I was just recently reminded of these 2 tips while reading a great book… Bill Phillips newest best-seller: Transformation… which by the way, I just had the pleasure of meeting Bill in person a few weeks ago, and this book is actually about WAY more than just fitness or nutrition…actually 99% of the book is about transforming your entire being, your mind… your entire life. It's powerful stuff, and a great read.
Now I will say that I think most of us, already know these 2 tips below, but may not practice them as often as we should… and I know personally, I found this to be a great reminder of how powerful these are and how they can change your life.1. In Chapter 8 in Bill's book, Transformation, he starts off this chapter with a shocking story about a man named Azim who tragically had his 20-year old son murdered by a teenage gang member 5 years prior. The story ends up a bit unfathomable to most of us, as it turns out that Azim actually forgave his sons killer, in what can only be considered one of the most courageous acts of compassion and forgiveness than most of us could ever even contemplate.
After all, how many of us walk around for years holding grudges with a friend or family member over something silly and stupid that means nothing in the big picture of our lives? However, this courageous father found it in his heart to forgive his sons murderer, the ultimate act of forgiveness.
For most of us, forgiveness will not be for such extreme events…instead, it will be for smaller things that we've been holding deep inside (bottled up inside, causing us hidden stress) against a particular person, maybe a sibling, a parent, a friend, or a spouse. But what we don't realize is that these bottled up grudges harm OUR health, and do very little to "punish" the other person.
Bill points out a great saying "Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for your enemy to die". Yes, you're harming yourself more than than the other person by holding onto resentment.
Another great saying to always keep in mind that will change the way you treat other people who may have hurt you: "To err is human; to forgive is divine".
Yes, we all make mistakes… and if you think back to the story about the father that forgave his sons killer… Was that teenage gang member really an evil person deep down to his soul? Or was he a victim of society, which led him into the gang lifestyle? There's always more to the story than what's on the surface.
The most important thing we need to realize is that holding onto anger, resentment, or grudges is scientifically proven to harm our health and make us die earlier. Bill points out a study in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health involving 2,755 people over 10 years. According to the study that Bill summarizes, "Those who repressed anger and held resentments were found to be twice as likely to die of a heart attack compared to people in the study who were able to process and let go of negative feelings."
Puts you in the spirit to forgive someone, doesn't it.
Another VERY important thing that Bill points out… Holding onto a grievance doesn't give you control over the offender, and it doesn't "punish" them; it gives THEM control over you, and punishes YOU, because you're the one holding onto the health-harming stress and lack of peace of mind.
A few more great lines I loved from this chapter in Bill's book:
"Forgiveness is not done out of weakness; it is an act of strength and courage."
"Forgiveness is something that happens inside of you. It doesn't mean you're saying what happened to cause a resentment wasn't wrong or that it didn't matter. It means… I choose to let go of this negative feeling towards the person whom I perceive has hurt me."
"…as long as any part of our mind or consciousness is engaged with unresolved feelings from the past it will require us to expend valuable energy on it."
"…as long as we hold onto a grievance, we are chained to the past situation and the offender."
"…granting someone true forgiveness is not based on any conditions. The forgiven don't have to deserve it or earn it. It's an act of grace and mercy on your part."
Just think… if we all kept these guidelines in the front of our minds daily, wouldn't the world be a MUCH better place, with less stress, fighting, hatred, resentment, and pent up anger? I sure think so.
2. This second tip is no less important than the first… and it is VERY powerful in helping you to live healthier and happier.
This is another important tip to living life to the fullest that I was reminded of when recently reading Bill's book, Transformation… The story starts off with a day that Bill had the pleasure of meeting fitness icon Jack Lalanne and a reporter from USA Today interviewed them both.
One of the most important questions that the news reporter asked Jack in the interview was "What should people who want to live a healthy life do first thing in the morning?"
The reporter had been expecting a specific tip about exercise or nutrition first thing in the morning… but instead, Jack replied with an answer that carried some very powerful wisdom… he replied "A healthy person always starts the day by counting their blessings."
What Jack Lalanne understands, that so many people don't, is that gratitude affects not only the health of your mind, but that of your body and your entire well-being too.
I think one of the most important daily rituals that anybody can take up is to lie in bed for 1-2 more minutes after waking up in the morning… and consciously bring to mind all of the things in his/her life that they are thankful for. It's also important to write down what you are grateful for in your life.
I know that everybody has struggles, but everybody also has things that they should be grateful for. This one daily ritual can literally change the biochemistry of your body and mind to put you into a more energetic and "feel good" state about your life, and thereby achieve more of your goals…
Don't believe me?
Well, according to Bill in Chapter 16 of Transformation, Dr. Robert Emmons, PhD, from the University of California Davis was involved in a large research project on gratitude, and here were some of his discoveries:
"Those who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more often, felt better physically, and had a more positive mindset."
"Study participants who kept gratitude lists were found to be more likely to have made progress towards important personal goals (academic, interpersonal, and health-based) over a 2-month period."
"A daily gratitude intervention (taking time to focus on and write down things to be thankful for) produced higher levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness, and energy."
"Those who participate in a daily gratitude exercise have lower levels of depression and stress and are more likely to offer emotional support to others and help them make it through their difficulties."
The bottom line… although you may have heard about practicing daily gratitude in the past, are you really doing it daily? If not, you're missing out on the health benefits, increased energy, better sleep and mood, goal achievements, and just living healthier and happier!
So there you go… I told you that these 2 tips today would be powerful in helping to improve your life!
If you haven't yet read Bill's book, Transformation, I'd highly recommend it. The book started off a little slow, and I kept thinking to myself, "I know all of this already"… but then about halfway through, the chapters just kept getting more powerful, and I realized there were a lot of things I needed to be reminded about and start practicing more often.