The Practice of Happiness

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“Happiness is a journey, not a destination.” We’ve all heard that quote in some form or another before. It has a nice ring to it, but what does it really mean? As simple as this quote seems, it actually is a key principal behind the science of happiness. The findings surrounding positive psychology shows that happiness is ultimately a practice which can be executed in many forms. Furthermore, in order to sustain and maintain happiness we need to develop a consistent practice.

The good news is that practicing happiness is actually fun. It’s why we created the 30 day happiness challenge for our upcoming June TheraBox. Notice though, that we said it’s fun – not easy. Keeping a habit or a consistent practice is never easy, but we know you can do it. Why? Because we can do hard things, and we’ve most definitely accomplished much harder things in the past. Need some examples? How about surviving high school? Man, it’s tough to be a kid trying to figure out high school and the adult responsibilities that are coming to you at full speed certainly doesn’t make the process much easier. You survived four years of that, so what’s four years compared to 30 days? Or how about raising another human being for all the mommies out there? That’s arguably one of the toughest jobs in the world, but you’re doing it every single day! So yes. You can do this fun-but-not-easy 30 day challenge because you deserve to have more joy and self love in your life. Whether you’re already on cloud 9 happy, or need a little pick me up – this 30 day challenge inspired by research in positive psychology is yours for the taking.

Positive psychology (also frequently referred to as the study of happiness) utilizes the scientific method to understand how humans flourish and all the emotionally fulfilling aspects of human behavior. It studies the practices, thoughts, and motivations that best contribute to the “good life”. Lucky for us, it’s been a pretty popular subject to study in our decade and psychologists + neuroscientists have been able to identify certain actions and behaviors that enhance our wellbeing and happiness. *Sending telepathic thanks and showing gratitude to all the psychologists and neuroscientists out there right now because it’ll boost our happiness ;)*

We love linking positive psychology and neuroscience together because they just pair so well jointly. Here’s why: Positive psychology studies teaches us that showing gratitude, volunteering, smiling while cultivating positive thoughts, hugging, and other behavioral practices increase joy. Then, neuroscience comes in and tells us that if we repeat a practice everyday for roughly 21 to 30 days, we will literally rewire our brains to take on that habit. Your brain will actually physically change to accommodate whichever practice you put into place. It is completely up to you whether that practice be a positive or negative habit.

The truth is, whether you like it or not your brain is already wired. That’s just what brains do- they wire themselves up based on our actions and thoughts 24 hours a day. Unfortunately, a lot of us have wired our brains up for self-sabotaging behaviors over the course of our life time due to past trauma or negative experiences we’ve encountered. Thus, the wiring of our brains often look like this: negative self talk, criticism, and unhealthy habits. Of course we don’t mean to do these things to ourselves. I mean, who consciously wants a negative brain? Nonetheless, our brain won’t ever stop being the hard worker that it is, and it will incessantly wire itself every. single. day. Pros and cons to this incessant wiring though, because it means that it is never too late! We can begin rewiring it in a positive manner the same way we’ve been wiring our brains all our life: through our thoughts and practices. So let’s begin with this 30 day challenge filled with positive psychology methods to increase joy and make that habit stick because neuroscience said so 😉

The challenge will officially start July 1, 2017 however it really doesn’t matter when you start. Just start. The reason we have an official date is because all of us here at TheraBox will be participating in it too and we’ll be checking in via our private facebook group. The full list of the 30 days of happiness challenge calender will be included in our upcoming June TheraBox shipping April 26. Thus, you’ll receive it in the mail by July 1st.

Here are a few of the challenges that will be included:

Day 3 – Give out 3 big long hugs.
Neuroeconomist Paul Zak explains the simple act of eight hugs a day can increase internal oxytocin levels. Oxytocin is often known as the “love” hormone or “bliss chemical” and has anti-anxiety effects. Fun fact: High levels of oxytocin have been observed in couples in the first six months of a relationship. Yea, remember that honeymoon feeling? You can get that through giving out 8 hugs a day. We’re only asking for 3 big long hugs though, which can also do the trick if they’re big, long hugs!

