Overcoming Depression – Creating an Attitude of Gratitude Part 2

God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one of them to say Thank You? William Arthur WardAs I worked to overcome my severe depression, I found I needed to turn to the Lord daily in my efforts to get better. Through that entire process, He taught me many things. He taught me me to trust in the journey and He taught me the importance of my mindset.

One day, He inspired me with a story that I then wrote down. I call the story The Counters. As I wrote the story, I knew that it was really the Lord that was providing the story to me – not my vivid imagination. When the story was written, I was profoundly affected by the message of the story. I knew the lesson of the story was meant for me.

I am currently working to turn my story into a children’s book so I won’t go into the details of the story, but suffice it to say that being a counter is not a good thing. I realized I was a counter. I counted good events in my life and bad events in my life. I felt it was unfair for the bad to outweigh the good. I took my lesson to heart. I quit being a counter.

“Counters” are so busy counting all of the negatives that they fail to see their blessings. I knew better. I had and still have an incredible amount of blessings to be thankful for. I know that life is not fair. Now, I have learned to quit expecting life to be fair and to focus on the good, positive and amazing blessings of life that the Lord has provided to me.

As you read today’s article, I hope you will take time to reflect on your blessings. What do you have to be grateful for? Then take a second and express a sincere Thank You to someone!:

3 Ways To Develop Gratitude (The Great Healer)

Such an approach, though, eventually imprisons us in the very small world of our own needs, pushing away other people, and closing down the possibility of real growth. We may seek relief in a variety of ways – from the pleasures of physical entertainment, to the call to community service, and the possibilities of peace offered by spiritual practices and religion – but we often find that these tactics don’t provide the relief that we had hoped for, leaving us feeling more apathetic and cynical than before.

How can we escape this downward spiral?

All that ails us and the world, and the cause of all cynicism and apathy, I believe, comes from the lack of one essential factor in our lives: gratitude. The greatest human spirits have recognized that gratitude is the most rewarding and transformational practices that we can undertake. Cicero, the versatile Roman philosopher, stated:

Gratitude is not only the greatest of the virtues, but the parent of all the others.

In a similar vein, the thirteenth-century Christian mystic, Meister Eckhart, advised:

If the only prayer you said your whole life was “thank you,” that would suffice.

What exactly is gratitude, though? One definition that I discovered notes that gratitude is “an emotion that involves indebtedness toward another person,” and that this emotion arises when one receives something that meets the following criteria:

• It is valued by the recipient.
• It is costly to the benefactor.
• It is given with positive intention.
• It is given graciously, without any societal or professional obligation.

According to this definition, when these four criteria are met and we allow the emotion to arise, we experience gratitude. The problem with this definition, though, is that it makes gratitude conditional. When one of the criteria is not met – for example, when we don’t value the gift, or when we don’t believe that the gift is costly (monetarily, emotionally, or temporally) to the giver – according to this definition, we are excused from feeling gratitude.

Ethical, religious, and spiritual traditions encourage us to adopt a higher perspective on gratitude. From this point of view, gratitude is something far more profound than a momentary feeling of thanks for a specific valued gift. At its deepest potential, gratitude comes from an existential awareness that our bodies, our minds, our families and friends, the world in all its miraculous diversity, and all that we have are gifts. And that these gifts are given to us unconditionally, in love, at every moment of our lives.

This concept can be very difficult to incorporate because, as noted earlier, we tend to associate gratitude only with the receipt of a gift that we perceive to be valuable. When unwelcome events inevitably happen in our lives – disappointments, illness, conflicts – we naturally feel bitter and can easily believe that there is nothing to be thankful for. Conversely, when we get things that we think we want, we may be tempted to take all the credit, and believe that we have achieved these successes solely based on our own efforts and attributes. True gratitude, however, calls us to feel grateful not only for our successes, but also for our problems, our mistakes, and even for people who treat us unkindly. We can actually feel gratitude for our most difficult struggles, because these are seen as ultimately beneficial in our lives, even if the intention is not always immediately clear to us.

Gratitude can solve all that ails us because when we are truly grateful we immediately rise above our fear-based needs to dominate, control, or retreat in to cynicism. And when we approach people and situations with gratitude we will naturally be drawn to positive action, discovering new possibilities that we could never have imagined in the protective shell of self-isolation. These actions can take many forms, depending on the needs of the other person and the situation in the moment, but will always be beneficial for humanity.

