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Latosha Martin
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Latosha Martin   My Press Releases

Reserves; Gratitude Journal

Published on 8/12/2013
For additional information  Click Here

Reserves; Gratitude Journal

Building reserves is a goal that most people have for themselves. Most coaches regard reserves as essential for their clients' well-being. The first questions that arise are, usually, "A reserve of what?" and "How much of a reserve do I need?"

Our first thought is often of a reserve of money, but friends, time, energy, space, supplies, even peace of mind are all areas in which we are also wise to establish a reserve. As for quantity, this is relative to one's situation. An ideal financial reserve is often said to be enough to live on for at least six months without any income. Some people would consider this not nearly enough. For others it is a dream that seems totally out of reach. As I see it, for each of us there is both a basic reserve, and an ideal reserve.

A basic reserve is whatever enables you to rest easy in your mind, knowing that your plans are not going to be side-tracked by some emergency, regardless of how trivial. If you have friends who will help out in an emergency, you have a reserve of personal support. If you know you can comfortably pay your bills and handle emergencies, without robbing Peter to pay Paul, you have a financial reserve. Perhaps you don't have as much as you would like, but you have enough that you can rest easy in your mind.

On the other hand, if you find your plans are often disrupted by life's emergencies both large and small, then you probably do not have the reserves you need. Do you frequently get too low on gas (petrol), time, or cash for your life to run smoothly? Can you handle an unexpectedly needed purchase? Do you allow other people's lack of planning to become your emergency? Is it boundaries that cause your emergencies? These are what I referred to earlier as trivial emergencies. They can easily disrupt your day, and upset your thinking, but they are usually avoidable by forward thinking.

You may want to examine what is happening to cause these emergencies. Where do you not rest easy? Where is a little advance planning likely to smooth things out for you? What needs to change?

Beyond the basic reserve is the ideal reserve, which is much greater. In order to approach our ideal reserve, many of us need to change our thinking, so that we may truly visualize ourselves actually having so much. If we cannot visualize that, it is unlikely that we will achieve it. Here the first work to be done is on our way of thinking. We will return to this in future issues.

Keeping a gratitude journal does sound hokey, I must admit. What is the point, I once wondered, of writing down five things for which I am grateful every night before I go to bed? Isn't enough just to think them? But if one just thinks them it is too easy to cheat, to use the same things evening after evening, to slip by with four, or three, or even none. The discipline of writing it down, and having to search for the good things that, on bad days may not come easily to mind, has the effect of turning one's attention toward good things. For some people this comes naturally. For others, particularly those with what is sometimes called 'negative attitude,' this approach can be mind- and life-changing. The truth is, keeping a gratitude journal can effect very powerful changes in one's thinking. A client who has just begun to keep such a journal recently told me excitedly, "Now, on my way to work, I'm thinking about things that I can write down. It's such a wonderful way to start the day - focusing on the good things instead of on the negatives. It really is changing the way I think and feel."

Last week I received an e-mail from a young man who always seems to land on his feet. People say how lucky he is. In truth, he is smart, and he works very hard, but perhaps there is more to it than that. In a comment about a project that is keeping him EXTREMELY busy he could have focused on the stress, the deadlines, on how tired he is at the end of every day, which is what many people do. Instead, in a brief five line e-mail, his comments were about two aspects of his situation that, he wrote, make him happy.

Perhaps that's part of his secret. If we are given something, whether it is material, or just a chance to be happy, or even a smile, and we acknowledge our gratitude clearly and gracefully, this increases the likelihood that the giver will give again. When you focus on your gratitude for the good things that have come your way, no doubt Someone, or Something, Somewhere, hears. And perhaps is more likely to give again. So it seems there are two interacting benefits to keeping a gratitude journal. We become more inclined to notice the positives, which changes for the better our way of thinking and of perceiving the world. And at the same time, by expressing our gratitude we become more likely to encounter positive situations. Win-win.

I often say that gardening is my therapy. Lately I have found that working creatively on my web site is another. What is your therapy? It is important that each of us knows what nurtures us, what brings us peace and regeneration. When you know what yours is, do not let it go. Do not let deadlines, pressures, the demands of others, separate you from what brings you peace. If you allow yourself to regenerate, you will be able to meet all those demands far more effectively, and without depleting yourself. If you give priority to outside pressures, and put your own needs on the back burner for too long, both you and those around you will suffer.

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