Access the Power of Thankfulness and Appreciation

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I am Thankful for... Mary LoreIn the mid-1990s, I was an executive officer for several companies in crisis and owner of my own growing business. I was working over a hundred hours a week, drained, unhealthy, and unhappy- and I felt there was no way out.After an “aha” moment, I realized that I was responsible for my world, that I created my world, and that the only way I could change my world was to change myself. I knew that my thoughts were the only things over which I had complete responsibility and accountability.So I started to look at what was going on inside my head. I decided to start managing my thoughts.

I wondered about it and woke up with the idea to start a thankfulness journal.Every night before I went to sleep, I took an inventory of my day and wrote down everything I was thankful for. Frankly, I was surprised at the length of the list because I thought everything was wrong in my world. I was also surprised to see the list expanded every day.

Then I noticed a shift in my thinking. I started seeing people and situations in a whole new light. I focused on what I wanted, not what I didn’t want and didn’t like. I turned fear into inspiration.I smiled and laughed. I felt as though a weight had been lifted. I started eating well and sleeping well. I accomplished much more, in quantity and quality, in less time.Those around me truly appreciated my transformation as I expressed how I valued and appreciated them. I received ideas on how to create even more that made me thankful. I couldn’t wait to start my day!I also changed how I was working in organizations and to this day, I start every strategic planning session with What are we thankful for? About our customers? Our suppliers? Our employees? Our investors and sources of money? Our products and services? Functional areas? Processes? The industry?

It is similar to focusing on our strengths, except focusing on our strengths is an intellectual process. As we practice being thankful, we become inspired and it’s when we are inspired that we achieve significant results.

The Power of Thankfulness and Appreciation

Throughout my book, Managing Thought, I talk about thankfulness being one of the highest levels of consciousness.

As we practice being thankful and expressing appreciation, we invoke a power within. We become expansive, our world opens, we widen our view. Creative ideas emerge and we experience a dramatic improvement in our relationships, our creativity, and in our lives.

Studies show  that those who practice thankfulness are healthier, have a better outlook on life, and are more likely to reach important goals; that being valued, appreciated, part of a community, and having the opportunity to contribute are the key drivers to employee satisfaction, engagement, retention, and performance.I wrote the Companion Guide: How to Access the Power of Thankfulness to provide a toolkit for the practice of thankfulness, to make it a way of life, a way of being, at home and at work. It’s an audio book so I can be with you in your car :) and a PDF so you can print out the exercises — All in one!There are hundreds of activities (with facilitation guidance) for organizations, individuals, and families.

Here’s a fun activity from the Guide to use at home or at work:

  1. Give everyone a blank 8-1/2 x 11 piece of paper and a pen. If you have a large group, you may want to give everyone two pieces of paper paper-clipped together (You may want to splurge for nice paper and Sharpies of various colors.)
  2. Have everyone write their name at the top of the paper (or both papers if they have two) and then pass it to the person on their right. (If someone refuses to participate or is absent from the gathering, write their name on top of a piece of paper for them.)
  3. Give everyone a minute or two to write at least one thing they are thankful for about the person whose name is at the top of the page. It could be something about their personality, a talent or skill they have, how they touched you or helped you in the past or present (If you have young children at the table, you may want to allow more time so an older child or grown-up can write what they want to say for them.) Ring a bell to indicate they have about 30 seconds left and ring the bell to indicate that time is up.
  4. Instruct everyone to pass their paper to their right.
  5. Continue steps 3, 4 and 5 until everyone has the piece of paper with their name on it back in front of them.
  6. Give everyone a minute or two to read what’s been written for them.
  7. Invite everyone to read aloud what’s on their sheet of paper. Ask who wants to go first, and next and so on until everyone has shared.
  8. To conclude, thank everyone for sharing and thank them for the difference they make in your life and in the lives of others.
  9. You may want to provide a folder, an envelope or a plastic sleeve for them to put their paper in or a ribbon to tie around the paper rolled into a scroll.

This activity works great around the dinner table, around a conference table at work, in a circle in a classroom, in any group to which we belong.

When we invoke the power of thankfulness we tap into an incredible power within ourselves and others. We rekindle the spark of love, re-ignite our creativity, re-invoke our state of wonder and restore our sense of purpose.

We become inspired. And it is when we are inspired that we achieve significant, meaningful, long-lasting results.

I invite you to practice thankfulness and appreciation every day.

See what happens.

© 2014 Mary J. Lore and Managing Thought LLC All rights reserved.

Experiencing Happiness Every Day

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True HappinessIn the workshops I do, whether we are discussing a life well-lived, a job well-done, a great relationship, a corporate culture, or a well-executed strategy, when we ask what is the essence of what we truly want, the answer is always happiness. Corporate leaders, blue collar workers, moms and dads, sixth graders, teens, seniors, spiritual advisors all want to be happy. “The pursuit of happiness,” is listed in the United States Declaration of Independence among the unalienable and sovereign rights of man. The Dalai Lama teaches that the purpose of life is happiness.

