Variations on “Grati-Tool #1”

Intentional gratitude practices can have a multitude of benefits … when we do them!

 

The “Grati-Tools” are suggestions for ways to increase awareness of our blessings and privileges, (the ones that already exist), resulting in a multitude of potential benefits – emotionally, behaviorally, neurologically, physiologically, etc.

 

Your mileage may vary, but the likelihood of benefit is high.

 

Intentional gratitude practices – “Grati-Tools” – some possible results:

* experiencing more positive feelings, moods, and emotions associated with gratitude.

* more sincere expressions of gratitude, appreciation, thankfulness.

* gaining new perspectives that could catalyze improvements in multiple areas of life.

* literally increasing happiness and well-being; short and long term.

 

Grati-Tool #1:  Gratitude For Those Who Touched My Life

List ten people (or animal companions) from your past or present, who have positively contributed to your life. Those you love, who’ve helped you in some way, mentors, teachers … those who deserve your thanks and appreciation. Once a week, read your list and add ten more names.  Think about what you would write to them in a thank-you note.  And, maybe … write that note!

 

Some variations:

 

• Make an ongoing list of your best teachers, professors, mentors, coaches, advisors.

 

• Make an ongoing list of people you love and people you’ve ever loved,

people who love you, and people who’ve ever loved you.

 

• Make an ongoing list of people whom you’ve forgiven, and people you’d like to forgive.

 

• Make an ongoing list of musicians, writers, poets and artists who’ve inspired you.

 

• Make an ongoing list of businesspeople, social activists, change agents and heroes who’ve inspired you.

 

Choose to experiment with the one or the ones you like most.

Revisit and add to them, as you’d like to.  Over time, you’ll remember more!

Have fun as you gain some new perspectives!

 

 

Be Your Own Mentor – Lecture Notes

Mentor (noun): an experienced and trusted adviser. Synonyms: coach, guide, helper, counselor, consultant.

Consider these questions:
What is important, meaningful to you now? What do you want to learn … change … improve … accomplish.  How would you like to feel? What ignites your passion? What triggers your happiness and joy?

Make a list of your strengths and competencies. Review regularly. Edit and revise as you see fit.
Make a list of well-thought-out outcomes you most desire. Review regularly. Edit and revise as you see fit.

Know your B.S. (Belief System). Do you have a FIXED mindset … or a GROWTH mindset?

Focus on things that you CAN control or manage — choices, attitudes, actions, behaviors, mood, responses.

Take responsibility and accountability for “co-creating” or “shaping” the future you most desire.

Make a list of your own core values/virtues — or TARGET values/virtues. For example: loyalty, dependability, balance, compassion, kindness, generosity, passion, humility, bravery, professionalism, gratitude, flow, love, faith, patience, humor, ambition, optimism, confidence, fitness, wellbeing.

Then, review/reinforce regularly. Research and learn more about ways to demonstrate and embody them.

Compose appropriate “focus phrases” (sayings — proverbs — mottos — affirmations)  Use them as reminders, positive triggers, inspirations, “alignments.”

Write, record, display the reminders and reinforcement that is appropriate to the outcomes you seek.

Make a “To-Feel List” — list of “target” or “most desired” feelings or emotional states. Review regularly.  For example: happy, joyful, proud, enthusiastic, confident, grateful, compassionate, smart, lucky, appreciative, creative, energetic, inspired, calm, hopeful, positive, serene, helpful, loved, loving, valued, euphoric, strong …

Three other very helpful lists: • To-Do List – “Today’s Mission” • Inspiration List • Gratitude Journal

Gather intelligence, take notes. Flipboard. Google Search. Networking. Books. Magazines. TED Talks.

A KEY QUESTION: “What do I want to do, that I WILL do, to increase the likelihood of the outcomes I desire?”

Your goals should be appropriate, realistic, practical … they need to make sense.

