How to Have an Attitude of Gratitude

It is that time of year when giving thanks is top of mind. The holiday season, and Thanksgiving in particular, causes us to think about all of the special things in our lives and express gratitude for them. This is a favorite time of year for many, in large part because we are surrounded by loved ones and visibly reminded of all that we have to be grateful for.

If you’re like me, you wish this feeling could last all year long. Just imagine feeling proud, thankful, and joyful on an ongoing basis, not only during the holiday season.

A major step in that direction is developing an “Attitude of Gratitude,” according toNew York Times best-selling author Lewis Howes. Howes writes extensively about cultivating a grateful mindset in his highly-inspirational new book, The School of Greatness. As Howes simply says, “Life is better if you develop an attitude of gratitude.”

But what exactly does that mean and how do we do it?

An attitude of gratitude means making it a habit to express thankfulness and appreciation in all parts of your life, on a regular basis, for both the big and small things alike. As Howes puts it, “If you concentrate on what you have, you’ll always have more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you’ll never have enough.”

Here is a menu of tactics (just pick a few!) he endorses to help develop this mindset:

  • Wake up every day and express to yourself what you are grateful for
  • Tell whoever you are with at the end of the day the 3 things you are most grateful for
  • Tell whoever you are with right now (significant other, friend, family member, etc.) the 3 things that you are most grateful for in this moment
  • Start a gratitude journal – Express gratitude in this journal every night by noting the things that you are grateful for, proud of, and excited about
  • Acknowledge yourself for what you have done and accomplished in the last day/week/month/year. Instead of comparing yourself to others, give yourself credit for the big and small things you have been doing!
  • Acknowledge other people and thank them for inspiring/helping/supporting you – oftentimes people wait their whole lives to be acknowledged (and yet it happens far too infrequently)!

If the gratitude process is hard to get started, begin by asking yourself, “What could I be grateful for?”, and see if the ideas start to flow. This is a mindset habit that is recommended by Tony Robbins in his book, Awaken the Giant Within.

Every day won’t be perfect, but focusing on what we are grateful for tends to wash away feelings of anger and negativity.

And in addition to improving mood, recent studies show that feeling and expressing gratitude leads to better physical health as well. Paul Mills, a Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, conducted studies that looked at the role of gratitude on heart health.

Among other things, he found that participants who kept a journal most days of the week, writing about 2-3 things they were grateful for (everything from appreciating their children to travel and good food), had reduced levels of inflammation and improved heart rhythm compared to people who did not write in a journal. And the journal-keepers also showed a decreased risk of heart disease after only 2 months of this new routine!

So try adopting some of the above tactics, even just one or two, in order to develop an overall grateful mindset. It takes a bit of work, but having an attitude of gratitude is one of the most impactful habits for a fulfilling and healthy life.

Here’s to Thanksgiving all year round!

Source: ~ By Andrew Merle

Why I Don’t Regret Saying “Yes” to Opportunity & Quitting My 9-5

I’m continually amazed at people who seem to achieve great things seemingly against all odds. And I’m equally amazed at people who seem to achieve none of their goals.

Is it that opportunity knocks only on some people’s doors and not others? Is it perhaps luck?

The more I interview people on my podcast and work with students who want to invest in apartment buildings, the more I’m coming to the conclusion that the answer is “no” and “no.”

Opportunity is all around every one of us, and it’s always knocking.

The difference? Our response.

Some people don’t hear it. Or refuse to hear it. Others hear it just fine but dismiss it because they’re busy. Or afraid. Or unworthy. Or not ready. Or too old. Too young. Too poor.

But I’m convinced that the universe (or whatever you want to call the higher power of which I speak) is constantly encouraging us to become a better version of ourselves. Constantly presenting opportunities. Constantly opening doors.

I love this quote from Richard Branson: “If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!”

The question is, how do we handle an open door? Do we walk through it, or do we say, “Nah, I’m good. Thanks anyway.”

Following Opportunity

My experience has been that whenever I don’t walk through an open door, nothing happens. But whenever I DO walk through a door, exciting things happen. The more I walk through open doors, the more adventure comes into my life and the more alive I feel.

I also find that things become easier. Fun. I struggle less. Things just happen.

