5 new entries added to article, that include pictures. 1. <div>What if there was a solution to stress so simple that it involved nothing more than feeling thankful for the good things in your life? In fact, there is. That solution is called gratitude.</div><div><br></div><div>Studies have shown that people who regularly practice feeling thankful have a leg up when it comes to their health. Robert Emmons, a psychology professor at the University of California at Davis, has been a leading researcher in this growing field, termed “positive psychology.” His research has found that those who adopt an “attitude of gratitude” as a permanent state of mind experience many health benefits.</div><div><br></div><div>Emmons’ findings, along with those from other researchers such as Lisa Aspinwall, a psychology professor at the University of Utah, suggest that grateful people may be more likely to:</div><div><br></div><div><ul><li>take better care of themselves physically and mentally</li><li>engage in more protective health behaviors and maintenance</li><li>get more regular exercise</li><li>eat a healthier diet</li><li>have improved mental alertness</li><li>schedule regular physical examinations with their doctor</li><li>cope better with stress and daily challenges</li><li>feel happier and more optimistic</li><li>avoid problematic physical symptoms</li><li>have stronger immune systems</li><li>maintain a brighter view of the future</li><li>With that list of benefits, who wouldn’t want to try it? To get started giving thanks, consider integrating some of the steps below into your daily life.</li></ul></div><div><br></div><div><b>Focus Attention Outward</b></div><div>Your attitude plays a large role in determining whether you can feel grateful in spite of life’s challenges. According to Emmons, gratitude is defined by your attitude towards both the outside world and yourself. He suggests that those who are more aware of the positives in their lives tend to focus their attention outside of themselves.</div><div><br></div><div><b>Be Mindful of What You Have</b></div><div>You may assume that those with more material possessions have more to be grateful for. However, research suggests otherwise. Edward Diener, a psychology professor at the University of Illinois, found that a high percentage of affluent people in Japan report low levels of life satisfaction, just as those living in poverty in India do. These findings suggest that it’s not how much you have, but how you feel about what you have that makes the difference.</div><div><br></div><div><b>Keep a Gratitude Journal</b></div><div>Recording what you feel grateful for in a journal is a great way to give thanks on a regular basis. Emmons found that those who listed five things they felt grateful for in a weekly gratitude journal reported fewer health problems and greater optimism than those who didn’t. A second study suggests that daily writing led to a greater increase in gratitude than weekly writing.</div><div><br></div><div><b>Reframe Situations as Positive</b></div><div>It’s not actually a challenging situation that is upsetting. It’s how you perceive the situation. The next time you find yourself complaining about life’s hassles, see if you can mentally “flip the switch” to frame things differently. For example, rather than getting down about missing an opportunity, try to see the positive side. You might now have more time to direct towards other priorities.</div>

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Studies Show That People Who Regularly Practice Giving Thanks Are Happier

Studies have shown that those who regularly choose to have an attitude of gratitude are much more healthy.
1
<div>What if there was a solution to stress so simple that it involved nothing more than feeling thankful for the good things in your life? In fact, there is. That solution is called gratitude.</div><div><br></div><div>Studies have shown that people who regularly practice feeling thankful have a leg up when it comes to their health. Robert Emmons, a psychology professor at the University of California at Davis, has been a leading researcher in this growing field, termed “positive psychology.” His research has found that those who adopt an “attitude of gratitude” as a permanent state of mind experience many health benefits.</div><div><br></div><div>Emmons’ findings, along with those from other researchers such as Lisa Aspinwall, a psychology professor at the University of Utah, suggest that grateful people may be more likely to:</div><div><br></div><div><ul><li>take better care of themselves physically and mentally</li><li>engage in more protective health behaviors and maintenance</li><li>get more regular exercise</li><li>eat a healthier diet</li><li>have improved mental alertness</li><li>schedule regular physical examinations with their doctor</li><li>cope better with stress and daily challenges</li><li>feel happier and more optimistic</li><li>avoid problematic physical symptoms</li><li>have stronger immune systems</li><li>maintain a brighter view of the future</li><li>With that list of benefits, who wouldn’t want to try it? To get started giving thanks, consider integrating some of the steps below into your daily life.</li></ul></div><div><br></div><div><b>Focus Attention Outward</b></div><div>Your attitude plays a large role in determining whether you can feel grateful in spite of life’s challenges. According to Emmons, gratitude is defined by your attitude towards both the outside world and yourself. He suggests that those who are more aware of the positives in their lives tend to focus their attention outside of themselves.</div><div><br></div><div><b>Be Mindful of What You Have</b></div><div>You may assume that those with more material possessions have more to be grateful for. However, research suggests otherwise. Edward Diener, a psychology professor at the University of Illinois, found that a high percentage of affluent people in Japan report low levels of life satisfaction, just as those living in poverty in India do. These findings suggest that it’s not how much you have, but how you feel about what you have that makes the difference.</div><div><br></div><div><b>Keep a Gratitude Journal</b></div><div>Recording what you feel grateful for in a journal is a great way to give thanks on a regular basis. Emmons found that those who listed five things they felt grateful for in a weekly gratitude journal reported fewer health problems and greater optimism than those who didn’t. A second study suggests that daily writing led to a greater increase in gratitude than weekly writing.</div><div><br></div><div><b>Reframe Situations as Positive</b></div><div>It’s not actually a challenging situation that is upsetting. It’s how you perceive the situation. The next time you find yourself complaining about life’s hassles, see if you can mentally “flip the switch” to frame things differently. For example, rather than getting down about missing an opportunity, try to see the positive side. You might now have more time to direct towards other priorities.</div>
