|(Natural News) Another day, another Democrat, post-mass shooting, who wants to stifle liberty and steal more of your freedom. In the wake of the most recent shootings in El Paso and Dayton, the Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer of New York, wants to make it more difficult for even schoolchildren to survive such an incident….|
While a healthy lifestyle can include many different things, perhaps one of the most overlooked is purposely adopting an attitude of gratitude. There’s an awful lot of stress and unhappiness in the world, and gratitude is an effective remedy that costs nothing.
The World Happiness Report,1 issued annually since 2012, looks at gross domestic product per capita, healthy life expectancy, freedom of choice, social support, generosity and perception of corruption occurring in 156 countries. For 2019, the United States’ ranking dropped for the third year in a row, placing it 19th.
As reported by Vox,2 the authors of the report suggest drug addiction may play a significant role in Americans’ declining happiness. Loneliness is also becoming an increasingly common problem, with 46% of American adults reporting they sometimes or always feel lonely and 47% saying they do not have meaningful in-person social interactions on daily basis.3,4,5
Ditto for depression. According to the latest statistics,6 17.3 million American adults (7.1 percent of the adult U.S. population) and 3.2 million adolescents (13.3 percent of U.S. population aged 12 to 17) suffered at least one major depressive episode in 2017, and 16.7% of U.S. adults use psychiatric drugs.7,8 While it may be tempting to medicate away persistent feelings of unhappiness and anxiety, it’s not a long-term solution.
If your joy quotient could use a boost, commit to cultivating gratitude on a daily basis. As with other lifestyle strategies, consistency — really making it a regular part of your everyday life — is what allows true and lasting change to take place. In this case, allowing for a greater sense of happiness and contentment to arise.
What is gratitude?
As noted by Robert Emmons, one of the leading scientific experts on this topic, “Gratitude is an emotional state and an attitude toward life that is a source of human strength in enhancing one’s personal and relational well-being.”9 In his paper, he points out that gratitude has a long tradition within world religions, where it is viewed as a virtue that leads to a good life.
According to Emmons, gratitude has two key components.10 First of all, it’s an “affirmation of goodness.” In short, when you feel or express gratitude, you affirm that you live in a benevolent world.
Second, it’s a recognition that the source of benevolence comes from outside of yourself; that other people (or higher powers, if you so like) have provided you with “gifts.” In Emmons’ view, gratitude is “a relationship-strengthening emotion, because it requires us to see how we’ve been supported and affirmed by other people.”
One simple and proven11 way of cultivating gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal, in which you document the things you’re thankful for each day. As you journal, keep the following guidelines in mind:
- Focus on the benevolence of other people — Doing so will increase your sense of being supported by life and decrease unnecessary anxiety
- Focus on what you have received rather than what’s been withheld
- Avoid comparing yourself to people you perceive to have more advantages, more things or “better luck,” as doing so will erode your sense of security. If you’re going to slip into comparisons, contemplate what your life would be like if you didn’t have something you currently enjoy
How gratitude benefits your psychological health
From a psychological perspective, the practice of gratitude has been shown to:
• Increase happiness and life satisfaction12
• Lower stress13
• Increase your perceived level of social support14
• Improve emotional resiliency15 — As noted in one study,16 “positive emotions contribute to psychological and physical well-being via more effective coping,” and that “positive emotions play a crucial role in enhancing coping resources in the face of negative events.” By improving resiliency, gratitude helps you “bounce back” faster when something negative happens
• Reduce symptoms of depression17,18 — According to one study,19 “Correlation analysis showed that gratitude, depression, peace of mind and rumination were interrelated … Results … suggested that gratitude may … counteract the symptoms of depression by enhancing a state of peace of mind and reducing ruminative thinking.”
