Gratitude – The Key to Lasting Joy

Gratitude – The Key to Lasting Joy

I’ll be the first to admit that there have been many times in my life when I have struggled with feeling thankful. I have spent much of my time living in the future wanting, striving, and desiring more. Wishing for more success, more creativity, more balance, more growth has taken me away from the present moment.

We live in a society that has taught us to push forward and strive for those things that we desire. For the most part, I think this is a great concept. After all, we do live in a physical world with lots of wonderful opportunities and things to accomplish. It’s quite natural to want a loving relationship, the newest iPhone, or whatever it is that we are drawn to. The key is to find balance.

What has become blatantly clear to me is that unless we find gratitude in our day-to-day experiences, we are actually blocking more good from coming in. To be thankful for what we already have is an act of living in the present moment, which literally showers us with positivity and optimism.

Being still in the here and now is really the only place that we can be. Our minds may wander to a past experience or future dream but all we truly have is this moment. And for the most part, what we have is pretty darn good. Even if some are struggling with an illness or financial crisis, there are blessings to be found in those challenges should we choose to see them. Embracing gratitude shifts our energetic field and can actually speed up our healing and create miracles in our life. Being thankful for ALL THAT IS even when things don’t look the way we’d like is the key to living a happy and fulfilling life.

If you’re like me and often find yourself daydreaming about the future, try gently bringing yourself back to the now and make a mental list of 5 things that you’re grateful for today. They can be as small as the view from your window, the cozy bed you sleep in, or the stranger who opens the door for you at the office.

When we begin to notice the small gifts, we make way for even more goodness to come in. By living with more appreciation for the now, ironically, we are creating a brighter future, which feels more rich and satisfying.

It seems that for some people being grateful comes naturally, while others find it more challenging. I am beginning to wonder if there is perhaps a gratitude gauge that is set higher in some people than others. Similar to the happiness gauge where some people just seem more joyful from day-to-day while others have to work harder at it.

So regardless of where you are on the scale, there is nothing more important than committing to being thankful for today. Keep a gratitude journal and make lists of ALL of the blessings in your life. Tell others how thankful you are for their friendship. Become conscious of what is going right for you today instead of what is going wrong. The more we can put our attention on that, the better our lives will become.

Living in a state of gratitude is the best gift that you can give to yourself. It takes practice but like anything that you focus on, it does become easier with time and eventually being grateful will become your norm. Gratitude really is the key to lasting joy. Give it a try.

 

Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Expert Living in Los Angeles. http://JayBradleyLifestyle.com

He is the Best-Selling Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!

 

The Art of Doing Nothing!

The Art of Doing Nothing!

This article was prompted by a particularly slow month. August didn’t hold a lot of work commitments for me, and what normally would have stressed me out caused a complete shift in perspective. Let me explain.

I grew up in a family where my dad was a go-getter. He started a very successful business that developed into employing over 100 people and created a small empire. I watched him carefully and learned that hard work equals great success.

Because of this, I always had drive and motivation but I chose a very different path then my father. I became a model and actor from a young age and developed my creativity over my business side. Nobody had prepared me for how this was supposed to look or feel. How do I merge success, business, and creativity? Much trial and error led me to finding some success along the way and eventually guided me to where I am today.

I have learned to combine my writing, speaking, coaching, and business skills into my current career as a health, wellness and lifestyle advisor and author. But deep down there was still, until this month anyway, an uncertainty as to how to deal with the down times.

My normal reaction when things got slow was to “get busy and make something happen” but this month I decided to rest, relax, and to simply be. I still worked out at the gym and kept regular commitments but I meditated more and took quiet time to sleep and contemplate. And while income was down, the most amazing things began to happen. People, opportunities, and synchronicities showed up that I would have never expected. In my stillness, I learned to “allow” rather than to “create.”

As a go-getter myself, this was NOT easy. My normal instincts are to stay active, plan, goal set, and to DO! But if you’re like me you’ll agree that this constant action mode can get exhausting! And, in all honesty, it hasn’t led to the ultimate success that I would have liked. So I decided to try something different. When we change the way we look at things, the things around us change and I have been ready for that change for quite some time.

To my surprise, one miracle after the other began to show up into my life this month from me doing virtually nothing.

Am I suggesting that you just sit, sleep, and meditate your way through life? Of course not. But there may be times when that is the absolute best approach possible. In between chapters is a great time to relax. In fact, learning to surrender and only act when you are inspired to do so, IS, I am learning, the only way to be. It offers us the ability to be more focused on the now and to be present in the joy that surrounds us rather than being busy just for the sake of it.

So the next time you find yourself down, bored, or you simply have a lull in your work schedule, acknowledge that perhaps it’s happening to provide you an amazing opportunity. Maybe it will deliver new things into your life that are even better than you could have ever imagined! And perhaps it’s teaching you a new way to live that taps into the Universal truth that you will ALWAYS be provided for. Learning the amazing art of doing nothing may actually be the answer you’ve been waiting for.

 

Jay Bradley is an Anti-aging, wellness & lifestyle expert living in Los Angeles.
http://jaybradleylifestyle.com

He is the best-selling author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!

Meditation – The Road to Zen

Meditation – The Road to Zen

Meditation. We’ve all heard of it. Many of us have tried it. But few are able to stick with it.

By now, most of us know that meditating regularly has positive effects on our physical and mental state of being.

In fact, just 10-20 minutes per day of meditation has been scientifically proven to have numerous benefits, which I’ll list a bit later.

First let’s look at some of the reasons why we don’t meditate. Perhaps you’ll relate to some of these myths and maybe even re-think your daily practice.