<div>What if there was a solution to stress so simple that it involved nothing more than feeling thankful for the good things in your life? In fact, there is. That solution is called gratitude.</div><div><br></ div><div>Studies have shown that people who regularly practice feeling thankful have a leg up when it comes to their health. Robert Emmons, a psychology professor at the University of California at Davis, has been a leading researcher in this growing field, termed “positive psychology.” His research has found that those who adopt an “attitude of gratitude” as a permanent state of mind experience many health benefits.</div><div><br></d iv><div>Emmons’ findings, along with those from other researchers such as Lisa Aspinwall, a psychology professor at the University of Utah, suggest that grateful people may be more likely to:</div><div><br></div> <div><ul><li>take better care of themselves physically and mentally</li><li>engage in more protective health behaviors and maintenance</li><li>get more regular exercise</li><li>eat a healthier diet</li><li>have improved mental alertness</li><li>schedule regular physical examinations with their doctor</li><li>cope better with stress and daily challenges</li><li>feel happier and more optimistic</li><li>avoid problematic physical symptoms</li><li>have stronger immune systems</li><li>maintain a brighter view of the future</li><li>With that list of benefits, who wouldn’t want to try it? To get started giving thanks, consider integrating some of the steps below into your daily life.</li></ul></div><div&g t;<br></div><div><b>Focu s Attention Outward</b></div><div>Your attitude plays a large role in determining whether you can feel grateful in spite of life’s challenges. According to Emmons, gratitude is defined by your attitude towards both the outside world and yourself. He suggests that those who are more aware of the positives in their lives tend to focus their attention outside of themselves.</div><div><br>< /div><div><b>Be Mindful of What You Have</b></div><div>You may assume that those with more material possessions have more to be grateful for. However, research suggests otherwise. Edward Diener, a psychology professor at the University of Illinois, found that a high percentage of affluent people in Japan report low levels of life satisfaction, just as those living in poverty in India do. These findings suggest that it’s not how much you have, but how you feel about what you have that makes the difference.</div><div><br>< /div><div><b>Keep a Gratitude Journal</b></div><div>Recordin g what you feel grateful for in a journal is a great way to give thanks on a regular basis. Emmons found that those who listed five things they felt grateful for in a weekly gratitude journal reported fewer health problems and greater optimism than those who didn’t. A second study suggests that daily writing led to a greater increase in gratitude than weekly writing.</div><div><br></di v><div><b>Reframe Situations as Positive</b></div><div>It&acir c;€™s not actually a challenging situation that is upsetting. It’s how you perceive the situation. The next time you find yourself complaining about life’s hassles, see if you can mentally “flip the switch” to frame things differently. For example, rather than getting down about missing an opportunity, try to see the positive side. You might now have more time to direct towards other priorities.</div>
Robin Madell
Inspirational Personal Development 

The Most Important Thing All Moms Want For Mother's Day

A funny guide describes what to give Mom for Mother's Day, and what gifts she will loathe.
2
<div>Dear Kids,</div><div><br></div><div>Mother's Day is upon us again, and television would have you think that we, female parents, are interested in things that most of us would gladly go without.</div><div><br></div><div><b>1. Jewelry.</b> I don't know about you, but I spend 90 percent of my time in black yoga pants. The other 10 percent is spent naked, looking for a pair clean enough to be worn in public. My only sadness is that they don't make reversible yoga pants so that I can wear them for double the amount of time. Even when I'm working, I look for the softest, most dressed-down clothes that can pass as "professional."</div><div><br></div><div>I have no need for fancy baubles that my 10-month-old would just try to rip off of my neck or wrists. I change what feels like 100 diapers a day. Perhaps one day I will be dripping in jewels rather than up to my elbows in wipes, but today is not that day.</div><div><br></div><div><b>2. Flowers.</b> While they're beautiful and fragrant, when I see flowers all I think is: Great. Something else I have to feed and keep alive. I will gratefully accept your roses, lilies and tulips, but try not to judge mommy when they're hunched over in a letter "C" three days later because I forgot to empty in the packet or magic crystals and change the water. I have a lot on my mind, sweethearts.</div><div><br></div><div><b>3. Chocolate. </b>I will graciously accept a box of chocolates, but really... moms can buy those for ourselves. In fact, I have secret chocolate stashed all over the house.</div><div><br></div><div><b>4. Perfume.</b> Right now I'm wearing Eau de Goldfish. It smells like GMOs and desperation.</div><div><br></div><div><b>5. Vacuum cleaners, cleaning supplies or pots and pans.</b> Buying one of these items for Mother's Day is an act of war. Be careful. Even if I need or want one of these items, today is not the day to remind me of household obligations.</div><div><br></div><div>Kids, do you want to make mommy really, truly happy on Mother's Day? If so, there's just one gift that all of us would REALLY love, and I have some good news: it's 100 percent free.</div><div><br></div><div>We want sleep.</div><div><br></div><div>We want uninterrupted, deep, snoring, drool-dripping, floating on a comforter, surrounded by pillows, no-kids-in-the-bed, dream-filled sleep. We don't want to be drizzled with magical Sandman dust -- no, we want him to empty the bag out on our heads until it's empty.</div><div><br></div><div>Even though most of our brains have been programmed to wake up at 6:30 a.m. latest, even if there isn't a young child shaking us from slumber and loudly inquiring about breakfast, we'd still revel in the ability to lie in bed until we come to a complete state of alertness before dealing with bodily fluids or breaking up the first of 10,000 sibling fights.