Day 16 – Smile and send telepathic love to all you see
In a study conducted at Michigan State Univerisity (2011), it was found that people who smile as a result of cultivating positive thoughts can dramatically and immediately boost their mood. So send those positive thoughts, compassion, and kindness telepathically while smiling to all the strangers and people you come across on Day 16 (and forevermore if you can).

Day 23 – Locate and apply to a volunteer place.
Altruism is not only good for the world, but also good for you. Donating time in a cause you believe in is linked to decreased depression and even a lower risk of early death! Volunteering helps people feel more socially connected, thus warding off loneliness and depression. In a 2012 study, evidence suggests that volunteering has physical health benefits such as lowering your blood pressure and prolonging our lifespan. Double score!

There’s 27 more challenges not listed in this blog post, but all are short and quick ways to boost happiness. We hope you will join us on this challenge. Reserve your June TheraBox today, and join our private facebook group! See you soon!

UPDATE:

Opt in to receive daily reminders in your email & join the 30 day challenge! You do not have to be a subscriber to participate 🙂

April review, May sneak peeks, Bonus gift and more!

Therabox-goodies april boxPhoto Credit: @pageflutter

Hello Happiness Junkies!

Today we’re diving into a thorough look at everything inside our April TheraBox, and also a sneak peek into what’s coming up in our May box of happiness! April’s theme was gratitude with a subtle reminder to stop and smell the roses 😉 If you missed out on our sold out April box, have no fear! You can now purchase one time products directly from our site or visit the links below to get yours!

Research shows it takes about 21 days to rewire our brains for change! You can rewire your brain for more joy simply by recalling 3 things you’re thankful for everyday. Based on this philosophy, we thought it fitting to include a Thankful Jar in our first box. The Thankful Jar comes with 30 Gratitude Strips and decorative pieces including twine, crinkle cut paper, and a handmade tag. Our subscribers were encouraged to decorate each jar to their own unique styles, and we received amazingly creative pictures from our happiness junkies!

The Gratitude Jar $5.99 + shipping

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Mindful Mixtures “Peace Out Be Happy” Organic Essential Oil $13.95 + shipping

Photo Credit: Cratejoy

This 100% organic therapeutic grade essential oil blend includes Lavender, Orange, and Bergamot, all of which provide both calming yet uplifting benefits. Lavender and Bergamot both contain a significant percentage of Linalyl acetate. This component encourages balance in the body and reduces stressful feelings while Orange’s uplifting aroma unblocks and circulates stagnant energy!

Laura Botanicals “Cozy” Bath Salts with essential oils $4.00 + shipping

Laura is a registered Aromatherapist and studies botanical perfumery and herbalism in order to provide high quality botanical ingredients in all of her products. Immerse yourself in the aroma of skin nourishing essential oil blends mixed with mineral rich Dead Sea Salts, Pink Himalayan Salts, and Epsom Salts to indulge your mind, body, and spirit!

Stop and Smell the Roses…

Rose Scented Candle. Candle in Tin. Travel Candle. Scented Soy Candle. Soy Wax Candles. All Natural Candle. Soy Candles Handmade.Candle Gift

Rush Candle Company ” I Wish I was Surrounded by Roses” All natural 4oz soy wax candle – $11.00 + shipping

Rush Candle Company proudly hand pours all their natural soy wax candles in small batches. Their wicks are nontoxic and use the finest phthalate free fragrance oils available! Light these wonderful candles without fear, and treat yourself!

Rose and Cedarwood Madder Root and Rose Clay and Essential Oil Soap - 100% All Natural - Rustic Handmade Soap

CM Armstrong 100% Handmade Rose Cedarwood Clay Soap $6.50 + shipping

This 100% all natural soap has no pigments or colorants used, and is made of rose, cedarwood madder root, rose clay, and essential oils. Rose clay is considered a type of kaolin clay and is suitable for dry skin! They’re so pretty, we almost don’t want to use it!

The Happy Shoppe Organic Jasmine Rose Loose Leaf Tea $7.50 free shipping

An aromatic blend of the finest organic loose leaf tea leaves and sun dried rose + jasmine flower buds. Each vial is good for 5 services. This handmade flower infused mix can help alleviate stress, cleanse the body, and leave you feeling happier & healthier! Take a sip and start your day organically!

