Speaker, Trainer, Troubadour, Author

Kim Ratz

Helping people create more harmony
in their own life, and in
their relationships with others ...

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Live&WorkWise

December 2013, from Kim Ratz, Speaker-Trainer-Troubadour

A free, fast, and fun read to inspire hope, improve skills to cope, and induce a chuckle along the way ...


A Thought to Help You LiveWise -- Gratitude Transcends Holiday Stress

It happened again on my post-Thanksgiving flight back to Minneapolis -- the person next to me asked what kind of work I do, and when I said I was a motivational speaker and trainer she asked, "What's your topic?" So I explained that I remind people about ways to deal with times of change, challenge and conflict by engaging a good attitude and making good choices so that at the end of the day you feel content, not regret. And I was not ready for her response, because she launched into how she sure could have used that earlier, and started complaining about the storm-related hassles on her pre-Thanksgiving flight, how she'd been asked to organize the office holiday party, and her ungrateful kids & husband who never like what she gets them, and then -- how bad she felt about how she'd responded in each situation ... As I listened to her go on and on, I realized that the December e-Newz might be a good time to remind us all of ways to resist the stress that can spoil an otherwise special holiday season which just recently began.

So here's the reminder: Don't leave Gratitude on the Thanksgiving table!
And here's the WIIFM: People who practice an "Attitude of Gratitude" are happier.

When you focus on the good people and things you are blessed with in your life, you feel better. Conversely: when you focus on the problems in your life and complain (even to yourself), you darken your own mood. So the next time you feel stressed, or down, choose to "Reframe the situation" and look for the good in things. You always find what you seek. Do this frequently and you can train your brain to feel more grateful, more often. For example, when things aren't going well for me, if I start thinking about my grandchildren I immediately feel better. The challenge is self-awareness and not denial: When you recognize you are feeling ungrateful or unhappy, you can choose to change your focus to what you ARE grateful for. Especially when you add the commercial hype and holiday hustle and bustle, you've got a recipe that leads many people to feel depressed, stressed, or conflict. So to help fortify your resolve to not let the holidays stress you out, here are five things you can do to grow from Thanks-Giving to Thanks-Living through the holidays, and every day of the year:

  • Daily: List 3 specific things you are grateful for.
  • Minimize negative triggers (complainers/"awfulizers," & situations that make you feel burdened, not blessed).
  • Stop blaming others; this shifts focus to someone else rather than what YOU can do about the situation.
  • Even if you have to: Fake it! Just faking gratitude starts the process that guides your thoughts & feelings.
  • Help someone less fortunate, to remind yourself things could be worse.

Finally, remember that one of the more subtle influences of this season is the diminished sunlight ... And while SAD (seasonal affective disorder) has only been clinically diagnosed relatively recently, this season of darkness has challenged us since ancient times ... It's also why people have historically sought reason to celebrate and brighten up this season with traditional holidays like:

  • Thanksgiving (American) Nov. 22,
  • Solstice (Dec 21) and other "festival of lights" events,
  • Soyaluna (Hopi Indian) Dec 22, and
  • Kwanzaa (African-American) Dec 26-Jan 1.

This is also a season of sacred observances, such as:

  • Eid al-Adha (Muslim) Oct 26,
  • Bodhi Day (Buddhism) Dec 8, 
  • Hanukkah (Jewish) Nov. 27-Dec. 4, and
  • Christmas (Christian) Dec 24 ...

Rich with meaning, traditions, and gatherings of family and friends, I love this season of year when people around the world share songs, thoughts and acts of peace, thanks, love, hope and joy.  Whatever your beliefs and traditions, I hope this season gives you a lift, and share these heartfelt thoughts:

THANKSGIVING -
reminds me I'm THANKFUL for many blessings, including the chance to know you ...

CHRISTMAS -
reminds me of a LOVING GOD, and my goal to create PEACE on earth and goodwill among all people by learning to LOVE others more, and the JOY that a little baby can bring (read: baby Jesus, AND children & grandchildren ... :)

NEW YEAR -
reminds me of the HOPE we have to make even better choices in the year ahead ...

You make me feel warm, merry & bright, and I pray this holiday season fills you with - -

THANKS, LOVE, PEACE, HOPE and JOY too!

(Here's another article with reminders to help make your holidays feel a little brighter: www.kimratz.com/holidaytips.html).


Quotes related to"Gratitude, Christmas & Holidays" for the days ahead ...

All happy people are grateful. Ungrateful people cannot be happy. We think being unhappy leads people to complain, but complaining leads people to becoming unhappy. - Dennis Prager

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. - William Ward

Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity; it must be produced, discharged and used up in order to exist at all. - William Faulkner

Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way. - Native American Prayer

It came to him that he didn't like holidays ... They bore down on you. Each one always ended up feeling like an exam. - Lily King

Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-time takes twelve minutes. This is not coincidence. - Erma Bombeck

Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love. - Hamilton Wright Mabie

In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season. The Christians called it "Christmas" and went to church; the Jews called it "Hanukkah" and went to synagogue; the aethiests went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Hanukkah" or (to the aethiests) "Look out for the wall!" - Dave Barry

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given. And the government shall be upon his shoulders, and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. - Isiah 9:6

Probably the reason we all go so haywire at Christmas time with the endless unrestrained and often silly buying of gifts is that we don't quite know how to put our love into words. - Harlan Miller

The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other. - Burton Hillis

Next to the circus, there ain't nothing that packs up and tears out faster than the Christmas spirit. - Kin Hubbard

Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won't make it a white one. - Bing Crosby

Three phrases that sum up Christmas are: "Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men, and Batteries not Included. - English Proverb

I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. - Charles Dickens


I specialize in helping people create more harmony in their own life, and in their relationships with others. It's about being Congruent and making good Choices -- by aligning your Attitudes, Aptitudes & Actions -- so that at days end you feel content with your choices, and not regret. This content is applied to outcomes including: Personal Excellence, Communication & Relationship Skills, Teamwork, Customer Service & Leadership. I do this through keynotes and workshops that inspire hope, help people improve their skills to cope with change, challenge and conflict, and original music, stories and humor to induce some fun along the way.

When you need a presenter who shares content, energy and inspiration,
call me so we can discuss what you need, and how I can help!

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Minnetonka, MN 55305

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