</div><div><br></div><div>Every mom I know fantasizes about falling into a delicious state of unconsciousness, knowing with full confidence that she won't be jerked awake by the sound of a baby who needs changing, feeding or twilight rocking. Toddlers, we love you dearly. Your inquisitive minds, protruding bellies and signature mispronunciations are all part of your undeniable charm. How about for Mother's Day you stay in your bed and keep your eyes closed until I come get you? Let's put a 24-hour hiatus on the 2 a.m. chitchat and waking up with the sun, shall we?</div><div><br></div><div>I can already hear you saying it: "You're going to miss this one day." Of course, when you kids are all grown up, we'll occasionally long for sneakers in three sizes by the door again and the sound of innocent laughter reverberating through the house -- but you know what we won't miss? Sleep deprivation. We won't miss waking up in the morning feeling like we've been working the <i>Dinosaur Train</i> night shift. I, for one, will not miss being a zombie mom.</div><div><br></div><div>We also won't miss stories from friends about how their 16 children all slept through the night by the time they were two weeks old (GOOD FOR YOU), but that's a different story entirely.</div><div><br></div><div>So, children of the world, listen closely. For Mother's Day, drawings are wonderful. Mugs are appreciated. Clay handprints will be treasured forever, we promise. But if you really want to make mommy happy on her special day, please pass the heck out. And stay like that until 10 a.m. Love you and thank you.</div><div><br></div><div><i>Bunmi Laditan's first book, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Honest-Toddler-Childs-Guide-Parenting/dp/1476734771/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&amp;sr=&amp;qid=" title=" The Honest Toddler: A Child's Guide to Parenting" target="_blank">The Honest Toddler: A Child's Guide to Parenting</a>, is in stores now.</i></div>
<div>Dear Kids,</div><div><br></div&g t;<div>Mother's Day is upon us again, and television would have you think that we, female parents, are interested in things that most of us would gladly go without.</div><div><br></di v><div><b>1. Jewelry.</b> I don't know about you, but I spend 90 percent of my time in black yoga pants. The other 10 percent is spent naked, looking for a pair clean enough to be worn in public. My only sadness is that they don't make reversible yoga pants so that I can wear them for double the amount of time. Even when I'm working, I look for the softest, most dressed-down clothes that can pass as "professional."</div><div> <br></div><div>I have no need for fancy baubles that my 10-month-old would just try to rip off of my neck or wrists. I change what feels like 100 diapers a day. Perhaps one day I will be dripping in jewels rather than up to my elbows in wipes, but today is not that day.</div><div><br></div> ;<div><b>2. Flowers.</b> While they're beautiful and fragrant, when I see flowers all I think is: Great. Something else I have to feed and keep alive. I will gratefully accept your roses, lilies and tulips, but try not to judge mommy when they're hunched over in a letter "C" three days later because I forgot to empty in the packet or magic crystals and change the water. I have a lot on my mind, sweethearts.</div><div><br>< ;/div><div><b>3. Chocolate. </b>I will graciously accept a box of chocolates, but really... moms can buy those for ourselves. In fact, I have secret chocolate stashed all over the house.</div><div><br></div& gt;<div><b>4. Perfume.</b> Right now I'm wearing Eau de Goldfish. It smells like GMOs and desperation.</div><div><br>< ;/div><div><b>5. Vacuum cleaners, cleaning supplies or pots and pans.</b> Buying one of these items for Mother's Day is an act of war. Be careful. Even if I need or want one of these items, today is not the day to remind me of household obligations.</div><div><br>< ;/div><div>Kids, do you want to make mommy really, truly happy on Mother's Day? If so, there's just one gift that all of us would REALLY love, and I have some good news: it's 100 percent free.</div><div><br></div&g t;<div>We want sleep.</div><div><br></div& gt;<div>We want uninterrupted, deep, snoring, drool-dripping, floating on a comforter, surrounded by pillows, no-kids-in-the-bed, dream-filled sleep. We don't want to be drizzled with magical Sandman dust -- no, we want him to empty the bag out on our heads until it's empty.</div><div><br></div& gt;<div>Even though most of our brains have been programmed to wake up at 6:30 a.m. latest, even if there isn't a young child shaking us from slumber and loudly inquiring about breakfast, we'd still revel in the ability to lie in bed until we come to a complete state of alertness before dealing with bodily fluids or breaking up the first of 10,000 sibling fights.</div><div><br></div ><div>Every mom I know fantasizes about falling into a delicious state of unconsciousness, knowing with full confidence that she won't be jerked awake by the sound of a baby who needs changing, feeding or twilight rocking. Toddlers, we love you dearly. Your inquisitive minds, protruding bellies and signature mispronunciations are all part of your undeniable charm. How about for Mother's Day you stay in your bed and keep your eyes closed until I come get you? Let's put a 24-hour hiatus on the 2 a.m. chitchat and waking up with the sun, shall we?</div><div><br></div> <div>I can already hear you saying it: "You're going to miss this one day." Of course, when you kids are all grown up, we'll occasionally long for sneakers in three sizes by the door again and the sound of innocent laughter reverberating through the house -- but you know what we won't miss? Sleep deprivation. We won't miss waking up in the morning feeling like we've been working the <i>Dinosaur Train</i> night shift. I, for one, will not miss being a zombie mom.</div><div><br></div> ;<div>We also won't miss stories from friends about how their 16 children all slept through the night by the time they were two weeks old (GOOD FOR YOU), but that's a different story entirely.</div><div><br></d iv><div>So, children of the world, listen closely. For Mother's Day, drawings are wonderful. Mugs are appreciated. Clay handprints will be treasured forever, we promise. But if you really want to make mommy happy on her special day, please pass the heck out. And stay like that until 10 a.m. Love you and thank you.</div><div><br></div> ;<div><i>Bunmi Laditan's first book, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Honest-Toddler- Childs-Guide-Parenting/dp/1476734771/ref=tmm_pap _swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&amp;sr=&amp;qid =" title=" The Honest Toddler: A Child's Guide to Parenting" target="_blank">The Honest Toddler: A Child's Guide to Parenting</a>, is in stores now.</i></div>
Bunmi Laditan
Thank You Letter 

5 Fantastic Ways To Celebrate Mother's Day

Five lovely ways to make this years Mother's Day, a good one.
