Appreciation - the Essential Oil for Life, Love, Joy & even Money
When the news and environment foster fear, uncertainty and negativity, it may seem difficult to appreciate anyone or anything. Yet, we now have "scientific evidence" to prove that your life can be remarkably better by cultivating the capacity to appreciate. Appreciation is the lubricant, the oil, the nutrient that expands possibilities and creates positive results.
Let's look at a few examples. In relationships, no doubt you are familiar with John Gottman's studies on relationships and predicting divorce. One nugget from his work indicates that on average there is a 1:1 ratio of appreciation to criticism between couples. To sustain a healthy and loving relationship, shift that ratio to 5:1.
In money, Robert Biswaa-Diener's new studies across the globe about the "cost of happiness" point to financial rewards from happiness, not the other way around. Appreciation generates positivity. Being positive is a necessary ingredient for happiness and those who are happy are more financially successful. Money pays emotional dividends. We all know that money can't buy happiness, but happiness can increase your wealth.
I am conducting my own "study" about health, and appreciation, with my personal trainer. Being directed to lift weights, move fast and stretch ligaments beyond my comfort is not altogether enticing. In fact, sometimes it is grueling. But, as my body becomes stronger and builds the capacity for a quality long life, I deepen my appreciation for the gift of working out with a caring trainer, and I experience more joy physically, while exercising my body. This month, consider building your appreciation muscle beyond its current condition.
In addition to the 5 Minute TRY It, in this newsletter I offer you a few other ways to build gratitude. I recommend author Ed Jacobson, PhD., who continues to make stellar contributions to the financial planning profession by showing how the use of appreciative approaches, and the findings of positive psychology, can enhance our relationships and our lives. His book, Appreciative Moments, is an all-time favorite. "Appreciation is My Bag" is an activity and practice I developed with my family and friends, to cultivate appreciation between family members. In my article this month I share some thoughts about reinforcing the meaning behind estate gifting. Whether you keep reading or not, take a second right now, breathe deeply into your belly, and appreciate yourself - for ANYTHING that comes to mind. This, my friends, is a start!
P.S. As a gentle nudge, each month I offer a
5 Minute TRY It to taste, through a direct experience, a concept I am moved to share. Expanding awareness begins with expanding your ability to see, beyond what you currently see. In order to see more, you require two things: one, a light showing you what you may not see and two, a way to explore-or test, if you will- the territory. My intention with "5 minute TRY Its" is to provide a friendly taste, to open the possibility for further consumption and capacity building. If you like what you taste, you may indulge more.
5-Minute TRY It
1. Minute one: Write unedited on a blank piece of paper the people, places, things and experiences that you appreciate.
2. Minute two: Review your list and select one entry on your list to appreciate. Bring to mind a visual of your selection.
3. Minute three: Place your full attention on the visual. Magnify the visual by including words, sound, breath, voices, and context in your gratitude attention.
4. Minute four: Bring your attention to the sensations in your body. Where is gratitude located? What does it feel like? Smile and magnify it.
5. Minute five: Return to your visual and energetically connect the felt sense in your body with gratitude. Allow your heart to smile.
6. Complete your practice by grounding gratitude with your heart. Grow gratitude by catalyzing this body experience ... anytime!
Bonus activity: Start a gratitude journal ...
Women, Wealth & Wisdom
Begins June 5th
Join me in a unique opportunity to gather with a few women in an intimate, safe circle of trust to expand your understanding of wealth and to explore the issues that matter most to you in this precious life.
As a Genuine Gift or
a Tax Transfer
At a recent financial planning conference, I attended a session on the current rules of our estate tax system. Our current estate tax rules, the most simple ever, are "in place" for two years, at the end of which I strongly suspect our lawmakers will make more changes. My interest in this presentation was less about the great tax compromise and more about meaning behind gifting, one of the traditional estate planning strategies to decrease a taxable estate.
The presenter shared a story about a young boy who spoke directly to his grandfather about the annual monetary gifts he received from him. He said, "Pappy, why do you give me this money each year?" His grandfather replied, "Well, it is because I love you." To which the young boy replied, "I don't feel love when I receive the money with a formal letter telling me not to use the money." (This is the "crummy" letter required by law to make the gift legal.) This exchange, and the lost meaning behind the gift, is more common that we might like to believe.
(Continue reading here)