When I started my recovery journey in 2006, it seems like everybody from my therapist to my mentors had one vitally essential tool in their toolbox that they highly suggested I take advantage of - a "Gratitude List." They suggested I use it even if and especially if I felt as though the world and the people within it were against me.
I took their suggestion, often times digging my heels in. At first it seemed as though there was no positive effect. However, as when we we are starting any new behaviors, the positive results are not always immediately noticeable. I will say that by the end of the first week of using the gratitude list, my attitude did begin to shift.
My suggestion is that you make a list of five things you are grateful for, even if it is the same five things. We can all find five things in oour life we are grateful for. Then, take one of those things you are grateful for and write out why you are grateful that one thing. I will guarantee that if you consistently practice this when you are feeling down, within a day or two you will start feeling uplifted and happy.
Showing gratitude towards others is another way I use to lift up my spirits. I always look for how I can complement or show my gratitude towards others, especially when I am having a not so good day. This has never failed to improve my attitude of maditude, especially when I see that persons face light up with appreciation. Showing gratitude is also a wonderful way to express appreciation and strengthen relationships.
Here are some ways you can show gratitude:
Thanksgiving is a holiday celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada. It traditionally involves giving thanks for the harvest and blessings of the past year. It's a time for families and friends to come together, often over a large meal, to express gratitude for what they have.
For many, Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on the things they are thankful for, spend quality time with loved ones, and enjoy traditional foods like turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie.
Additionally, some people use Thanksgiving as an opportunity to engage in acts of charity and give back to their communities, helping those who may be less fortunate.
Overall, Thanksgiving holds different meanings for different individuals and families, but at its core, it's a holiday centered around gratitude, togetherness, and appreciation for the blessings in one's life.
Expressing gratitude is an important aspect of Thanksgiving. Here are five ways to express gratitude during the Thanksgiving celebration:
During this holiday season when things have the possibility of becoming stressful between yourself, your spouse, and family, practice these three things written by St. Francis:
"It is better to Comfort than be Comforted"
"It is better to Understand than to be Understood"
"It is better to Love than to be Loved
If you can practice these three principles, you will find that a peace will overcome whatever stress and difficulties may arise during the holidays.
Gratitude is the quality of being thankful and appreciative for the good things and positive experiences in one's life. It involves recognizing and acknowledging the kindness, generosity, and positive aspects of people, situations, and events, even in challenging or difficult circumstances.
Expressing gratitude can have various positive effects on mental and emotional well-being. It can lead to increased feelings of happiness, improved relationships, and a greater sense of contentment with life. Gratitude is often considered a fundamental aspect of positive psychology and is associated with improved overall health and resilience.
Practicing gratitude can take many forms, from simple acts like saying "thank you" to someone who has helped you, to keeping a gratitude journal where you write down things you're thankful for each day. It's about cultivating a mindset that actively seeks out and appreciates the positive aspects of life.
Why is Gratitude Important?
Gratitude is important for several reasons, and it has a positive impact on both our mental and physical well-being. Here are some of the key reasons why gratitude is important:
• Promotes Positive Emotions: Gratitude helps cultivate positive emotions like joy, love, and contentment. It shifts our focus from what we lack to what we have, which can lead to greater happiness and life satisfaction.
• Improves Mental Health: Expressing gratitude has been linked to lower levels of depression and anxiety. It encourages a positive outlook and reduces toxic emotions like envy, resentment, and regret.
• Enhances Relationships: Showing appreciation fosters stronger relationships. When you express gratitude to someone, it communicates that you value and appreciate them. This can lead to improved social connections and deeper bonds.
• Increases Empathy and Compassion: Practicing gratitude encourages us to recognize the contributions of others in our lives. This can lead to increased empathy and compassion towards others, as we become more aware of their efforts and sacrifices.
• Reduces Stress and Enhances Resilience: Gratitude has been shown to reduce stress levels. It shifts our focus away from negative aspects of life and helps us to see the bigger picture. This can enhance our ability to cope with challenges and bounce back from adversity.
• Promotes Physical Health: Grateful individuals tend to engage in healthier behaviors like regular exercise and a balanced diet. Studies have also suggested that gratitude may have a positive effect on blood pressure, heart health, and the immune system.
• Enhances Sleep Quality: Cultivating gratitude has been associated with better sleep. Reflecting on positive aspects of the day before bedtime can calm the mind and improve sleep quality.
