Video: Use Gratitude to Build a Better Life

Thank you signIf you want to build a better life, being grateful for the one you already have is a great place to start.

That’s the message Dr. Robert Emmons delivered recently through his work with the University of California-Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center. Emmons, an expert in the field of positive psychology, stressed grateful people empower themselves to construct ever more positive and happy lives.

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There’s Nothing Worse…

I am not a snob; anyone who meets me would agree.

snob manWell, except those of an obviously lesser bloodline, of course. But, who cares about them anyway?

Having placed that firmly on the table, I know I can be, um, shall we say, “particular” about certain things and at times, might be prone to splash myself with a faint — very faint — scent of curmudgeonly, especially around speaking and writing.

As illustration, this is the second month of the year, pronounced “Feb-RU-ary,” not “Feb-U-ary.” Should you doubt, you can find out that I’m correct at the li-BRARY (not the “li-BARY”).

I manage to keep my mouth about “Febuary” because one only has to deal with it for 28 days a year.

Yet, lasting seemingly in perpetuity is misuse of  “your” and “you’re.”

The former is possessive while the latter is a contraction for, “you are.” Therefore, one would not write, “Your looking thin,” nor “I love what your doing with the house.” One might however write,

“When you’re on your way over, please let your hosts know if you’re bringing your children.”

See, isn’t that nicer?

Finally can we clarify that those of us on diets are attempting to “lose” weight, not “loose” it? (Ironically, “loose weight” is usually what started us on the path to “losing weight.”)

However, the expression that causes my head to explode is the self-important exaggeration, “There’s nothing worse than…”

This rose to my awareness on a TV commercial for an on-line postage service. In touting its (not “it’s”) benefits, a gentleman exasperatingly laments, “There’s nothing worse than standing in line at the post office.”

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Favorite People and Associations to Work With in 2013

I’m not so good with Christmas or Holiday cards.

Not to take anything away from people who are, but sometimes I think I get cards that don’t have any thought associated with them. I mean it’s a nice gesture and all, but I believe if one is really sincere, he or she takes a few moments to write something personal. (However, I’ll own up to the fact that I’m certainly not perfect and do fall into that trap myself sometimes.)

Anyway, what I like to do is wait until the holiday hub-bub has died down and then take a few moments to look back over the last year and send personal cards to my “favorite client” list for the year that just ended.

I causes me to really think about what’s important and be more sincere.

Then, I like to post it on line (as I’m doing here) because I believe good people deserve to be touted. Although I’m known as being a weight loss expert for baby boomers, my topics do include attitude and communication so I guess we could say this helps me communicate better and improves my own attitude. Hopefully it will do the same for you – as well as those wonderful people in this post.

bluestarWith that in mind,  welcome to my “favorite people and groups to work with in 2013.”

(I’d like to come up with a name for my yearly awards but the “Scotty” doesn’t seem to fit.)

If you get a chance to work with any of these people, do it. Your life will be improved.

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Thank You Barbara

If food is what sustains the body, gratitude nourishes the soul.

Today I am well fed.

Having lived in the same community for over 30 years, I believe I carry a relatively high, (hopefully) positive reputation. Within minutes of my home, I can stroll among the redwoods or along a rocky — albeit cold — beach. My house is not a palace, yet it’s not a cardboard box either and my “commute” to work, when not on a plane, consists of four stairs. When subjected to the hassle of airline travel, I often visit beautiful, wondrous locales and speak to and with fascinating people from all walks of life. I am nurtured by strong friendships and even though — like any long-term relationship — we can drive each other crazy, I am still deeply, teenage-style, crazy nuts in love with my wife. My hair is thinner, the brown has been replaced with gray; I grunt a bit more when I move than I did in younger days, but, even if I am forever watching my weight, my health is generally holding up, thank you very much.

I am beyond fortunate — although I forget far too often.

my coloumn on refrigeratorLast night, I was reminded when a reader of this column reached out to me on a social network site and sent me a photograph.

After the passing of his aunt, her family assembled at the house. On her refrigerator, among the collection of magnets and drawings, was an article I had written many years ago called “Five Words to Change Your Life.”

I do not recall if I ever met his aunt, but looking at the refrigerator magnets framed in the small snapshot, I know she had grandchildren and perhaps liked birds. I assume she traveled to Alaska, and she had a fondness for the iconic Dr. Seuss character, the Cat in the Hat (or more likely her grandchildren did). She was most likely a tidy woman. (I make that deduction because my article was cut with clear straight lines and hung level and centered on the refrigerator door.)

Although not directly posted on her refrigerator, like each of us, I know she had dreams, possibilities, and plans; although I do not know what they were. I hope she realized them before she passed.

I also know with certainty that she was loved and that she loved in return.

She could have been my aunt, or yours. Maybe she was.

Although my messages are posted in print near and far, and I am given the privilege of the speaker’s platform, each of us, whether as pebbles or boulders, is tossed into the same lake, spreading ripples in all directions. We touch and we are touched. Should we face final judgment, I am convinced the ultimate criteria will be how we affected those with whom we connected during our lives. For some day in the future, each of us will exist only in the memories and words of the ones we left behind. It is they, not we, who determine our legacy. Paradoxically, we create it, and do so in the present; right now, today, this instant.

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You Cannot be Happy Until You Let Go

road-sign-with-question-mark

The person in the mirror is not getting any younger.

We see our bodies change and hear ever louder the ticking of the clock.

It can be frightening.

Yet, part of what amplifies the fear and holds us back is attempting to hold on to that which is no longer there.

As another year fades into history, bid farewell to what has passed. Feel the loss if necessary, but say goodbye with dignity and grace. Remember fondly the better memories. Realize all you have done and all you have been through have given you tools you did not have.

Take a deep breath. Smile.

Then, turn and face forward.

Let a new year bring you boldly into your future.

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