To achieve specific goals: Break them down into small, workable steps. “What will I do TODAY?”

And … schedule those tasks and activities on your calendar! Give yourself honest feedback.

“PRACTICE MAKES HABITS” – to create a new habit or ritual, link it to an existing one.

• “What would I advise my dearest friend with the same goals, or challenges that I’m facing?”

• If a highly motivated person was seeking advice and guidance from you, in areas of interest to you … What would you tell them? How would you help them? Would you follow your own best advice?

Be honest with yourself. Be good to yourself. Be kind to yourself. Be self-compassionate.

©2016 Jerry D. Posner

“The Art and Science of Keeping Your Cool” Lecture Notes

The Art and Science of Keeping Your Cool

 

Notes, Ideas and Food For Thought

 

What sorts of things might cause you to “stress out?” 

Deadlines?  Rude people?  Money worries?  Too much to do?  Making a mistake?  Running late?  GPS malfunctioning?

And, what sorts of “stimuli” might cause you to “lose your cool?” 

Feeling disrespected, ignored, insulted, misunderstood?  Being told “what to do?”  A driver cuts you off?   Unfairness?

 

“Stressing Out” – suffering from high levels of worry, tension or anxiety.

“Losing Your Cool” – ranting, raving, yelling, raging, throwing a tantrum, snapping, having a meltdown.

“Keeping Your Cool” – staying calm, making rational choices, responding instead of reacting.

 

REACT                                                    RESPOND

Unaware of behavior and impact        Choose behavior and impact

Emotionally volatile, irrational            Emotionally adult, rational

Out of control                                          In control

“I’m a victim of circumstance!”             “This is a challenge that I will meet!”

 

Stress is the body’s response to a threat (real or imagined).  It is a biochemical reaction within the body.

Stressors are things (people, events, places) that an individual perceives or interprets as a threat.  Stressors differ from person to person.  For example, the same event or stimulus that causes a stress response in one person, might create a positive or exciting response in another.

The “Stress Response” and INVOLUNTARY RESPONSES are triggered by structures in the limbic system.

We react inappropriately.  We “flinch.”  We might rage or “snap” if the trigger hits an extra-sensitive point.

 

When our brain interprets a signal that comes through our senses as threatening, a series of reactions (the stress response) are set off, and the body prepares itself for danger.  Flight, fight, freeze or flee.  Humans share this with other animals.

It’s programmed into our genes.  The stress response prepared early humans for actual physical dangers.

 

“TRIGGERS” — events, circumstances, communications, interactions, words, etc.;  that cause a reaction —

sometimes, a disproportionally dramatic one.  Can be positive or negative, mild or intense.

 

• We can possibly eliminate, or reduce, the cause or source of stress.

(Reduce choices.  Clear clutter.  Be better organized.  Change your environment.  Modify behavior.  Be prepared!)

• Or, we can change our interpretation of, and reaction to, the stress-triggering event or source.

Cognitive appraisal – we define, we frame, we interpret.  Crisis, threat, challenge, or nothing much?

Cognitive distortions – “awfulizing,” “catastrophising,” distorted threat perceptions — “mountains out of molehills.”

 

Learn to challenge or dispute the accuracy of your own thoughts and assumptions.

 

 RECOGNIZE “THE THREAT STATE” AND CHOOSE “THE CHALLENGE STATE!”

Brains work differently when we feel “threatened” by a problem … or “challenged” to find a solution!

Guess which one is more efficient and resourceful?

 

©2016 Jerry Posner  •  http://www.jerryposner.com  •  jerryposner@icloud.com  • Blog: http://www.jerryposner.wordpress.com

 

A Program Suggestion for Your Business or Organization…

The Art and Science of Keeping Your Cool

Available as a lecture or workshop.

In all aspects of customer service (as well as every other relationships), the ability to keep a positive mood is vitally important!  Understanding the science behind stress, anger and rage reactions can help us in a multitude of ways – in business and otherwise.

