Baldies' Blog began originally in the UK by a 26 year old journalist with a blood cancer on a mission to inform the world about bone marrow donation.

He has since died, and I took on the cause of making cancer care more transparent for everybody.

Cancer is a disease that will touch everybody through diagnosis or affiliation: 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed and 1 in 3 woman will hear those words, "You Have Cancer."

I invite you to read how I feel along my journey and
how I am continuing to live a full life alongside my Hodgkin's lymphoma, with me controlling my cancer, not my cancer controlling me.

I hope that "Baldies' Blog" will prepare you to handle whatever life sends you, but especially if it's the message, "You Have Cancer."

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Gratitude Attitude

I think I found a way to dig myself out of the irritable funk I've been in. My angry, pity party has been going on a little long. I've been complaining more than usual. Judging others. Forgetting the great things we have.

It's been over 9 weeks now since the incident that set me off. Jon had a talk with me that I was being curmudgeonly and I agreed.  It was time to pull myself up by my boot straps, get my game face on, and enjoy all I have, which has been my secret to surviving, happily, even when in the worst health imaginable, this whole time.

I call it the gratitude attitude and theorized that being thankful for friends always and the small wonders, being able to walk, stay awake a whole day, warm showers, and fresh fruit, would help me overcome the depression I'd have if I focused on the dark side: what I've lost, what we don't have, etc. etc.

So here's the plan, in article style of course, I need to find someway to get the best of both worlds:

Beat The Blues with the Gratitude Attitude 

If you’ve come to find happiness, start counting your blessings, you’ve found the right place, and now that you found help, keep counting those blessings. Science says it’s good for you.
Science is proving having a gratitude attitude: counting your blessings, looking on the bright side, and overall optimism can revitalize you.
While it may seem like common sense that positive emotions, like gratitude, beget more positive emotions, it’s only been in the last couple years that the study of happiness has seen a surge in popularity.
What’s been discovered is that gratitude is one of humanity's most powerful emotions. It makes you happier and can change your attitude about life, even if it’s dragging yourself out of a funk or helping recover from a divorce, like an emotional reset button.
Robert Emmons, Professor at the University of California, Davis, who pioneered research on the benefits of positive thinking states there are studies showing even pretending to be thankful raises levels of the neurotransmitters associated with pleasure and contentment: serotonin and dopamine, the same commonly chemically copied in  anti-depressants.                                                                                                                        Better than popping a pill, giving thanks is a potent emotion that feeds on itself, much like being victorious, creating a cycle of self-stimulated happiness. Gratitude is the gift that keeps on giving.                                                                                                             Convinced? You should be feeling better all ready with all the good news I’m bringing, but where do you start?                                                                                               1. Cut the complaints. Limit complaints to a certain amount of whines during a set timeframe. For example, give yourself one complaint each morning from getting out of bed to going to lunch. Then work towards getting the gratitude attitude. Eventually stop complaining, replacing whines with happy comments, even if the complaint is there it will be overpowered by the stronger emotion.                                                                       2. Fake It Until You Make It: Prof. Emmons states, “Live as if you feel gratitude and soon the real thing will come.”                                                                                                
3. Remind yourself of things to be grateful for. Keep a log of everything that brings you joy. One major study showed that people who wrote down what they are grateful for felt 25 percent happier after ten weeks than those who did not. They even felt better about their jobs. Another thing to be happy about: studies show logging once a week makes people happier than doing it three times as much.                                                                           
4/5. Make It Visual & Recruit the Family. Create a collage of what you are happiest for, and display it prominently. According to Emmons, a great technique for children is creating a thank-you “tree,” adding post-it note “leaves” every day to acknowledge everything good imaginable, which will also encourage good future behavior too.                     
6. Practice daily acts of gratitude.
When we think of, remember, talk about wonderful and happy moments, we feel uplifted. Keep the feeling by pausing and listing three things you are thankful for and three people to whom you are grateful. If you’re a beginner, it can be done indirectly by finding three things that could be worse.                                             
  7. Be happy in spite of unhappy events
: There are few absolute truths, and one is life isn’t fair. Good thing we can learn to be happy in spite of problems with two steps. First, after an upsetting situation, don’t react. Try to stay calm. Ignore the person. Walk away. Research. Cope however you can without blowing your top. Then, when the urge  to freak out lessens, start listing the things about the situation for which you can feel grateful, even if it’s a lesson learned.                                                                                   
8. Look at your present through the eyes of your future: Your perfect future that is, and imagine only the best, this is your life, your mind, and good creates more good. 
9.Write/Give a Heartfelt Thank You: Spread the joy in a “power thank you.” First, thank whomever specifically for what they did. Next, acknowledge the effort it. Finally, tell them what their actions mean to you. This will help others feel valued and will help you feel better about yourself and life.

Why giving thanks is good for the psyche

Gratitude Chases the Blues Away


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