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You Can Change Your Life, By Changing Your Attitude – Attitude is EVERYTHING!

As much as some of us (me included) would like to be able to control every aspect of our lives, we can’t! But what we can control is our attitude toward what does happen to us. We all experience and continue to experience “trying” times in our lives. The WHAT in these situations is less important than the HOW.

How we react and move through these particular situations will determine their effect on our physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. I thought this was the perfect time to remind all campers for the power of attitude as we prepare to head outside for boot camp. If you have been fighting a less than optimal attitude this winter, now is the time to embrace the change!

Studies say that up to 40% of our happiness comes from how we choose to approach our lives. Especially during “trying” times, we focus on all of our problems. We then get in the habit of focusing our attention on all the negative things happening in our lives. What would happen instead if we switched that focus to all of the good things that happen to us each and every day? What if we took time daily or weekly to reflect on things we are grateful for in our lives? 

Increasing Happiness 

Gratitude is the forgotten factor in happiness research.

Grateful individuals

  • Report higher levels of positive emotions
  • Have greater life satisfaction
  • Experience greater vitality
  • Are more optimistic
  • Are healthier
  • Build strong relationships
  • Handle adversity better
  • Experience lower levels of depression and stress

People who have a strong disposition toward gratitude have the capacity to be empathetic and to take the perspective of others. They are also rated as more generous and more helpful. Grateful individuals place less importance on material goods, are less likely to judge their own and others success in terms of possessions accumulated, and are less envious of others.

Gratitude is Good for your Health

A study done by Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami showed that those individuals who practiced weekly gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. During the study, one group wrote about things they were grateful for that had occurred during the week, a second group wrote about daily irritations or things that had upset them, and a third group wrote about events that had affected them in neither a positive or negative way.

The first group who wrote about what they were grateful for also exercised more and had fewer visits to the doctor than those who focused on daily irritations, hinting at the power of gratitude.

Ideas for Promoting Gratitude

  • Write a thank-you note ( I love doing this!)
  • Thank someone mentally
  • Keep a gratitude journal (Yes, Oprah was right!)
  • Meditate
  • Count your blessings (everyday)

Coach Mike and I try to take a few moments each day to reflect to each other things we are grateful for and small blessings that we forget about. It is especially helpful when it just seems like nothing is going your way, or you are having a particularly bad day or stress levels start to creep up on you. Try it, it works!

Some campers keep gratitude journals. After starting a gratitude journal, people begin to look at people and things differently, seeking out the positive in each situation or interaction. They appreciate the “little things” and don’t take them for granted. A shift in mindset happens and they notice when they are not as consistent with journaling; they can easily fall back into a mindset focused on all that is lacking.

Examples entries from a gratitude journal:

  • I am so grateful for my knowledge of how to live a healthy lifestyle and help others do the same…
  • I am so grateful that I devoted time to my yoga practice today…
  • I am so grateful for the AMAZING weather we have been having!

A simple step and my coaching suggestion as we plan for a super season outside is to try your own Gratitude Journal listing five things that you are grateful for each day and you will start to see an incredible shift in your life to one of positivity, improved health, less stress and life satisfaction. Oh yeah, plus the added bonus of invigoration of spring and outdoor boot camps with your friends!

Have an awesome day!

Your Friend and Coach, Catherine & Michael

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