Although gratitude is a feeling, it must be cultivated through action. The following offers several suggestions for developing gratitude:

1. Make a gratitude list: Srikumar Rao, who teaches a hugely popular class at Columbia Business School, and is author of “Are You Ready to Succeed”? recommends that we write a daily list of the things that have occurred for which we are grateful. These do not need to be major events, but can be the little occurrences that we usually ignore – the train arriving on time, good weather, a satisfying meal, a stranger’s warm smile – and the wonderful people and things in our lives that we all to often take for granted – our families, spouses, friends, jobs, homes, health, bodies.

2. Say “Thank you” to others: Stay alert for opportunities to express gratitude to others as often as you can. You will find that even when you are not feeling grateful, simply saying “thank you” will connect you to others, and will have an impact beyond the moment.

3. Develop a daily gratitude prayer: All religious and spiritual traditions stress the essential nature of gratitude, and place it as the bedrock of faith. Within many of these traditions the first prayer that a practitioner says every morning is “I am thankful for having awakened to another day.” This is a prayer of gratitude to our Creator for the very miracle of our lives.

These practices remind us that gratitude is available to us at any moment and under any circumstance, even – or especially – when we are not feeling particularly thankful. Seen from the highest perspective, gratitude is the door that opens to individual and world transformation, revealing our true nature, binding us to each other, and to the Divine.

Today’s article is shared from the following website: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/rabbi-alan-lurie/gratitude-the-great-heale_b_266952.html

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Friendship and Love…

The greatest healing therapy is friendship and love Hubert H. Humphrey

I have been touched recently by the importance of friendship. I am very blessed to share my life with my best friend. He is my husband and sweetheart 🙂  Because I am blessed with that constant arrangement, I have often been more lax about developing and maintaining other friendships in my life.

It’s not that I don’t value friendship – I do. It’s more like I put those relationships on the back burner more than I should have because my needs were already being so well met by my husband and family.

I don’t know what exactly penetrated my heart recently, but I have become more intimately aware of the great family, we as a human family, are. We need each other and we need to support each other.

We all have a profound impact on each other – both small and large.

Friendship, in whatever forms it presents itself in our lives should never be taken for granted. It is a gift that once given, must be guarded like a rare jewel and nurtured like a priceless garden. I am making it a goal in my life to be more friendly to strangers and to reach out more often to my friends that I am blessed to have.

What about you? Has it been too long since you have talked to your best friend? …or have you been in contact recently, but have not taken the time to let them know how important they are to you? Are your best friends your spouse and children? Are they halfway around the world and in harms way? I hope you will take just a brief moment and reach out to a friend today!

Today’s story shares the importance of unselfish friendship. I hope you will enjoy!

A Touching Story about Friendship

A voyaging ship was wrecked during a storm at sea and only two of the men on it were able to swim to a small, desert like island.

The two survivors who have been a good friends, not knowing what else to do, agreed that they had no other recourse but to pray to God. However, to find out whose prayer was more powerful, they agreed to divide the territory between them and stay on opposite sides of the island.

The first thing they prayed for was food. The next morning, the first man saw a fruit-bearing tree on his side of the land, and he was able to eat its fruit. The other man’s parcel of land remained barren.

After a week, the first man was lonely and he decided to pray for a wife. The next day, another ship was wrecked, and the only survivor was a woman who swam to his side of the land. On the other side of the island, there was nothing.

Soon the first man prayed for a house, clothes, more food. The next day, like magic, all of these were given to him. However, the second man still had nothing.

Finally, the first man prayed for a ship, so that he and his wife could leave the island. In the morning, he found a ship docked at his side of the island. The first man boarded the ship with his wife and decided to leave the second man on the island.

He considered the other man unworthy to receive God’s blessings, since none of his prayers had been answered.
As the ship was about to leave, the first man heard a voice from heaven booming, “Why are you leaving your companion on the island?”

“My blessings are mine alone, since I was the one who prayed for them,” the first man answered. “His prayers were all unanswered and so he does not deserve anything.”

“You are mistaken!” the voice rebuked him. “He had only one prayer, which I answered. If not for that, you would not have received any of my blessings.”

“Tell me,” the first man asked the voice, “What did he pray for that I should owe him anything?”

“He prayed that all your prayers be answered “

Moral: For all we know, our blessings are not the fruits of our prayers alone, but those of another praying for us (Congregational Prayer). Value your friends, don’t leave your loved ones behind.

Today’s story is shared from the following website: http://www.videoinspiration.net/blog/short-stories-about-friendship/

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5 Reasons Why Having Faith Is So Important

Faith talks in the language of God. Doubt talks in the language of man E.W. Kenyon

“To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.” — Thomas Aquinas

Why is Faith so Important?

