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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The Gift of Prayer…

I believe that prayer is a critical and irreplaceable tool in our "life toolbox". The more I have utilized prayer in my life, the more amazed I have become by its profound power. I am truly humbled to be a recipient of such an amazing gift from God.

I believe that prayer is a critical and irreplaceable tool in our “life toolbox”. The more I have utilized prayer in my life, the more amazed I have become by its profound power. I am truly humbled to be a recipient of such an amazing gift from God.

In my life, prayer has turned into a personal conversation with my father. I know the Father of my soul – I have seen him. I think it is because of my near-death experience that prayer has become so personal to me.

I know of no mortal that is as loving and merciful as the God of my soul. However, I also know my creator to be a being of law.

I understand that in order for my prayers to be heard – I must make my pleas. In order for my prayers to be answered – I must do my part. Nothing will be done for me that I can (and should) do for myself.

I have experienced more miracles, as a result of prayer, than I can count.

Truly, the Lord has given us a priceless gift! No high-tech device, no mortal, and no earthly means can be devised that provides the comfort, instruction, or blessings of prayer!

 

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You Can Do More Than You Think

There is no man living who isn’t capable of doing more than he thinks he can do Henry Ford

“If you’re going to doubt something, doubt your own limits.” -Don Ward

There’s a Saturday Night Live sketch that features Kenan Thompson as a middle school student with a broken knee. Scarlett Johansson and his other classmates repeatedly convince him to attempt walking, quoting a teacher who frequently lectures on the power of positive thinking. Despite their promises that anything is possible, he repeatedly falls flat on his face.

I loved this sketch, not because of some schadenfreude-induced need to see children crying. I love it because it reminds me of the many times I’ve seen comments on blog posts about possibilities, where people cite things that are obviously not possible.

While we can do a lot in life, running on a leg that you just broke is not (currently) medically possible. Flapping your arms and flying like a bird is just not possible. Turning your horse into a unicorn is just not possible. And switching bodies with your best friend, though commonly seen in movies, is just not possible.

Now that we got that out of the way, we can focus on the many difficult things that are, in fact, possible, despite what people once thought.

It is possible to run a 4-minute mile. It is possible to fly a heavier-than-air plane. It is possible for a person to walk on the moon. It is possible to perform a full-face transplant. It is possible for an African American man to become the President of the United States.

People do “impossible” things every day. If we believe in ourselves and take smart risks, we can, too.

You might not be able to leave your job tomorrow, but you can discover your passion and start a business. You may not be able to win a Webby Award tomorrow, but you can create a site that makes a difference in the world. You might not be able to change that you have a physical limitation, but you can find a way to empower yourself because of it, not in spite of it.

Today if you find yourself dwelling on what’s possible, remind yourself: You can do more than you think if you’re willing to stop making excuses and start testing your limits.

Today’s article was written by Lori Deschene. Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha and Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. Today’s article was shared from the following website: https://tinybuddha.com/quotes/tiny-wisdom-you-can-do-more-than-you-think/

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5 Ways to Give Everyday & Attract Abundance

If you want love and abundance in your life, give it away Mark Twain

“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” – Kahlil Gibran

What is the quickest and most effective way to achieve abundant prosperity? The answer is that to receive more abundance in our lives, we must give freely out of pure love and generosity, without expectation or the desire for recognition. Giving and receiving are the exchanges of energies, two parts of the whole, and they must exist equally for the maintenance of energetic balance. Abundance is your birthright, and it is perfectly acceptable to expect prosperity in all of its forms.

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the word “abundance?” For many individuals, “abundance” is directly related to material goods, often money, and the act of giving calls forth similar images of material gifts or monetary donations. But what if I told you that giving does not require money and abundance is not confined to material possessions but rather includes those components as pieces of the prosperity pie?

Each one of us has many different gifts to offer, and during these difficult economic times, it is understandable if those gifts are more of services rather than goods. When you come from a place of generosity and abundance rather than a place of poverty and lack, the possibilities for giving and receiving are endless.

Below are five ways to give non-monetarily so that you can create more abundance in your life.

1. Say a Silent Prayer – As you go through your days, send healing prayers to those who need your good thoughts and silently bless them, wishing for them that they receive all that they need and desire. We are all connected as energetic beings, so your sending of positive energy will ultimately affect those who you direct it toward in positive ways.