This benefit also has biological underpinnings, as researchers have confirmed that gratitude triggers the release of mood-regulating neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin.20
It also stimulates your hypothalamus (a brain area involved in the regulation of stress) and your ventral tegmental area (part of your brain’s reward circuitry that produces pleasurable feelings).21 In short, it actually helps alter your brain in beneficial ways
Gratitude benefits physical health and work too
The beneficial effects of gratitude as a state of mind are not limited to your psychology, however. According to Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy,22 an expert in brain and mind health, gratitude has “a health maintenance indication for every major organ system” in your body.23 Indeed, research has found gratitude:
- Reduces pain24 and lowers inflammation25,26
- Improves your heart rate variability, which can help lower blood pressure and reduce the likelihood of sudden death in patients with congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease27
- Lowers risk for heart disease — According to one study, “Efforts to increase gratitude may be a treatment for improving well-being in heart failure patients’ lives and may be of potential clinical value”28,29
- Improves general health by encouraging self-care30,31
- Improves sleep32,33,34 (which in and of itself can have wide ranging health benefits, lowering your risk of obesity, diabetes, cancer and much more)
Studies have also shown gratitude can have a beneficial impact on other areas of your life as well — boosting productivity,35 reducing materialism and increasing generosity,36 for example. All of which can improve your general “happiness score.”
Excessive materialism blocks gratitude
Gratitude is actually a form of generosity, because it involves offering or extending “something” to another person, even if it’s only a verbal affirmation of thanks. It’s not so surprising then that materialism has been identified as one of the most significant blocks to gratitude. As noted in a newsletter by the Greater Good Science Center (GGSC), which maintains a project called Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude:37
“Seen through the lens of buying and selling, relationships as well as things are viewed as disposable, and gratitude cannot survive this materialistic onslaught … Research has proven that gratitude is essential for happiness, but modern times have regressed gratitude into a mere feeling instead of retaining its historic value, a virtue that leads to action …
[G]ratitude is an action of returning a favor and is not just a sentiment. By the same token, ingratitude is the failure to both acknowledge receiving a favor and refusing to return or repay the favor. Just as gratitude is the queen of the virtues, ingratitude is the king of the vices …
If we fail to choose [gratitude], by default we choose ingratitude. Millions make this choice every day. Why? Provision, whether supernatural or natural, becomes so commonplace that it is easily accepted for granted.”
So, gratitude isn’t a response to receiving “your due,” but rather the recognition that life owes you nothing, yet provided you with everything you have anyway — a place to live, family, friends, work, your eyesight, your breath, indeed your very life.
When you start seeing everything as a gift, opposed to things you’ve deserved (for better or worse), your sense of gratitude will begin to swell. It can also be helpful to remember that materialism, ungratefulness and entitlement are surefire prescriptions for unhappiness, as generosity and happiness are neurally linked.38,39 Put in another way, when you act generously — even if no money is involved — you automatically increase happiness. Act stingy, and happiness declines.
Practical strategies to build and strengthen gratitude
GGSC has a number of resources you can peruse at your leisure, including The Greater Good Magazine40 and Thnx4, a digital gratitude journal41 where you can record and share the things you’re grateful for year-round. There are also many other gratitude journal apps you can download. Positive Routines has rated 11 of the best apps to track your happiness.42
Aside from keeping a daily gratitude journal, there are many other ways to practice gratitude. I’ve compiled suggestions from various experts below. The key is to stay consistent. Find a way to incorporate your chosen method into each week, ideally each day, and stick with it.
Acknowledge “useless” goodness — A way to flex your gratitude muscle when life events leave you uninspired is to identify and express gratitude for seemingly “useless” or insignificant things.
It could be a delightful scent in the air, the color of a flower, your child’s freckles or the curvature of a stone. Over time, you’ll find that doing this will really home your ability to identify good things in your life.
Write thank-you notes43 — Make it a point to write thank-you notes or letters in response to each gift or kind act — or simply as a show of gratitude for someone being in your life.
Say grace at each meal — Adopting the ritual of saying grace at each meal is a great way to flex your gratitude muscle on a daily basis,44 and will also foster a deeper connection to your food.
While this can be a perfect opportunity to honor a spiritual connection with the divine, you don’t have to turn it into a religious speech if you don’t want to. You could simply say, “I am grateful for this food, and appreciate all the time and hard work that went into its production, transportation and preparation.”
