Giving Thanks Is Not Just For The USA

As you’re probably aware, November is Thanksgiving month in the United States. And it got me to thinking, why not have something similar in other countries as well?p1070138

It doesn’t have to be something formal – a particular day or month. Rather it can be a very personal, private type of thanksgiving.

So I stated to do a bit of research and BAM! Did I find some amazing stuff out there in the multiverse about gratitude, being thankful, showing appreciation – however you want to describe it.

In his book The Last Lecture, Randy Paul said ‘Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other.’

There are also some amazing health benefits you can get by being grateful.

  • Physical benefits: People who are grateful seem to be more careful about their own health. They do smart stuff like eat well and exercise regularly.
  • Spouse / Romantic relationship benefits: According to a 2011 study by Kubacka, Finkenauer, Rusbult, and Keijsers reported in Psychology Today, people in a partnership / romantic relationship feel gratitude for their partner when they feel their partner is being responsive to their needs. They then feel motivated to respond in kind – and this develops a positive gratitude cycle over time, increasing caring. Surely that’s got to be a good thing!
  • Stress reduction: According to a WebMD article, gratitude can reduce, or better manage, stress. It is thought that feelings of appreciation have a positive effect in helping people cope with their worries.
  • Sleep benefits: Several studies on the benefits of sleep and gratitude have been conducted over the past few years in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. They have all found that regularly recording why people are grateful helps them sleep better. It seems to have something to do with the participants having more positive thoughts rather than negative ones. (The first of these studies was conducted by Nancy Digdon, Department of Psychology, Grant MacEwan University, City Centre Campus, Edmonton, AB, Canada; another  conducted by University of Manchester).
  • Gratitude just helps you feel happier. By acknowledging the good things you have you can connect with something bigger than yourself. And even if you can’t find too much to be grateful about, some scientists believe that it that act of searching for something to be grateful about is the key.

So how do you go about tapping into this gratitude bug? Here are five ideas – but don’t feel limited to these!

  1. Keep a journal. One study found subjects who wrote down one item that they were grateful for every day reported being 25 percent happier for a full six months after following this practice for just three weeks!
  2. Share your gratitude by saying thanks! Acknowledge what others do for you. Even writing little notes is a lovely way to say thanks to someone. Wouldn’t you like to be recognized for the efforts you are making? Then why would someone else be different.
  3. Look outside yourself. What has made your family and friends happy today? Starting a ‘gratitude chat’ can have wide reaching and positive connections with family, friends, colleagues, team members – the list goes on.
  4. Look inside yourself. Meditating on your thankfulness can calm your mind and help balance out negativity.
  5. Picture it out. You’ve heard of a vision board – well, you could make a gratitude board. Find pictures, sayings, symbols of what you are grateful for – these could be family members, friends, holidays, even your favourite pair of comfy shoes or piece of sports equipment! Just surround yourself of reminders of what you appreciate and this can make a big difference.

So, now you have some ideas – let’s really take the bull by the horns and have a 30 day Gratitude Challenge!

I’ll post on my Enrich Your Energy Facebook page what I’m grateful for – and you share with me what you are grateful for. Let’s get some energy going around this – particularly important coming up to Christmas when people can get a bit stressed out. I write regularly in my Thankful Journal, but this will take it to a new level – and I’m EXCITED!!!!!

In appreciation of you reading my blog….

Meredith

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How Laughter Can Add To The Business Bottom Line (Part 1)

laughing woman-1138446__180What are the key employee concerns you have for your business?  Stress management? Absenteeism? Burnout? Long hours? Stagnant performance? Conflict? Stuck thinking?

The list goes on and on, doesn’t it?

So what can you, as an executive or business owner, do about helping your employees improve their performance, manage their stress, not take so many days off, think more clearly, work better as a team, improve their communication skills, reduce conflict, increase their motivation and more?

Have you ever considered introducing more laughter into your business?

Not laughter as in telling bad jokes or watching questionable slap stick comedies. But laughing simply for its own sake.

There is a growing body of scientific evidence that indicates laughing, as a physical exercise rather than a cognitive one, is extremely beneficial to our health.

This type of laughter is called Laughter Yoga. The ‘yoga’ part of Laughter Yoga is the deep breathing that is a fundamental part of the exercise. There is no requirement for gym gear or weights, yoga mats or leotards!

What is Laughter Yoga?

Laughter Yoga is an aerobic exercise. It comprises a series of short laughing exercises mixed with role play and playfulness, interspersed with grounding exercises, clapping, stretching and deep breathing.laughing ladies-495749__180

Science has proven that 20 minutes of sustained laughter can bring significant physiological benefits.  Laughter Yoga is the only technique the engages the aerobic nature of laughing with the deep breathing of yoga, stretching, chanting and clapping to bring a holistic mental and physical workout.

Studies have shown that our bodies can’t tell the difference between laughter that is genuine and laughter that is faked. That means that just by faking laughter your body is getting the benefits of aerobic exercise.  Laughter Yoga is the only technique that gives adults the opportunity to have sustained hearty laughter for a period of time without the mind having to be engaged. There is no judgment, just laughter for its own sake.

The only equipment/space requirements for Laughter Yoga is a space where people can stand and move in comfort, some chairs, and room for participants to keep a water bottle handy.

So I’m sure you want to know more about the areas where can Laughter Yoga help a business, and how. Well, wait no longer. I’ll be sharing six articles about the benefits of Laughter Yoga for your business.

The first one is a modern day scourge – Stress.

Laughter Yoga and Stress Managementwoman stress-1006100__180

There are many types of stress – physical, mental and emotional.

In the modern business, hours can be long, conflict can be high, pressures can be great. Competition can be robust and exhilarating, but can also have a bad effect on morale. A high performing manager with a squillion dollar portfolio to invest,  1000 team members to manage, a medical facility with patients as well as staff to administer or a school to run can feel just as stressed as an employee who feels under-appreciated, underpaid, bullied, or guilty because of time not spent at home.

Laughter Yoga uses physical expression and playfulness to help release pent up emotion. Most people in the business world spend a lot of energy maintaining a persona – Laughter Yoga creates a safe environment for that mask to be relaxed.

laughing man-1232063__180Intense laughter has been shown to release endorphins which simply make people feel good. It also provides an environment for people to express themselves without fear, helping increase communication skills. Potential conflict can be avoided, as it is often built up stress that makes people lash out.

The role playing component allows participants’ focus to be on the activity, rather than thinking about work which gives their brains a chance to refresh. It also allows the person to enjoy the sort of creativity they engaged in as children. Childlike, not childish, is the type of play that Laughter Yoga encourages.

Laughter yoga can even help with the stress of aches and pains. Laughter Yoga helps the body release endorphins, often called the ‘feel good’ hormone, but endorphins are also the body’s natural pain relief.

By laughing, participants can release out pent up emotion. Think about the last time you really had a good laugh – it’s a very cathartic experience.  Oh you can’t? hmmmm, then you are SO overdue for a Laughter Yoga session!

Up next

In my next article I’ll talk about the business benefits that can be achieved using Laughter Yoga for Increased Mental Acuity, including creative an innovative thinking.

Laughter Yoga can be run in pretty much anywhere in a business.

Laughter Yoga is all about being healthy and safe, so it can even be run one-on-one for those busy executives who just need to let their hair down in a safe place.

If you’d like to find out more about the Laughter Yoga sessions I run for business, just drop me a line at meredith@meredithyardley.com.

 

Ha Ha, Ho Ho Ho!

cheers Meredith

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