3
<div>Looking for<a href="http://www.momtastic.com/topics/family-fun" title="Fun" target="_blank"> fun</a> ways to celebrate<a href="http://www.momtastic.com/topics/mothers-day" title="Mother's Day" target="_blank"> Mothers Day </a>with your family this year? Weve got some ideas that will make this special day one to remember.</div><div><br></div><div><b>Have Breakfast in Bed</b></div><div><br></div><div>Drop a few not-so-subtle hints that youre expecting a <a href="http://www.momtastic.com/topics/mothers-day-brunch" title="Mothers Day brunch" target="_blank">Mothers Day brunch</a>. Peruse these delicious <a href="http://www.momtastic.com/cooking-recipes/breakfast/175933-8-mothers-day-brunch-ideas" title=" Mothers Day brunch recipes" target="_blank">Mothers Day brunch recipes</a> to find the perfect meal to start off your Mothers Day.</div><div><br></div><div><b>A Day Together</b></div><div><br></div><div>Set aside all other plans and treat the mother in your life as a queen for the day. Turn the day into a one day adventure to someplace special. Grab the whole family and head to a favorite park, lake or ocean. Spending the time together (preferably <a href="http://www.momtastic.com/parenting/features/161683-lets-play-outdoors-spring-activities-for-the-family" title="Outdoors" target="_blank">outdoors</a>) is what really counts, so have a <a href="http://www.momtastic.com/parenting/features/167315-planning-a-spring-picnic" title="Picnic" target="_blank">picnic</a>, go for a <a href="http://www.momtastic.com/parenting/tips-and-tricks/173735-5-ways-to-teach-your-kids-to-ride-a-bike" title="Bike ride" target="_blank">bike ride</a>, take a hike, or do some<a href="http://www.momtastic.com/topics/gardening" title="Gardening" target="_blank"> gardening</a> together.</div><div><br></div><div><b>Generations Unite</b></div><div><br></div><div>Gather all the grandparents, great grandparents, aunts and uncles and other mom family members together for a joint celebration. If the weather is nice a barbeque is the perfect venue.</div><div><br></div><div><b>Simple Celebration</b></div><div><br></div><div>Making a Mothers Day celebration memorable and unique doesnt have to be complicated or expensive. It could be as simple as heading to your favorite local ice cream shop and sharing an ice cream sundae (this would be top choice in our house!).</div><div><br></div><div><b>Give Mom the Day Off</b></div><div><br></div><div>This could be the best gift of all. Encourage everyone to pitch in and let the moms in your life sit back and relax. They deserve it! Have the family prepare dinner (go for something simple and pre-packaged like <a href="http://www.tyson.com/" title="Tyson's" target="_blank">Tysons</a> chicken) and serve Mom on her special day.</div><div><br></div><div><b>Give to Others</b></div><div><br></div><div>Mothers Day is about honoring all mothers. This Mothers Day help a mother in need by donating to organizations that help mothers and children.</div><div><i><br></i></div><div><i>How are you planning to celebrate Mothers Day?</i></div>
<div>Looking for<a href="http://www.momtastic.com/topics/famil y-fun" title="Fun" target="_blank"> fun</a> ways to celebrate<a href="http://www.momtastic.com/topics/mothe rs-day" title="Mother's Day" target="_blank"> Mothers Day </a>with your family this year? Weve got some ideas that will make this special day one to remember.</div><div><br></d iv><div><b>Have Breakfast in Bed</b></div><div><br>&l t;/div><div>Drop a few not-so-subtle hints that youre expecting a <a href="http://www.momtastic.com/topics/mothe rs-day-brunch" title="Mothers Day brunch" target="_blank">Mothers Day brunch</a>. Peruse these delicious <a href="http://www.momtastic.com/cooking-reci pes/breakfast/175933-8-mothers-day-brunch-ideas& quot; title=" Mothers Day brunch recipes" target="_blank">Mothers Day brunch recipes</a> to find the perfect meal to start off your Mothers Day.</div><div><br></div> ;<div><b>A Day Together</b></div><div><br& gt;</div><div>Set aside all other plans and treat the mother in your life as a queen for the day. Turn the day into a one day adventure to someplace special. Grab the whole family and head to a favorite park, lake or ocean. Spending the time together (preferably <a href="http://www.momtastic.com/parenting/fe atures/161683-lets-play-outdoors-spring-activiti es-for-the-family" title="Outdoors" target="_blank">outdoors</a>) is what really counts, so have a <a href="http://www.momtastic.com/parenting/fe atures/167315-planning-a-spring-picnic" title="Picnic" target="_blank">picnic</a>, go for a <a href="http://www.momtastic.com/parenting/ti ps-and-tricks/173735-5-ways-to-teach-your-kids-t o-ride-a-bike" title="Bike ride" target="_blank">bike ride</a>, take a hike, or do some<a href="http://www.momtastic.com/topics/garde ning" title="Gardening" target="_blank"> gardening</a> together.</div><div><br></d iv><div><b>Generations Unite</b></div><div><br> </div><div>Gather all the grandparents, great grandparents, aunts and uncles and other mom family members together for a joint celebration. If the weather is nice a barbeque is the perfect venue.</div><div><br></div& gt;<div><b>Simple Celebration</b></div><div>< br></div><div>Making a Mothers Day celebration memorable and unique doesnt have to be complicated or expensive. It could be as simple as heading to your favorite local ice cream shop and sharing an ice cream sundae (this would be top choice in our house!).</div><div><br></di v><div><b>Give Mom the Day Off</b></div><div><br>&l t;/div><div>This could be the best gift of all. Encourage everyone to pitch in and let the moms in your life sit back and relax. They deserve it! Have the family prepare dinner (go for something simple and pre-packaged like <a href="http://www.tyson.com/" title="Tyson's" target="_blank">Tysons</a> chicken) and serve Mom on her special day.</div><div><br></div> ;<div><b>Give to Others</b></div><div><br> ;</div><div>Mothers Day is about honoring all mothers. This Mothers Day help a mother in need by donating to organizations that help mothers and children.</div><div><i><br& gt;</i></div><div><i>How are you planning to celebrate Mothers Day?</i></div>
Momtastic
Thank You Ideas Mothers Day Gift Ideas 

Why You Should Always Say Thank You: It's Not Just Good Manners - The Two Words Helps Maintain Relationships, Study Claims

A new study investigates the power of saying 'thank you' to strangers.