I think that’s because our higher purpose is like the jet stream, a strong and constant flow of energy in a particular direction. When we resist this flow, we work harder, are more frustrated and tend to struggle. On the other hand, when we go with the flow, things become easier. Enjoyable.

I think open doors point into the direction of our jet stream (but beware of Shiny-Object-itis; see my article here!). Not walking through them is saying NO to the jet stream, saying NO to opportunity, and saying NO to a more fulfilled life.

The catch? (Yes, there’s always a catch …)

You have to have some kind of FAITH to walk through open doors. I’m not saying you have to find God or join some kind of religion. You’re an entrepreneur, so you already know what I’m talking about.

As entrepreneurs, we have to believe that if we step out onto the ledge, it will all work out somehow. But we don’t know that up front. We just make the next move.

For some inexplicable reason, things “magically” begin to happen when we take that first step through the door. But the magic doesn’t happen before then, but only after we take that first step.

Leaving My 9-5 Job

I remember when I first left the confines of my 9-5 job in 2005. I knew it was my open door, but I was extremely anxious about going out on my own. Since then, I’ve had ups and downs, but one thing I can say for sure: It’s been one heck of an adventure! I wouldn’t trade the experiences (even the pain!) for anything. I’ve grown as a person. And I believe these experiences have allowed me to help others with their entrepreneurial journey.

But I wouldn’t have experienced any of that had I not walked through that open door ten years ago. And there have been many other doors since then. I’m sure I missed some, but I’ve made it a habit to try to recognize an open door and to go with the flow.

Look back on your life. Whenever something propelled you forward in a meaningful way, it probably resulted from you walking through an open door but not sure of the outcome.

Try it. Put the universe to the test. See what happens. I think you’ll be amazed.

Source: ~ By Michael Blank

Is It a Cold or the Flu? Here’s How to Tell

Judging by all the people sneezing and coughing on my flight last week, and the ubiquitous “Get your flu shot” signs at every pharmacy, it’s obvious we’ve begun the dreaded cold and flu season.

So how can you tell if your aches and scratchy throat are a typical cold or a more serious bout of the flu? A quick rule of thumb is that cold symptoms generally occur from the neck up, whereas flu symptoms take over your whole body.

Here are some other ways to tell, plus the very latest tips — from drinking green tea to gargling — for how to keep from getting sick.

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How to prevent getting a cold

Once the cold season starts, gargle daily and take probiotics. Gargling can lower your risk of getting sick, research shows, and probiotics may also help prevent colds and boost your immune system, a 2011 Cochrane review of research found. Preventive medicine expert Mark Moyad, M.D., of the University of Michigan Medical Center and author of Dr. Moyad’s No BS Health Advice, recommends eating yogurt with active cultures or taking probiotic supplements. Supplements containing lactobacillus should have at least 5 billion colony-forming units per daily serving.

Get my flu shot now, or wait?

Get it as early as possible — it not only protects you against the flu, recent studies show it can cut your risk of heart attacks and stroke by 36 percent. “The flu vaccine has the side benefit of controlling the extreme levels of inflammation that occur with serious infections,” which is damaging to the heart, Moyad says. Plus, a flu shot  protects both children and adults against pneumonia, a new Vanderbilt University study found.

When to go to work, when to stay home

You’re contagious even before your symptoms start getting bad, say infectious disease experts, so if you wake up feeling under the weather, the virus is already multiplying. In addition, you remain contagious for five to seven days after becoming ill. So do your friends and colleagues a favor — stay home and don’t infect them. Another reason to avoid the office: Side effects from cold or flu medication can make you too groggy to work.

To prevent flu: Drink green tea, wash hands, wear a mask

Green tea has catechins, a type of antioxidant, that can help protect against the flu, recent studies suggest. Even more dramatic: A 2012 study found that wearing a surgical mask and regularly washing your hands during the flu season resulted in a whopping 75 percent reduction in flu risk. Need another reason to wash your hands? Viruses survive on surfaces between two and eight hours, so people touching those surfaces who then touch their mouth or nose can get sick as the virus enters the respiratory tract.

