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I Believe We Can All Find Something to Be Grateful For

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I am grateful for; gratitude; gratefulThis article was sparked by a recent experience, and I felt I should share.

My husband and I just got back from a 5-day cruise.  The cruise activities director spent the whole cruise saying “How Are You Feeling?” and expecting a response of “GREAT!”

The last night he explained why.

He read some statistics which I will share in a moment.  It was about the statistical breakdown if the world had 100 people and how many would fall into different categories.  He noted that, after he read the statistics, he no longer answered that he was feeling “good”, a general response many of us give many times if we are asked that question in a general greeting.

He said he now answers “Great” or “Amazing” if someone asks how he is doing, because he realized that he had so much to be thankful for in his own life.

Here are the statistics broken down as of 2006.  The original statistics were provided by Donella Meadows from the Peace Corps in 1990 and can be viewed here.   Source for the below:  http://www.100people.org/statistics_100stats.php

If the World were 100 PEOPLE:
  • 50 would be female | 50 would be male
  • 26 would be children:  There would be 74 adults, 8 of whom would be 65 and older
  • There would be: 60 Asians, 15 Africans, 14 people from the Americas, 11 Europeans
  • 33 Christians, 22 Muslims, 14 Hindus, 7 Buddhists, 12 people who practice other religions, 12 people who would not be aligned with a religion
  • 12 would speak Chinese, 5 would speak Spanish, 5 would speak English, 3 would speak Arabic, 3 would speak Hindi, 3 would speak Bengali, 3 would speak Portuguese, 2 would speak Russian, 2 would speak Japanese, 62 would speak other languages, 83 would be able to read and write; 17 would not
  • 7 would have a college degree
  • 22 would own or share a computer
  • 77 people would have a place to shelter them from the wind and the rain, but 23 would not
  • 1 would be dying of starvation
  • 15 would be undernourished
  • 21 would be overweight
  • 87 would have access to safe drinking water | 13 people would have no clean, safe water to drink

Personally, I am most grateful for my life.  I have a home and food to eat.  I probably own 10 computers (not sure if that is a blessing?), I have a car. I have love and a wonderful family.  I have freedom.

I agree and believe that responding to a “How are you doing” in a “GREAT!” manner is healthy, and I adopted saying “Excellent” a few years ago if I am asked.  When I respond “Excellent”, I feel much more positive.

There is a lot of research that shows counting our own personal blessings, of being in a state of gratitude, looking for the bright side, and focusing on something positive, is healthy for us.

I know that it is hard to do many times, and I know it is not something I had learned to do when I was younger.  During my childhood I had learned envy, jealousy and to focus on lack – not to focus on what I had and to be grateful for my life, but to focus on what I didn’t have.  I wrote about this in my book, “If I Knew Then What I Know Now“, which brought the awareness to spur the proactive approach of our foundation.  Through my life learning and awareness, and through a lot of reading, education and research, it has become my life purpose to provide the education, tips and tools for you and others to learn how to PREinvent YOUR Life®.  What does that mean?  To bring awareness, life and coping skills to others sooner than later so people have the opportunity to have their best life longer.

I believe the current system in our society is reinvention and recovery, which causes us to unlearn our way of thinking and to RE-learn how to enjoy life.  But, how about if we started out with the right skills at the onset so we can enjoy life the whole time?  There’s a lot more to this concept which I’ve shared and will continue to share and present.

In our current society, many of us are taught to focus on the negative.  Don’t believe me?  Just watch the news.  We seem to revel in disaster or sadness.  There are so many things that we can focus on, instead.  There are so many people and organizations doing amazing things — so many people out there that, if we band together, can make every community the most amazing place to live for all people.

In reference to gratitude, I have been reading Dr. Martin Seligman’s book Flourish.  He discussed the affects of positive emotions and health benefits of those who found something to be grateful for and how the focus on something positive that happened to them, “people who habitually acknowledge and express gratitude” see benefits in their health, sleep, relationships and perform better in their life.  Dr. Seligman had people reflect on one thing that happened the day before that was a “blessing” or something they were grateful for.  This shift in finding one thing that we are grateful for can shift our whole perspective so we can enjoy life.

