported an increased sense of well-being. Why the lift in mood? “Being grateful for something — whether it’s a beautiful sunrise, a surprise phone call or a cup of hot coffee on a cold morning–encourages you to savor it, making it ‘good to the last drop,’” says Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of California at Riverside, and the study’s lead author. “It keeps you from taking the good things in your life for granted (and feeling like you need to spend money on getting more), and helps you cope with not-so-good circumstances by encouraging you to reinterpret them in a more positive light.” In an earlier study, researchers from the University of California, Davis and the University of Miami found that subjects who wrote in a weekly “gratitude journal” felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the week to come. Harness gratitude’s mood-boosting benefits by starting a “thank you” list or journal of your own. Adding to it weekly may be just what you need to start the day with a smile.
Get Grateful: It can conquer perfectionism. If you tend to obsess over small things, learning to be thankful can help. “Gratitude is an antidote to perfectionism,” says M.J. Ryan, author of “Attitudes of Gratitude: How to Give and Receive Joy Every Day of Your Life.” Perfectionism is about noticing what’s wrong and needing everything to be right, while gratitude is just the opposite–it’s about noticing what’s right already. “Gratitude helps you recognize that even though everything isn’t perfect, there are things in your life that are both good and wonderful,” Ryan says. Simply telling yourself to be more grateful won’t be enough to motivate change, she says –you’ll need external reminders. Try taping a note to your computer screen, your fridge or the dashboard of your car with the message, “What am I grateful for right now?” as a reminder to appreciate the little things.
Get Grateful: It can help your health. Exercising and eating right are obvious good health behaviors, but your thoughts and feelings affect your physical well-being, too. In the gratitude journal study, journal-keepers slept better, experienced fewer symptoms of physical illness and spent significantly more time exercising than those who wrote about other types of daily events, researchers found. What’s more, a regular gratitude habit may help you live longer. “Studies have shown that when you practice positive emotions like gratitude, on average, there is an eight-year greater life expectancy–that’s more than the effect of not smoking!” Ryan says. “When you think positive thoughts, you activate the part of your brain that releases feel-good hormones, which help build up your immune system. Negative thoughts, on the other hand, activate stress hormones, which suppress your immune system.” And there’s another link between better health and appreciating what you have. “Research finds that people who are more grateful take better care of themselves,” she says. “If you’re grateful to be alive, you know what a gift life is, and you don’t want to waste it.”
Get Grateful: It can improve your relationships. It’s easy to take the people we love for granted–after all, they’re always around. But appreciating what you have can change how you see friends and family, and in turn, how they see you. “People who are judged to be grateful are seen as more likable, more likely to help, and more happy than less grateful individuals,” says Philip Watkins, Ph.D, a professor of psychology at Eastern Washington University, — all factors that affect how others treat you. Plus, research shows that feeling grateful makes it easier for you to trust others, an important quality for strong, stable relationships, he says. Try saying “Thanks for listening!” to your mother or “I really appreciate how you brought home dinner/cut the grass/held the door for me” to your spouse, and watch your relationships blossom.
Get Grateful: It can heal your hurts. Grateful people tend to have healthier coping patterns, says Watkins, enabling them to deal more effectively with negative events. If something bad happens to us and we’re able to see a positive consequence that we can be thankful for, this can help us heal from the trauma of the experience, he says. Bad memories may become less significant for people who practice gratefulness. When grateful people think about unpleasant events from their past, they tend to experience less troublesome emotions than people who don’t practice thankfulness, says Watkins. Plus, grateful people tend to be more forgiving, another factor that can hasten healing. It won’t be easy, of course, but seeing even the potential of something good amidst the bad could be enough to start you on the road to healing.
Get Grateful: It can make you a better person. Research shows that people who count their blessings at least once a week are more likely to report helping others or offering them emotional support. People with more “grateful personalities” tend to report more prosocial behaviors and traits (that is, behavior done voluntarily to help others, without the incentive of material rewards), says Jo-Ann Tsang, Ph.D., a researcher from the department of psychology and neuroscience at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, who has co-authored several studies on gratefulness. We’ve also found that the more grateful a person’s personality is, the less likely they are to be envious and materialistic, she says. In a recent experiment, Tsang assigned subjects to either receive a favor or to have something good happen to them by chance. She found that those who received the favor were more likely, in turn, to be helpful themselves, as well as to report greater feelings of thankfulness. Count your blessings, and let your gratefulness motivate you to do something good for the world.
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