Taking Stock

I wanted to share with you a great habit that I was taught to carry out at the turn of the year, and which has served me well .. which is reflecting on what happened in the past year and how I handled it.

I love the quiet time in between Christmas and New Year and I made a commitment to myself a while ago to take this time for myself, for quiet enjoyment of the season, the weather, and taking a look back over the past twelve months.

Life has a habit of throwing the unexpected in our way, however well we plot and plan our lives, and often I’ll be surprised at the things that happened that I could never have predicted the year before. Sometimes these are wonderful and sometimes less so: in examining how I responded I find clues to who I am and how I’m showing up in my life and others’

So maybe you’d like to join me. Carve out a little space for yourself in the next few days to ask these questions:

What happened in this past year that I could never have predicted?

How did I respond? Was that helpful to me and those around me?

Who was important to me in the past year?

What one thing would I have liked to be different?

What would I like to do differently in this coming year?

I’d love to hear your thoughts .. do you have any other questions you’ve found useful?

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Relationships Advent Calendar . Day 16 . High 5 Your Sweetie

Sometimes it’s tempting to take the good things for granted and only focus on the things your honey does wrong .. they know you love them right??

Wrong .. research shows that to feel positive in their relationship couples need an average ratio of five positive for every one negative interaction .. that means in order for your relationship to thrive you need to get working on those positives .. so notice your partner’s successes, and those of the two of you, and take time to celebrate them today ..

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Relationships Advent Calendar Day 15 . Express your Gratitude

Yeah yeah, been there done that .. but gratitude and appreciation are one of the single most important indicators of a relationship’s success ..

So today your task is to think of all the things you’re grateful to your sweetie for .. then pick one and make sure you let them know ..

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Gratitude

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”

William Arthur Ward

Something often missing with couples who are experiencing difficulties is gratitude. It’s easy to take for granted all the little things our partners do for us every day and focus on the things they do wrong, the dishes in the sink, the unmended cupboard door .. but what if we take a moment to think about all the things they are doing right?

Since 2000 scientists have been finding that people who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits:

Stronger immune systems and lower blood pressure
More joy, optimism, and happiness
Feeling less lonely and isolated

Gratitude has two key components: firstly it reminds us that there are gifts and benefits we’re consistently receiving from our partner and those around us.

Robert Emmons, perhaps the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude, writes “I see it as a relationship-strengthening emotion, because it requires us to see how we’ve been supported and affirmed by other people.”

The second part of practising gratitude is to express it, to acknowledge the other people who give us so many gifts, big and small, to help us achieve the goodness in our lives each day.

November is Gratitude Month, and I will be marking each day of this month by keeping a gratitude journal, noting down something different each day and meditating on it.

To start your gratitude practise, take just a few minutes each day to think of at least one thing you’re grateful to your partner for .. take note, some days this will be easier than others! ;-D

Once you’ve got this down find creative ways to let your partner know how much you appreciate what they do .. a hug and a thank you, or a note left in their lunch box to find at work?

This can also be a good exercise when you’re frustrated with your spouse and about to explode! Take some time out to remember what they do for you, and when you’re ready to face them start off by reminding them how much they do, before letting them know that broken cupboard door is driving you crazy!

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I love to hear what you think about the topics raised in my blog, and how you apply these in your life. Do leave Comments below or get in touch using my Contact details.