• “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. Dr. Suess

Friday, November 24, 2017


Mini Workshop III: Patterns and Possibilities

Gratitude and Kindness are key parts of genuine happiness.
Being Mindful of habitual interactions also contributes.

“[T]he positive, outward focus afforded by gratitude and kindness interventions mobilize the existing support that people have in their lives, enabling them to forge new or strengthened connections with others.

"[These findings are] consistent with prior research indicating an association between gratitude, kindness, and elements of improved relational functioning… [to]… predict the acquisition of positive relational resources ...” (Passmore, & Oades, 2016).

Mindful. Kindness. Gratitude.

What do these terms mean?

Let's define them.

Being Mindful is the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.

The concept of mindfulness originates in a term meaning to remember.

It combines remembering with a sense of non-judgmental acceptance, kindness and friendliness.

Kindness: is the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.

Kindness changes hearts and lives.

In kindness intervention research, kindness is defined as “behaviors that benefit other people, or make them happy.” Researchers propose that these behaviors “usually involve some effort on our part” (Kerr et al, 2015), and suggest we look for 5 daily acts of kindness that we can do every day, with at least one of those acts being intentional.

What 5 kind acts can you do today—
 making one of those acts intentional?

"Kindness is a choice that can create change today"—now
  (Kerr, S. C.,2015).

“Positive emotion has an 'undoing effect' on damaging negative mood states, and is self-perpetuating, such that the experience of positive emotion can lead to an upward spiral ... [as] the context of ... one’s habitual ways of thinking are expanded and broadened …

 “Cultivat[ing] feelings of loving-kindness (directed toward the self and others)… [gives] purpose in life, social support, … and reduced negative affect and symptoms of illness ...

"Otake et al. (2006) examined the importance of kindness … [and observed] increases in happiness … in participants who had completed the most kind acts, whereas no increase in happiness was observed for the control group” (Kerr, S. C., 2015).

How many synonyms can you think of for the word Kind?

In a literature review of hundreds of studies about positive and negative affects on emotional and physical well-being, Ramsey and Gentzler provide evidence that positive interactions form “an upward spiral” of increasingly beneficial exchanges. 

Their research includes many other specific categories and “indicates that we all are actively influencing each other's positive [attitudes]” and that this is associated with “the quality of our relationships” (Ramsey & Gentzler, 2015).

In other research regarding couple relationships, we learn that this influence is so great that "when there is a discrepancy between individuals' self-views and a spouses' views, both change in ways to become more consistent with the views of the other. [Beware however,] that individuals and spouses are as likely to adopt negative views as they are to adopt positive views" (Cast & Cantwell 2007).

Gratitude: is readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness; the quality of being thankful.

“[G]ratitude is, in essence, a positive emotion beneficial for positive functioning, as well as broadening and building other positive emotions, which, in turn, result in an increase in emotional well-being” (CHIH-CHE, L. 2015, my emphasis).

“ [G]ratitude serves a social function in helping build and maintain relationships between family members and the wider kinship group.

More importantly, gratitude encourages individuals to focus their attention on the positive aspects of their life, in contrast with dwelling on negative issues and events.

Research … has linked gratitude with hope, life satisfaction, and more proactive behaviors towards others.

In conflict situations, reflect on the individual with whom you are in conflict. If a relationship is “less strong, reflect and identify one (or – even better – two or three) characteristics admired or appreciated in the other person. By expressing gratitude for these aspects of the person, and by focusing attention on these aspects, an anchor can be provided which may allow the relationship to develop . . .” (Passmore, & Oades, (2016).

Consistent daily choices change our connectedness and confidence, and begin in our thoughts. 

Elder David A. Bednar, of the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, teaches:

“Ordinary people who faithfully, diligently, and consistently do simple things that are right before God will bring forth extraordinary results" (Bednar, BYU’s 2011 Women’s Conference).