– Meditation Doesn’t do Anything – most of us expect magical results when we meditate. We would like our problems and stresses to disappear immediately. While there can be rapid relaxation results, most benefits come from long-term and continual practice.

– You’ll Stop Thinking – The myth is that we will enter into a blissful state and stop all negative thoughts. In fact, it is very difficult if not impossible to “stop” our thoughts. Instead the goal should be to “catch” our thoughts and then to gently let them go while focusing back on our mantra or breath. Expecting to stop thoughts is a sure way to sabotage your meditation practice.

– We may Become Spacey and Ungrounded – Many people worry that they’ll lose all motivation and drive if they meditate regularly. In fact, the opposite is true. Successful business people from all walks of life, all over the world, meditate daily. They are convinced that much of their success is due to their daily practice.

Now, as promised, here are just some of the numerous benefits:

– Studies have shown that those who meditate regularly have lower levels of stress, anxiety, and depression.

– Meditation opens you up to new realms of possibility. Your intuition begins to play a bigger role in your life. You will be more easily be able to listen to that quiet voice and make better decisions day to day.

– Meditation has been shown on MRI’s to increase certain grey areas of the brain that are related to the memory and attention span.

– Meditation has been shown to positively affect the “fight or flight” response, making us more calm, and relaxed.

– Taking regular time to meditate has also been shown to improve immune function creating a stronger resistance to infections.

– Creating a morning practice of meditation even just for a short period, increases levels of self-love and love for others. It literally helps the heart to bloom open, making you more in touch with emotions as well as helping you to forgive others more easily.

The best way to begin your meditation practice is to start with small, achievable goals. Begin with 5 minutes per day. Simply find your favorite place in your home to sit quietly. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. When your thoughts wander, bring them back to your breath. Set a timer if you’d like and ensure no interruptions. Gradually up your practice by 1 minute per day until you reach 20 minutes.

You can also download a free meditation app on your smartphone such as CALM or OMG. I can Meditate! Perhaps light a candle, play soft music, and do your best to create the same time frame every day for your practice.

You can also look into Transcendental meditation or TM classes near you. In these classes, you’ll learn more about meditation and they’ll give you a personal mantra to focus on while you’re meditating.

The most challenging part of meditating is beginning. Why not make THIS THE YEAR that you commit to this important and life-changing practice and see first-hand how it will benefit you and those around you.

 

Jay Bradley is an anti-aging, wellness & lifestyle coach living in Los Angeles.

http://jaybradleylifestyle.com

 

He is the author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!

 

Internal GPS

Internal GPS

We all have one. It’s something that we are born with and an innate part of who we are as humans. Some call it intuition, while others call it Universal guidance. For the sake of simplifying it a bit, let’s just name it our internal GPS system.

Most of us cannot live without our automobile GPS. I for one, rely on it every day to help me get from point A to point B. In fact, it’s hard to remember how I ever lived without one!

Our day-to-day lives are guided by our internal GPS, although it is something that we often take for granted. We simply assume that we’ll make it through our day based upon certain choices, decisions, and actions. While this is correct, maybe there is an easier way and one that can make our journey more enjoyable, fulfilling, and rich.

Always Safely Guided
Our internal GPS system sends us signals via our emotions. If we can get quiet and still, and truly listen to this inner voice, we will always be guided safely along our journey. As Joseph Campbell stated, “ALWAYS follow your bliss.” Make decisions based upon how good they feel for you. If a pending event feels joyful and light, put on your best dress or suit and make an appearance! If, on the other hand, you’re feeling dread or heaviness around something, consider taking a detour.

The one exception to this rule is when we have commitments that need to be completed. Sometimes when we have certain obligations, it pushes us outside of our comfort zones and this doesn’t always feel good. The key here is to find a balance between what needs to get done versus what doesn’t. As you learn to trust your own intuition, this process will become clearer in time.

Look for Road Signs
The Universe is always giving us signs. If we learn to pay close attention and live more in the moment, these messages become easier to recognize. Yields, detours, and construction signs will be lit up like light street lamps and we’ll simply learn to take another route.

Stop for Fuel
With any cross-country road trip, we will need to re-fuel. We won’t get very far without high quality gasoline. Our body, mind, and spirit are the same. Make sure to take time each day to reflect, meditate, pray, and read inspirational material along with consuming high quality foods, water, and vitamins so that your system is properly fueled. If we don’t feel well, this is a sure sign that something needs to be repaired, re-balanced, and nurtured.

Ask for Directions
If you’re a man, this is particularly difficult. Sometimes even our GPS system goes haywire due to crossed signals and mixed messages. ALWAYS ask for help from experts in the fields of health, wellness, and healing. Pay close attention to those people that pop-up out of nowhere because they are your messengers. These guides have an important memo for you that could possibly change your life. We don’t know it all and it’s wise to ask others for directions when we are feeling lost, off-balance, or when we simply need some comforting advice.

Sing!
Any good road trip would NOT be complete without singing some of your favorite tunes along the way! Discover new avenues to make your life more creative and fun. Try different things like taking a class, or painting a canvas and open up to all of your talents and gifts. That wonderful quote “dance as if no one were watching, sing as if no one were listening, and live every day as if it were your last” fits perfectly here.

Fasten your Seatbelt
When we listen to our internal GPS system, we are almost never led astray. However, it is always good to take some precautions. Visiting your doctor for your yearly physical, taking vitamins, getting health insurance, booking a massage, and doing things to prevent accidents simply makes sense. Just like all of us fasten our seatbelt when driving, reconsider the rules of your life to ensure that you are securing the health of your body, mind, and spirit so that you can have a wonderful, joyous, and peaceful ride!