Gratitude in a Cup of Tea: Tips to Finding True Peace and Happiness

   By: Rosa Johnson

I wake up to the sound of an alarm clock playing harmonica sounds on repeat. I attempt to breathe in the cold morning air and open my puffy eyes. The bright, warm sunlight hits my face and it makes my corneas react like I imagine a vampire would, if they entered sunlight, after a hundred years. I stumble out of bed and try to find slippers to cover my feet, which have become frozen icicles overnight. I walk downstairs and make myself a cup of black tea, hoping that it has enough caffeine to sustain me for the day, and I finish it off by adding in some cream. I look outside and see the changing leaves; the sunlight hitting them just right so that their vibrant colors give the rest of the world a nice glow. My running shoes are calling my name and I get ready to start my day with a quick run. As I run around the lake, I listen to the early morning birds sing their favorite songs, and I watch the sun rise higher and higher in the sky. I return home to get ready for the day. I am grateful for fall mornings like this.

It’s really easy for us to be mad about the gum stuck to the bottom of a shoe, the hot thermos of coffee left at home or the bad driver on the road. What can be more challenging is the act of finding gratitude. Sometimes life can feel too hard; the bright lights that were once on and shining, turn off. However, if we can be grateful for something in our life, even something simple like a cup of black tea, it can make all the difference in our overall happiness. Research has found that people who expressed gratitude were happier and actually tended to be more productive. According to Harvard Medical School, individuals who expressed gratitude more often were happier, healthier and more productive. Whether you’re harvesting gratitude or expressing it, here are three helpful tips to further develop the skill.

Write down what you’re grateful for

It’s okay if it’s once a day or once a week, however, the more often you write, the more helpful this tool becomes. Writing down simple examples is often a great way to develop the skill, because it allows you to find gratitude and beauty in the smaller things. Buying a notebook and making sure that you have it either on you, or beside your bed, or in your office space, it ensures that you will write it down. You may even decide to just write down a quick word, that you can come back to later and further process.  All it takes is getting into the habit of writing simple examples down once in awhile, before it suddenly doesn’t feel like a challenge anymore.

 
Pause and take a moment

We seem to run through life with blinders on and miss the small moments that can lift your spirit without any effort. Allow yourself a moment to pause, take a deep breath in and experience all the beauty around you. You will see things you may have otherwise missed. Founder and CEO of Find Your Power, Ivy Kaminsky, says “ I personally think of what I’m grateful for that happened during the day both at bedtime, in the morning when I’m thinking about the day ahead, and throughout the day as things unfold.” Ivy knows what it’s like to have a busy life-style but believes in taking the time to find gratitude and all the benefits it has to offer. Choose whatever time works best for you. Take a break and give meaning to the smaller things in life, even to those that don’t seem important at an initial glance.

Share your gratitude 

When you experience moments of gratitude, share them with someone else. It can help make the moments more impactful and you will be more likely to remember them. Invite other people to share their moments of gratitude with you. Whenever I have other people participating in something with me, it doesn’t feel so challenging; especially when I can turn a challenge into fun conversations with friends. Sharing your gratitude with those around you is a great way to build deeper connections and participate in a very healing environment. 

I know through personal experience that life can get busy and chaotic. It may seem impossible to find time to harvest your gratitude, but trust me, even just a minute of doing so is powerful. If I know I’m going to have a particularly busy week, I think ahead of time about how and where I will find gratitude. I think about the simple moments like how brushing my teeth feels so great at the end of the day. Or I think about the cups of tea I will have in the mornings and how thankful I am going to be for the caffeine boosts.

Find Your Power, challenges you to write down at least one thing, every day, that you’re grateful for this November. If you feel like you can’t do that, start with simply identifying three things in your life to be grateful for as often as possible. We are sure that once you get into the habit of doing it throughout the month, you’ll never want to give it up. If you feel comfortable sharing, feel free to send it to us on any of our social media channels, listed below. If you’re also comfortable with us posting your submission let us know and we can do it either anonymously or with you tagged. Find Your Power would love to hear how you harvest your gratitude this fall! 

Facebook: findyourpowerorg

Instagram: find_your_power

Twitter: @share_yourpower

Bibliography: https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier

Assembling your digital toolkit: Nailing down your device essentials

By: Maggie Selner

If you’re familiar with Find Your Power, you’ll know how much we prioritize effective use of digital resources. While we work towards implementing inclusive, relevant, and accessible technology into our community, we want to share some basic resources for you to add to your digital toolkit. Remember, information access+digital literacy=personal freedom and gender equity!

