Monday, August 30, 2021

Gratitude can change your Attitude

Some of us have complaining minds. Whether your mind just likes to vent (get someone to listen), looks for sympathy, or ruminates obsessively about a problem, all these tendencies are unhealthy to your mind and body.

Quantum physics has demonstrated that merely observing (noticing; turning our attention to) something, we bring it into being. Reality comes into being through consciousness turning its attention in that direction. In other words, whatever we focus on grows. This is why worrying and complaining is not a good idea.
Negativity physically destroys your brain explains Rick Hanson, Ph.D., a psychologist and Senior Fellow of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, “…people who routinely experience chronic stress—particularly acute, even traumatic stress—release the hormone cortisol, which literally eats away, almost like an acid bath, at the hippocampus, which is a part of the brain that’s very engaged in visual-spatial memory as well as memory for context and setting.”

We’ve all heard that gratitude is important. An Attitude of Gratitude is potentially one of the most common threads to all religions. An Attitude of Gratitude is more than thinking of 3 things to be grateful for at the end of each day. An Attitude is something that is inherent and constant. One way of considering an Attitude of Gratitude is more like the Bible describes in Ephesians 5:20 “Giving thanks always for all things unto God.’ Or "Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God.”

University of California at Berkeley Research showed that gratitude leads to a stronger immune system, healthier blood pressure, greater joy, optimism, and sense of overall well-being, acting with more generosity and compassion, and feeling less lonely and isolated. A group of Chinese researchers found that higher levels of gratitude were associated with better sleep, and also with lower levels of anxiety and depression.

An Attitude of Gratitude is essentially a state of mind where one reminds themselves to focus on the good even when things are not going as we wish. Yes, even in the hard times. Gratitude eventually, by continual choice, becomes a way of seeing life.

Let’s face it, sometimes we don’t FEEL grateful! This is important to notice, but still move forward. Gratitude can be cultivated.

The Art of Ascension provides simple tools that bring gratitude into our lives simply and easily. Before I learned the Art of Ascension, I had a “practice of Gratitude” with little clips of paper in my car, in the bathroom, at my desk with statements of Gratitude. I “worked at it” religiously. When I learned the Art of Ascension, I was amazed at how effortless it really is. Shocked in fact! Using these tools takes the mind into a much deeper place quickly and effortlessly. Gratitude becomes the by-product, as does health, joy, and peace.

If you would like to learn more, please contact me.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Appreciation: The Aim of Life

G.K. Chesterton said, “The aim of life is appreciation.”

It has been shown that the deeper your ability to appreciate, the more access you have to your intuition and inspiration. HeartMath research has shown that a practice of appreciation is an “effective way to improve mental, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being.

Appreciation is related to gratitude. One definition of appreciation that stands out to me is “the act of recognizing or understanding that something is valuable - To perceive those things that give life (health, vitality, excellence) to living systems” (Cooperrider and Whitney, p. 231).

Appreciation (and other related emotions) boost the immune system, while frustration and its ilk can suppress the immune system for up to 6 hours. Positive emotions have been demonstrated to improve health, increase longevity, increase cognitive flexibility, facilitate “broad-minded coping” and innovative problem solving, and promote helpfulness, generosity, and effective cooperation.

With a sincere practice of appreciation, a person can make significant changes toward living a more enjoyable and less stressful life. At the physiologic level, appreciation shows increased synchronization between the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches of the nervous system, and entrainment between the heart rhythm pattern, respiration, and blood pressure rhythms.

While cognitively induced breathing patterns can generate similar coherent patterns for brief periods, it is difficult to sustain these breathing patterns. However, appreciation can cause the coherent patterns to emerge naturally and can be sustained for longer periods. Once a pattern is established, the brain strives to maintain and match the pattern.

Studies show that after a practice of short periods of appreciation several times a day over a few days or weeks, people report a reduction of mental dialogue along with increased peace and sense of well-being.

In a HeartMath paper called, “The Appreciative Heart, The Psychophysiology of Positive Emotions and Optimal Functioning" Rollin McCraty, Ph.D. concluded that positive emotions, based on appreciation are easy to learn and have value cross cultures, age groups, and spiritual backgrounds. Most people may understand this concept, but don’t have these skills because their emotional life is based more on reaction to outer circumstance than conscious choice. However, learning to replace maladaptive (negative or inconsistent emotional) patterns with appreciation related emotions require conscious choice, commitment and a regular practice.

A regular practice of the Art of Ascension includes Praise, Gratitude, Love and Compassion.

(Note: All research is from