4
<div><ul><li>68 per cent who had received a 'thank you' note also left a note in return</li><li>Those who said 'thank you' were seen as having a 'warmer' personality</li><li>The study claims that saying 'thank you' starts new friendships, reminds people of their existing social bonds and maintains older relationships&nbsp;</li></ul></div><div><br></div><div><div>Most of us were taught that saying 'thank you' is simply the polite thing to do.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>But recent research in social psychology suggests that saying 'thank you' goes beyond good manners  it also serves to build and maintain social relationships.</div><div><br></div><div>The research specifically looked at how do expressions of gratitude among strangers shape social relations? Might hearing 'thank you' help us 'find' new social relationships?</div><div><br></div><div><b>Most of us were taught that saying 'thank you' is simply the polite thing to do. But research suggests that saying 'thank you' goes beyond good manners � it also serves to build and maintain social relationship</b></div><div><br></div><div>It was based on the find-remind-and-bind theory of gratitude, proposed by US psychologist Sara Algoe, from the University of North Carolina.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>According to this theory, gratitude starts new friendships (find), orients people to existing social relationships (remind) and promotes existing relationships (bind).</div><div><br></div><div>My colleague Monica Bartlett, from Gonzaga University in Washington and I carried out the first empirical test of the 'find' function of expressing gratitude among strangers.</div><div><br></div><div>In the study, we sought to create a situation in the lab where we could manipulate the expression of gratitude in a realistic way.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>So we asked our 70 undergraduate participants to help pilot a new mentoring programme supposedly run by the university.</div><div><br></div><div><img src="http://www.thankyounotes.org/img/pics/201504_1628_bbbfg.jpg" width="634" height="421"></div><div><div><b>For half of the participants  those in the control condition - this note simply acknowledged the advice. Critically, for the other half of the participants, the note also included an expression of gratitude</b></div><div><b><br></b></div><div>As part of the pilot, all of our participants were to act as mentors by giving advice on a writing sample from a high-school student mentee.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>The writing sample was one that the mentee planned to use in their university admissions package.</div><div><br></div><div>This setup ensured that we satisfied one of the core starting points of gratitude  the granting of help, resources or a favour.</div><div><br></div><div>A week later, we brought the participants back to the lab. All participants received a note purportedly written by the high school mentee.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>For half of the participants  those in the control condition - this note simply acknowledged the advice.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>Critically, for the other half of the participants, the note also included an expression of gratitude. &nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>Participants next completed a series of questionnaires assessing their impressions of the mentee, and then were informed that the study was complete.</div><div><br></div><div>Except, that wasn't quite true. The researcher casually mentioned that the pilot program organisers had left a set of notecards for mentors to complete if they chose to.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>The programme organisers would ensure that the mentee received the note if the mentee were accepted to the university.</div><div><br></div><div><img src="http://www.thankyounotes.org/img/pics/201504_1629_cddbi.jpg" width="634" height="422"></div><div><div><b>Study claims saying thank you starts new friendships, reminds us of bonds and maintains older relationships</b></div><div><br></div><div><div>The researcher made it clear that leaving a note was completely optional and then left the room. Participants were left alone to decide whether to write a note, and, if so, what to say.</div><div><br></div><div>This note-writing opportunity served as our dependent measure of actual social affiliation.</div><div><br></div><div>Would participants take the opportunity to establish a social relationship with their mentee? Would this depend on whether the mentee had expressed gratitude?&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>Perhaps not surprisingly, all but three participants wrote a welcome note. Promisingly for the 'find' hypothesis, all three participants who didn't leave a note were in the control condition.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>To test the 'find' hypothesis more directly, we coded what participants wrote in those notes and a pattern quickly became clear.</div><div><br></div><div>Of the participants who had received a note expressing gratitude from their mentee, 68 per cent left their contact details in their note.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>Only 42 per cent of those who had received the control note left any contact details. The difference was statistically significant.</div><div><br></div><div>Next we tested what might explain this difference. For this, we looked to how participants rated their mentees.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div><img src="http://www.thankyounotes.org/img/pics/201504_1630_dhchb.jpg" width="634" height="422"></div><div><div><b>In the study, mentees were perceived as more interpersonally warm when they had expressed gratitude</b></div><div><br></div><div>Specifically, we considered two dimensions  interpersonal warmth (kindness and friendliness) and competence (skill and intelligence).</div><div><br></div><div>We reasoned that if gratitude expressions function to service social relationships, the effect should be better explained by warmth than by competence.</div><div><br></div><div>Sure enough, mentees were perceived as more interpersonally warm when they had expressed gratitude.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>Further, this increase in perceived interpersonal warmth explained the increase in likelihood of leaving contact information for the gratitude-expressing mentees. This wasn't the case for competence.