Think you have the flu? Pick up the phone

Prescription antiviral drugs, such as Tamiflu, can shorten your misery by one to two days and help prevent complications such as pneumonia, but you need to take the medication within the first two days of the start of symptoms. In other words, don’t wait to call your doctor.

Source: ~ By: Candy Sagon

The Best Foods to Fight Fatigue

Exhaustion isn’t a good look on anyone, but it’s all too easy to burn the candle at both ends in the always-connected world we live in. And when that energy slump hits, you need help. But that doesn’t mean downing a dozen cups of coffee or reaching into the candy bowl.

Sugar and caffeine will give you a quick rush, but that’s often followed by a crash. So if you’re searching for sustained energy, look for food with complex carbs, protein, and fiber. We put together this cheat sheet of things to eat and drink to beat fatigue—and a few foods that sabotage your efforts to get pumped up.

The Best Foods

1. Water

The next time you’re feeling drained, try guzzling good old H2O. Dehydration may actually be at the root of your fatigue. It can lead to headaches, ruin your concentration, and put you in a sour a mood.So hit the watercooler stat.

2. Chia Seeds

Talk about something small but mighty. Chia seeds help with hydration by absorbing 10 times their weight in water. Plus, they have the right ratio of protein, fats, and fiber to give you an energy boost without a crash.

3. Bananas

Consider this the green light to go bananas when you’re running low on fuel. In one study, researchers discovered that eating bananas worked as well as sports drinks at keeping cyclists fueled. The potassium-packed fruit also includes a bunch of good-for-you nutrients (like fiber and vitamin B6) that you won’t find in a bottle of Gatorade.

4. Quinoa

With all its protein, fiber, and iron, quinoa is the perfect thing to reach for when you’re looking to recharge. And if you need an on-the-go upper, whip up these quinoa muffin bites and grab ‘em before hitting the road.

5. Green Tea

By now, it’s no secret that green tea has a slew of health benefits. You can add putting some pep back in your step to the long list. The combination of caffeine and L-theanine give you energy without the jitters. Bonus: Research suggests that green tea boosts brainpower as well, which may come in handy when you’re down to the wire at work. Take the time to brew the tea yourself because store-bought varieties often have lots of added sugar.

6. Oatmeal

The cozy breakfast food—though, let’s be honest, you can enjoy it any time of the day—will keep energy levels up. That’s because it’s high in fiber and comes with a decent dose protein. Plus, oatmeal has a low glycemic load, a fancy scientific way of saying it stabilizes blood sugar levels. (Just make sure to steer clear of instant oatmeal packets, which can be packed with sugar and salt.) Oatmeal is also super versatile—just take a look at these 30 delicious recipes to keep food boredom at bay.

7. Almonds

Certain kinds of fat are friends, not foes, particularly when you’re talking about replenishing your energy. And almonds are packed with healthy monosaturated fats that are just what your body needs for a pick-me-up.

8. Beans

Beans keep you going thanks to a stellar trio of carbs, protein, and fiber. The protein fills you up, the carbs provide energy, and the fiber helps regulate blood sugar. Black beans in particular are your BFFs when it comes to an energy boost—try this black bean soup recipenext time your tank needs refilling.

9. Whole-Wheat Bread

Your body needs carbs for energy, but not all carbs are created equal. Whole-wheat bread is great for a long-lasting energy kick. It’s is a complex carb, meaning it raises your blood sugar graduallyinstead of hiking it up at turbo-speed.

Foods to Avoid

1. Honey

Sure, honey has some serious health benefits, but it’s not something you should be reaching for if you’re looking for sustained energy. Adding a few teaspoons to your tea or yogurt will give a quick rush of energy that spikes your blood sugar, which means a crash can follow.

2. Energy Drinks

If you’re looking for a pick-me-up, don’t reach for a Red Bull. Research suggests energy drinks may do little to curb sleepiness.The combination of caffeine and sugar puts your body through the ringer and may just leave you feeling dehydrated and fatigued.

3. White Bread

While complex carbs keep your energy levels in a steady state,simple carbs, like white bread, can take your blood sugar on a rollercoaster ride. Not what you want when you’re keeping a busy schedule.