Communication: Perhaps the most impactful aspect of technology is that it enables us to communicate with anyone, anywhere, anytime. Not only is this essential for professional endeavors, but it ensures we are able to communicate with our loved ones who may be separated by time and space. Since one of FYP’s goals is to equip immigrants with relevant resources, we believe that effective communication with those from their native countries is a valuable part of their transition experience. With that in mind, here are a few must haves for communication purposes for your life at home and the workplace:
Dropbox: Optimizing user friendly cloud sharing solutions, Dropbox is a staple for communication and storage. You can manage shared files, upload content, and conduct searches. For use on a work force team, integrate with your intranet solution where members can insert their content into a team workspace.
Google Drive: As one of the most versatile platforms, Google Drive earns its popularity by enabling users to store and share files, synchronize files across devices in real-time, and edit documents, spreadsheets, presentations, drawings, and more. Several apps exist under the Google umbrella, including Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides. Offline options are available for Windows and macOS computers, and Android and iOS devices. Businesses can optimize Google Drive and its apps through G Suite, a monthly subscription including unlimited storage, enhanced file audit records and upgraded admin controls.
Skype: One of the most common telecommunication platforms, Skype offers fast connection with other users from around the globe. Select from individual or group calls and videos on a computer or mobile device; this even includes PC, Xbox, and Alexa. It’s free to use for messages, calls, and videos, and can gather up to 50 people. Skype is definitely a must-have for communicating with other employees, workers, and loved ones, whether close by or far away.
WhatsApp: Similar to Skype but unique to its own, WhatsApp enables users to send text messages, voice messages, make voice and video calls, upload and share images, documents, locations, and more. It operates on mobile devices or Windows and Mac computers while connected to the Internet. You can also sync conversations to any device. In addition to personal communication, WhatsApp also launched an app specifically for businesses to securely interact with clients and other business owners.
Slack: Short for Log of All Conversation and Knowledge, Slack is an important platform for businesses to interact and share information with other team members. Its features include chat rooms organized and searchable by topic, public and private groups, and workspaces. You can integrate Slack into a number of third-party programs, including Google Drive, Trello, Dropbox, Box, Crashlytics, Bluemix, Zendesk, GitHub, and more.

Marketing Services: If you’re working towards building a brand or developing a business plan, having an email marketing service is a necessity. Here are some reliable email marketing services that will kickstart and maintain organization in your business.
Mailchimp: Geared towards customized marketing and connectivity, Mailchimp is a reliable and user friendly tool for your personal or professional brand. After creating a free account, you will be able to organize your audience outreach strategy, make sign up pages, email campaigns, digital ads, postcards, and more; all while using a design studio that allows you to customize your work. If you’re new to the email marketing game, Mailchimp offers a “Mailchimp 101” course, in addition to other tips, guides, and tutorials. Find Your Power can attest to Mailchimp’s effective outreach and design; we use it for our email campaigns and love it!
Constant Contact: Growing rapidly in popularity, Constant Contact is a user friendly email marketing service that encompasses all your needs. Features include tracking and reporting email lists, contacts, email templates, marketing calendars, image libraries, Facebook ads, social media sharing tools, and more. Additionally, online training is provided for small businesses to learn skills in email marketing and apply it to their individual plan. More advanced options are available for Email Plus accounts, including email automation, surveys and polls, and online donations.
Drip: Used for a wide variety of marketing strategies, Drip offers innovative tools for marketing automation. You can integrate the program into other common website builders including WordPress and WooCommerce, which prompts additional leads for your website. Drip is known for its user friendly features and support options through webinars, automation training, free courses, guides, and documentation.

Project Planning: Having a project planning software is a must-have for a well organized lifestyle, both personally and professionally. With a good project management software, you can assign tasks, set deadlines, establish a communication feed, and most importantly, ensure individual and team productivity. So whether you’re looking to collaborate with a team, or make a meal plan for the week, here are some popular services for your projects:
Trello: With Trello, you can collect tasks into lists and arrange as needed while viewing the entire day. You can also add comments, upload content, create checklists, and set labels and due dates. It updates in real-time, and will sync with any and all of your devices. You can use your free Trello account for yourself, or add an unlimited number of teams to connect and work with.
Basecamp: With Basecamp, you won’t have to worry about digging through your inbox for old information from a colleague. Basecamp keeps all your communication organized by topic. Schedules are accessible to the whole team and due dates, reminders, and change notifications can be set. All projects include a space for content to be uploaded, and can be linked to your Google Docs account for easy content transfers. Once you establish the basics, you can get creative with your organization by color coding and ordering projects as you see fit.