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>Saying 'thank you' goes beyond good manners. At the end of the day, initiating a social bond can be risky.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>We need to be selective and choose to invest in those bonds with the highest likelihood of being a good investment.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div><img src="http://www.thankyounotes.org/img/pics/201504_1631_bgiee.jpg" width="634" height="459"></div><div><div><b>An expression of gratitude showed that they were good candidates for a future social relationship</b></div><div><br></div><div>In this context, an expression of gratitude serves as a signal that the expresser is a good candidate for a future social relationship.</div><div><br></div><div>Expanding the premise a bit further, perhaps the gratitude challenges that have swept social media (in their 7, 10, 21, 100, or 365 day forms) might have downstream benefit.</div><div><br></div><div>In these challenges, a person posts verbal statements or photographs of things for which they are grateful on a daily basis via Facebook, Instagram, Blog, or Twitter  in essence, a very public and ongoing gratitude journal.</div><div><br></div><div>There's little doubt this has a positive effect on the social relationships directly implicated in these expressions, though some find it annoying and question whether it's sustainable.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>Our findings suggest that undertaking such gratitude challenges might have an effect on how even strangers come to see us.</div><div><br></div><div>While many questions remain for future research, our research provides initial evidence for the power of saying 'thank you' to strangers.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>Something to keep in mind the next time you pick up your dry cleaning or are given a seat on the train.</div></div></div></div></div></div></div>
<div><ul><li>68 per cent who had received a 'thank you' note also left a note in return</li><li>Those who said 'thank you' were seen as having a 'warmer' personality</li><li>The study claims that saying 'thank you' starts new friendships, reminds people of their existing social bonds and maintains older relationships&nbsp;</li></ul>< ;/div><div><br></div><di v><div>Most of us were taught that saying 'thank you' is simply the polite thing to do.&nbsp;</div><div><br>&l t;/div><div>But recent research in social psychology suggests that saying 'thank you' goes beyond good manners it also serves to build and maintain social relationships.</div><div><br>& lt;/div><div>The research specifically looked at how do expressions of gratitude among strangers shape social relations? Might hearing 'thank you' help us 'find' new social relationships?</div><div><br>& lt;/div><div><b>Most of us were taught that saying 'thank you' is simply the polite thing to do. But research suggests that saying 'thank you' goes beyond good manners � it also serves to build and maintain social relationship</b></div><div>< ;br></div><div>It was based on the find-remind-and-bind theory of gratitude, proposed by US psychologist Sara Algoe, from the University of North Carolina.&nbsp;</div><div><br ></div><div>According to this theory, gratitude starts new friendships (find), orients people to existing social relationships (remind) and promotes existing relationships (bind).</div><div><br></div ><div>My colleague Monica Bartlett, from Gonzaga University in Washington and I carried out the first empirical test of the 'find' function of expressing gratitude among strangers.</div><div><br></ div><div>In the study, we sought to create a situation in the lab where we could manipulate the expression of gratitude in a realistic way.&nbsp;</div><div><br>& lt;/div><div>So we asked our 70 undergraduate participants to help pilot a new mentoring programme supposedly run by the university.</div><div><br>< /div><div><img src="http://www.thankyounotes.org/img/pics/ 201504_1628_bbbfg.jpg" width="634" height="421"></div><div> ;<div><b>For half of the participants those in the control condition - this note simply acknowledged the advice. Critically, for the other half of the participants, the note also included an expression of gratitude</b></div><div><b& gt;<br></b></div><div>As part of the pilot, all of our participants were to act as mentors by giving advice on a writing sample from a high-school student mentee.&nbsp;</div><div><br&g t;</div><div>The writing sample was one that the mentee planned to use in their university admissions package.</div><div><br></di v><div>This setup ensured that we satisfied one of the core starting points of gratitude the granting of help, resources or a favour.</div><div><br></div ><div>A week later, we brought the participants back to the lab. All participants received a note purportedly written by the high school mentee.&nbsp;</div><div><br&g t;</div><div>For half of the participants those in the control condition - this note simply acknowledged the advice.&nbsp;</div><div><br&g t;</div><div>Critically, for the other half of the participants, the note also included an expression of gratitude. &nbsp;</div><div><br></ div><div>Participants next completed a series of questionnaires assessing their impressions of the mentee, and then were informed that the study was complete.</div><div><br></d iv><div>Except, that wasn't quite true. The researcher casually mentioned that the pilot program organisers had left a set of notecards for mentors to complete if they chose to.&nbsp;</div><div><br>&l t;/div><div>The programme organisers would ensure that the mentee received the note if the mentee were accepted to the university.</div><div><br>< /div><div><img src="http://www.thankyounotes.org/img/pics/ 201504_1629_cddbi.jpg" width="634" height="422"></div><div> ;<div><b>Study claims saying thank you starts new friendships, reminds us of bonds and maintains older relationships</b></div><div>&l t;br></div><div><div>The researcher made it clear that leaving a note was completely optional and then left the room. Participants were left alone to decide whether to write a note, and, if so, what to say.</div><div><br></div> ;<div>This note-writing opportunity served as our dependent measure of actual social affiliation.</div><div><br>< ;/div><div>Would participants take the opportunity to establish a social relationship with their mentee? Would this depend on whether the mentee had expressed gratitude?