2. Be Friendly – Your smile can brighten up a room, and it can also brighten up the day of someone you encounter. Start a conversation with someone about the weather, compliment someone on a beautiful piece of clothing, or just smile and say “hello.” I’ve been on the receiving end of friendliness from a complete stranger more times than I can count, and it has always made a lasting positive impression on me, even changing the outcome of my days.

3. Perform Random Acts of Kindness – Random acts of kindness are so often surprising when you are on the receiving end and deeply fulfilling when you are on the giving end of these hidden gems. If you see someone struggling to open a door or carry all of his/her grocery bags, offer to help. You will open yourself up to all kinds of positive energy and prosperity by the giving of kindness.

4. Lend a Helping Hand – If you know someone in your life is struggling, offer to lend a helping hand, such as taking a disabled or acutely ill friend’s dog for a walk, babysitting the children of a busy single mother you know, or writing thank you notes for an elderly neighbor who can no longer see. These helpful acts are often much more valuable than any material gifts could be.

5. Love – Love is the universal energy that connects us all, and when we are plugged into our source, the potential for love is limitless. Share love, spread love, preach love or teach love. Whatever you decide to do, do it freely and with love, and abundance will be yours for the receiving.

Today’s article was written by Maria Mooney and is shared from the following website: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4876/5-Ways-to-Give-Everyday-Attract-Abundance.html

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Three Ways to Increase Your Faith

Feed your faith and starve your doubts Kenneth E. Hagin, Sr.

Three Ways to Increase Your Faith

How do you increase your faith? I used to struggle with this as a young Christian. But in time I’ve learned at least three simple ways to help build and increase our reliance on God.

1. Read the Word

Or at least hear God’s Word. Romans 10:17 says, So then, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. If no one had ever told me about Jesus, and about God’s plan for my life, or if I had never read for myself about Him, I would be clueless about the need for faith.

Reading or hearing God’s Word is like planting a garden. If you want to grow or “build” a garden, you must first plant the seeds, or the actual plant or flower. God’s Word is the seed that grows the faith. Knowing His promises, what God says about you, about life, and about Jesus’ plan for eternal life won’t transplant themselves into your brain by osmosis. Become familiar with the Bible and what faith is all about by meditating on its contents. This will give you the basis for growing or increasing your faith.

James 1:22-24 offers a second way to increase your faith: But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. What I see in the mirror when I first wake up is not the most beautiful sight. Obviously I see there is work to do and makeup to apply if I want to add to my appearance.

If we fail to heed what we’re reading and ignore what God is telling us, then our faith grows stagnant. It took faith for us to become children of God in the first place. Therefore, in order to grow and increase our faith, we need to use that “measure” of faith God gives to everyone and build on it.

3. Test the Word                  

There is a difference in “testing” God by “contesting” Him (seeing how far God’s patience will go with your own self will) and “testing,” or proving God’s Word is true.  Malachi 3:9-11   offers one practical way God says we can prove Him faithful to His Word. This passage concerns tithing and being good stewards of the things He has given us:  Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”  As you “test” or act on what God says and experience God’s blessing, your faith grows.

The process of testing the measure of faith you have may involve trials and difficulties. How can you increase your faith in those circumstances? Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance (James 1:2-3).

A Personal Example

The first time my husband and I had to admit we were financially challenged, we had some choices to make. The biggest one was, would we trust God and the promises we had read in His Word? When a new difficulty developed, we faced the same choices. If we chose to believe God, our faith grew a little more. Then the really big crises erupted, like unemployment, parenting, and marriage challenges.

But each time we looked back and saw the tracks of God’s faithfulness. He truly had kept His Word, and we came to understand the true meaning of “perseverance.” Trusting Him with smaller problems has built our faith to believe Him for the harder issues. Yet, there are still times when I feel more like a baby in my faith than a giant. It’s always in need of growing.

My Prayer for You

Lord Jesus, increase our faith as we learn to depend on You and trust You more and more. Help us to crave Your Word: to read it, to heed it, and to test it, so it can truly become part of our lives. We long to be doers and not just hearers. Lord, we desperately need more of You and less of ourselves. Thank You for Your faithfulness in always keeping Your Word.

Day-votedly Yours,

Rebecca

Today’s post was written by Rebecca Barlow Jordan and is shared from the following website: https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/three-ways-to-increase-your-faith.html

 

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