• Fosters a Positive Outlook on Life: Gratitude encourages a more optimistic and positive mindset. It helps us focus on what's going well rather than dwelling on what's going wrong, leading to an overall more positive outlook on life.
• Increases Self-Esteem: Recognizing and appreciating the positive aspects of our lives can boost our self-esteem and self-worth. It reinforces a sense of accomplishment and value.
• Promotes Altruism and Prosocial Behavior: Grateful individuals are more likely to engage in acts of kindness and help others. This promotes a sense of community and social cohesion.
• Enhances Overall Well-Being: Overall, practicing gratitude contributes to a higher sense of well-being. It creates a positive feedback loop, where feeling grateful leads to more positive experiences.
Incorporating gratitude into your daily life can be as simple as keeping a gratitude journal, expressing thanks to others, or taking a moment to reflect on the positive aspects of your day. It's a powerful practice that can lead to a happier, healthier, and more fulfilling life.
Remembering the following three principles set forth in the prayer of St. Francis, if applied, will defuse any stress and difficulties that may arise during this Thanksgiving and Christmas Holiday
– “It is better to Comfort than to be Comforted”
– “It is better to Understand than to be Understood”
– “It is better to Love than to be Loved”
– St. Francis of Assisi
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The concept of God has been a subject of contemplation and interpretation for countless generations. The essence of God is love in its purest form. So if God is love what is love? The answer to that is found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 – “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…” God is absolute unconditional love. Absolutely no strings attached. Why is it so hard for us to except this as being the truth of who God is? The answer has always been right in front of us, we just have not been able to see it. In this blog post, we’ll discuss one of the biggest if, not the biggest reason - we project our parents face and roles as parents onto God.
The act of putting our parents faces and roles on God is actually a bigger issue than most of us realize within the religious world as we know it, whether that is a Christian faith, Buddhist faith, Mormon faith or any one of the many world religions. We must remember in many of these faith based practices, we look at God as our Father, Abba. A father that loves us unconditionally and forgives us of all our sins and wrong doings without questioning. The reality for so many is that they had a father here on earth that has fallen way short of these standards. Their love and forgiveness was conditional, contingent on certain conditions, or rules on them giving of their love. A fathers love is supposed to simulate Gods unconditional love, no strings attached. Sadly, there is a very large number of us that grow up with a father that displayed the latter attributes I mentioned above.
When we grow up in a home where we may have been abused in any way, it can cause a deeply profound hurt, as well as confusion and dysfunction. Distrust can then be unleashed in a young person’s life in overwhelming ways. These things are ways the enemy, Satan, uses to pull us away from God. These have nothing to do with who God is, yet we come up with a view of God that judges or punishes us based upon how we are meeting our fathers (parents) expectations and conditions. When such abuse does occur, the picture of a father that God the Father intended us as a child or young adult to see, one of a role-model, becomes skewed, shattered and confusing.
The good news about all of this is that you can overcome this dilemma. I have, that is why I believe this is a vital subject that must be talked about. For those of you that grew up in a home where the attributes of God the Father were displayed to you by your father or parents, you have been given a gift that many in this world only hoped for, cherish it. To those of you that grew up in a home where your father did not or did not know how to display Gods attributes, yet you have worked through the process and have developed a relationship with God the Father, I am proud of you. For those of you still struggling with this, I invite you to reach out to me at healandresorecounseling.com and I will be more than happy to journey with you on this quest. I would also encourage all parents to listen to the Heal And Restore podcast titled – A Message to Parents - https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/randy-l-boyd/episodes/A-Message-to-Parents-e29cjko
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In keeping the theme of our last podcast "Recovery Tools for Life" - my blog post this week will reflect on the same topic.
Recovery is a deeply personal journey, often marked by challenges and triumphs. Whether you're overcoming addiction, healing from trauma, or striving for better mental health, having the right tools at your disposal can make all the difference. These personal recovery tools serve as pillars of support, helping individuals regain control of their lives and find strength in vulnerability. In this blog, we'll explore five essential tools that can empower your recovery journey.
Your personal recovery journey is unique, and these tools are here to support you every step of the way. Remember that progress may not always be linear, but each day is a new opportunity for growth. By embracing self-reflection, building a supportive community, setting meaningful goals, prioritizing self-care, and cultivating resilience and acceptance, you are equipping yourself with the strength and resilience needed to overcome any obstacle. Trust in your own capacity for transformation, and know that you have the power to create a brighter, healthier future.
