Got the Gratitude Attitude?

Bea Boomer’s Vital Aging Project – Day 64 – 6/1/15

The other night I couldn’t get to sleep.  I’d had a difficult day at work and it kept me tossing and turning. Perhaps you’re familiar with that negative tape that continues to wind and rewind through your brain at night? Finally I managed to stop myself and put my mind to thinking about things I’m grateful for.  Not the typical stuff, like having a good marriage, an awesome daughter, and good health (though I am thankful for those things). 

No, this was all about the weird stuff.  Like I’m grateful for the sound of a train at night; for some reason, it makes me feel good.  I love cloud pictures and how they morph from one thing to another.  Frost on the windowpanes in the winter, which always make me pause to check out the intricate designs.  Ditto rivulets of water on a car window when driving on a rainy day. The smell of a freshly cut lawn. Hearing the song Somewhere over the Rainbow sung by Hawaiian singer Israel Kamakawiwo’Ole (who left this earth far too soon, in June of 1997) and of course, rainbows (especially those rare double rainbows).   

Beautiful rainbow over a rain forest mountain

Finally, I’m grateful to have the ability to get up and write down my ideas at 4:30 in the morning! 

In her book, The How of Happiness, Sonja Lyubomirsky wrote that expressing gratitude is the #1 “happiness activity.”  Ms. Lyubomirsky had the research to back up her assertions; but to be honest, I don’t need an expert to know that being grateful is good for me and makes me happier (along with helping me fall asleep).  I mean, it simply makes sense, doesn’t it?  

I can only speak for myself – but I know that when I’m taking my life for granted and get cranky or ticked off because things simply aren’t going my way, God has a way of showing me something that stops me in my tracks.  I’ll be watching the news, and see someone who has really big problems.  I’ll click on one of those FB posts about a child who’s suffering from a rare cancer. I’ll think about my oldest sister, who’s had her independence greatly hindered because of deteriorating eyesight; or my sister-in-law, who survived cancer and other health issues, with the help of PMA (positive mental attitude).  

Along with helping me sleep, gratitude for my life helps me focus on the positive, enhances my self-confidence, decreases my stress, and simply helps me appreciate the good stuff about growing older. And it sure beats the heck out of walking around with a dark cloud above my head.  

How about you?  What does gratitude do for you? 

©Bea Boomers Wellness 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Build Self-Confidence for Vital Aging

 

Bea’s Wellness Project – Day 18 – 2/13/15

bea

Bea’s Buzz for Friday:  

How to create a habit of self-confidence

  • Listen to your self-talk – are you calling yourself derogatory names?  Do you kick yourself internally when you make a mistake?  Then ask yourself this question:  Would you call your best friend stupid, or refer to them as an idiot?  If you did, your friendship wouldn’t last.  You have to live with yourself every day.  You need to be your own best friend.  Make a concentrated effort to replace negative self-talk with positive self-talk. Need some help? Listen to positive thinking CDs and read inspirational books. Do some research; find out what it takes to change bad habits.  It won’t be easy, but it will be well worth it. 
  • Create a mind-set of gratitude.  Every night, before bed, think about the things in your life that you’re thankful for. Think about your accomplishments. Focus on the things you did well that day. This is a good way to rid yourself of that negative self-talk.
  • Create success for yourself.  You can do that by accepting failure.  This means taking risks and working toward your goals, even though success isn’t guaranteed.  Those inevitable failures in life are valuable learning experiences.  A failure that results in a “ah-ha” moment is a stepping stone to success in reaching a goal.
  • Take care of yourself, physically and mentally.  Eating healthy food and having a regular exercise program will help you achieve a confidence in your body’s abilities; along with boosting your self-esteem.  To enhance your mental health, take steps to manage stress, get enough sleep, and socialize with friends and family.
  • When conversing with others, make a habit of active listening. We often worry about what others think about us, but when we get to know other people, we find out that they have the same fears.  Listening to others and helping them become more confident boosts our own self-confidence.
  • When facing a situation that makes you apprehensive, such as an important job interview, do your best to prepare and practice, by using online and other resources.  When facing a new situation in life, it helps to research and learn about that situation in order to help you handle uncertainties.
  • Stand up for yourself in an assertive way and hold onto your values. Attempting to live by other people’s values and beliefs, rather than your own, makes you doubt yourself.
  • Finally, stand tall, and walk with a purpose.  Wear clothes that make you feel and look good. When people compliment you, simply say “thank you,” with a smile.  Take time to compliment others.  Don’t take yourself too seriously; laugh at yourself.  Socialize with people who are positive, not those who drag you down. 

Building self-confidence isn’t something that will happen overnight.  But it’s a trait worth pursuing, because it can help us meet life’s challenges with a ‘can-do’ attitude. This is an important key to vital aging.   