Here’s some information on another study on gratitude.  There are tons of studies out there, so just Google “gratitude and happiness” if you want to learn more.  In this study, two groups of people were asked to keep journals.  One group kept track of five things they were grateful for that had occurred in the past week, and the other group kept track of daily hassles from the previous week that displeased them.  They reported that, 10 weeks later, the people in the gratitude group felt better about their lives as a whole, were a full 25 percent happier, and reported fewer health complaints.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ocean-robbins/having-gratitude-_b_1073105.html

I believe this to be true.  Personally, if I focus on how tough my week is, how horrible something is, how _________________ (fill in the blank), I feel tired, achy, or miserable.

Take a moment and reflect on yourself:  How do you feel when you focus on how you hate your job, or how you are angry at someone, or how you have a lack in your life?

Imagine the shift that could be possible if you focused on the positive things — the shift in your attitude, the shift in your personality.

I’m not saying everything in life is perfect.  Not everything is 1000% perfect in my life all the time, either.

BUT, I personally know that if I dwell on the negative, I feel worse.

After years of working on the Time to Play project, I have realized that the “KEY” is to recognize what I’m feeling and to dig a little — to recognize what my focus is and to figure out why I feel a specific way, especially if I am not feeling good.  Once I know the “why” (the root cause), I know I can move away from the situation and shift my focus and my thinking.

In the end, I know that it is always up to me to have the best day I can — no matter what the circumstances.

I know that I can only control me to have an enjoyable day, which is my goal everyday.  I cannot control anyone else’s behavior.  I do thank Rebecca L. Norrington, our Time to Play Foundation’s happiness expert, for sparking this awareness in me many years ago.  This awareness is definitely necessary to appropriately reach to life situations in a better manner to create a better life.

Start easy — just focus on something, one thing, to be grateful for – whether you do it at night before you go to sleep or when you wake up to start your day — or, maybe, do both!

You will notice a tremendous difference in how you feel.  I guarantee it.

After all, it is time to enjoy life.  It is Time to Play.

Love,

Doreen

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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC is a board certified healthcare executive, a certified professional life coach, the founder of the Time to Play Foundation, a 501c3 not for profit corporation inspiring everyone to enjoy life and author of If I Knew Then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life.  The concept behind time to Play and the Time to Play Foundation was absolutely created out of LOVE. Please see www.timetoplay.com for more information

 

Positive Thinking

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Ghandi, Positive Thinking, Ghandi Positive Thinking QuoteI woke up this morning thinking about the affects our thinking has on our lives, whether positive or negative.

Mike Pastore, one of the Time to Play Foundation’s amazing Board members and I had been speaking to a man this past week.  He wanted nothing to do with making his life change or thinking he can make it change.

He had a horrible childhood and he had a horrible life so far.  I actually believe that he had did not have to experience some of his life experiences, but that circumstances actually happened because of his mindset.  Now, at over 60 years old, with all of the negativity and hard life experiences that he has had so far, he has no desire to shift his thinking to change.

I understand things take time and a shift of thinking takes time.  But, I also understand that the average life expectancy is 78 years old.  I believe it is up to us when we decide we have had enough, and that it is up to us when we decide we want something different.  It’s the founding idea behind the PREinvent YOUR Life® program of the Foundation, and my absolute mission, vision and passion – to encourage others to have the best life they can for the longest period of time possible.

Think it’s not possible for you to change the circumstances in your life?

Think you were dealt “a bad hand” and things are as they are and that you can’t change the future?

I disagree.

At this point, I believe every second of every day is a “do over” if you want it to be.  We each have the ability to start fresh, and I believe that our thinking and our choices make it possible to start to do so.

It is an underlying belief of the Time to Play Foundation that positive thinking goes a long way.  I believe that you can make lemonade out of lemons.

I say this all the time now, “I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now”.  That statement became evident a few years ago when I finally wrote the book – but, at 50 years old, I do wish I knew then what I know now when I was much younger.

Even though I know I can’t change things in my past, I now know how every day could have been filled with much more sunshine if I realized how much I am the one in control of my emotions, my reactions, and my destiny.

So, ask yourself:  The “stuff” that happened in your past – can you change it?

