Category Archives: Gratitude

letting in love

Letting in the Love

Here are two lovely clips in conversation with Linda Graham, author of Bouncing Back: Rewiring Your Brain for Maximum Resilience and Well-Being, from 2013's Awakening Joy course. I hope you enjoy them. Letting in the Love In this conversation with Linda Graham I share my practice of letting in the love from all around us. This practice re-trains the mind and heart to shift the way we hold ourselves towards worthiness and seeing the goodness inside. Linda responds by showing how we can become reminders of that for each other. She also shares her personal main practices for awakening joy. To watch this video on Youtube, please visit: You Have a Choice In this video Linda makes the point that who we are is not …

gratitude for gifts we've been given

Gratitude for the Gifts We’ve Been Given

We can practice gratitude towards ourselves by having a positive attitude about what we’re doing in the world. We all have our mental or written “to do” lists. But we typically measure ourselves by what we haven’t done and feel lousy or behind. This pattern of thinking makes us feel small or inadequate. If at the end of the day, we instead look at what we have accomplished or the kindnesses we’ve extended and let ourselves feel good about it, we have a different feeling about ourselves. Life is no longer seen as a burden that is always demanding more of us, but rather as a series of activities that engage us. What have you done today that you feel …

7 Simple Practices to Really Enjoy the Holidays

With the holidays upon us, is it possible to really make it a season of good cheer, even in what for many, are times of uncertainty and concern? How can we stay grounded and present and still let ourselves feel the holiday spirit? Though the next gadget or experience may bring fleeting pleasure, genuine happiness is about how we feel inside. To really enjoy the holidays, it's helpful to understand that true well-being is directly related to how contracted or open your mind feels. Contraction means stress. Openness allows you and others to feel your care and love. For true well-being, try these simple practices that will keep you connected to healthy mind states and help you really enjoy the holidays: …

thanksgiving reflection

Thanksgiving Reflection: Grace Disguised as Obstacles

With Thanksgiving upon us this is the time to reflect on the blessings in our life. Gratitude is one of the most direct ways to open the heart and awaken joy. Gratitude is said to be an antidote to anger, worry, doubt, wanting. It has also been shown to intensify positive memories by reflecting with appreciation on how they have impacted us. Gratitude is said to be the antidote to the complaining mind. In his Discourse on Blessings, the Buddha talks of the great blessings in a human life. Here are some of them: to live in a place that is good for you, to do good deeds, to keep yourself going in the right direction, to be well educated, develop …

With Happiness, Don’t Go for a Gusher

In our competitive culture, we usually think "more is better." Being Number One, winning at all costs, and "having the most" is deeply ingrained in our psyche as real success. This model of going for the max is often erroneously applied to our own well-being. People mistakenly think intense delight is a sign that their attempt at awakening joy is truly successful. However, when we look for bells and whistles as indications of true happiness we're misunderstanding a very important principle: Setting a high bar of intense happiness works against true well-being. Although I'm all for enjoying peak experiences when they arise, measuring that ideal against a moderate level of okayness can easily render this moment as "not good enough." One of …

gratitude towards ourselves

Gratitude Toward Ourselves

Amazing Grace: Change is Possible When I look back on my late teens and early 20’s, I did lots of crazy things. Reflecting on those days I realize I was walking nonchalantly and unconsciously through a minefield of potential dangers that could have spelled disaster. I have immense gratitude that one of those mines didn’t explode spiraling my life in a very different direction. Somehow, I saw the light before that happened. But, even if it did, I believe it’s never too late to turn our life around. This is a source of great inspiration to me. Going through a disaster can be a profound wakeup call. No matter how far we’ve strayed off course, in one mysterious moment we can see …

gratitude with linda graham

Awakening Joy’s 2014 Class on “Gratitude” with Linda Graham

At a 2014 Awakening Joy class, guest speaker Linda Graham (author of Bouncing Back: Rewiring Your Brain for Maximum Resilience and Well-Being) gave a wonderful talk on the theme of "Gratitude." We hope you enjoyed the above clip of her closing thoughts. If you would like to see the whole presentation, along with other great talks by speakers such as Rick Hanson, Vinny Ferraro and Sylvia Boorstein, please join us for the 5-month Awakening Joy course with James Baraz! For more information, please visit:

expressing gratitude

Expressing Your Gratitude

The third theme in the "Awakening Joy" course is Gratitude. The below 4-minute clip from Action for Happiness captured two people sharing the most powerful exercise recommended by Martin Seligman to activate authentic happiness in his Positive Psychology students:Write a letter of gratitude to someone you really appreciate and read it to them in person.Check out the clip here: You might try it yourself. Think of someone you appreciate and write them a letter of gratitude. If possible, read it to them directly. Notice how you both feel. By the way, March 20th is the UN's International Happiness Day. Share your blessings with everyone in your life.Wishing you all good things, ~James