Cratejoy is my new self-care secret weapon (plus my Bullet Journal).

The Happy Shoppe Stainless Steel Mini Tea House Infuser $9.99 free shipping

This adorable stainless steel tea infuser is the perfect gift for all tea lovers and will put a smile on anyone’s face! Use this in conjunction with the organic test tube teas to brew your perfect cup of tea!

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Happsters Greeting Card $3.50 + shipping

Instagram Happiness Guru @Happsters partnered with TheraBox to create a not yet released card just in time for Mother’s Day! Send this card to a deserving someone with a thoughtful message. Research shows that when we do acts of kindness for others, our own happiness increases! Talk about a win, win situation!

That’s it for our April box of goodies, but we’re not finished yet…. We know you’ve been waiting to see what we have planned for May!

May Sneak Peeks – Theme: All Things Happy

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Your Tea “Happy Tea” Full Size Box, 40 packets – $25.00 + shipping (~$30.00)

All of Your Tea blends, Happy Tea included, are created by a team of qualified Chinese medicine practitioners. Concocting TCM blends require skill and knowledge, all of which is poured into each & every creation. Happy Tea is filled with herbs that boosts emotional wellbeing, to make you feel happier inside and out! Visit their site for more detailed information about how happy tea helps in brightening your mood!

The Happy Shoppe Warrior Semicolon Necklace $15.00 free shipping
Warrior Semicolon Inspirational Necklace

A semicolon is a place in a sentence where the author has the decision to end the sentence with a period, but chose not to. It symbolizes strength+hope & is a reminder that your story is not over yet; the best is yet to come. The simple yet powerful meaning of the semicolon weaved into the “warrior” in you serves as a wearable tribute to how far you’ve come, and the infinite possibilities of the exciting future.

Happiness Boosting Activity: Happy Pills!

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What’s inside these happy pills and how will they boost your happiness? You’ll find out when your May TheraBox arrives 😉

For a limited time, receive a free bonus gift when you sign up! Use code BONUS at check out. Existing subscribers can receive this bonus gift as well by leaving us a review on facebook and emailing us at info@mytherabox.com when done!

BONUSGIFT

Knowledge applied is power: How to increase peace and wellbeing using the 2 facts of life


The only guarantee we have in life is change and death. Sounds pretty depressing doesn’t it? If things are always changing, and the only promise we have is death; then life seems quite bleak. That’s certainly one way to look at life, but what if we can use these two facts of life to our advantage and get ahead of the game? Applied knowledge is power, and knowing these two facts of life and applying it to daily life is how we can invoke everyday peace and wellbeing. For example, if we knew it would rain tomorrow, then we’d likely prepare an umbrella to weather the storm. That’s knowledge (knowing it’s going to rain), and it’s powerful because we were able to take action with that knowledge. Our day changed for the better when we utilized the information to our advantage, and we ended up dry and cozy instead of completely drenched. Therefore if we have some pretty valuable knowledge about the universe already, we can strategize ways to withstand the inevitable storms of life and remain nice and dry when the storm hits. Despite the weather conditions outside, we can sustain our inner peace because we’ve prepared ourselves for it. Will it still be chilly and gloomy when the rain strikes? Yes. But at least we’ll be centered and dry 🙂

So how can knowing life’s two facts (death and change) actually help us?! Let’s begin with change. Change is scary, uncomfortable, and knows just how to get straight to the source of all our insecurities. We’ve all been there. Say you’ve always been a straight A student, but then one day you receive a C on a test. The sudden change often triggers all these scary, uncomfortable, and insecure thoughts and you suddenly begin to question every aspect of yourself and wonder if you were ever really a good student to begin with. Despite you doing something right 99% of the time, the one time you receive a criticism it’s like all your years of knowledge and hard work dissipated. When something unfamiliar happens (i.e., changing careers, losing a loved one, taking on a new role) it’s only natural that we begin questioning ourselves and what we know to be true. It’s how we grow, and learn about ourselves and the world around us. Without doubts, questions, and change there would be glory to life. But it isn’t a pretty feeling, and we’ve all wanted the feelings of uncertainty to just go away. Well, it’ll never completely go away (another fact of life, yay!). However, if we can sit with the knowledge that all things change and are temporary; then it can be incredibly liberating. Perhaps you’re thinking, ‘will knowing all things pass really make me feel better? It’s not like I don’t know that already. It just doesn’t really make me feel any better’. Well, let’s examine the truth of this thought.