&nbsp;</div><div><b r></div><div>Perhaps not surprisingly, all but three participants wrote a welcome note. Promisingly for the 'find' hypothesis, all three participants who didn't leave a note were in the control condition.&nbsp;</div><div><b r></div><div>To test the 'find' hypothesis more directly, we coded what participants wrote in those notes and a pattern quickly became clear.</div><div><br></div& gt;<div>Of the participants who had received a note expressing gratitude from their mentee, 68 per cent left their contact details in their note.&nbsp;</div><div><br> </div><div>Only 42 per cent of those who had received the control note left any contact details. The difference was statistically significant.</div><div><br>< ;/div><div>Next we tested what might explain this difference. For this, we looked to how participants rated their mentees.&nbsp;</div><div><br& gt;</div><div><img src="http://www.thankyounotes.org/img/pics/ 201504_1630_dhchb.jpg" width="634" height="422"></div><div> ;<div><b>In the study, mentees were perceived as more interpersonally warm when they had expressed gratitude</b></div><div><br ></div><div>Specifically, we considered two dimensions interpersonal warmth (kindness and friendliness) and competence (skill and intelligence).</div><div><br>& lt;/div><div>We reasoned that if gratitude expressions function to service social relationships, the effect should be better explained by warmth than by competence.</div><div><br>< /div><div>Sure enough, mentees were perceived as more interpersonally warm when they had expressed gratitude.&nbsp;</div><div><b r></div><div>Further, this increase in perceived interpersonal warmth explained the increase in likelihood of leaving contact information for the gratitude-expressing mentees. This wasn't the case for competence.&nbsp;</div><div>< br></div><div>Saying 'thank you' goes beyond good manners. At the end of the day, initiating a social bond can be risky.&nbsp;</div><div><br> ;</div><div>We need to be selective and choose to invest in those bonds with the highest likelihood of being a good investment.&nbsp;</div><div>< br></div><div><img src="http://www.thankyounotes.org/img/pics/ 201504_1631_bgiee.jpg" width="634" height="459"></div><div> ;<div><b>An expression of gratitude showed that they were good candidates for a future social relationship</b></div><div>< ;br></div><div>In this context, an expression of gratitude serves as a signal that the expresser is a good candidate for a future social relationship.</div><div><br>&l t;/div><div>Expanding the premise a bit further, perhaps the gratitude challenges that have swept social media (in their 7, 10, 21, 100, or 365 day forms) might have downstream benefit.</div><div><br></di v><div>In these challenges, a person posts verbal statements or photographs of things for which they are grateful on a daily basis via Facebook, Instagram, Blog, or Twitter in essence, a very public and ongoing gratitude journal.</div><div><br></di v><div>There's little doubt this has a positive effect on the social relationships directly implicated in these expressions, though some find it annoying and question whether it's sustainable.&nbsp;</div><div>< ;br></div><div>Our findings suggest that undertaking such gratitude challenges might have an effect on how even strangers come to see us.</div><div><br></div> <div>While many questions remain for future research, our research provides initial evidence for the power of saying 'thank you' to strangers.&nbsp;</div><div><b r></div><div>Something to keep in mind the next time you pick up your dry cleaning or are given a seat on the train.</div></div></div></d iv></div></div></div>
Lisa A. Williams
Personal Growth Personal Development 

10 Tips For Staying Happy At Work

Ten helpful tips to ensure that you remain happy at work.
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<div>If you find yourself longing for greener work pastures, don't immediately go looking for the first exit ramp off of your chosen career path. The Balance Team, which specializes in professional- and personal-growth seminars for administrative and executive assistants in Fortune 1000 companies, suggests these 10 tips for staying content at work:</div><div><br></div><div><b>1. Keep Personal Problems Personal</b></div><div><br></div><div>When you're preoccupied with personal issues, it's difficult to concentrate or be happy at work, says Alison Rhodes, a founding partner of The Balance Team. By all means, make sure you have your kids covered in the event of an&nbsp;emergency,&nbsp;but realize that nobody's personal life is ever going to be completely problem-free. Just as you need to let go of work to enjoy your time at home, it's important to leave personal worries at home so you can focus and be productive at work.</div><div><br></div><div><b>2. Create an Office Nest</b></div><div><br></div><div>"You are at your job for at least eight hours a day, which is more time than you probably spend in your bed," says Jennifer Star, a founding partner of The Balance Team. "Make your space your own, decorate your area as much as your company policy permits, and make yourself as comfortable and relaxed as you can be in your office.</div><div><br></div><div><b>3. Develop an Office Support System</b></div><div><br></div><div>"Gathering a circle of colleagues who share similar backgrounds or lifestyles can take a lot of pressure off you at work," says Rhodes. "When you are able to voice your feelings to people who understand, it can really help minimize stress.</div><div><br></div><div><b>4. Eat Healthy and Drink Lots of Water</b></div><div><br></div><div>"Maintaining a good diet and keeping yourself properly hydrated throughout your workday can really make a big difference in your energy level and attitude," says Shirly Weiss, a certified holistic health and nutritional counselor and consulting expert for The Balance Team. "And if you can manage to maintain a diet of whole foods, as opposed to refined foods such as sugar and bread, then you'll really be ahead of the game.</div><div><br></div><div><b>5. Be Organized</b></div><div><br></div><div>Create a manageable schedule to handle your workload, suggests Stacy Raden, a founding partner of The Balance Team. "A sense of empowerment stems from accomplishment," she says. "When you feel overwhelmed, it tends to intensify dissatisfaction. By being proactive and taking control, employees can feel a sense of satisfaction, enhanced confidence and motivation.