4. Candy

There’s a reason you’re always hearing about sugar crashes. As anyone who’s made their way through their Halloween loot can attest, an energy low inevitably follows. While sweets may give you aquick hit of energy, it’s only a matter of time before you once again find yourself dragging. After all, candy’s made up of simple carbs and sugar (which spikes blood sugar only to let it drop way back down). How sweet it isn’t.

5. Junk food

It’s a cruel fact of life that the most accessible, easy-to-grab, and oh-so delicious foods wreck havoc on energy levels. Research has found that diets high in processed food tend to lead to weight gain and a more sedentary lifestyle. Talk about a lose-lose situation.



This Simple Technique Trains Your Brain to Conjure Your Best-Ever Ideas

Have you ever tried to come up with an idea?

One stellar, or at least really good, idea?

Of course you have. You’re an entrepreneur. Ideas are your stock in trade.

When you said to yourself, “Hey self, we need a stellar, or at least a really good idea,” what happened? I’ll bet it was one of two things. Either a whole playground of ideas started bouncing around shouting, “Pick me, pick me,” or there was a deafening wall of silence in the space between your ears.

Sorry to break it to you. You’re normal.

That phenomenon isn’t a mutiny of the grey cells, it’s a simple truth about the way the human brain functions. It cannot create and judge at the same time.

Oh you might think you’re doing it if you’re jumping from creation to judgment and back again so fast that you fool yourself into believing the two things are happening simultaneously. But that’s like believing that the first Mickey Mouse cartoons were really moving images when in fact the animation was created by moving from one image to another so rapidly the eye was fooled.

For instance, every time I sit down to write an article or a chapter in my next book the playgroup either erupts or all the ideas play hide and seek. But when I sit down to make a list of all the things I could write about, or want to write about, I get pages of ideas. The minute I start rejecting the ideas that come up the ones I haven’t captured yet disappear as quickly as trolls at the first hint of morning.

Creating and judging are two different brain functions, so coming up with that stellar idea requires letting your brain stay in creative mode long enough for that one idea to make itself heard. It’s not going to be obvious which of the many ideas clamoring for attention is “the one.” When it first shows up it will probably look a lot like all the other ideas. It may not even be as attractive. It might look tougher, or smaller, or weirder and you might easily overlook it at first glance. Only when you let your brain slip into the judgment function and weigh out the strengths of all the ideas impartially will this idea reveal itself as the most awesome idea on the playground of your mind.

Here’s what I do. I issue an open invitation. I let the ideas show up, then I wrangle them into a manageable arrangement. I call it a brain dump.

Grab a notebook. You could use a digital device but studies show us that activities using the tactile senses excite the creative regions of the brain, so a notebook and pen is better. A sketch pad and brightly colored markers may be better yet.

Hold a question in your mind regarding that stellar idea you’re searching for. Maybe it’s a way to solve a cash flow crunch, or deal with a problem employee or client. Maybe you’re in the middle of product development and need a name for your new gadget. Usually, for me, it’s a writing challenge or I’m looking for the best way to help a client. Whatever it is, get it clear and strong in your mind and throw open the floodgates.

Write down what comes. Don’t even think about it, just record it. This will take discipline at first because we’re conditioned to judge. But keep practicing. A lot of my clients get past the judgment hurdle by setting a time limit. If the playground is silent, set a short time limit: “I’m going to write down every idea that comes to mind for five minutes.”

If all the ideas are volunteering at once, make it more like 15 or 30 minutes.

Keep that promise — write down every single idea that comes to mind. No matter how obvious or crazy, it might have value later when you allow your brain to go into judgment mode.

Only when you have exhausted your time limit, or your ideas, should you begin to sort through the list. It’s even more effective if you walk away from the playground for a while. Let that list set for a while. Do a mundane task, or just get away from your desk, then pick it up again.

As you go through the list don’t ask yourself if the idea has merit. Ask instead what needs to be true, or what outcome needs to be reasonably possible, for the idea to have merit. You’ll find that each idea belongs in one of three categories: 1.) Stellar candidates, 2.) Solid propositions, 3.) Possible hidden gems.

Keep sorting until one or two stand a little taller than the rest. Then you will have a stellar idea you can run with.

Source: ~ By: Dixie Gillaspie

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