Have you ever been on a really scary roller coaster ride where you regretted it the moment the safety bars locked? You quickly began wishing you could get off, and just as you were about to tell the operators to let you off- ZOOM and off you went. Now, imagine if you never knew that you were guaranteed to get off and that it was all temporary and would end soon. Imagine if you really thought this was going to go on indefinitely. You’d probably feel 23408 thousand times worse. But instead, you held it together and rode that roller coaster like a champ because you knew (like really, really knew) that in about another 2 minutes and 35 seconds, it would be over. Unconsciously, that made you feel better and saved you from a complete mental breakdown. Sometimes we get sucked into the chaos of it all and forget to take a step back and realize that this too will pass. This feeling, day, week, season, year – it always changes and passes. If we can really know and believe in the fact that all things are temporary, just as we know and believe that we’ll get off that roller coaster eventually; then we can ride the waves of life in a much more gracious manner. True peace is knowing that all things (good and bad) will pass, and that it is okay. If we’re able to cultivate this type of peace, our inner world will remain stable and the external world will have little power in influencing our peace.

But lets be real. It’s hard to keep the peace when our world feels like its being turned upside down and sometimes life gets really hard, so we like to be practical and actionable here at TheraBlog. While we wait for the icky feeling or situation to pass, the best things we can do for ourselves is exactly what we would do on a scary roller coaster ride we want to get off of: Sit with the uncomfortable, scary, and insecure feelings. Breathe. Be patient, and wait for it to pass. Fortunately, knowledge is power, and with power we can take action while waiting for negative season to pass! Just as we prepare for rain with an umbrella, we can prepare for change and uncertainty. If you know that it’s rough right now, or that it’s going to get tough soon, then you can weather it by making a preparation list of items and strategies to utilize during the storm. For example: reach out to support systems, ask for help, reflect in solitude, read a book, do something for yourself and others, travel, meditate, buy TheraBox, etc. 😉

Now let’s move on to the second fact: death. The beauty of our brain is that we can often decide how we want our minds to perceive certain matters. For example: cloud watching. We always want to point out something cool when we’re cloud watching. We know that piece of cloud doesn’t really look like a dragon, but if we adamantly wanted it to be a dragon, we’d find all the evidence in our environment to support it. We’d find a way to configure the shape of that fluffy white cloud into a dragon’s silhouette. How does this relate to death? Well, just as we can influence our minds to transform white puffy clouds into dragons, we can similarly turn beautiful things ugly and ugly things beautiful with power of our minds. We can catastrophize death and think of death as an end all be all (i.e., “if we’re all going to die anyway, then what’s the point?” type of thinking), or we can see death for what it really is. Death in its purest form = the limited amount of time we have here on Earth. With the knowledge that our time here is limited, we can choose how we want to spend our time. There’s going to be 24 hours in a day whether we like it or not. However, the quality of those 24 hours is going to be exactly how we like it to be. Knowing we’re all going to die anyway gives you the permission to be exactly what you’ve always wanted to be, because who cares?! In the end, we all turn into the same dust and ashes. However while we’re still here, we get to be completely creative and unique and that is absolutely beautiful. In your time here on this Earth, there will never be another person that talks/smells/looks/sounds/tastes like you. When you’re dead though, we’ll all decompose into brown nutrients for the earth. So take this time to be that free spirit that you are, because our time is limited and none of us will make it out alive anyway 🙂

I know it’s easier said than done, and it’s difficult to remember them or apply them wholeheartedly. We often wish for a simpler way out of the struggles we face, so at times we don’t like to remember these hard truths. I leave you today with a quote Robert Frost once said: “the best way out is always through”. We must go through change and difficulty to reach the finish line so that we may reflect back and smile at the ways in which we danced in the sunlight and umbrella’d through storms when our limited time calls for us. The upside though, is that there are always tools and resources we can use while we go through the eye of the storm.