</div><div><br></div><div><b>6. Move Around</b></div><div><br></div><div>"Working in an office can be a very sedentary job, so it's especially important to your overall sense of health and happiness to take a few minutes during your workday to get up and move a little," says Jason&nbsp;Bergund, founding director of&nbsp;Dancetherapy, a dance class, and a consulting expert for The Balance Team.</div><div><br></div><div><b>7. Don't Try to Change Your Coworkers</b></div><div><br></div><div>"You can't change anyone; you can only change the way you react to them," says Star. "Don't let other people's actions affect you. Just figure out a way to resolve conflicts and avert uncomfortable situations."</div><div><br></div><div><b>8. Reward Yourself</b></div><div><br></div><div>Identify a reward outside of your job, and indulge yourself, says Raden. Whether it be dinner with friends, a movie, exercise or a manicure, treat yourself every once in awhile. Just as stress from home can interfere with work, the positive aspects of your life can influence mood at work as well.</div><div><br></div><div><b>9. Take a Breather</b></div><div><br></div><div>"In yoga, we practice the breath of joy, in which we inhale a long breath and then exhale laughter," says Sarah Schain, founding director of Yoga Tales studios for children and a consulting expert for The Balance Team. Stand with your feet together and your arms at your sides. Inhale deeply, then exhale laughter and bend forward. Try to do this movement 10 times.</div><div><br></div><div><b>10. Focus on the Positive</b></div><div><br></div><div>"Identify the things that you like at work, even if they are as simple as your coworkers or the nice view from your office window," says Raden. "You create your own&nbsp;mind-set. If you stress the positives, you will make your job more enjoyable. Worrying about the negatives may cause you to become overwhelmed."</div>
<div>If you find yourself longing for greener work pastures, don't immediately go looking for the first exit ramp off of your chosen career path. The Balance Team, which specializes in professional- and personal-growth seminars for administrative and executive assistants in Fortune 1000 companies, suggests these 10 tips for staying content at work:</div><div><br></div&g t;<div><b>1. Keep Personal Problems Personal</b></div><div><br& gt;</div><div>When you're preoccupied with personal issues, it's difficult to concentrate or be happy at work, says Alison Rhodes, a founding partner of The Balance Team. By all means, make sure you have your kids covered in the event of an&nbsp;emergency,&nbsp;but realize that nobody's personal life is ever going to be completely problem-free. Just as you need to let go of work to enjoy your time at home, it's important to leave personal worries at home so you can focus and be productive at work.</div><div><br></div&g t;<div><b>2. Create an Office Nest</b></div><div><br>& lt;/div><div>"You are at your job for at least eight hours a day, which is more time than you probably spend in your bed," says Jennifer Star, a founding partner of The Balance Team. "Make your space your own, decorate your area as much as your company policy permits, and make yourself as comfortable and relaxed as you can be in your office.</div><div><br></div ><div><b>3. Develop an Office Support System</b></div><div><br> ;</div><div>"Gathering a circle of colleagues who share similar backgrounds or lifestyles can take a lot of pressure off you at work," says Rhodes. "When you are able to voice your feelings to people who understand, it can really help minimize stress.</div><div><br></div ><div><b>4. Eat Healthy and Drink Lots of Water</b></div><div><br> </div><div>"Maintaining a good diet and keeping yourself properly hydrated throughout your workday can really make a big difference in your energy level and attitude," says Shirly Weiss, a certified holistic health and nutritional counselor and consulting expert for The Balance Team. "And if you can manage to maintain a diet of whole foods, as opposed to refined foods such as sugar and bread, then you'll really be ahead of the game.</div><div><br></div&g t;<div><b>5. Be Organized</b></div><div><br ></div><div>Create a manageable schedule to handle your workload, suggests Stacy Raden, a founding partner of The Balance Team. "A sense of empowerment stems from accomplishment," she says. "When you feel overwhelmed, it tends to intensify dissatisfaction. By being proactive and taking control, employees can feel a sense of satisfaction, enhanced confidence and motivation.</div><div><br>< /div><div><b>6. Move Around</b></div><div><br> ;</div><div>"Working in an office can be a very sedentary job, so it's especially important to your overall sense of health and happiness to take a few minutes during your workday to get up and move a little," says Jason&nbsp;Bergund, founding director of&nbsp;Dancetherapy, a dance class, and a consulting expert for The Balance Team.</div><div><br></div&g t;<div><b>7. Don't Try to Change Your Coworkers</b></div><div><br ></div><div>"You can't change anyone; you can only change the way you react to them," says Star. "Don't let other people's actions affect you. Just figure out a way to resolve conflicts and avert uncomfortable situations."</div><div><br&g t;</div><div><b>8. Reward Yourself</b></div><div><br& gt;</div><div>Identify a reward outside of your job, and indulge yourself, says Raden. Whether it be dinner with friends, a movie, exercise or a manicure, treat yourself every once in awhile. Just as stress from home can interfere with work, the positive aspects of your life can influence mood at work as well.</div><div><br></div&g t;<div><b>9. Take a Breather</b></div><div><br& gt;</div><div>"In yoga, we practice the breath of joy, in which we inhale a long breath and then exhale laughter," says Sarah Schain, founding director of Yoga Tales studios for children and a consulting expert for The Balance Team. Stand with your feet together and your arms at your sides. Inhale deeply, then exhale laughter and bend forward. Try to do this movement 10 times.</div><div><br></div& gt;<div><b>10. Focus on the Positive</b></div><div><br& gt;</div><div>"Identify the things that you like at work, even if they are as simple as your coworkers or the nice view from your office window," says Raden. "You create your own&nbsp;mind-set. If you stress the positives, you will make your job more enjoyable. Worrying about the negatives may cause you to become overwhelmed."</div>
Beverly West
Inspirational Personal Development 
1