Sometimes, when things don’t go according to plan, we lose faith, not only in ourselves but also in any potential outcome in our lives. Failure will do that to you. When we experience life’s monumental failures, it’s easy to lose hope and even faith.

But what’s the difference?

Faith, at its core, is deep-rooted in the expectation of good things to come. It goes beyond hope. While much of hope lives in the mind, faith is steeped in the heart and the spirit. It can’t be explained away by reason or logic, or be understood through a single dimension.

While life can be hard at the best of times, faith is the knowledge, deep down inside, that things will get better. It’s taking the next step when you can’t see the entire staircase. Simply put, life would fail to have reason if we didn’t have faith.

We couldn’t drive our cars without faith that someone wouldn’t cross the divider and crash into us. If we didn’t have faith, how could we fly in an airplane, a metallic machine soaring 35,000 feet in the air? Without faith, how could we move from one moment to the next without completely second-guessing every last thing that we did?

Without faith, we couldn’t expect that things would turn out all right for us no matter what the situation might be.

Faith, then, is just as important as the air we breathe. While the oxygen in the air nourishes the body, faith nourishes the heart and the soul. It’s the energy that courses through every single fiber and cell within our beings. It’s part of every muscle and every strand of thought. It is the fundamental foundation of our existence.

Simply put, the importance of faith cannot be underestimated.

People have moved mountains with their faith. Even when situations seemed dire and bleak, it was their faith that carried them through. There’s little to no explanation for it in the physical realm; it’s the metaphysical fiber that binds us all, carrying each of our deepest wishes and desires. That’s where faith lives.

Unfortunately, some people don’t believe in things that they cannot see. They explain things away due to other causes and effects, failing to find the small miracles in life that exist and work in our favor on a constant basis. There’s an enormous level of importance attributable to having faith in life.

5 Reasons to Have Faith

Faith isn’t just a notion that some people hold onto in tough times; faith is an important element of all human life on earth. Life is precious, but it can also be remarkably difficult at times. Faith is what helps to get us through, illuminating the pathway in times of darkness, helping to give us strength in times of weakness. Without faith, we are nothing.

Here are 5 reasons why having faith is so important in life.

#1 — The focused power of faith breeds abundance

The mind is an incredibly powerful tool. It can be used for good, but also go to waste when neglected or abused. In times of trouble, we tend to move away from positivity. We go from a state of abundance to a state of lack. But, faith is the tool that helps replenish abundance in the heart and the spirit, not just in the mind.

Whatever it is that we focus on in life, we get more of. If we focus on problems, we live solely in those problems and have difficulty moving past the negativity. Alternatively, however, when we focus on positivity and seek out solutions, we can resolve our problems and move from a state of lack back to a state of abundance.

When we train our minds to think in abundance, and we hold unwavering faith, we gravitate towards that. We attract good things because we believe and expect in good things to come. Similarly, when we believe and expect bad things to come, we also attract that into our lives.

Faith is the pathway for abundance, so be sure to hold it at the forefront of your mind. Don’t be afraid to expect the very best for yourself. This isn’t about being selfish or aimlessly wishing for things; this is about the true, utter, deep-down belief in your heart and your soul that things will improve, and that you deserve the very best in life.

#2 — Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

There’s a powerful story in the bible called the Book of Job. The story is about a man named Job who was as astute as any man could be. He believed strongly in God and held high is faith. But the story goes that one day the devil paid God a visit. The topic of discussion? Job’s faith.

The devil reasoned that Job was faithful because he had been blessed with so much in life. Family, money, land, and respect. But the devil proposed that should God take any number of these things away from Job, he would no longer be the faithful man that God held him up to be. The devil claimed that Job would curse God and that his point would be all but proven. God, of course, disagreed.

So, this agreement began when God began taking things away from Job’s life. Over the course of these trials, Job loses everything that he had worked so hard to create over the years. His livestock, all his money, his family, his friends, and his health. However, even when his wife told him he should curse God, Job didn’t. He remained faithful.

Afterwards, God restored all of Job’s worldly possessions, family, and health. To add to that, God multiplied what Job once had many times over. The moral of the story? Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Times might be bad and you might want to throw in that proverbial towel. But never lose faith. For a person without faith is likened to a stream without water — they would cease to exist.

#3 — Faith helps you to discover your purpose in life

Going through life and all of its ups and downs can take a toll on us. At times, it’s enough to question our very existence. But through all of the trials and tribulations, we might face, it’s faith that gives us that helping hand. It works to guide us in the right direction, moving us towards and allowing us to discover our purpose in life.