This lecture or workshop will help you understand “stress triggers” and “anger triggers” in your customers, staff … and yourself!  And, you’ll learn to use some rational, practical tools, techniques and strategies for successfully managing them.

Since “one size does not fit all” – you’ll be offered an “all-you-can-eat buffet” of relevant information, life-changing practices and really good ideas!  Even just one good idea APPLIED, can make for a meaningful improvement in work life and personal life.

Some topics include:

  • Good stress (eustress) and bad stress (distress) – what are the causes?
  • Managing your own stress responses.
  • React or respond?  Challenges or threats?
  • Basic neuroscience you need to know.
  • How long does it take to make and break habits?
  • Cognitive appraisal and cognitive distortions.
  • Fixed and growth mindsets.
  • Can multitasking cause stress?
  • What to do when your customer is angry.
  • Service recovery the right ways.

Your instructor:  Jerry Posner is an accomplished training specialist, conference speaker, author and ukulele player!  For more than 25 years, he’s presented engaging and entertaining workshops and programs for a wide variety of clients, locally and nationally.  He is considered an expert in the fields of self-improvement, customer service, leadership, communication skills, and as he says, “ways to increase the likelihood of positive outcomes at work … and in life!”

Jerry is also a popular lecturer at Canyon Ranch in Lenox, having presented over 1,800 inspirational, motivational lectures for their guests since 1993.  His books, “Attention Late Bloomers: You’re Right On Time!” and “Eternal Cosmic Wisdom at Bargain Basement Prices” are available on Amazon.com.

Raised in Northern New Jersey, he attended Emerson College in Boston, graduating magna cum laude with a degree in mass communications. Jerry lives in Sheffield, with his wife Lynne and their canine companions, Maxwell and Grace.

16 for 2016 – Text Version

16 for 2016
Daily Reminders for a Stellar Year

Be your best self (especially when other people aren’t being theirs).

Challenge old, outdated fears with a dose of rational thinking.

If you had all the facts, you’d probably have a different opinion.

Allow for the unplanned miracles; and savor them!

Information is power. Ditto gratitude, compassion, forgiveness.

If worrying isn’t helping, then take a different approach!

Appreciate and honor each moment, including the tough ones.

Your life has more meaning than you can possibly know.

Patience is always an excellent option.

We owe our existence to millions of people we’ll never meet.

Sometimes the best thing to do, is to not make it worse.

Social media is inspirational … if you have inspiring friends.

Choose your impact; communicate accordingly.

The “secrets of success” are “common sense” in action.

When you recognize wisdom, act on it (or at least take notes).

Perhaps, the path you’ve been searching for is the path you’re on.

Affirmations – Negative and Positive

THE STUFF WE TELL OURSELVES – 

CREATIVE, OBSERVATIONAL, OR WHAT?

 

Have you ever repeated “negative affirmations” like these (to yourself or out loud)?

I don’t deserve to succeed.

The world is against me.

Miracles don’t happen, I never get a break.

I am conflicted about most everything, I can’t make any decisions.

I am a disappointment.

I lead a life of self-deception and sheer stupidity.

I cannot be happy. Ever.

I have absolutely no love in my life. None.

I must play the part of a tragic figure.

I must act sad and moody most all of the time.

I am never really good enough.

My timing is pathetically awful.

Most anything makes me angry, then I feel guilty, then I feel ashamed, then I feel angrier.

Let’s stop right here. Do these words help to create negative conditions, or are they simply a sad commentary on what is?  These examples are meant to be somewhat irrational, absolutist, all-or-nothing assumptions, ’cause that’s how we sometimes (or all too often) think.

It’s true that words have power and that thoughts trigger feelings.  Obviously, some emotions can be motivating … and others make us want to get back to bed, pull the covers over our heads, and have a personal (possibly perpetual) pity-party (not pretty)!

