Good Deeds That Make a Great Christmas

As you shop for the perfect Christmas presents, we have four gift ideas you
won’t find in any store.

Studio 5 Relationship Coach Matt Townsend says the best gifts come from
the heart, and have the power to change, not only the life of the receiver, but
the life of the giver.

The best presents you can give at Christmas are those that come from the
heart. They are the gifts that cost the least financially, but are worth the
most in life. Here is a list of 4 presents that come from the heart, which have
the power to change not only the life of the gift receiver, but maybe more
importantly, the life of the giver. Each of these gifts truly captures the real
reason for the season.

An Attitude Adjustment
One of my favorite stories at Christmas time is the story of Dickens, “A
Christmas Carol”. The story is about a crotchety old man Scrooge who
through the visitation of three ghosts goes through a major attitude
adjustment. Scrooge was given the gift of changing his attitude in life before
it was too late. What gift could be better for both you and the people around
you then becoming a more positive and hopeful person? Are you turning
into a Scrooge? Are you too negative, pessimistic, ornery or exhausting? Do
people choose to not come around you anymore? Are you tired of feeling
negative, hopeless and alone? If so, then it’s time for an attitude adjustment!
Give yourself and others the gift this year of a new lease on life. Commit to
yourself and others that you are going to figure out why you are in the “funk”
you are. By openly working on changing your own attitude you will begin a
change of events in your own life and that will become an enormous attractor
to everyone around. They will literally feel better about being with you and
around you. They will seek to help you stay happy and positive instead of
using that same energy to despise and ignore you. That very spirit of
positivity toward a negative person was demonstrated in the “Christmas
Carol” when most innocent victim (Tiny Tim) of Scrooge’s bad attitude said,
“God Bless us everyone!” Even Scrooge became the subject of his sincere

ways to create
an attitude adjustment and usually life is pretty good at throwing many
opportunities at us, most of which aren’t always pleasant. Start the
adjustment by looking at your life and identify the parts of your life you want
to change. Notice how those past failures make you feel and allow yourself
to feel a bit of regret for those actions. Now project your life forward into
your future and identify how you want to feel in the future. Choose to do the
exact opposite of what you failed to do in the past. Involve other people —
counselors, coaches, spiritual leaders or family. Evaluate the medical or
psychological reasons why you may be acting the way you are and get the
focused attention you need to become healthy. Enroll a support network of
people who will be uplifting and positive in feedback and correction.
Remember that no matter how hard the change is, it will always be better
than the negative place you’re coming from.

Focused Attention on What Matters Most
It seems as the years pass by that our lives continue to speed up. With the
combination of our stuffed schedules, our invasive technology overload and a
soured economy, it feels at times like our lives are no longer ours and that
we are now “being lived” instead of “living”. In order to take our lives back,
perhaps the most needed gift this year is a commitment to giving more
focused time and attention to the most important people in our lives.
Attention shows the people around you that that they are “the” priority.
Attention to your family means that you turn off the technology and key into
the people in your lives. It means that you are actually present in their
conversations, that you have eye contact. You actually listen to what they are
saying and laugh and love them in the moment. Attention means that you
are creating a real connection with the other person, a connection that can be
felt by both of you. The gift of attention not only shows those around you
that you care for them, but it also shows them how they should care and
connect to others. As the influx of technology continues to dominate our
world, the first and biggest victim will probably be our ability to truly connect
and relate with one another. Give the gift of “attention” this holiday season
and you’ll quickly learn that it is the gift that pays enormous dividends for
the rest of your life.

HOW TO GIVE MORE ATTENTION: Think of the people in your life
that truly
matter most to you. Identify moments with those people when you are
together and truly not connected in. Evaluate the interference that is causing
you both to not connect. Do what you can to eliminate the distraction,
communicate your goals if you have to help get the other on board.
Remember attention can be given in a variety of ways as is best given the way
the other wants to receive it. For some it is in a conversation, for others it is
touch, maybe playing a game or helping around the house.

A Sincere Apology
For me one of the greatest gifts you can give this Christmas would be a
sincere and long awaited apology to correct a wrong from seasons past.
Some of us in our lives are not very good at apologizing. A sincere apology
is a gift that creates an enormous amount of trust in a relationship. It fosters
your ability to move on from past mistakes and enables you to leave the pain
associated with that mistake. Apologies communicate to the person
offended that their relationship is more important to you than your pride.
Apologies represent a new start and enable the opportunity for forgiveness
and healing to begin. What gift better represents the spirit of Christmas than
creating a brand new start for both you and the person offended.

KEYS TO APOLOGIZING: Let your heart be your guide and think of a
member, friend, coworker or neighbor whom you’ve offended. If you can, try
to make the apology face to face and if not, write them a sincere and
“sorrowful” apology in a handwritten letter. Remember that the form the
apology comes in is not half as important as the spirit of sincerity that
accompanies its delivery. In the end, the mending of an old relationship is
truly one of the best gifts anyone could ever give or receive.

A New Appreciation for Others
Once you’ve been around the people closest to you for a long enough period
of time, it’s natural to begin to take them for granted. Over time we no
longer look for all of the good things that they are doing and instead, in our
“closeness” feel more justified to give more negative and direct feedback. As
a result we end up treating those we care most about worse than our newest
acquaintances. As the luster of the people we’re around most fades, they
move from being our super heroes, to simply stable humans. This year for
Christmas why don’t you give the gift of a new set of eyes of appreciation
and acceptance for all those around you? Give a sincere thank you to those
whom you work with or go out of your way to praise the dinner, decorations
or energy exerted in your behalf. Seek out the child you may have rejected in
the past and show signs of acceptance and appreciation. Start verbalizing
with others how much they truly mean to you. Be appreciative in your
conversations instead of depreciative. Make an effort to put positive deposits
into the emotional bank account of others and let them know you see how
great they truly are.

foremost you
have to begin noticing all of the good that others are providing in your life.
Start a list by adding three things that you see others doing that you
sincerely appreciate. Add to your list daily and make it a point to share those
successes with the others and when possible, point out their great works
publicly so everyone else can hear of the good that is being done. By making
the list you force your brain to begin looking for the evidence of what is good
in life and the more evidence your brain finds, the more good you can
appreciate. Commit yourself to “let no good deed go unnoticed” and pay
close attention to how your appreciative approach impacts those around you.
As the people around you get a sense that you truly appreciate the work
they’re doing, they will inevitably work even harder and they’ll appreciate you
more than ever before. Appreciation truly is the “gift that keeps on giving!”

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