Let go of negativity by changing your perception — Disappointment can be a major source of stress, which is known to have far-reaching effects on your health and longevity. In fact, centenarians overwhelmingly cite stress as the most important thing to avoid if you want to live a long and healthy life.
Since stress is virtually unavoidable, the key is to develop and strengthen your ability to manage your stress so that it doesn’t wear you down over time. Rather than dwelling on negative events, most centenarians figured out how to let things go, and you can do that too. It takes practice, though. It’s a skill that must be honed daily, or however often you’re triggered.
A foundational principle to let go of negativity is the realization that the way you feel has little to do with the event itself, and everything to do with your perception of it. Wisdom of the ancients dictates that events are neither good nor bad in and of themselves. It is your belief about the event that upsets you, not the fact that it happened.
As noted by Ryan Holiday, author of “The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living,”45 “The Stoics are saying, ‘This happened to me,’ is not the same as, ‘This happened to me and that’s bad.’ They’re saying if you stop at the first part, you will be much more resilient and much more able to make some good out of anything that happens.” And, once you can see the good, you’re more apt to feel gratitude.
Be mindful of your nonverbal actions — Smiling and hugging are ways of expressing gratitude, encouragement, excitement, empathy and support. These physical actions also help strengthen your inner experience of positive emotions of all kinds.
Give praise — Research46 shows using “other-praising” phrases are far more effective than “self-beneficial” phrases. For example, praising a partner saying, “thank you for going out of your way to do this,” is more powerful than a compliment framed in terms of how you benefited, such as “it makes me happy when you do that.”
Prayer and/or mindfulness meditation — Expressing thanks during prayer or meditation is another way to cultivate gratitude. Practicing “mindfulness” means that you’re actively paying attention to the moment you’re in right now. A mantra is sometimes used to help maintain focus, but you can also focus on something that you’re grateful for, such as a pleasant smell, a cool breeze or a lovely memory.
Create a nightly gratitude ritual — One suggestion is to create a gratitude jar,47 into which the entire family can add notes of gratitude on a daily basis. Any jar or container will do. Simply write a quick note on a small slip of paper and put it into the jar.
Some make an annual (or biannual or even monthly) event out of going through the whole jar, reading each slip out loud. If you have young children, a lovely ritual suggested by Dr. Alison Chen in a HuffPost article48 is to create a bedtime routine that involves stating what you’re grateful for out loud.
Spend money on activities instead of things — According to research,49 spending money on experiences not only generates more gratitude than material consumption, it also motivates greater generosity. As noted by co-author Amit Kumar, postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Chicago, “People feel fortunate, and because it’s a diffuse, untargeted type of gratitude, they’re motivated to give back to people in general.”50
Embrace the idea of having “enough” — According to many who have embraced a more minimalist lifestyle, the key to happiness is learning to appreciate and be grateful for having “enough.”
Financial hardship and work stress are two significant contributors to depression and anxiety. The answer is to buy less and appreciate more. Instead of trying to keep up with the Joneses, practice being grateful for the things you already have, and release yourself from the iron grip of advertising, which tells you there’s lack in your life.
Many who have adopted the minimalist lifestyle claim they’ve been able to reduce the amount of time they have to work to pay their bills, freeing up time for volunteer work, creative pursuits and taking care of their personal health, thereby dramatically raising their happiness and life satisfaction. The key here is deciding what “enough” is. Consumption itself is not the problem; unchecked and unnecessary shopping is.
Many times, accumulation of material goods is a symptom that you may be trying to fill a void in your life, yet that void can never be filled by material things. More often than not, the void is silently asking for more love, personal connection, or experiences that bring purpose and passionate engagement. So, make an effort to identify your real, authentic emotional and spiritual needs, and then focus on fulfilling them in ways that does not involve shopping.
Try tapping — The Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) is a helpful tool for a number of emotional challenges, including lack of gratitude. EFT is a form of psychological acupressure based on the energy meridians used in acupuncture that can quickly restore inner balance and healing, and helps rid your mind of negative thoughts and emotions. In the video below, EFT practitioner Julie Schiffman demonstrates how to tap for gratitude.