Goals, Rewards, and a Good Mindset: Keys to Leveling Up Your Productivity

By: Natalie Page

Finding ways to become more productive is something that is always in the back of our heads. What can we do to accomplish more, get more done in less time and in the most successful way? As I have grown up, gotten my first job, and gone to college, I have experienced the endless list of commitments, assignments, and simple tasks on the to-do list. Honestly? It can get extremely overwhelming. For a while, I felt as if I was living day to day, trying to get everything done that I had to do and feeling the stress of being unorganized and scattered. Even as I got more on top of my responsibilities, it still felt difficult to achieve the level of success I wanted for myself. Whatever your work may be at a full-time job, school, or at home, there will always be things that need doing. Here are three steps that have helped me find success to implement into your work day that will help you level up your productivity.

Make reasonable goals for yourself

When I was little, every morning when I woke up, my mom would ask me what I wanted to accomplish today. This helped me to feel that everyday was a chance to learn, create, and accomplish. Of course, as I got older, those goals became more focused on what I had to get done for school or a job or other commitments I had made, but making goals each morning helped to have a focus. Whenever I checked off one of my goals for the day, I had a great sense of accomplishment. To some, daily tasks may not seem like something to celebrate, but setting out to get something done helps you feel excited to cross something off your list.

One of the most important things to making goals for yourself is making reasonable goals. When I first got to college there were so many things I wanted to do and try. Between classes and clubs, work and friends, I began to overload my goals each day with a completely unrealistic list of things to accomplish by the end of the day. I became so overwhelmed because I felt unsuccessful when I didn’t finish everything. In actuality, my failure came from my overload of goals, not my inability to complete them. When you look ahead at your day, even if you think of lots of tasks or activities you want to complete, think realistically: “Do I have enough time in my day to achieve all of these goals?” If you find yourself doing what I did and getting overly ambitious, take a second to write down your goals. Instead of just one day, divide it up over the week and think of what can wait until tomorrow.

“Be stronger than your strongest excuse” – Unknown

Pro Tip #1: Have the hardest thing on your to-do list be the first thing you cross off. Whether it’s a hard and daunting task or simply something you don’t want to do, the longer you wait, the more you dread it. It’s very easy to make excuses for yourself and continually put off doing that dreaded task, but excuses are the enemy of productivity! And try not to put more than three major things on your list to accomplish in a day, or you might be setting yourself up for failure.

Start each day with the mindset you want to have all day long

This may sound like a no brainer, but being mindful of the attitude you want to have can make all the difference. Taking just two minutes each morning when you wake up to say some positive affirmations to reflect the kind of mindset you want to have will set you up for the kind of day you will have. A positive attitude can make all the difference in your productivity. Sometimes we can feel bogged down by the many items on our to-do list or the mountain of responsibility at work. Your attitude when you first wake up can set the mood for your whole day, so make it a positive one and set yourself up for success! It might feel silly, but as soon as you sit up in bed saying some positive affirmations out loud. “There is nothing I can’t get done today!” “I create success in everything I do” “Today I will achieve everything I set out to do” You can even write down some of your own the night before and read them aloud to yourself as you get ready for bed or for the day. The words you put out will resonate with reality. Throw in a power pose too while you’re at it!

Pro Tip #2: Get up and go outside! It’s easy to forget just how much of our day we spend sitting. Studies show that your focus begins to diminish when you are sitting down or focusing on one thing for more than 50 minutes. Getting up and moving our bodies helps our brain flow and keeps our body awake. Even if you are moving a lot during the day, make sure to take some breaks to get outside and soak up some good old vitamin D! Or better yet, get some vitamin D while moving your body.

Reward yourself as you check things off your list

Even if it’s something you do everyday, or seems really easy, you should still feel proud of yourself for getting it done and checking it off your list. There will always be more things that we need to accomplish each day and one way to stay on top of all that is reminding ourselves of our abilities and taking time to appreciate ourselves. Now I know what you’re thinking: To be more productive I should give myself rewards? Yes! It can become so easy to take our own selves for granted and the hard work we do daily. Taking time to celebrate these little victories wakes up that little voice inside our heads to say, “Wow, you are absolutely slaying the game! What else can you do?” Not only do rewards work as incentives for our work, but they remind us that we are constantly working our butts off and we all deserve to celebrate our hard work.

