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Merry Christmas, How’s your heart and soul? 5 easy ways to be Grateful !

December 19, 2011

As you guys all know,  this is a Health/Fitness/Motivational/Personal Development blog.  (that’s a mouth full)

But I had an idea to do a Christmas blog from someone I met through reading my favorite blog  at   (did you check it out yet?… Do it ! 🙂 )

This reader reminded both  Dan, (the writer of the blog ) and I that it IS Christmas and maybe a Christmas blog would be nice to do.   Dan, (my fav blogger)  is thinking about it.   I decided to go ahead with it and this ….is it!.

(btw, Thank you Michael for the idea and ALL your great support!)

Being  “Actively grateful.”


As I was thinking about what I was going to write about I decided I didn’t want this to be  a calorie run down of every Christmas cookie in existence or pumpkin pie, or the annual and much-loved, I know, fruitcake.   (sarcasm)  Or tell you all the sins of everyone’s  favorite Christmas drink…..EGG NOG !!!

As I said, this is  a motivational and personal development blog as well.  I take this blog very seriously.   It means a lot to me to do the best job I can.  To me that means I hold myself responsible for “good content” that not only from time to time can be entertaining but educational, informative but most of all… helpful to you the reader.

 That means not just coming up with posts on how to motivate you and get you to the gym or helping you find the way to stay on track with low-calorie alternatives for the foods you love and  not only hopefully being able to motivate you to be active in a physical way, because our body is not the only part of us that needs to be exercised regularly to be healthy…….So does our heart and soul.

I thought about it and came up with this phrase. —“Actively grateful.” 

 What does it mean exactly?  

It means making a conscious effort to be more grateful on a regular basis.  To make an effort to keep the feeling of being grateful always in use. to flex that grateful muscle we all have.   Much like your body,  if you don’t use certain muscles they can become weak and lose their strength.  In the same way our capacity for being grateful needs to be exercised as well.  Not for the health of our physical strength.. but for the strength of  our heart and  our soul. 

 After  all,  It IS the season for running around, fighting over toaster ovens and parking spaces at the local mall.   Not to mention the stress of having to please more than a few friends and family member with gifts you PRAY,  they don’t dislike and secretly…..return to the store.    AAANNND…. of course the stress of trying NOT to gain 10 lbs on christmas cookies and yes…..That EGG NOG!.

Just a few reasons  I thought this post could , be a good idea. 

Being grateful canbe difficult at times.  I’m not perfect and I do try my best to remember to be grateful.   I did have had the best teacher’s …my parents.

These are 5 things I like to do to help remind me to be grateful.   I want to also say that remembering to be grateful, is truly also a blessing  itself. as well.    These are things I really do myself  to help me remember those important moments and be more “actively grateful” each day. ..Maybe what I do to help me remember,  can be a help to you as well!.

5 steps to being more “Actively grateful”



Just like this..Take a "mental" picture... of a moment you want to remember!

Mental pictures

When I realize I am in a moment in time that I know is something I should take in,  something that I want to remember and treasure,   I stop.     Breathe in.    Then  get quiet for a few seconds.  Then I look around at what is going on at that very moment that I want to remember.   I look at the faces, listen to voices, of what is being said, I remember smells, just take it all in whatever is presenting itself to me.  Then I…. Take that mental picture.  Then I put it in my memory, my heart .  This is a great way to practice being grateful.  Doing this you are also actually teaching yourself to be more alert and ready to recognize another important moment when it comes along, and it will.   The more you do this the more you will be ready too snap!,  that mental picture when another moment comes to you again because you’ll be great at recognizing them !..

Knowing to "Count your blessings"s a blessng in itself.

I Count my blessings

I know it sounds like a simple and easy thing…. Though I don’t think it always is.   The last thing you may feel like doing in a moment of pain, fear, depression, or  anger is put on a happy face and count your blessings.  I think if we are honest we sometimes more want to cry or just “go with the flow” let the fear or pain take over and rule that moment.  I am not a perfect person.  I get sad, afraid and angry at times and sometimes I would rather cry than sit and sing “Cumbia” and count my blessings.   But only for about 5 seconds because I try to think of my Mom and how strong and grateful she was even going though what she had to deal with every single day,  then I realize ….I truly am,  so blessed.

That makes me realize even though I am angry or sad on one level on another I feel so lucky to have something or someone  I love so much that I am THIS emotional over it or them,  Whatever is stirring up so much so much emotion in my situation at the moment, I still know.. I am beyond blessed to have this in my life. Even though it might not be going perfectly now,  to feel so passionate about it or them…. that I… count my blessings.