This doesn’t happen overnight. Usually, when we’re faced with a difficult situation, it gets harder before it gets better. Little by little, a part of us is broken, until one day, we dig deep down inside and somehow find the strength we needed to make it through. That strength comes from our faith. Whether it’s your faith in God or in something else, that faith shall set you free.

Everything in life is far easier to get through when we have faith. It’s the guiding light that helps push us towards our purpose.

#4 — Faith trumps stress, anxiety, and fear

It’s easy to allow stress, anxiety, and fear to run our lives. We go from moment to moment worried about one thing or another. Sometimes, those worries manifest themselves in highly-stressful situations, causing not only mental anguish but physical problems as well. There’s a clear and documented connection between stress and the increased likelihood of disease and illness.

When we allow our minds to move into that realm unchecked, there’s no telling of the damage that can be done. But it’s faith that helps to keep those things at bay. Even when we have no reason to believe that things will get better, it’s through faith that our situations do improve. When you hold the utter expectation of that in your mind, no challenge is too difficult.

Learn to harbor faith and use it to eliminate stress, anxiety, and fear. Think back to situations in the past when you made it through something you thought was insurmountable. Believe and expect that good things will happen, and they will. This isn’t about ignoring your problems; this is about knowing that your situation will improve deep down inside your heart and your soul.

#5 — It acts as the pathway to finding solutions

Faith is the pathway to finding solutions in life. Keep in mind that human beings were made to thrive, and not just survive. If you’re only surviving, there’s far greater in store for you. There’s a pathway to all of your solutions, and that pathway is steeped in faith and the expectation of greater things to come in time.

No matter what the situation is, no matter how bad or dire you think it might seem, your faith can and will get you through it. You must accept that as fact, and hold on to the expectation of greater things to come. Don’t stop pushing or searching for an answer to help resolve whatever situation you might be facing in your life.

If you really want something in life, and I mean you really want it deep down inside and you have a strong enough reason you absolutely must achieve it, faith is the thing that helps you to see that through. It’s at the core of a persistent heart. Never give up on your hopes and your dreams just because you faced some initial setbacks. Lean on your faith as often as possible and you’ll soon come to realize why having unwavering faith is so important in life.

Today’s article has been shared from the following website: https://www.wanderlustworker.com/5-reasons-why-having-faith-is-so-important/

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Islands of Faith: A Story of Diligence

Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase Martin Luther King, Jr.

Only by regularly adding to their island can the Coila family keep from sinking.

Nelson and Dora Coila live on an island—not a typical island made of solid rock jutting up from an ocean or lake—but a tiny island they made themselves of nothing more than floating reeds on Lake Titicaca in Peru.

Building an island and making it your home takes faith. Only about four feet (1.2 m) of layered reeds suspends their family and the dozen or so huts on their island above the 50-degree (10°C) water, and the elements continually threaten to literally disintegrate their island home.

But for Nelson and Dora, their island represents physically what they are trying to build spiritually for their family: an island of faith that will hold together against the world.

What they have learned in the process is that the faith to build must always be followed by the diligence to maintain.

The Reason for Consistency

For the Uros people, who have built and lived on these islands for generations, the totora reed is an essential part of daily living. The reed, which grows in the shallows of Lake Titicaca, can be used as fuel for cooking fires. Its root can be eaten. Its husk can be used for medicinal purposes. And, of course, almost everything is made with the reed: their dwellings, their traditional boats, their watchtowers, the islands themselves, even their trash baskets.

The Uros build the islands by laying down layer upon layer of reeds. But as building materials go, totora reeds don’t last long. The sun dries them out during the dry season. Moisture during the rainy season hastens their decay. And the submersed bottom layers gradually decompose. The continual erosion of the Coilas’ island means that Nelson has to put down a new layer of reeds every 10 to 15 days.

“Building the island was just the start,” he says. “If I stop adding reeds, the island will slowly fall apart. But the more layers I put on, the stronger the island gets over time.”

The Danger of Procrastination

Adding a layer of reeds is not complex or difficult, but it is work. Delaying it would be easy.

Procrastination, however, increases the risk of a family member putting a foot through a weak spot and ending up in cold water. That can be little more than a nuisance for adults, but it’s potentially deadly for little children such as the Coilas’ two-year-old son, Emerson.

So Nelson adds a layer of reeds today, knowing that the safety of each family member depends on it tomorrow.

It’s a lesson about diligence that has made a difference in the Coilas’ lives.

The Effects of Diligence

Diligence is persisting in doing something in spite of opposition.1 Dora first learned how important—and how difficult—diligence can be after she was baptized in 1998.

When Dora was 17, she and her younger sister Alicia were baptized—helping lead to the growth of the Church in the islands of the Uros. About a month later, however, their father forbade them from having anything to do with the Church.

