Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Family time in Arkansas, gratitude

War Memorial Park
Besides some of the projects we are doing in helping our daughter Tally prepare for a move to Pennsylvania, we took the time to go to a water recreation area in War Memorial Park in Little Rock, Arkansas. It is a favorite spot for children.
Water fun - Elena and Juliana are in the foreground
On Memorial Day we went to Pinnacle Mountain State Park located on the outskirts of Little Rock for a picnic and a hike. 
We also went to a little lake sitting on a rock quarry where paddle boats could be rented. Unfortunately by the time we decided to do that, it was too late to rent a paddle boat.
"Too bad, so sad" - Granddad
Here are some photos we took of the grandchildren during these two outings.

                       More water park scenes 
Three girls at the top of the water slide
Three girls come tumbling out
Darlene listening to an audio book
More hiking scenes

The various trees of Arkansas were identified and an audio description was provided

Angelina inspecting tree bark
No paddleboat - no problem

At least for one child

Elena dressed in camoflauge for this nature hike
I am adding an article on gratitude that also fits in with the Memorial Day holiday and War Memorial Park.

Feeling and expressing gratitude.

Memorial Day is the United States is a holiday in which we express our gratitude and honor those who have passed on for their contributions to our lives. This is also a day when we honor and remember the sacrifices of those servicemen and women who gave their lives in defense of our country and the values it represents.
What is gratitude? How does it relate to happiness, coping, and well-being? Psychologist Michael McCullough of the University of Miami has researched on how gratitude works in our lives.

Gratitude is an overall tendency to recognize the contributions of others to the good things that are happening in our lives. Feeling grateful is experienced as a pleasant and positive emotion.
More than an emotion, more than a mood; gratitude is a habitual way of looking at the world. To his surprise, McCullough found that gratitude isn’t related to daily events but more a framed attitude of appreciation for life in general.

Grateful people see gifts in the trivial and mundane. Highly grateful people possess a world view in which everything they have - even life itself - are gifts. They don’t take the little things of life for granted.
McCullough’s research shows that grateful people:

- recognize when good things happen to them.

- feel gratitude more intensely when something good happens.

- feel gratitude many times during the day for the simplest acts of kindness or politeness.

- feel grateful for a number of things at any one time. They feel grateful for their families, jobs, health, and friends, along with the specific positive benefits they perceive.

- see how the efforts of others contribute to their happiness. Not only that, but they also make the connection between how many people’s efforts contribute to the good outcomes in their lives.

Less grateful people focus narrowly on just one or two people for the same outcome. Grateful people don’t discount their own efforts. They stretch their appreciation to include other causes and contributions for their success.

- are more empathic. They are more agreeable. They display a greater willingness to forgive and not hold on to hurts and resentments.
- are more spiritual. Their ability to see the contributions of others to their lives is also extended to God and God’s intervention. This isn’t true for the negative events in their lives.

McCullough found that gratitude isn’t confined to those with formalized religious faith but is also shared by those who have a sense of the divine and spirituality in the Universe and believe in the interconnection of all living things.

- experience less depression and anxiety. McCullough points out that we can consciously elevate our moods by cultivating and expressing gratitude.
- are more optimistic, hopeful and more socially engaging. They feel happy.

- are better able to cope with acute and chronic stressful life events. Gratitude might be the mediating factor that explains why religious people have better physical and mental health outcomes when faced with a health crisis.
- are not as envious. Grateful people don’t find happiness in material things, influence, power or sex appeal. They don’t judge their worth by worldly standards. They are less envious and resentful of another’s success and possessions. Grateful people compare themselves to those less fortunate than themselves.

- are judged by others as kind, warm-hearted and generous with their resources. Not only do they see people being good to them but they also notice another’s plight, and are more sympathetic and helpful.
In the cemeteries of Denmark, there is a common epitaph on the headstones, "Tak", which means "thanks." What a wonderful word to express the gift of their lives and express to all who come to remember them. If they lived with a thankful heart, they had a good life.
"Tak" - Mongolia -"Bayarthla"

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