25 November, 2009

A Thanksgiving Full of Thankfulness

It’s become many family’s tradition to have each person sitting at the Thanksgiving dinner table tell everyone in attendance for what they are grateful.  My family, too, honors this tradition although I’ve not had the privilege of spending Thanksgiving with them for many years.

In my younger years I, of course, had little regard for this tradition.  As a child, when food was set before me I was ready to eat!  Now my understanding of this practice gives me a much greater appreciation for its value in my life and in the lives of others.

The good folks at the Institute of HeartMath® have been working for many years to understand the power of emotion contained within the heart, the heart/brain entrainment, and the physiological ramifications of the heart’s emotional content.  As part of their findings, they’ve been able to produce conclusive evidence that we can shift ourselves from the feelings of stress and other negative feelings/emotions entirely by getting into our “heart space” and operating from one of the following four places for a period of three minutes: (1) Love (2) Appreciation (3) Gratitude OR (4) Compassion.  Getting into this space provides a shift in our being, no matter the circumstances surrounding our lives currently.  But this is no easy task – I assure you!  I’m able to easily produce these feelings for 30-45 seconds but my attention starts to wane or I begin to feel like I’ve exhausted my list of things for which I’m grateful.

One of the great things about this exercise is that it causes you to dig deep.  You’ll quickly run out of the surface things within the first minute.  The remainder or time causes you to really examine what you love, what you’re appreciative of, what you’re grateful for, or where in your life you have compassion.

To shift your being, you don’t need to pick one of the above items only.  You can move down into your heart and begin to exercise all four of the above feelings – you just need to stay in one or a combination of the four attributes for a period of three minutes in order to shift who you are being in the moment.

This technology is so effective that it’s now being used by major corporations to train their managers how to make effective decisions.  Rather than a manager going to a meeting where he is expected to make a decision just after having received a phone call or e-mail with negative considerations about that thing, these managers are learning to make decisions based on their hearts rather than their heads – and it’s having outstanding success.

I employ this technology when I get a phone call from someone who is having a stressful day or is feeling overwhelmed by what they have to do.  I simply ask them to tell me for what they are grateful.  They begin to tell me and when the finish, I ask them to tell me for what else they are grateful.  I continue this line of questioning, either with the same attribute or a combination of any/all of the above four attributes until I’ve helped that person get into his/her heart and produce love-filled emotion for three minutes.  Most people don’t even recognize that this is what I’m doing.  They simply know that they feel entirely better after that conversation and they are free of stress and clear of mind to take whatever their next steps are.

I’m providing this link to the “De-Stress Kit for the Changing Times” as posted on the HeartMath® website.  Give yourself the gift of reading this thirteen-page article today.  It will be the best preparation you could give yourself for this Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season.  With this preparation, you’ll be aptly prepared to face whatever stress might come your way.

Happy Thanksgiving!  May you be blessed with the gifts of thankfulness and gratitude for that which you have.
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