Thank you for all your support through the past 22 years!
Gratitude is one of the core aspects for personal success outlined by Arianna Huffington in her book, “Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder.”51 Indeed, what worth does success (of any kind) have if it’s not accompanied by a sense of gratitude?
As Mercola.com celebrates its 22nd year online, I have much to be grateful for — my staff, of course, and you, my readers, without whom none of what I do would matter. If you were not passionate about improving your health and well-being, there would be no point in any of this work.
Sharing simple, inexpensive strategies that have a powerful effect on health is my passion. The fact that so many of you are taking these recommendations to heart and are implementing them and benefiting from them fills me with gratitude. It’s what makes this journey worthwhile.
Nurturing an attitude of gratitude is a simple way to bring more joy, well-being and even physical health to your life. From being thankful to appreciating kindnesses and recognizing all the good in your life, gratitude is the act of recognizing all that has value in your life (and this has nothing to do with monetary worth).
Feelings of gratitude are linked to brain activity in the anterior cingulate cortex and medial prefrontal cortex, brain regions associated with moral cognition, value judgment and theory of mind, according to a study in Frontiers in Psychology, which helps explain why gratitude leads to benefits in mental health and interpersonal relationships.1
Showing gratitude is a healthy habit you can learn, just like eating right and exercising, and there are plenty of ways to cultivate gratitude in your life. Among them is the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), a psychological acupressure technique demonstrated by Julie Schiffman, EFT tapping therapy practitioner, in the video above.
What is gratitude?
Gratitude can be difficult to define, as it has elements of an emotion, a virtue and a behavior, all rolled into one. Robert Emmons, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, and an expert on gratitude, defines it as a two-step process.
As explained in “The Science of Gratitude,” a white paper by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, the two steps include “1) ‘recognizing that one has obtained a positive outcome’ and 2) ‘recognizing that there is an external source for this positive outcome.’”2
In this regard, the benefits of gratitude may be gleaned from the actions of other people or experienced in an internalized manner, such as when feeling gratitude about good fate or nature. Gratitude can also be a function of your mood, which fluctuates and may be temporary, or can be more of an affective trait, i.e., a tendency to have an overall gracious disposition.
Gratitude may also be affected by social and cultural influences, including religion, although it’s been found that even young children have some understanding of gratitude, which suggests it may be part of the human experience and that, “The Science of Gratitude” added, “the roots of gratitude run deep.”3
Why practicing gratitude is important
At the most basic level, gratitude is associated with life satisfaction4 and multiple health benefits, in part because gratitude may lead to better psychological health and an increase in healthy activities and a willingness to seek help for health problems.5 Gratitude is known to facilitate improvements in healthy eating6 and benefits depression by enhancing self-esteem and well-being.7 Further, people who are more grateful tend to be:8
- Less materialistic
- Less likely to suffer from burnout
There are benefits for people with chronic illness as well, as among patients with heart failure, gratitude is linked to better mood and sleep and less fatigue, while those who expressed more gratitude had lower levels of inflammatory biomarkers.9 Even if you’re healthy, feeling gracious can help you sleep better and longer, perhaps by improving your thoughts prior to sleep.
“The relationship between gratitude and each of the sleep variables was mediated by more positive pre-sleep cognitions and less negative pre-sleep cognitions,” according to a study in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research.10
Gratitude can also boost your relationship. In a study of romantic partners, gratitude from interactions was linked to increased connection and satisfaction with the relationship, with researchers suggesting, “gratitude had uniquely predictive power in relationship promotion, perhaps acting as a booster shot for the relationship.”11
In the bigger picture, gratitude may act as a gateway to the development of other virtues, including increased patience,12 humility and wisdom. “[G]ratitude is intertwined with several other important virtues, and perhaps … by boosting gratitude in individuals, we can foster these other virtues as well,” “The Science of Gratitude” noted.13
What is EFT?