Praying can be one of the greatest ways to be actively grateful.


Pray or… say a Prayer

I realize that possibly not everyone who may read this blog post is as religious as I.     Possibly you aren’t at all.   That’s okay.   If not, I respect your right to be believe in what or whomever you choose!. 

For me though,  I am a Roman Catholic and being religious is a very big part of my life.

Saying a prayer in times of happiness, like for something great that happens is usually an easy way of being actively grateful and I think the one time a lot of us think to say a prayer or pray in thanks is when we are happy.  

In times of trouble being grateful can be difficult.    But it’s then that I think we need to be our MOST grateful.   Grateful for what is going “right” in out lives. 

When I pray or say a prayer I ultimately feel peaceful and more in touch with God.  That peaceful feeling is not always instant but does come and when it does, I ultimately feel better and more balanced. Thanking God for what I have for what we have, in life is one way I like being actively grateful.


Pay it forward

This is one of  THE best ways of being actively grateful.   When you feel grateful for some reason simply pass that feeling on to the next person!.   If you’re feeling grateful about something someone has done for you,  given you,  said to you… Whatever they did to make YOU,  feel like a million dollars…  The best thing you can do  for a friend or even… a complete stranger,  is put it right back out there into the world!.   Maybe you have a friend who is struggling with something,  let them know you have seen them handling their struggle and you are proud of them for not giving up their fight.   Maybe  you have a Family member who has achieved something great! give them a call and let them know you are happy for them!.  Whatever it is..  The whole idea is to ..Give back what you have been given yourself.  One of the amazing things about this is when you pass it forward it bounces right back to you in a great feeling that you get from helping others !.  Awesome!.


Saying ……”Thank You.”

It might sounds like a very small thing but sometimes the small gestures are the most felt in the heart and soul.  Saying “Thank you” is one of them.  I always appreciate it when it is said to me.  I’m not the only one I’m sure.  Remember a time you heard it from someone and it made you smile.  It made you feel good about whatever you did or said or gave them…whatever it was….THAT feeling  it gave you….Pay it forward !  Thank someone  for something today!!.   No matter how tiny a “Thank you” is….. It’s  not just showing someone your appreciation ,  but your respect for them as well.

One of the perks 

I have to tell you that most statistics show that people who have feeling of gratitude, the ability to be grateful, are healthier and happier individuals. They are happier in the workplace as well as home.  They feel lighter and look at life with a more content and balanced view of adversity and times of trouble.  They worry less and handle times of trouble better than those who don’t practice being grateful.  So being actively grateful is a healthy way to go through life.


Beware of the Grinch and his pal, Scrooge.

Being grateful for what you have, you are actively showing and teaching others how to do the same for themselves,  moving them to possibly to take stock in their own lives and in that realize that they too have things, to be very grateful for,  maybe even more than they even realized. 

  Although,   Some people can be “Grinch like”..or perhaps  “Scrooge like” …and prefer NOT to take stock.   To even fight it.  These people are out there.  You might even know a few.    I think we probably all know at least one.   You know who they are.   That one who would rather grumble and mumble that “life sucks”  than try to see it from a different angle.

 In all fairness to The Grinch and his pal, can at times seem …Suck and look …..”impossible”.

(A word and concept I wholeheartedly do not believe in by the way) 🙂

And you saying “thank you” or them seeing you being actively grateful in your life just makes them want to say “bah humbug” instead of wanting to try it themselves.  It can harder for some more than others to be grateful,  but remember,  when you come up against this type of person and you are trying your best to be grateful for all you have, please remember one thing.  

We can’t always know or see the struggles that another person is going through people can be very good at hiding and putting on a good face.   So TRY to have patience with them.  Remember how lucky YOU are!.  That you feel lucky enough and have the ability in your heart and soul to be grateful.  Never allow a Ebenezer or Green eyed Grinch put out YOUR grateful spirit!.

If you find it difficult to deal with those Grinches and Scrooges this Christmas…Then try to remember one thing……

Even little Cindy Lou Hoo found it in her little Hoo heart , to be kind to the Grinch.   Even when he tried to steal her Christmas!

Remember despite his grumbling and fighting it all the way,  because of the kindness he was shown,  the Grinch was grateful to Cindy Lou Hoo for showing and teaching him… The meaning of Christmas.    You see, sometimes even though you may not think you are getting through to someone….. You really are….So never give up trying to help others.