Pro Tip #3: Put your phone away! Technology can be a great tool to help us with our work but it can also be our greatest enemy. Social media is procrastination’s best friend. Sometimes it’s not enough to just set our phone face down, so try putting it in a drawer or even in a separate room. If this is something you especially struggle with, give yourself a couple minutes on your phone every hour or every time to check a task off your list. You’ll be amazed at how much more you can get done when the temptation to pick up your phone is out of reach. And if you can’t bear to have your phone away from you, turning off your notifications temporarily while you need to focus on something important is a great tactic.

Breaking down our challenges into steps that we can easily approach and accomplish help to remove any stress or mental barriers that hold us back. While it is always desirable to want to accomplish more and more everyday, it is important to balance the quality of our work with the quantity. Taking these three steps into account on a day-today basis can help you become more productive.

Bold and Beautiful: Loving your body for all it is

By Nell Enright

Body image in 2019 is a movement. How often have you felt not good enough when
thinking of your own body? In our culture, comparison is a very real thing. It’s so easy
not to think you are thin enough, tall enough, or simply, enough. But let me let you in on
a little secret: so does everyone. I am certain that Beyonce herself has her share of bad
days. In today’s day and age, it is so easy to compare yourself. Go on social media, flip
through a magazine, or wander through the mall. You learn to see beauty every day, but
not in yourself. I have a proposition for you.

What if we changed that? What if all of us
decided to embrace our bodies for exactly what they are? Our bodies do so much for
us, so why should we do a disservice to them and want something different? Perhaps
instead of saying “Dear Body, I wish you were just a few inches taller, or, I wish I had a
flatter stomach, but instead say Thank you. Maybe even write a love letter to your
body, honoring and appreciating it for all that it has done for you. It has given you feet
for dancing, a heart for loving, and a brain that whirs with all your recklessly amazing
ideas. Lately, I have turned my body insecurity to more of a positive subject. Instead of
being mad about my shortcomings, I have accepted them. Don’t get me wrong. I have
had days where my only thought seems to be, compare, compare, compare. My mind
races with thoughts that I don’t look like them, so I must not be good enough. I
challenge every one of you to value and honor your body for what it is. We should
create a spark where ever we go. Far too often, I have belittled myself for simply being
human. So I throw a filter on that photo, adjust my legs, so they look thinner, and
constantly wonder if I’m good enough. We are all beautiful, outstanding beings,
destined for big extraordinary things. Life’s too short to worry about the way our
stomachs or arms appear. Let’s measure the size of our hearts, the smiles we have,
and the measure of breaths we take that proves that we are truly, recklessly alive. We
are all different and beautiful and bright. Let’s be kind and lift other humans because, in
the end, everyone is the same.

A Love Letter to My Body:
Hey,
I hope you are doing well. I wanted to say thank you. Thank you for my lungs that give
me breath, thank you for my hands so they can create beautiful pieces. Thank you for
my eyes and ears to soak up new and old sights and sounds. Thank you for this vessel
that brings me through life. Thank you for getting me back up every time I have gotten
kicked down, and for giving me legs to walk away when I need to. Thank you for my
shoulders so I can roll them back and own it. Thank you for my mouth so I can speak
words of kindness. Thank you for allowing me to yell and scream at you to be better.
Thank you for letting me learn to love you as you are and for letting me accept you.
Thank you for making me beautifully unique. Thank you, dear body, for all that you
have done and will continue to do for me in this crazy journey called life.
Sincerely,
A life long friend

Finding Your Power Across Generations: Empowered Women Empower Women

By: Caleigh Joyce

As I search for inspiration in my daily life my mind is immediately drawn to the women in my family. Their stories have been told to me my entire life, typically by other people, rarely by these women themselves, and when they do tell their stories it is always with a tone of “well what else did you expect me to do?”

“A woman is like a teabag. You never know how strong she is until she’s in hot water.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

My Grandma Nancy immigrated to New York from a tiny, remote farm village in Ireland. She saved up every cent she had and moved to Dublin when she was eighteen, spent a year working in the city, and then booked a ticket to New York, it was the first time she had ever left home. When she arrived in New York, it was completely overwhelming. She was staying with a very strict aunt, who was the only person she knew in America. She spent the first few weeks there walking up and down the streets of Manhattan searching for a job. This was made difficult by the heavy racism that existed towards Irish people in America at this time. Most businesses at the time had signs posted in in their windows saying, “Irish need not apply.” She finally found a position at a restaurant in a small corner of the city. By the time her first year had passed, she could never dream of leaving America. She spent the next decades starting a family with my grandfather and as she had found a love of taking care of people, she became a caretaker for the elderly, a job she had for the rest of her life.