But something odd happened to the girls. They were suddenly less pleasant to be around and more likely to argue. Their father realized that during the time they were participating in Church activities, they had changed for the better.

“It changed his mind,” Dora says. “He began waking us up early to make sure we got to church on time.”

Dora attributes the change the gospel made in their lives to small things she and Alicia did regularly, like paying tithing, praying, studying the scriptures, keeping the Sabbath day holy, and renewing their covenants weekly by taking the sacrament.

Later, having seen for himself the changes that come from faith and diligence,2 Dora’s father joined the Church along with the rest of the family.

The Rewards of Diligence

Persisting in doing what is right—in spite of opposition—is required of the Lord’s covenant people. However, the Lord promises great blessings to those who are diligent in prayer,3 in keeping the commandments,4 in heeding revelation,5 in searching the scriptures,6 and in laboring in His work.7

Through the Coilas’ experiences in maintaining their island of faith both literally and figuratively, they have found the rewards of diligence to be real. “Sometimes we get suffocated by the daily routine of working, cooking, and so forth,” says Nelson. “When we forget God, things get complicated. There are more problems, and things begin to fall apart.”

Nelson pauses to gesture toward a new layer of reeds he put down that morning. “If we are constant,” he says, “if we pray, study, fast, and hold family home evening regularly, we are going to become stronger.”

This articles was written by Adam C. Olson and is shared from the following website: https://www.lds.org/liahona/2011/07/islands-of-faith-a-story-of-diligence?lang=eng

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The Joy of Having Faith in a Perfectly Faithful God

Faith is the vision of the heart; it sees God in the dark as well as in the day Unknown

The account given in Luke 7 of Jesus healing the Centurion’s servant is a rather short and easily overlooked story. However, in this passage, God reveals some supremely significant truths. This section of Luke proves that there truly is no section of Scripture that is irrelevant. In fact, these ten verses tell us a lot more than simply a story of one of Jesus’s miracles; they show us that God has infinite power and that true God-given faith stands out and can move mountains. We also are given an example of how humility and a recognition of our lowly state leads to the ability to see Christ as He is: the Lord of Lords and King of Kings who was brought low for our sake. The Centurion was a man who was highly esteemed in his community. He had power and wealth. Yet, in verse six, he says he is not worthy to have Jesus even enter his household. There is an important lesson of both trust and humility to be seen in the Centurion.

Not only did the man not think himself worthy of being in the presence of Jesus, but he also trusted the power of Jesus enough to ask the Lord to heal his servant from where they stood. How often do we, in a trial or struggle, pray to God with doubt and concern and hesitation? It is against our human nature to give up control and truly trust God. However, this Centurion does just that, and he is not disappointed. His servant is healed, and he is praised for his act of faith. We, too, must remember that we serve a loving and a powerful God.

What a wonderful combination.

God shows us love in sending his Son, in upholding us in this life, and in bringing us closer to himself, even in the midst of this sinful world. However, we also serve a powerful God who has the ability to heal us, to help us, to calm us, to deliver us, and to grow us.

Since he is a faithful God, we are called to be faithful servants to him. May we have the kind of faith that the Centurion showed in Luke 7. May we call out to God with the confidence that what we ask will surely be granted. May that same faith be used to show the love of Christ to those around us. If the Centurion cared so much for the earthly state of his servant, how much more should we care for the eternal wellbeing of those around us? It is easy to think about people like Daniel, Joseph, and David for examples of saving, trusting faith. However, we do not need to walk into a fiery furnace, be sold into slavery, or stand against a giant in order to find or exemplify mountain-moving faith. Instead, we must simply look to God with a trusting heart: “Here is my life, guide me, sanctify me, and lead me in your ways.” We must do so with a confidence that the loving, almighty God whom we serve will fulfill all those things in our lives in unimaginable ways. For we have in his word a plethora of promises, to be held through any situation we might face in this life.

The same God-given faith that allowed Daniel to walk through fire unharmed, that allowed Joseph to thrive and witness even after being sold into slavery, that allowed David to stand against a giant and prevail, lives in us. How can we ever fear things in this life? How can we ever doubt a God who has never failed? When we face a trial or unsure situation in this life, may we stand firm in the confidence that the God who rules over us is faithful and loving. Even when we fail, when we falter, when we doubt, he stands firm for us. He will never leave us or forsake us. What a joy we have to rest in that promise.

Today’s article was written by Stephanie Kuiper and is shared from the following website: https://inallthings.org/the-joy-of-having-faith-in-a-perfectly-faithful-god/

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