The answer is no.

Ask yourself – are you happy with how your life is going right now?

If you are, keep on going the way you are.  If not, take a moment to evaluate what’s happening and what you can do to make one small change to make the next second, or next hour, or the next day different.

Can positive thoughts everyday make a difference in the outcome of a person’s life?

There is much research to prove that it can and how much it affects everything in a person’s life.  The quote by Ghandi shows this knowledge  is not new.  It’s just not something many of us have been taught early on.  But, even though we can’t change our past, we can still PREinvent™ our next day and our next day.

Please join and share our public group:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/timetoplaynews.  Wake up every day to a positive thought and some positive energy.  We’re not trying to sugar coat things here – people have tough days.  I do, too!  But, I believe now that it is all in the way we handle things and our outlook, in general, that can create our experience.

We encourage everyone to share positive thoughts and motivation and stories in our Facebook group so we can empower each other.  That is the underlying founding principle of the Time to Play Foundation – People Helping People and Collaboration = Success.

I believe everyone has something to offer that can help someone else.

After all, it is time to enjoy life. It is Time to Play.  Every day.

Love, Doreen

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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC has worked in the healthcare field since 1987.  She is a board certified healthcare executive, a certified professional life coach, the founder of the Time to Play Foundation, a 501c3 not for profit corporation inspiring everyone to enjoy life and author of If I Knew Then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life.  The concept behind time to Play and the Time to Play Foundation was absolutely created out of LOVE. Please see http://www.timetoplay.com/ for more information.

Source of image: http://positive-motive.blogspot.com

PREinvent YOUR Life® Survey Findings can put the Self-Help Industry Out of Business

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preinvent your lifeThere are many statistics and studies that show the effects of reactive education, counseling and treatment for those who experience a negative life experience, including those who participate in self destructive behaviors and/or who are suffering from depression.  Additionally, in light of the fact that the average life expectancy in the United States is currently 78.8 years, it seems imperative to address quality of life issues early in life in order to facilitate the longest possible quality of life experience.

An article published by the World Health Organization (WHO), “Depression, A Global Public Health Concern”,  confirms the work of the Time to Play Foundation, a not for profit organization that encourages everyone to enjoy life.  In the WHO report, it was noted that over 350 million people in the world suffer from depression, which, at its worst, could lead to suicide.  The article noted that almost 1 million lives are lost to suicide yearly, which equates to approximately 3,000 deaths by suicide per day.

It is our position that treatment, provided reactively after development of the symptoms of depression, is less effective than a proactive approach.

Further, the WHO article did emphasize that that the prevention of depression is an area that deserves attention.

In our society it is common knowledge that those in their mid to late life experience the proverbial “mid-life crisis” to search for their life purpose, quality of life and life enjoyment; but, today, it is evident that many of our youth are plagued with self-destructive behaviors, depression and /or suicidal ideation, translating to a painful and displeasing life experience.  In response to these, the self-help industry has exploded to an over $11 billion a year industry that preys on those experiencing a negative life experience.  For so many there is a need for counseling, encouragement, and education to assist them in recovery of their mental health status.

The Time to Play Foundation’s intention is to encourage people to enjoy life in a proactive manner, and believes in a proactive approach and the concept of PREinvention® vs. REcovery.

It is evident in our society today that the focus is more reactive than proactive and utilizes the practices of REinvention and REcovery vs. the concept of PREvention and PREinvention®.  In 1855 Frederick Douglass said, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men”.  While the background behind this statement was not solely in reference to creating a mentally healthy and stable population, it can be utilized to emphasize this proactive idea of PREinvention® that could be easily implemented into our population today.

Therefore, it may be emphasized that an enjoyable life experience starts with a healthy thought process and healthy self-perception.  In the reactive recovery process we utilize today through our current self-help industry, we hear over and again how people cannot let go of their past and see how self-destructive behaviors are developed in response to lack of life skills and coping skills. This thought process is what feeds our self-help industry, where we try to unravel past damage and unhealthy thoughts that cause the underlying motives behind self-destructive behaviors.

With this more proactive approach it seems to be possible to eliminate so many who spend much of their lives without life enjoyment and that we can facilitate a better life experience for a longer period of time.

