Last month, my husband, son and I drove to New Mexico for a family vacation. After an extensive search, we had found the perfect house through VRBO which was adjacent to the Rio Grand gorge, up in the mountains: quiet, remote, solitary and on the river. Perfect.
However, when we arrived, our “cottage on the river” turned out to be a “cottage on the highway, five yards from our neighbors.” And although the interior was nice, we were definitely not next to the river and we also soon discovered we were sharing our home with a family of very hungry mice (who kindly left their calling cards scattered on our kitchen counter each night after they devoured our Trader Joe’s bounty).
Because the work I do is so public, when we make plans to get away, we really like to be alone in nature. So, I was pretty upset when I first discovered the arrangements. But rather than spiral into a very justified complaint-fest, I paused.
On the ride up, we had been listening to some children’s books on CD with my son and the constant theme in these beautiful tales was gratitude.
Five years ago, I would have been on a tirade about how we were led astray by the ad. Was this an opportunity for me to choose how I wanted to view this experience and how I wanted it to impact—or not impact—my family vacation?
So, we chose to reframe it.
And, for the entire week, the three of us focused on what we loved about our vacation home and surrounding area: the Rio Grande gorge, the amazing hikes, the cool air, the delicious pozole/red chile, the wild sage, the local organic veggies, the fabulous hot springs at Ojo Caliente, the stunning sunsets and of course, the opportunity to be with our favorite people in the world—each other.
Extensive research has been conducted over the last few years in the field of psychology on the power of gratitude.
One of the foremost experts, Dr. Robert Emmons, psychology professor and research scientist at the University of California at Davis, editor-in-chief of The Journal of Positive Psychology and the author of “Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier,” found that:
• Grateful people report higher levels of positive emotions, life satisfaction, vitality, optimism and lower levels of depression and stress.
• Maintaining a gratitude journal for three weeks resulted in better sleep quality and duration, more energy and even more time spent exercising.
• A grateful approach to life can be one of the most effective ways of coping with disease, disability, and even death.
While I’ve always been a fan of gratitude as a practice and regularly make gratitude lists, I have to admit, it’s something I “did” intermittently. Not the way I lived every day.
I’m starting to change my tune and seeing that when it comes to creating more balance and peace in our lives, moving into gratitude is absolutely the fastest way I have found to instantly change your mood, outlook and overall state of well-being.
My husband is now getting on board with the gratitude game—he calls it the ultimate happy pill!
Recently, our coaching clients, Personal Renewal Group Facilitators and PRG members have been playing with the gratitude mindset and many are starting to ask “What are the gifts/things to be grateful for that have come from this economic downturn?” Many have shared:
- they have slowed down, they live more in the present and are more interested in creating and maintaining balance in their lives
- they look at life more from the inside-out now, as opposed to the outside-in
- they are coming back to what is really important and spending more time with family (last week we saw three male clients in our office who are all seeking support to identify careers that don’t require travel, so they can spend more time with their young kids)
- they are more appreciative for what they have: their homes, their communities
- they realize they have the power to make choices about their life and their careers
SEPTEMBER CHALLENGE: What gifts have you received from the economic downturn? How can you feel more grateful every day? I’m declaring September to officially be Gratitude Month. Each morning, state out loud at least three things you are grateful for and challenge your loved one to do the same. (Read more about other ways to begin your gratitude practice.) Observe how you feel. And, see how creative you can be (I am grateful I can breathe, I am grateful I can walk, I am grateful I can yawn!) as you feel serotonin flooding through your body and elevating your mood—amazing!
And, if you’d like to be in the joyful company of other amazing women from around the world who also believe in the power of gratitude, join us for my Oct. 2-4 Fall Women’s Self-Renewal Retreat at the Crossings or our FREE September 17th Personal Renewal Group Sampler via phone on Reconnecting with Who You Are (details below).
I invite you today to go to our Live Inside Out fan page and share what you are grateful for—RIGHT NOW!
Upcoming Events and Training:
- Sept. 17th from 7-8 p.m. CST: FREE Personal Renewal Group Sampler class led by Renee Trudeau and based on The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal. September Theme: Reconnecting with Who You Are. Order your copy now and register here to join us. Listen to the July Personal Renewal Group *Sampler Class* on The Transformative Power of Self-Care here.
- Sept. 25 Noon - 1:00 Renee presents Reclaim Your Life: Strategies and Insights for Balanced Living for Wisdom at Work Austin, TX; learn more: www.wisdomatworkaustin.org
- 2009 LIVE INSIDE OUT Campaign: Join the Revolution!
Join the LIVE INSIDE OUT revolution and learn strategies and ideas on how to live more intentionally every day.
- Are you a therapist, coach, doula or women's empowerment advocate who loves supporting women and helping them nurture their emotional well-being? Learn more about becoming a PRG Facilitator and join a national community of leaders who are changing women's lives through powerful life coaching groups centered around The Mother's Guide to Self-Renewal.
- Did you know Renee travels around the world speaking to corporations, organizations and at national conferences on Creating Balance from the Inside Out (and other related topics)? Learn more about having Renee speak at your next event, workshops or conference. We're scheduling fall events now.
- Visit our online calendar to learn about upcoming self-renewal retreats and events. We're scheduling 2010 events now.