Our thoughts … the words we tell ourselves … might or might not be true or helpful. Yet, often by habit, we have been known to focus our thinking on negative, false, (definitely not helpful) words —negative affirmations, so to speak.

Do negative affirmations work as well as positive ones? Or, perhaps a better question is: do affirmations “work” at all?

How did you feel when you read the set of negative affirmations? Read the next bunch slowly and carefully, savor the phrases, and notice the effect.

I can make my choices based on the outcomes I most desire.

I am loved and appreciated.

I value and appreciate my life.

I have tremendous potential.

I am allowed to pursue my best goals.

I can find out whatever I need to know.

I am fortunate, thankful, grateful.

I am perpetually inspired.

I’m open and receptive to miracles in my life.

I deserve to succeed. I am allowed to succeed.

I can make the choices that make me happy.

I can do what I love.

I have great timing (after all, I AM reading this!)

——————————————————–

For me, some kind of affirmation practice is useful in managing thoughts, and the results that follow. Importantly, they have to be worded in such a way that we can accept them as statements of truth.  I think an “affirmation” that is clearly bogus (inflated, unrealistic, irrational, inappropriate) is more like wishful thinking than a practical tool. Nonetheless, sometimes miracles DO happen, and working with positive affirmations could be a catalyst.

What do you think?

The Grati-Tools

Practicing the Practical Power of Gratitude

(This is a repeat of earlier material … but you can’t have enough gratitude, I think!)

Intentional gratitude practices – “Grati-Tools”
* to experience more of the positive feelings, moods, emotions associated with gratitude.
* to encourage sincere expressions of gratitude, appreciation, thankfulness.
* to gain new perspectives that could create or catalyze improvements in multiple areas of life.
• to literally increase happiness and well-being; short and long term.

Grati-Tool #1: Gratitude For Those Who Touched My Life
List ten people (or animal companions) from your past or present, who have positively contributed to your life. Those you love, who’ve helped you in some way, mentors, teachers … those who deserve your thanks and appreciation. Once a week, read your list and add ten more names. Think about what you would write to them in a thank-you note. And, maybe … write that note!

Grati-Tool #2: The Gratitude Walk
Take a walk (short or long), and notice all the things that you could conceivably be grateful for.
Such as: life itself, pavement, electricity, trees, traffic lights, cars, sky, eyesight … the things that work.
Consider how your life, and everything in it, might be seen as gifts.

Grati-Tool #3: Liberally and Sincerely EXPRESS Appreciation To Those Who Surely Deserve It
• Say “thank you,” “I appreciate you and what you did,” “good job!” … etc.
• Tell the people you love that you love them.
• Send thank-you notes. • Pay a gratitude visit.

Grati-Tool #4: Observe “Grati-Tuesdays”
Just for fun, make Tuesday the day of the week when you particularly focus on gratitude practice(s).
Or … “Thank You Thursdays” — the day you especially express gratitude to others.

Grati-Tool #5: The Gratitude Journal (a.k.a. “Gratitude Diary” … “Gratitude List”)
Once a day, or even once a week, write down things, people, relationships, circumstances, feelings, abilities, talents, blessings, etc. that you feel grateful for. Three, four, five or more. Be specific.
Even better: also write why!

Grati-Tool #6: Happy Birthday – Grateful For Another Year!
Make a gratitude list on your birthday, with one item for each year of your life.

Grati-Tool #7: Take a Gratitude Break
Close your eyes … relax … and for one minute, focus your attention on a person, thing, circumstance, situation, accomplishment, talent, ability, etc. that you’re truly and deeply grateful for. If you can, imagine/visualize him … her … it. If your mind wanders, just bring it back. FEEL the gratitude and happiness as you focus your attention. Making a mental movie, or creating a mental collage – also fine! Do it once a day, or when you feel stressed or petty!

©2015 Jerry D. Posner  • http://www.jerryposner.com •  You can’t lose … with gratitude!