To me, there are two kinds of happiness – emotional happiness and true happiness. Emotional happiness is momentary. Fleeting. It doesn’t last and attachment to emotional happiness eventually results in its opposite—sadness. True happiness, on the other hand, just is. It remains steadfast no matter what happens. We all have the ability to choose and experience true happiness – every day – at work and in life.

The current theme of my Daily Inspiration Thoughts of the Day is Happiness. There are three posts a day offering guidance on how to transform negative thinking and focus on what you want to achieve happiness. Follow or visit Managing Thought on Twitter to receive them as they post or come back to this blog daily and view the Daily Inspiration on Twitter feed in the right-hand menu bar.

For my Forward ThinkingTM Reminder on happiness, click here to listen to audio, download a PDF or read online or click here to read a blog post on the topic.

© 2011 Mary J. Lore and Managing Thought LLC All rights reserved.

The Do-Over is an Amazing Managing Thought Tool

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I call the Do-Over the Amazing Managing Thought tool. Because Self-awareness takes practice. True happiness takes practice. It is a constant awareness of our thoughts, feelings, and choices. Telling ourselves that we need to think more positively or be happy doesn’t do anything. And criticizing ourselves for thinking “bad” thoughts doesn’t work either. It is practice that makes permanent. It’s practicing noticing our thoughts and feelings and, if they are not in alignment with who we truly are, taking a breath (focusing on the exhale), adding light, and choosing thoughts that move us in a direction that serves our purpose. Remember, our brains are fast—very fast. And we want them to be fast. So there’s no reason to be surprised when our brains continue to quickly deliver to us old, habitual thoughts (followed quickly by our mouths!) That’s what the do-over is for—to give our brains a script and practice the script to re-wire our neural nets. It’s like learning to ride a bike, play tennis, or golf! With practice, our new way of thinking and being becomes natural for us.

My next series of daily inspiration thoughts of the day on are focused on do-overs and making slow gradual changes that are lasting.

Visit or follow Managing Thought on Twitter to receive the Do-Over Daily Inspiration Thoughts of the Day (three a day) as they post or read the Daily Inspiration on Twitter feed in the right menu of this blog.

© 2011 Mary J. Lore and Managing Thought LLC All rights reserved.

A Fun and Meaningful Way to Practice Thankfulness at Thanksgiving

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Here’s a wonderful way to express thankfulness at Thanksgiving, help others to know the difference they make in our lives, and create a ripple effect of considerable magnitude.

1. Give everyone a blank 8-1/2 x 11 piece of paper and a pen. If you have a large group, you may want to give everyone two pieces of paper paper-clipped together (You may want to splurge for nice paper and sharpies of various colors)

2. Have everyone write their name at the top of the paper (or both papers if they have two) and then pass it to the person on their right. (If someone refuses to participate or is absent from the gathering, write their name on top of a piece of paper for them)

3. Give everyone a minute or two to write at least one thing they are thankful for about the person whose name is at the top of the page. It could be something about their personality, a talent or skill they have, how they touched you or helped you in the past or present (If you have young children at the table, you may want to allow more time so an older child or grown-up can write what they want to say for them) Ring a bell to indicate they have about 30 seconds left and ring the bell to indicate that time is up.

4. Instruct everyone to pass their paper to their right.

5. Continue steps 3, 4 and 5 until everyone has the piece of paper with their name on it back in front of them.

6. Give everyone a minute or two to read what’s been written for them.

7. Invite everyone to read aloud what’s on their sheet of paper. Ask who wants to go first, and next and so on until everyone has shared.

8. To conclude, thank everyone for sharing and thank them for the difference they make in your life and in the lives of others.

9. You may want to provide a folder, an envelope or a plastic sleeve for them to put their paper in or a ribbon to tie around the paper rolled into a scroll.

This activity works great around the dinner table, around a conference table at work, in a circle in a classroom, in any group to which we belong.

When we invoke the power of thankfulness we tap into an incredible power within ourselves and others. We rekindle the spark of love, re-ignite our creativity, re-invoke our state of wonder and restore our sense of purpose. We become inspired.

And it is when we are inspired that we achieve significant, meaningful, long-lasting results.
How do you express thankfulness at Thanksgiving?

For more on thankfulness, listen to my Heartbeat Radio Show and my Forward Thinking™ podcast.

©2010 Managing Thought. All rights reserved.

Self-Awareness is Key to Achieving True Happiness

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In my last blog on Choosing and Experiencing Happiness, I talked about the difference between emotional happiness and true happiness. I had the opportunity to really experience this last week when my father nearly died.

In my workshops, I ask folks to notice what happens as we listen to the songs Happy Birthday, Taps, Auld Lang Syne, and The Wedding March. We all experience a series of thoughts and feelings, and the happy or unhappy emotions that follow depending on the thoughts. Yet nothing has really happened to us. We’re just sitting there listening to a set of songs. If we are not aware, we mask our true nature, the state of being—true happiness—that is always present, no matter what the external circumstances. We say we’re happy or unhappy, when all that has happened is our brains have presented to us the thoughts and feelings we had when we heard those songs before.