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When people hear the word “recovery” in church or any other public forums, many tend to turn and run from any further conversation by closing their mind to hearing the truth about what recovery truly is. Why do they do this, you may ask? Automatically people relate the word “recovery” as having a problem with alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling or any other type of addiction. A persons automatic response may generally be something like this; “I’m not one of those people. I do not struggle with any kind of addiction.” Recovery is not working on and overcoming an addiction, that is sobriety. There is a big difference between the two.
So what is the difference between sobriety and recovery? Sobriety is simply not drinking, not drugging, not overeating, not gambling, etc.. In other words, one works on their addiction. In today’s treatment world, that often times include putting one on some other sort of medication. For example, like an opiate blocker to help them overcome the addiction. Nothing to address the underlying issues of the addictions. We must understand that liquor, drugs, overeating, etc. is ONLY but a symptom of why one drinks, drugs, overeats, gambles, etc. One must get down to underlying causes and conditions of the addiction. This is where true recovery happens.
So you may be wondering now, what is recovery? Here is one definition of recovery; “A process of change through which individuals improve their spiritual and emotional health and wellbeing, live a God and self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.” Heal and Restore Counseling defines it as, “returning to the person God intended you to be before the ways of the world corrupted you.” Sounds almost like an impossible task. For many it can be. For those that are willing to do the hard work required to journey on the path of recovery, it is very much possible. All that is required is to have an open mind and a willingness to do the hard and sometimes painful work.
In the Bible, Paul gives us very specific instructions on what this transformation requires in the book of Romans. Specifically Romans 12:2 – “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” The words conform, transform and renew are all verbs, action words. In other words, there is a tremendous amount of action that is required on our part. The transformations and renewing of our minds doesn’t happen with a simple snap of our fingers. It happens over time as we take action in the renew process or recovery process.
Most of us have developed years of thought patterns and behaviors that are deeply rooted in the fiber of our being. So, how do we transform and renew our minds? How do we transform one's thinking patterns and beliefs. Here are five steps you can take to apply this principle in your life:
Awareness and Reflection:
Remember, transforming your mind is a continuous process. It requires self-awareness, effort, and a commitment to personal growth. Be patient with yourself and celebrate your progress along the way.
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In the dance of marriage, communication takes center stage. While speaking is undoubtedly important, equally vital is the often underestimated skill of listening. It's the quiet counterpart to words, the bridge that connects hearts, and the cornerstone of a thriving relationship. In this blog, we'll explore why listening is paramount in a marriage and how it can transform a partnership.
In the symphony of marriage, listening is the harmonious note that brings it all together. It's the quiet yet powerful force that nurtures understanding, trust, and emotional intimacy. By making a conscious effort to truly hear and acknowledge your partner, you lay the foundation for a marriage that not only endures but flourishes. So, let your ears be the gateway to your partner's heart, and let the art of listening be the cornerstone of your extraordinary journey together.
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Marriage, a beautiful union of two individuals, is a journey filled with ups and downs, twists and turns. While love is often considered the foundation of a strong marriage, there is another equally vital ingredient that plays a crucial role in nurturing a lasting and fulfilling partnership: acceptance. In this blog, we will explore the significance of acceptance in a marriage and how it can strengthen the bond between spouses.
It is important to understand that acceptance does not
mean approval. Acceptance is not submission. Rather, it is
acknowledgment of the facts of any situation and then deciding
what you’re going to do about it. We do not have the power to
change anyone or anything!
Acceptance, in the context of marriage, refers to the ability to embrace your partner for who they are, flaws and all, without trying to change them. It's about recognizing that your spouse is a unique individual with their own set of strengths, weaknesses, quirks, and idiosyncrasies. When both partners practice acceptance, it creates a safe and nurturing environment where love can truly flourish.
1. Fosters Emotional Intimacy: Acceptance forms the cornerstone of emotional intimacy in a marriage. When you accept your partner, it allows them to be vulnerable and open up without fear of judgment. This, in turn, fosters trust and deepens the emotional connection between spouses.
2. Strengthens Communication: Accepting your partner's perspective and feelings enhances communication. When both partners feel heard and understood, they are more likely to engage in open and honest conversations, resolving conflicts more effectively.
3. Reduces Resentment: Trying to change your spouse or constantly pointing out their flaws can lead to resentment and frustration. Acceptance, on the other hand, reduces the need for such criticisms and creates a more harmonious atmosphere.
4. Encourages Personal Growth: Paradoxically, acceptance can also foster personal growth within a marriage. When spouses feel accepted and loved for who they are, they are more likely to strive to be their best selves, not out of fear but out of genuine desire to be a better partner.