  It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not. (Attributed to Hanoch McCarty)

 

Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage. ~Anaïs Nin

Old Man Winter Rears His Ugly Head

So when I left work the other day, the sun was nowhere to be found, grayish clouds hung low and cottony in the sky, and the wind blew through my coat. Then, while I was driving home, I saw some suspicious looking white flaky things on my windshield.  “Yikes!” I screeched.  “Snowflakes!”

Winter is creeping up on us. Arrghhhh. 

????????????????Can you tell I’m not a winter person? I don’t know about you, but I tend to get gloomy when the weather gets cold and the skies remain that same shade of gray for days on end.  Michigan winters last too long for my taste. 

When I hear old Chuck Gaidica from Detroit’s Channel 4 nightly news blather on about the “wind chill factor,” I pull my snuggie over my head and think to myself, “Hmmm, I think my throat’s a little scratchy! Maybe I’ll just call in sick in the morning.”  Like a bear, I simply feel like hibernating the winter away in a cave somewhere. 

One thing I do to beat the winter blahs is exercise.  I’ve been exercising in my living room for years.  It reminds me of those women’s only aerobic classes of the eighties – how cool was it to wear those color-coordinated leotards and tights, then complete my outfit with a cute sweatband and, I kid you not, leg warmers! Think Jane Fonda.  Nowadays, it’s just sweatpants and a tee shirt – who in the heck do I have to impress? 

I borrow exercise DVDs from our local library, use my cable company’s “On Demand” fitness channel, or go to the Exercise TV store to check out new DVDs from my favorite fitness experts.   And exercise definitely helps me if my day at work has been particularly stressful.  I also read that regular exercise may reduce upper respiratory infections.

Other ways I lift the gloom:

  • Watch a funny movie – three of my favorite oldies but goodies are The Blues Brothers, The Jerk, and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. 

  • Count my blessings.  Yep, it sounds corny.  But it really works for me.  I have a job – a neighbor or relative may not.  I have my health; I know people suffering from cancer. I have a car, and I see people standing on the street corner every day, waiting for a bus. I can pay my utility bills.  Every winter I hear about people whose heat has been turned off because they simply can’t pay their bill. Did you know you can show your gratitude online?  Check out Graceinsmallthings.com, a site that challenges us to “find joy in small things.”  As I like to say: “Life is short – be happy now.” 

  • Get together with my girlfriends – there are times we get together and just laugh about one thing after another.  Friendships are good for us, and as I get older, I tend to appreciate my friends more and more. I can’t believe they’ve stuck by me all these years. . .  . 

  • Finally, when all else fails, I go for the comfort food.   You can boost your mood with certain types of foods, as described at WebMD.  And comfort food can be healthy food, as shown at the Eating Well website.  

 How to you ward off the winter  blues?  Or are you a fan of “Old Man Winter?”

Related articles

Things I’m Grateful For Every Single Day!

  • I’m so grateful, dear Lord, that Lindsay Lohan is not my daughter.
  • I’m so grateful that I am not a wealthy, entitled  “celebrity” like Paris Hilton. 
  • I’m so grateful I’m not a Hollywood star, where my life would exist in a fishbowl and I’d better not be caught scratching my butt and my cellulite (if I had any, that is) would be splashed all over the cover of Star magazine.

  • I’m so grateful that I’m not a  DC or New Jersey or Orange County or whatever neighborhood housewife.  Those women are scary. 

    • I’m very very grateful not to be that Cat Lady, Jocelyn Wildenstein, who has spent millions on plastic surgery and ended up looking hideous! I’ll take a real, lived-in face any day of the week.
    Yep, I’m very grateful for my ho-hum, middle class life in the metropolitan Detroit area. I have:

    (1) A nice car to drive, with a sunroof and satellite radio. I’m in heaven.
    (2) A job I enjoy.
    (3) A blog I have fun writing.
    (4) A daughter who is smart, pretty, ambitious, and much cooler than I was at her age.
    (5) A kind, loving hubby.
    (6) A house with a paid-off mortgage, and of course,
    (7) Desi, the dog who can spell.

    Just to mention a few perks.

    I’ve read that gratitude is good for us. The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne, talked about how gratitude for what we already have will bring us more to be grateful for. Sherri at The Serene Journey blog, is just one of many writers who believe in the power of keeping a gratitude journal.
    Some psychological research has even found that gratitude can make people feel happier.

    All I know is that when I’ve concentrated on what I lack in my life, I certainly wasn’t jumping for joy. But when I look at my life and say, “Yea, I’m doing okay. Wouldn’t change it for the world,” I find life to be, well, simply amazing.

    For further reading:

    Quotations of the Day:

    There are only two ways to live your life, one as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. (Albert Einstein)

    He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has. (Epictetus)