Gratitude Myth-Busting

It takes a lot of courage to be a strong and grateful woman. Myths swirl about both. Strong women are still perceived as difficult or angry, b*tches or worse. Being a kind and grateful women makes you a doormat, a Pollyanna, or just silly. After 15 years of research here's what Dr. Richard Emmons, the world's foremost authority on gratitude, says that shatters gratitude myths... 5 Gratitude Myths Busted Myth 1 - Gratitude leads to complacency. Busted: Being grateful doesn't make you lazy, it gives you a sense of purpose and desire to do more. Myth 2 - Gratitude makes us too self-effacing. Busted: From my observation, when women state they're grateful it is often perceived by others as weakness. Gratitude is actually associated with a greater sense of personal control over one’s success according to studies on this powerful trait. Myth 3 - Gratitude isn't possible -- or appropriate -- in the midst of suffering. Busted: Science suggests we can cultivate or maintain an attitude of gratitude through hard times, and that we’ll be better for it. Even when suffering intensely, keeping a gratitude journal is likely to lift your spirits and connectedness to others which … [Read more...]

Letting Go of Superficial Happiology

As we launch into this new year of possibilities, let's let go of one thing:   rapid-response gratitude. Shocked? I know, I know. I often express my radical agreement that thinking positively makes a huge difference in how we feel, speak and create. Pontificating about and promoting gratitude is something I believe in and love doing. So let me clarify by first asking you some questions: Do you have family members, friends or colleagues who frequently tell you to count your blessings no matter what is happening? When your life imitates a country western song -- you caught your man cheating, you lost your job, your car broke down and your dog just died -- how does it feel when someone says, "well, at least you've still got your health." When your arm is loped off by a chainsaw at work (metaphorically speaking) do you feel compelled to immediately say, "at least I've got my legs." Okay, I'm getting a little carried away, but let's take a moment and reflect on how it feels when others seem to say to us that our pain, our negative experience, must immediately be replaced with thankfulness. How healthy does it feel to jump straight to gratitude? Gratitude, … [Read more...]

Women Getting Our Gratitude On

Externally Grateful for Strong Women & Men Who Embrace Their Worth! Hope you're getting your gratitude on this week! As someone once wrote, "Strong Women:  May we be them. May we know them. May we raise them." Over the past year, I'm so grateful for coming to know more strong women and men who fully support equal power, choice and responsibility. It takes a lot of courage to be a strong woman in America. There are myths that swirl around strong women -- and gratitude. As we continue to break through myths about strong women being bitches, difficult or angry (I know, this sounds like the 1970s yet these myths remain today), here's what Robert Emmons has found out about gratitude myths in his 15 years of research: Gratitude leads to complacency. Being grateful doesn't make you lazy, it gives you a sense of purpose and desire to do more. Gratitude is just a naive form of positive thinking. When you're grateful it doesn't mean you're free of negative thoughts and emotions. You're not Pollyanna -- go on, get your gratitude on! Gratitude makes us too self-effacing. From my observation, when women state they're grateful it is often perceived by others as weakness. … [Read more...]

Raising Heroes Harder?

Albert Einstein was asked once how we could make our children intelligent. "If you want your children to be intelligent," he said, "read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." He understood the value of reading, and of imagining. Einstein might have said the same thing about raising heroes:  If you want children to be leaders, have them read more fairy tales. Driving away from the Sacramento airport a few days ago I spotted this billboard:  Kids Disgusted With Congress. Tonight at 5:00. A local television station had interviewed children to learn what they thought about the U.S. government's shut down. Intrigued, I watched the segment that evening. It stung to hear young children expressing such disappointment and anger about our nation's elected leaders. Meanwhile, teachers Jill Berkowicz and Ann Myers' Education Week blog post, "Politicians in Washington: Take A Lesson From Us," called out the challenge: We must teach the children that our elected officials are not the heroic ones they may be reading about in their history books.  These are not models, unless they are negative ones.  We must encourage them to become … [Read more...]

Do You Meditate or Pray Daily?

Americans are the most anxious people in the world. About one in five Americans suffer from anxiety disorders, the most common form of psychiatric ailment. According to the World Health Organization, 31 percent of Americans are likely to experience from an anxiety problem at some point in their lives – more than any people anywhere in the world. Perhaps unsurprisingly, American women suffer from a number of anxiety disorders -- including generalized anxiety and panic attacks -- at a rate twice as high as that for men. Is it American culture generally or our individual Superwoman approach to ‘doing it all’ (breadwinner, caregiver) that has led to more U.S. women suffering from anxiety disorders, higher rates of heart disease, and more chronic conditions like fibromyalgia? Women & Our Solid Center A Missouri woman I interviewed named it:   many of us American women are living “fractured.” She explained: “Everyone has a limitation on time and I wish we’d stop wasting our energy, our powerful gifts by being fractured. It feels like we’ve lost our core – we’re so busy and our busyness depletes us. Transformational energy is not a spurt, it requires not just commitment. … [Read more...]

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