And what about THIS…. Cindy Lou Hoo?

 Well, I am going to be grateful this holiday season for my family and friends, being healthy, this blog , and you, the readers of this blog.  🙂

 AND ….for the people in my life that give me more than they will ever know ..but someday they will.

  What will I do about those people who snarl and grumble at me being grateful?    The Grinches and Scrooges of the world?

Well, I’m going to wish them a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year… Then,  smile!.  🙂

You see, they don’t know it,  but sometimes they help me by grumbling and being “bah humbug.” !! On those days when even happy-go-lucky optimistic Colleen is feeling a little low….    They help me remember to ….

….Just  be grateful……Actively grateful!.


I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas !…. 

Thanks for coming to the blog!.

Hey, do you follow me on Twitter?   why not ? 🙂   If you would like too then please hit the “follow” button at the top of this page.   You can also follow me on Facebook!


My Favorite Blog and blogger has a great website Check it out!  There are a lot of blogs out there.  This one is one of the ones to watch!…It’s going to be BIG !  🙂


Hey, If you have other ways of being grateful, or you have tried any of the 5 I use leave a comment and let me know what they are and how they have worked for you!   As always, I would love to read them!.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Louise permalink
    December 21, 2011 3:16 PM

    Excellent, excellent advice..I love this blog! Colleen, you are very insightful and a talented writer/blogger. I do try to incorporate those suggestions into my daily routine..the one that I don’t do enough of is the “snap a mental picture”. I tell others to “be in the moment” but do not always practice it myself. Your blog has reminded me to slow down and be grateful for what I am blessed with. Thanks for that!

    Have a wonderful holiday season and a Happy, Healthy 2012. Keep are great!

    • December 26, 2011 10:07 PM

      Louise, Thank you so much for all your amazing support!. You honestly have no idea what your words have meant. Knowing you are reading it, makes me want to do my best even more!. Wow. I am so glad the blog has helped you in some way. That was my hope in starting the blog. One of the most important things I learned taking of Mom was this. You will find those “mental pictures” can be precious gifts to you. It can be difficult to remember to do it all the time though, moments are called moments because they are short and last only seconds sometimes so don’t be hard on yourself if you forget. Like I said in the blog, the more we practice these steps, they will become like a reflex to us and when that moment comes, we will just instinctively go into mental picture taking mode!
      You have a Wonderful Happy HEALTHY,holiday season as well! See you soon !

  2. December 22, 2011 12:00 AM

    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 COLLEEN, What a wonderful Christmas Blog….You’ve outdone yourself!!! Christmas IS a Wonderful time to show how Grateful we all are!******I Would like to Thank all the readers HERE at Dollysdaughter & ALL the readers from Dan’s blog for all the VERY KIND messages I received for my Xmas Obscure Films list and reviews that were published first on Christmas of 2007. Most of you all loved the classics like : “Christmas In Connecticut”, “It’s A Wonderful Life”, “The Man Who Came To Dinner”, “The Night They Saved Christmas”, and “A Christmas Memory”……While a few of you ‘naughty guys’ liked : “Black Christmas”, “You Better Watch Out”(a.k.a. Terror In Toyland), “New Year’s Evil” and “Silent Night, Deadly Night”…….I’m delighted to report from the reader’s messages that NONE of the girls like the Xmas horror films 🙂 Go figure (duh!) AND here’s a happy piece of news–>On Friday December 23rd and Saturday December 24th You can see many of these films on Turner Classic Movies playing all day and late into the night!!! So, catch them when you can…..AND for those who missed my Obscure Xmas Film list and reviews….All You Have To Do Is….CLICK my NAME above this comment post, and when you get to the movie site CLICK :BLOGS and then CLICK :Obscure Xmas Films and read them all again!******Once Again THANK YOU COLLEEN, and DAN for some marvelous blogs that have been so informative…AND thanks to all the kind and wonderful readers here! HAVE A MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • December 27, 2011 9:32 PM

      Hey Frank !

      You have to forgive me for not replying sooner. Just been doing the holiday run-around..

      I hope your Christmas was all you hoped! Thank you for such a wonderful comment about this post! Wow. I was so happy with this post. I am happy you enjoyed it . I hope you got something from it. I did See “It’s a Wonderul Life” that is my All time favorite movie. Gee, thanks for the list of Christmas movie idea’s 🙂

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