EFT is a psychological acupressure technique that’s based on the same energy meridians used in acupuncture. However, instead of stimulating the pathways with needles, EFT uses tapping with your fingertips along with voicing positive affirmations. EFT can help you rid your mind of negative thoughts and emotions, facilitating gratitude.
This technique is especially helpful on those days when you feel like nothing is going right or you’ve received bad news. As Schiffman says, everyone deserves to process negative emotions and feel upset for a short time, but if you let these feelings fester for too long, it can start to be damaging.
This is where EFT can be invaluable in helping to free you from the negativity and find things to be grateful for — even in the midst of an otherwise hard time.
EFT can help to decrease the intensity of traumatic memories after just one session,14 which may be a necessary step to facilitate gratitude in some people. Once you’re able to recognize and tap into feelings of gratefulness during hard times, it will be even easier to feel grateful on ordinary or good days.
What’s more, EFT is associated with benefits as well, including reductions in anxiety and depression,15 increases in happiness and improvements in pain and cravings.16 When combined with tapping for gratitude, it’s likely that using EFT can contribute to enhanced health on both physical and emotional levels.
How to perform EFT
While you can recruit the help of a professional EFT practitioner, I invite you to use the following resource to learn the mechanics of EFT, as well to help you gain an appreciation for its wide-ranging application, including to boost gratitude.
There are two basic areas to learn in order to use EFT: the tapping locations and technique, and the positive affirmations.
Tapping is done with your fingertips, solidly but not so hard that it hurts. Ideally, remove any glasses or watch (which could interfere electromagnetically with the process) prior to tapping, and tap each point five to seven times. The tapping points are below; it’s easiest to start at the top and work your way down.
1. Top of the Head (TH) — With fingers back-to-back down the center of the skull.
2. Eyebrow (EB) — Just above and to one side of the nose, at the beginning of the eyebrow.
3. Side of the Eye (SE) — On the bone bordering the outside corner of the eye.
4. Under the Eye (UE) — On the bone under an eye about 1 inch below your pupil.
5. Under the Nose (UN) — On the small area between the bottom of your nose and the top of your upper lip.
6. Chin (Ch) — Midway between the point of your chin and the bottom of your lower lip. Even though it is not directly on the point of the chin, we call it the chin point because it is descriptive enough for people to understand easily.
7. Collar Bone (CB) — The junction where the sternum (breastbone), collarbone and the first rib meet. This is a very important point and in acupuncture is referred to as K (kidney) 27. To locate it, first place your forefinger on the U-shaped notch at the top of the breastbone (about where a man would knot his tie).
From the bottom of the U, move your forefinger down toward the navel 1 inch and then go to the left (or right) 1 inch. This point is referred to as Collar Bone even though it is not on the collarbone (or clavicle) per se.
8. Under the Arm (UA) — On the side of the body, at a point even with the nipple (for men) or in the middle of the bra strap (for women). It is about 4 inches below the armpit.
9. Wrists (WR) — The last point is the inside of both wrists.
While tapping, you’ll want to hold the problem or negative emotions in your mind while saying (ideally out loud) your positive affirmations, which can take on any number of forms.
A basic phrase to use would be, “Even though I have this [you fill in the blank], I deeply and completely love and accept myself.” If you are in public and don’t want to say your affirmations out loud, it’s acceptable to say them very quietly or in your head, but for best results speak them with feeling and emphasis (even if you don’t believe them yet).
Sometimes one round of tapping is enough to clear up an issue while with others repeated rounds are necessary. The great thing about EFT is that it costs nothing and you can use it as often as necessary to support your emotional health. You can also perform EFT on children (or teach them how to do it themselves) during stressful situations or to help resolve emotional traumas or gain positive attributes like gratefulness.
What else works to become more grateful?
EFT is a simple, fast and no-cost way to facilitate more gratitude in your life, but it’s not the only method out there. In fact, for best results use EFT in conjunction with other gratitude facilitators, such as these tips from Emmons for living a more grateful life:17
- Keep a gratitude journal, and set aside time daily to fill it with moments of gratitude from your day.