My Grandma Bette was one of the first women to attend the University of Minnesota. She graduated with a degree in journalism. Using the motivation of the female workforce that emerged during World War II, she pushed into the man’s world of journalism refusing to take “no” for an answer. She wrote about the rising world of television, current events, and architecture. Using her new journalist badge and a large amount of pluck, she was able to talk her way into several once in a lifetime experiences. Once she even used her status as a journalist in Minnesota to crash Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco’s wedding. Another time she convinced a security guard to let her into Carnegie Hall when it was closed. She insisted that my grandfather, who was an architect, simply had to see it, and that they would not be leaving until he did. Defying the odds, and working with grit, luck, and perseverance is something that she still does today. She is currently 93, and is about to publish her memoir, A Lifetime of Luck and Pluck, the fifth book she’s written in the last decade.

My mother, Susan refused to pay attention to the boys at school who didn’t believe and didn’t want girls to be smart. She worked hard and proved them all wrong by growing up to attend Harvard. When she graduated, she started what was quickly a successful career in Boston and New York, and then went back home to Minnesota when I was born. After realizing she had way more energy than a sleeping baby, she started a financial consulting business. Again, deciding to ignore the boys who said that girls couldn’t be good at math, she successfully ran her financial business while raising two children. Now she uses her math skills for good, consulting for nonprofits and using impact investing to help change the world into a better place.

“Women have to harness their powerit’s absolutely true. It’s just learning not to take the first no. And if you can’t go straight ahead, you go around the corner.”  -Cher

As with so many empowered women before them, the women in my family have a power that is quiet, but obvious. They don’t walk into a room demanding you notice their strength, but you see it with the way they walk anyway. My Grandma Bette, who just turned ninety-three still makes heads turn when she walks into a room.

I see so many women with stories of how other women in their lives have crossed great mountains without ever asking for praise for it and have become embarrassed when it is given anyway. But I think it is so important to acknowledge the odds that women have overcome in their daily lives, and throughout history.

As I look towards the future, I think of graduating college this spring, and heading out into the real world. Inspired by the injustice women, as well as people of color and LGBT people have faced for centuries, I am committed to fighting for equality and human rights, and hope to get a job where I can help to make a difference. I look back at the great women who have come before me and hope that the memory of their victories will empower me with all the strength and courage that has come before me.

 

Girls Just Want to Have Funds: Why Women Should Invest

By: Caleigh Joyce

Before my mother and father got married, my mother (who has a CFA, has a master’s degree from Harvard in business, and began her own financial consulting business in 1998) had already begun to take over her mother’s finances with the help of her financial advisor. After she married my father (who has a Communications degree and works in Public Relations), the financial advisor congratulated her… and asked to take her husband out to lunch. After that, every financial advisor they ever had only wanted to deal with my father- and ignored my mother.

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Women in the Running: Making This Midterm the Opportunity of the Century

By: Haley Kaul

The wave of women is rising. The midterm elections are coming up on November 6th, and it is important to look at those on the ballots. This midterm, there is an influx of women running for political offices. One of the biggest factors of this increase is probably the multitude of male politicians that don’t have women in mind. In fact, many of them often disregard another perspective. This leaves women wanting to fight for the positions that have let the female narrative fall through the cracks. Women want to make life better for other women.

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Swing for Power Like a Girl: Women Creating Community Through Sports

By: Julia Carpent

Teams are the heart of all accomplishments. Whenever we succeed, there’s always someone we owe at least part of our success to. Any shared identity creates a team. Families are teams. Staffs are teams. Women are a team. So perhaps team sports are a reflection of all the ways sharing an experience with others brings us joy. But most importantly, they offer a sense of belonging and hope.

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Finding Your People: Key Steps to Cultivating Positive Communities

By: Angela Hugunin

Some of us may be familiar with the Jim Rohn quote: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” To some, this may be an alarming idea. Others may find it thrilling. Some of us may be somewhere in between.

Since moving from my hometown to a new city this past year, I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship and community. It was really tempting for me to enter that new place with a closed mindset. I had great friends back home already; how was I supposed to find new ones that I actually connected with?

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