Allemand, M., & Hill, P. L. (2016). Gratitude From Early Adulthood to Old Age. Journal Of Personality84(1), 21-35.
Bednar, D. A. (2011). Small and simple things. BYU Women’s Conference Retrieved from
Benzo, R. P., Abascal-Bolado, B., & Dulohery, M. M. (2016). Quality of life: Self-management and quality of life in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): The mediating effects of positive affect. Patient Education And Counseling99617-623. doi:10.1016/j.pec.2015.10.031
Carr, D., Morgan, B., & Gulliford, L. (2015). Learning and teaching virtuous gratitude. Oxford Review Of Education41(6), 766-781.
CHIH-CHE, L. (2015). IMPACT OF GRATITUDE ON RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT AND EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING. Social Behavior & Personality: An International Journal43(3), 493-504.
Garland, E., Kiken, L., Faurot, K., Palsson, O., & Gaylord, S. (2017). Upward Spirals of Mindfulness and Reappraisal: Testing the Mindfulness-to-Meaning Theory with Autoregressive Latent Trajectory Modeling. Cognitive Therapy & Research41(3), 381-392.
Holland, J. R. (2007, October). The tongue of angels. LDS General Conference Retrieved from
Holland, J. R. (2013, October). Like a broken vessel. LDS General Conference Retrieved from
Hunt, C. S. (2016). Getting to the heart of the matter: Discursive negotiations of emotions within literacy coaching interactions. Teaching And Teacher Education60331-343. doi:10.1016/j.tate.2016.09.004
Kerr, S., O'Donovan, A., & Pepping, C. (2015). Can Gratitude and Kindness Interventions Enhance Well-Being in a Clinical Sample?. Journal Of Happiness Studies16(1), 17-36.
Korb, A. P., & Siegel, D. J. (2015). The upward spiral : using neuroscience to reverse the course of depression, one small change at a time. Oakland, California : New Harbinger Publications, Inc., 2015.
Larsen, D. L. (1976). Thoughts about thoughts. BYU Speeches. Retrieved from
McMaster, C. W. (1969) IRI “Kindness Begins with Me,” Children’s Songbook, 145.
Passmore, J., & Oades, L. G. (2016). Positive psychology techniques – gratitude. Coaching Psychologist12(1), 34-35.
Petrocchi, N., & Couyoumdjian, A. (2016). The impact of gratitude on depression and anxiety: the mediating role of criticizing, attacking, and reassuring the self. Self & Identity15(2), 191-205.
Pohl, C. D. (2012). Recovering kindness: an urgent virtue in a ruthless world. The Christian Century, 129(22), 10-11.
Ramsey, M. A., & Gentzler, A. L. (2015). An upward spiral: Bidirectional associations between positive affect and positive aspects of close relationships across the life span. Developmental Review3658-104. doi:10.1016/j.dr.2015.01.003
Renshaw, T. L., & Olinger Steeves, R. M. (2016). What good is gratitude in youth and schools? A systematic review and meta-analysis of correlates and intervention outcomes. Psychology In The Schools53(3), 286-305.
Rusk, R., Vella-Brodrick, D., & Waters, L. (2016). Gratitude or Gratefulness? A Conceptual Review and Proposal of the System of Appreciative Functioning. Journal Of Happiness Studies17(5), 2191-2212. doi:10.1007/s10902-015-9675-z
Singh, B., Salve, S., & Shejwal, B. R. (2017). Role of gratitude, personality, and psychological well-being in happiness among young adults. Indian Journal Of Health

Friday, November 17, 2017



What are you avoiding?

What if tomorrow that thing, or circumstance,
or person changed - for the better?

And the issue or problem no longer exists?

What is the opposite?

How can you approach1 instead of avoid?
How can you achieve future positive outcomes?

What do you want?

No, not what you don't want.

What DO you want!
What can you do?
Wait a minute, I didn't ask what you can't do.
I asked what you can do!

Approach 1  goals  bypass the pitfalls of avoidance 2 .
Focus on desires orients energy toward outcomes.

Could Peter walk on water?
Absolutely -
even if it he only did it for a few steps!

And, Peter walked during the height of the storm.
"[H]e saw the wind boisterous ...."
From then on, Peter could say, "Yes, I can!"
And note, Jesus told him how to do it again.
Matthew 14:22-33

Saint PeterAttempting to Walk on Water
François Boucher Cathédrale Saint-Louis (1766) Versailles

In October 2012, President Henry B Eyring, taught:
“The pavilion that seems to intercept divine aid does not cover God but occasionally covers us. God is never hidden, yet sometimes we are, covered by a pavilion of motivations that draw us away from God and make Him seem distant and inaccessible.  . . . but we may be unwilling to listen or submit to His will and His time. . . . God is close to us and aware of us and never hides from His faithful children."

“We remove the pavilion when we feel and pray, ‘Thy will be done’ and ‘in Thine own time.’ His time should be soon enough for us since we know that He wants only what is best.”

"The Lord’s delays often seem long; some last a lifetime. But they are always calculated to bless. They need never be times of loneliness or sorrow or impatience. Although His time is not always our time, we can be sure that the Lord keeps His promises." (Where Is The Pavilion?, 2012)

1. Conoley, C. W., Plumb, E. W., Hawley, K. J., Spaventa-Vancil, K. Z., & Hernández, R. J. (2015). Integrating Positive Psychology Into Family Therapy: Positive Family TherapyΨ. Counseling Psychologist, 43(5), 703. doi:10.1177/0011000015575392 

2. More reading , resources, and other possibilities 

Friday, November 10, 2017



1. Who is in your household now?
(Define your “family”.)

 2. What specific desirable outcome for your family can you identify?

3. What are some ways you can track that outcome?
     I keep a journal where I write notes to myself.
     What are 5 ways to accomplish your outcome?
 (These options can be fact, or fiction).

4. Which option – only one – can you apply?
If none of the 5 can be applied, what else might you try?
Who else can provide new insights?

5. What strategy can help you apply an option?
      One helpful method is SMART Goals:
  •        Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
  •       Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
  •       Achievable (agreed, attainable).
  •        Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
  •        Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited,    
         timely, time-sensitive).
See also the MIT version or Abbey Rike's t.his blog.

** Another workable pattern is the ADKAR change model.

Do you have another preference?

Please share it in “Comments” below

Elder Robert D. Hales, an apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints taught, “Use your agency to develop yourself personally. . . [by letting] the Spirit guide you. ...

 "Choose and act for yourself. Be motivated from within. Make a plan for your life. . . . Explore interests and skills. Work and become self-reliant. Set goals, overcome mistakes, gain experience, and finish what you begin. . . . Be sure to participate . . . enjoy wholesome fun.  . . .

"Above all, have faith in the Savior! Fear not! As we diligently live the gospel, we become strong in the Lord. . . . In the strength of the Lord we are able to stand against any philosophy or creed that denies the Savior and contradicts the great, eternal plan of happiness for all of God’s children.”  Robert D Hales,  “Stand Strong in Holy Places,” April 2013