- Remember hard times in your life, which remind you how much you have to be grateful for now. “[T]his contrast is fertile ground for gratefulness,” Emmons says.18
- Appreciate what it means to be human by tuning into and appreciating your sense of touch, sight, smell, taste and hearing.
- Use visual reminders, including people, to trigger gratitude. This helps to combat “the two primary obstacles to gratefulness,” which Emmons cites as “forgetfulness and a lack of mindful awareness.”19
- Make an oath of gratitude. Simply vowing to be grateful can increase the likelihood that you’ll stick to the behavior, so write a note “vowing to count your blessings” and post it somewhere where you’ll see it often.
|(Natural News) Yet another subculture is emerging from within the ever-expanding Cult of LGBTQ: LGBTQs who like guns and want to better learn how to use them. The group “Pink Pistols,” which we’ve covered in the past, is making waves particularly within Seattle’s LGBTQ community for meeting with one another to discharge firearms at local…|
|(Natural News) The Internet has so revolutionized the way people can access data that the current period in which we live is often referred to as the “Information Age.” That’s ironic because so much of the information available today is false, fake, or premised on intentionally misleading and biased research. In fact, so-called “junk science”…|
The Epstein Archon: The Must-Listen 8 Minute Video
The post The Epstein Archon: The Must-Listen 8 Minute Video appeared on Stillness in the Storm.
By Paul Goldberg,
DailyMail reports Jeffrey Epstein had a bizarre portrait of Bill Clinton in a dress hanging in his Manhattan mansion, DailyMailTV can reveal.
The picture depicting the former president apparently lounging on a chair in the Oval Office, wearing red heels and posing suggestively in a blue dress redolent of Monica Lewinsky was in a room off the stairway of the Upper East Side townhouse.
The dress is also strikingly similar to one worn by Hillary Clinton at the 2009 Kennedy Center Honors. The original painting is by Australian-American artist Petrina Ryan-Kleid, although it is unclear if Epstein had bought the canvas or had a print mounted. Ryan-Kleid exhibited for her degree show when she graduated with an MFA in 2012 from the New York Academy of Art.
The painting was secretly snapped inside the pedophile’s lavish $56 million home in October 2012, four years after Epstein completed his sweetheart deal for prostitution of a minor and seven years before he was accused of running a sex trafficking ring of underage girls.
The source, who asked to remain anonymous, was visiting Epstein to present a business proposal – an encounter with the pervert which included spotting a girl who seemed to be 14 waiting to see the financier.
The woman said she was shocked to catch sight of the portrait through an open door as she walked through the ornate home with her business partner.
She told DailyMailTV: ‘It was absolutely Bill Clinton. It was shocking – it was definitely a painting of him. It was a very provocative, sexual picture. He was wearing heels, a blue dress and his hand was in a weird position.
The color of the dress seemed to be a pointed reference to Clinton’s former intern Monica Lewinsky, who a blue dress during their infamous sexual encounter in the White House.
Epstein and Clinton were once friends, with the now 72-year-old flying on the now deceased financier’s private plane, dubbed the Lolita Express, several times and on his own account vising the town house once – making it possible he could have seen the bizarre painting.
— trappedpatriot (@trappedpatriot) August 14, 2019
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) August 14, 2019
And some of his victims, like Virginia Roberts, in her court filings, said Epstein remarked to her that “information is king,” &mentioned that Bill Clinton was there because “he owes me a favor.” Fraud and Blackmail: Jeffrey Epstein’s Finances #epsteinDead https://t.co/wMsZnVBYsz
— Anna Brees (@BreesAnna) August 10, 2019
Now we know how Epstein got his money!!! Blackmail!! All these pedis!! Even Prince Andrew, Bill Clinton, many celebs, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was killed by those who didn’t want their secrets revealed! Now there’s video! Good luck!
— myview999 (@myview999) August 14, 2019
Haven’t you figured it out yet, Clinton was a target for blackmail.
I’m guessing he knew the game that was being played.
Why don’t you?
He got a lot of free flights though while they were trying to compromise him.
— Charlie Flashlight (@COKeyphi) August 14, 2019