The Time to Play Foundation’s team acknowledged the importance to look for a root cause that may provide insight as to why people are not enjoying or not able to enjoy life.  In April, 2015 the Foundation conducted a survey entitled PREinvent YOUR Life® to high school students in grades 9 – 12 at the Comsewogue High School in New York.  There were 727 voluntary, anonymous respondents out of 1131 students present, a statistically significant survey that represented the whole.  The findings were mind-blowing and provided valuable PREventive insight, as well as a “key” concept that may not only eliminate self destructive behaviors, but provide an opportunity for us to implement an easy strategy while raising our children that will provide them a lifetime of success and life enjoyment.

The findings showed that 90.65% of the respondents agreed or strongly agreed that “how to be happy as myself” was the most important “how to” in order to have an enjoyable life experience.

The survey was developed by Doreen Guma, an expert in quality improvement and the Founder of the Time to Play Foundation, who researched many reactive processes and experts in the self-help industry and compiled data for the survey over a 2 ½ year period.  The survey was developed by a team selected by Mrs. Guma to create a streamlined inquiry.

Following the survey, the insight gleaned was validated through discussion with students and young adults.  There was agreement supporting the idea that, if the students had learned preventive, positive coping skills, they may have chosen a different way with dealing with life situations they had encountered thus far in their lives.  It stands to reason that these positive skills, learned early, would have impact on overall life satisfaction throughout an entire lifetime.

The study findings were most telling, and potentially provide a KEY to quality of life.  Considering the implications behind the skill of “how to be happy as myself”, it is may be safe to summarize that, if a person is happy as themselves, and loves themselves, there is potential to eliminate self-destructive behaviors adopted to fill a void and/or hide some type of personal pain; for example, self-harm, suicide, or alcoholism.  Further, it could be deduced that if a person is happy as themselves, they may not adopt these types of hurtful actions.  It may be safe to go a little further to note that, if a person loved themselves, they will protect themselves.

Therefore, if we can encourage and educate our children in a proactive manner how to “be happy as myself”, we have the potential to create a population of persons with self-esteem, self-confidence, self-love, and self-worth.

Based on the findings of the survey, Dr. John Salvarodos, a member of the Time to Play Foundation’s Business Advisory Board with 30 years experience as a school psychologist, educator, mental health therapist and crisis intervention counselor, noted that, “Creating programs that educate new parents and community workers to find common language that supports the development of critical reasoning and decision-making skills benefits all children.”  Further, he summarized that, “Efforts that promote healthy outcomes are fundamental in understanding ways that we can reduce the quantity and effects of adverse childhood experiences.”

In summary, based on the preliminary findings of the PREinvent YOUR Life® survey, it can be suggested that early intervention programs for ALL children, beginning with parents, support the possibility of the prevention of the development of depression, self-destructive behaviors and an adverse life experience.

The Time to Play Foundation is in final stages of development of the proactive PREinvent YOUR Life® programs for expectant parents and early childhood intervention programs and educators, spurring further research on the effectiveness of this approach.

Dr. Salvarodos’ essay overview of the findings from the PREinvent YOUR Life® survey, incorporating his years of direct observance of students entitled Developmentally Making the Right Choices, is available at Developmentally Making the Right Choices.  Dr. Salvarodos is also a founding member of the Gardner Massachusetts Suicide Prevention Task Force created in response to the per-capita rate of suicide in his area.  He is a strong supporter of the PREinvent YOUR Life™ concept.

The PREinvent YOUR Life® survey is available for your review in its entirety at http://timetoplay.com/preinvent-your-life-survey

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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC is a board certified healthcare executive, a certified professional life coach, the founder of the Time to Play Foundation, a 501c3 not for profit corporation inspiring everyone to enjoy life and author of If I Knew Then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life.  The concept behind time to Play and the Time to Play Foundation was absolutely created out of LOVE. Please see http://www.timetoplay.com/ for more information.

 

References:

http://www.who.int/mental_health/management/depression/who_paper_depression_wfmh_2012.pdf 

http://www.forbes.com/2009/01/15/self-help-industry-ent-sales-cx_ml_0115selfhelp.html