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The Key To A Happy Life

by Laura Norman, M.S., LMT

“If the only prayer you say in your life is ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.” – Meister Eckhart

Thanksgiving is the day when we express our appreciation for the delicious food on our table, for our loving family and friends and for the many other people and events that bring us joy. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, the one that brings forth my warmest memories. 

Since the day is such a perennial favorite, one that makes us feel so good, why limit our practice of appreciation to just one day?

Robert Emmons, professor of psychology at the University of California–Davis and an authority on the “science of gratitude,” cites research which shows that those who practice appreciation every day experience a multitude of benefits: 

Physical benefits: strengthened immune systems, less aches and pains, better sleep and lowered blood pressure.

Psychological benefits: feeling more alert, alive and awake and experiencing more joy, pleasure, optimism and happiness. 

Social benefits: those who consciously practice appreciation are more helpful, generous, compassionate, forgiving and outgoing—and were much less likely to feel lonely and isolated.
It’s no accident that the word “appreciate” also means “to increase in value over time.” What we focus on grows stronger in our lives. By appreciating the people, places and things that make us happy, we attract more of the same.

"Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others 
belong to us as well."  – Voltaire

How can we make appreciation a habit? It’s an attitude we must choose and one we can cultivate:
Practice appreciating the “little things.” Upon waking, appreciate the comfy pillow under your head, the soft sheets touching your skin and the warm blanket you’re snuggled under. Appreciate your feet that move you, hands that feel the world around you, ears that let you hear the music you love. Take a moment to appreciate all the people it took to bring your food to you. While bathing think about what a wonderful gift is clean, hot, running water! Find things to appreciate each day and watch how your life blossoms!

Keep a journal. Each day, note the people, events, places and things you appreciate in your journal. Occasionally re-read your past journal entries to feel the vibration of appreciation recorded on those pages. 
Use a Thankfulness Jar. Each time you feel gratitude and appreciation, write a short note and drop it in the jar. Any time you would like a lift, take the notes out of the jar and see how much you have to be thankful for.
The real power in appreciation is more than just a response to getting what we want. When appreciation becomes our way of living, where we notice wonderful little things and find the good in each situation, the joy in our lives “appreciates!”

Happy Thanksgiving!

Laura Norman, M.S., LMT, world-renowned Holistic Reflexologist and author of the best-selling book, Feet First: A Guide to Foot Reflexology, offers private Reflexology and Life Wellness Coaching sessions and Holistic Reflexology Certification Training Programs starting in Boynton Beach on November 4, New York City on November 18, and The Berkshires on December 3. Laura has created Aromatherapy products and step-by-step Foot, Hand and Face Reflexology Home Study DVDs, and offers beautiful gift certificates for all occasions. Visit www.lauranorman.com • Call 561-272-1220 • 212-532-4404 • 413-854-2615

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Pelham Grayson
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Sacred Journeys Retreats
Alternatives For Healing
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Ellie Pechet
Denali Institute
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