When I practice self-awareness, I look AT the thoughts and feelings presented to me by my brain, instead of FROM them and I discover that I can experience sadness, grief, anger, and other “unhappy” emotions AND at the same time, I can remain truly happy.

Let’s take my experience last week: I phoned my father. He was incoherent. I dropped everything to go to my parent’s house. During my half-hour drive, my brain presented me with numerous thoughts: This could be it! Dad could die today. How could Mom (who is suffering from dementia) not notice that he was incoherent? What if I hadn’t called? What if I wasn’t in town? What am I going to do with Mom?

I also had thoughts of anger at my mom for having dementia and at my dad for not making the decision to move into a senior community where he could have care for her and he could get some rest, have some peace of mind, and have a life. I found my breathing shallow, my heart racing, my jaw and hands clenched.

The essence of every thought is either love or fear. Those rooted in love emanate from and result in true happiness. Those rooted in fear result in emotional unhappiness or short-lived emotional happiness. Looking AT my thoughts, I could see that my brain was presenting me with fight, flight or freeze thoughts—fear, blame, judgment, criticism, worry—all fear-based thoughts that result in emotional unhappiness.

I set my intention: I choose love.

I began thinking thoughts of thankfulness: I am thankful I call Dad every day. I am thankful he answered the phone. I am thankful I am in town and can be there for my parents. I am thankful we have access to great medical care. I am thankful my parents and I have a great relationship, that we have had the opportunity to spend quality time with each other and that we enjoy each other’s company.

Then thoughts of wonder: What can I say or do right now that’s of highest service? How can I help my parents and me? And then ideas came rushing through – Call Dad’s doctor. Ask for advice to help Dad given various scenarios. Ask for referrals on nursing aids for my mom. Remain calm. Help Mom and Dad feel safe. Demonstrate love in every action. Love and trust the flow and process of life.

With these thoughts, I moved out of fight, flight, or freeze and back in touch with the truly happy me. I like to follow the example of the Great Lakes—while the surface of the waters can become rough and excited, deep down, it is very still. So over the course of the next week, although the circumstances were difficult, I could remain in a powerful place. I could experience a number of “unhappy” emotions, feel them (not suppress them), acknowledge them, thank my brain for sharing, and then choose thoughts which move me in a direction that truly serves my purpose, bring me peace, inspire me, and invoke true happiness.

P.S. My Dad’s now better than well and my Mom is doing fine.

For more on happiness, listen to my Heartbeat Radio Show and my Forward Thinking™ podcast.

©2010 Managing Thought. All rights reserved.

Choose and Experience Happiness Every Day

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In the workshops I do, whether we are discussing a life well-lived, a job well-done, a great relationship, a corporate culture, or a well-executed strategy, when we ask what is the essence of what we truly want, the answer is always happiness.

To me, there are two kinds of happiness – emotional happiness and true happiness.

Emotional happiness is momentary. Fleeting. It doesn’t last and attachment to emotional happiness eventually results in its opposite—sadness. True happiness, on the other hand, just is. It remains steadfast no matter what happens.

Emotional happiness changes according to my mood and depends upon my interpretations of and reactions to external circumstances and the behavior of other people. True happiness is a state of well-being and contentment that remains unchanged by external circumstances.

True happiness begins with self-awareness. Learning what brings about true happiness takes self-awareness. Being true to who I am, choosing thoughts rooted in love vs. fear, takes self-awareness.

Self-awareness involves looking at our thoughts, noticing the thoughts that are presented to us by our brains, creating a pause to add light, and choosing thoughts that are in alignment with who I am and who I aspire to be in this moment.

Most of us have not thought about our thoughts. I know I didn’t. Before I started practicing self-awareness and managing my thoughts, I had no idea what I was thinking. I was not aware of the thousands of choices and decisions I was making each day that were not serving my purpose and moving me away from experiencing true happiness.

When I started looking at my thoughts, I became aware of the power of thought—aware that each thought either leads me to true happiness or it doesn’t. And I could practice choosing thoughts that make me truly happy – that are in alignment with who I am and who I aspire to be.

When we, as individuals and organizations, are being true to ourselves, living our truth, that truth offers more happiness and love of our selves and others than we can imagine. Our souls sing. We are inspired and impactful in all we do. We achieve significant results and long-lasting success.

And the ripple effect is of considerable magnitude. Ghandi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Let’s be truly happy, content, at peace. Let’s make that difference.

For more on happiness, listen to my Heartbeat Radio Show and my Forward Thinking™ podcast.

©2010 Managing Thought. All rights reserved.

For more on this topic and how to manage your thoughts in everyday circumstances and how to deal with the challenges you face in practicing self-awareness and being on purpose, Click Here.