 

Detox & Destress in the Tub! (A Korean Bathing Secret to Remove Toxins Fast!)

Here at TheraBlog, we believe in the power of practicality and love action based strategies to improve everyday wellness incorporating the mind, body, soul & spirit! Today we want to share with you a unique form of bathing frequently practiced in Korea and Japan. Warning: it is intense and you will feel as if you just came home from doing an hours worth of Bikram Yoga. You will sweat PROFUSELY within 10 minutes, and witness your toxins seep out from your pores! I have not found a better way to detox, destress, and remove toxins while sitting in one place. This unique bathing strategy is known as “The Half Bath”, or the ban-shin-yok.

Traditionally, bathing has been known to promote blood circulation, decongest lungs/sinuses, induce sleep, and reduce muscle/joint pains. The half bath includes all the benefits of a traditional bath, and takes it up another notch. The half bath aids in the body’s digestive and detoxifying process as it raises your core temperature more than a traditional detox bath; allowing more impurities to be sweated out while burning calories! Residual effects can include improved skin tone, higher metabolism, feelings of relaxation, and a better nights rest. I would highly suggest trying this before bed, because you will feel absolutely exhausted yet relaxed afterwards! If you’re pregnant or have a medical/heart condition, please beware this technique may not be right for you.

WHAT YOU NEED:

These ingredients are optional as you can take a half bath simply with hot water and still sweat profusely. However, these ingredients will heighten the detox process and provide vital nutrients for your skin!

  • Epsom Salt or Sea Salt – Both of these salts are rich in minerals such as magnesium and potassium, which are easily absorbed into your pores and known to cleanse and purify the skin on a molecular level. This improves the skin’s radiance, tone, and texture while detoxifying the body. Epsom salt and sea salt also aid in relieving muscle tension and joint pains. Pour 1 cup into your half bath!
  • Essential oils – Mix a few drops of your favorite calming essential oils such as chamomile, lavender, or eucalyptus into the bath. Essential oils can help moisturize your skin and the aroma will promote relaxation and reduce stress!
  • Half a tub of very warm/hot water up to your belly

HOW TO TAKE A HALF BATH:
korean half bath infographic

  1. Drink a glass of water before you begin – hydration is key as this is pretty intense and you will be sweating loads. Prepare yourself as you would for a workout at the gym, and always keep a glass of water next to the tub!
  2. Fill your bathtub a little under half way with hot water (as hot as you can handle). The key here is that the water should only reach up to your belly button!
  3. Soak the entire lower part of your body (up to your belly) for a maximum of 45 minutes. I’ll be honest, I’ve never lasted past 30 minutes, but I always try to do at least 20 minutes! *important* The entire upper body should remain dry throughout the bath! It’ll be tempting to dip your fingers in the water, or wash off all the sweat but then you won’t get the full effects of the half bath!
  4. You will notice that you’re sweating profusely about 10 minutes in. Stay for only as long as you can handle (max 45 minutes, but I’d recommend 20-30 minutes if you’re just starting out). Don’t oversoak yourself and treat this like a work out – if you overwork your body, you can faint! Be sure to keep hydrated during the bath.
  5. Take a warm/cool shower to wash off all the sweat and drink a glass of water when you’re done!

Happy soaking! We’d love to hear about your experience in trying the half bath, and as a thank you for reading this blog through we’ll tell you a little secret: our next TheraBox includes some pretty awesome all natural bath treats perfect for the half bath 😉

5 myths of meditation that stop you from meditating – Debunk them now!

meditation

I know, I know… meditation can feel like a snooze fest for some of you and an absolute miracle to others. There’s a lot of misconception surrounding meditation, because most of us imagine meditation as sitting in one place for hours at a time while chanting “om”. While that is certainly one form of meditation, the truth is you can do meditation anytime, any style, and anywhere. Today we are debunking all the myths that blocks your practice!