5. Promotes Self-Acceptance: Acceptance in a marriage often mirrors self-acceptance. When you learn to accept your partner's imperfections, you also tend to become more accepting of your own flaws, creating a positive feedback loop of self-improvement.
6. Strengthens Resilience: Life is full of challenges, and marriage is no exception. When couples face adversity together with a foundation of acceptance, they are better equipped to weather the storms, emerge stronger, and grow together.
7. Encourages Compromise: Acceptance doesn't mean giving up your own needs and desires. It means finding a balance between your individuality and your role as part of a team. This often leads to healthier compromises, which are essential in any marriage.
8. Long-Term Satisfaction: Studies have shown that couples who practice acceptance report higher levels of marital satisfaction. The freedom to be oneself and the knowledge that your partner loves you for it creates a sense of contentment that lasts.
However, practicing acceptance is not always easy. It requires self-awareness, empathy, and patience. Here are some tips to cultivate acceptance in your marriage:
1. Practice Active Listening: Make an effort to truly listen to your partner's thoughts and feelings without immediately offering solutions or judgments.
2. Empathize: Try to understand your partner's perspective even if you don't agree with it. Empathy builds bridges of understanding.
3. Communicate Your Needs: Express your own needs and boundaries calmly and assertively. Encourage your partner to do the same.
4. Celebrate Differences: Instead of trying to change your partner, celebrate the qualities that make them unique and cherish the diversity they bring to the relationship.
5. Seek Professional Help: If acceptance seems challenging due to unresolved issues or deep-seated conflicts, consider seeking the assistance of a therapist or counselor.
In conclusion, acceptance is the glue that holds a marriage together. It fosters love, trust, and emotional intimacy while reducing conflict and resentment. By practicing acceptance, both partners can create a relationship that not only survives but thrives through life's inevitable challenges, ultimately leading to a deeper, more fulfilling bond that stands the test of time. So, embrace the beauty of acceptance in your marriage and watch it flourish.
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Spirituality is a source of solace, purpose, and strength for many individuals. However, when wielded improperly, it can become a tool of manipulation and control. Spiritual abuse is a deeply concerning phenomenon that often occurs within religious communities, where leaders or members exploit their spiritual authority to exert power over others. In this blog post, we will delve into the insidious nature of spiritual abuse, its detrimental effects, and how individuals can find healing and reclaim their spiritual journey.
Defining Spiritual Abuse
Spiritual abuse is a form of psychological and emotional manipulation where individuals misuse their spiritual authority to control, intimidate, or exploit others. This abuse can manifest in various ways, including manipulating scripture to justify harmful behavior, enforcing rigid beliefs, and isolating individuals from their support networks. It often leaves victims feeling trapped, powerless, and disconnected from their own spirituality.
The Manipulative Tactics
Spiritual abuse can have profound and long-lasting effects on individuals' mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Some common consequences include:
Spiritual abuse is a painful reality for many, but it is not the essence of true spirituality. By recognizing the signs, seeking help, and reclaiming your faith, you can break free from the chains of manipulation and embark on a journey towards genuine spiritual growth and healing. Remember, you are worthy of love, respect, and a faith that nurtures your soul.
Marriage, a timeless institution, brings together two individuals with unique backgrounds, beliefs, and aspirations, promising a lifetime of companionship and shared experiences. Yet, the journey of marital bliss is often colored by the expectations we bring into it. These expectations can either be a source of strength or a stumbling block. In this blog post, we'll explore the significance of managing marriage expectations to foster a healthy and enduring relationship.
Expectations are an inherent part of human nature; they shape the way we perceive and react to the world around us. When it comes to marriage, these expectations can vary widely, ranging from idealistic visions of a fairy-tale romance to practical considerations about partnership and companionship. It's essential to recognize that while expectations are natural, they should be managed with care to avoid unnecessary conflicts and disappointments.
Cathy and I have been happily married since 1983. However it has not been without our share of issues, yet we have persevered through all of them. We have three amazing kids that have grown into well respected and loved adults in their communities. We are the proud "Papo" & "Mami" of three beautiful granddaughters and 2 handsome grandsons. We enjoy spending quality time with our family. Randy enjoys cycling, working out, hunting, fishing, and playing the guitar. Cathy loves working in the garden, cooking, and camping. Together we love traveling. Although we have been blessed to visit several foreign countries, our favorite place to travel to is the beautiful island of Maui where we spend most of our time together laying on the beach enjoying the serenity of the Maui energy.