MYTH #1 – You have to sit in an uncomfortable cross-legged position or chant mantras

The image above might be what ­­you associate meditation with when the thought pops in your head. It was certainly my first impression at least. I thought meditation was reserved only for monks up on the Himalayan mountains before I began my practice. Fortunately, that is absolutely not the case! In fact, you can meditate while sitting in traffic, walking, eating, standing, sitting, and laying down – the possibilities are endless! While you can certainly do it cross-legged, that is not a requirement! Neither are mantras. I’ve been practicing for 3 years, and don’t remember a time I’ve chanted a mantra while meditating.

MYTH #2 – I can’t sit still for that long! It’s too boring/I don’t have time/It’s weird.

I still catch myself thinking that I don’t have time for meditation, even when I inherently know it’s not true. Funny how time likes to play tricks on our brain! Truth is; you do have time! A simple everyday meditation practice can take anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes. If Oprah, Kobe Bryant, Arianna Huffington, Katy Perry, and a plethora of other remarkably busy people can do it, so can you!

MYTH #3 – You have to quite your mind & stop thinking while you’re meditating

This is one we definitely hear about a lot. Many people believe their mind must be blank while meditating or else it’s not working. Unfortunately, this myth often causes beginners to forfeit their practice out of frustration. Meditation isn’t about stopping or quieting our thoughts- it’s about cultivating a sense of stillness and peace. Often times, we can cultivate stillness by setting an object of attention to focus on (for example our breath, an image, or paying attention to surrounding sounds). Thoughts will inevitably arise, and our goal is to notice our thoughts and watch them as if we were watching a movie. We pay attention to the thought without judgement or desire to push them away. We acknowledge the events happening in our mind, and we can choose to either continue observing the thought or return our attention to the object of attention (breath, image, or sound).

MYTH #4 – It takes a long time to achieve the benefits of meditation

It might seem like we have to go up to the mountains and find a secluded place to isolate ourselves for a year to achieve the ultimate benefits of meditation, but luckily that is false. Meditation benefits can be immediate. For instance, there was a period in my life when I was super stressed out and had difficulty falling asleep because of all the constant thoughts and worries in my head. Luckily, it was about the same time that I discovered meditation and began using the practice to induce me to sleep. For me personally, I’ve found that body scan meditations are the most helpful form of meditation in putting me to sleep. The results are immediate, and I fall asleep within 10 minutes, every time! Other immediate benefits include lowering your blood pressure, promoting relaxation, reducing stress, and boosting energy if you’re not in a sleep deprived state. Additionally, you can start achieving more long-term benefits in as little as 8 weeks! A landmark study conducted by Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital found that participants engaging in consistent meditation practice for 8 weeks experienced decreased anxiety, greater feelings of calm, and produced growth in areas of the brain linked to memory, empathy, sense of self, and stress regulation. All that goodness in less than 2 months! What a steal. Your mind, body, and soul will thank you deeply.

MYTH #5 – Meditation is a spiritual or religious practice.

Meditation does not require a spiritual or religious belief, and its practiced by people of all different religions and beliefs. Many meditators are atheist or agnostic, and practice daily for the evident mental/physical/health benefits.

The real benefits of meditation are actually experienced outside of our practice. It’s in the moments of everyday life when we begin to notice that situations once pulling for our attention no longer bother us quite as much. Personally, It’s when I’m stuck in the gruesome LA traffic after a long day of work, and feel perfectly at peace in my car. It’s when a rude customer service agent makes me feel compassion rather than anger. I find that the times I’m more easily annoyed is directly linked to my consistency in practice. When we meditate consistently, we subconsciously carry some of the stillness and peace from our practice into our daily lives. That is where the magic happens.

 

The Key Ingredient to Happiness: Gratitude

From philosophers to rulers since the early BC’s, human species have ruminated over this timeless question: what is the secret to happiness? Thanks to emerging research in neuroscience and psychology, we no longer have to speculate on the factors contributing to our happiness. So, what are the ingredients to happiness? It isn’t something very sexy like money, fame, or that beautiful Ferrari. It’s good ol’ gratitude! Currently, there are over 26 studies and counting supporting the link between gratitude and happiness. According to multiple research studies – gratitude not only improves our happiness, but also our career, health, and relationships!

Gratitude and Happiness

Gratitude acts much like a natural antidepressant, because our every thought and action results in a release of chemicals in the brain. By recalling just 5 things we are grateful for everyday, we can activate certain regions of our brain and promote dopamine and serotonin production. Dopamine and serotonin are often considered as our “bliss” neurochemicals, and fires when we do things that bring us pleasure. Procrastination, self-doubt and lack of enthusiasms are linked with low levels of dopamine, while depression and loneliness are associated with deficiencies in serotonin. It’s no wonder why most medications prescribed to treat depression focuses on increasing levels of serotonin and dopamine production in our brain.

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­­Gratitude and Career

How does being thankful help us in our career? Think back to all the horrible bosses you’ve encountered, and compare them to the bosses/organizations you’ve happily worked for. You may find that the common thread between the two is that one expresses gratitude and appreciation toward your efforts, while the other is overly critical and micro-managerial. In which environment did you feel more productive and creative in? Chances are, the grateful boss empowered you to want to work harder and provided you the room to be more innovative. If you are the one showing appreciation and gratitude- kudos to you! I imagine your work life to be that much more fulfilling and the clock to tick that much faster. Interacting with your coworkers and clients using gratitude not only boosts your networking skills, but also makes you a more effective employee/boss.

gratitude-career

Gratitude and Health

You may have heard that stress is detrimental to your health, and places you at higher risk for heart disease, asthma, obesity, diabetes, and the list goes on. According to the American Psychological Association, chronic stress is linked to the six leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide. We’ve accumulated a few studies showing how gratitude is associated with reduction in physical pain, increased sleep quality, lowered blood pressure and risk of heart disease! Here’s an at-a-glance chart of findings from multiple studies:

RESULTS STUDY
Keeping a daily gratitude journal caused participants to report:16% fewer physical symptoms, 19% more time spent exercising, 10% less physical pain, 8% more sleep, 25% increase sleep quality Counting Blessings Versus Burdens: An Experimental Investigation of Gratitude and Subjective Well-Being in Daily Life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Emmons, R. A., & McCullough, M. E.
The emotions of appreciation and gratitude was shown to induce the relaxation response The Grateful Heart: The Psychophysiology of Appreciation.McCraty, Rollin; Childre, Doc Emmons, Robert A. (Ed); McCullough, Michael E. (Ed).
A gratitude visit reduced depressive symptoms by 35% for several weeks; and a gratitude journal lowered depressive symptoms by 30%+ for as long as the journal was kept Positive Psychology Progress: Empirical Validation of Interventions. American Psychologist, Seligman, M.E.P., Steen, T.A., Park, N., & Peterson, C. (2005).
In patients with hypertension, there was a significant decrease in their systolic blood pressure when they counted their blessings once a week Gratitude: Effect on Perspectives and Blood Pressure of Inner-city African-American Hypertensive Patients. Randolph Wolf Shipon, Temple University.
Gratitude correlated with improved sleep quality, less time required to fall asleep, and increased sleep duration Gratitude influences sleep through the mechanism of pre-sleep cognitions. Journal of psychosomatic research. Wood, Alex M., et al.
Levels of gratitude significantly correlated with vitality and energy Multiple Studies!

Gratitude and Relationships

As a practicing therapist, I’ve observed a common thread among people expressing dissatisfaction in their relationships. The thread is universal across dating, marriage, family, and even parenting. Relationships become strained when either party feels undervalued and unappreciated for a sustained amount of time. Below is a list of common quotes that are code for “I feel unappreciated, and just need some lovin’”.

Parent to child:
“All you care about is your games/friends/*insert unapproved activity*”
“Oh, Tom’s mom lets him do that? Then go live with Tom’s mom.”

Child to parent:
“I HATE YOU!”
“You just don’t understand!”

In dating and relationships:
“Whatever, do what you want.”
“You always want to hang out with your friends!”

In Marriage:
“Why can’t you just be more [romantic, thoughtful, helpful, considerate].”
“I remember when you used to [talk to me, be romantic, clean].”

Friend to friend:
“All you do is hangout with your boyfriend/girlfriend now.”
“We never do the things that I want to do.”

gratitude-relationships

Conclusion? Practice gratitude to improve every aspect of your life and increase happiness!

*Hint: Our first TheraBox‘s theme is related to this article 😉