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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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March 15 2018

Primal Starter: Reframing Your Definition of Affluence

By Mark Sisson
9 Comments

Inline_Live-Awesome-645x445-03“Gratitude, with a capital G. The word should resonate as holy (which has the same root as healthy, and means whole), for without it, boredom prevails. With it, you acknowledge and appreciate life’s gifts. This embodiment extends beyond your attitude to become an actual personality trait, a stress management took, an an overall way of life. You live in gratitude because you are here today—appreciative of the lessons and journey of your past, however imperfect—for no other particular reason or caveat. And you remain in gratitude through the daily struggles that give meaning and richness to your life.

Our ancestors devised animism and deities to thank for the bounties in nature. More recently in our history, tribal societies such as the Native Americans and the !Kung Bushmen of southern Africa thank the animal’s spirit for providing sustenance after it has been killed. If daily prayer or weekly services have a place in your life, you may be familiar with similar themes. But don’t overlook other modest ways to show gratitude in your day-to-day life. Giving yourself the luxury of a warm bath, making a phone call to Grandma, or presenting a home-cooked meal to your family all count, too, if your intention is in the right place.

When you practice an attitude of gratitude, you appreciate what you have, not envy what you lack. It means you’re a good steward. You nourish and exercise your body and mind, cherish and respect your spouse, love your dog, keep your home clean and orderly, encourage your children. If you water your garden, you’ll watch it grow….

But don’t take my word for it. Let’s look at the science: University of California, Davis professor Robert Emmons, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Positive Psychology and author of Thanks!: How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier, believes that living in gratitude is the single quickest and most efficient pathway to becoming happier. Yes, Emmons and other leaders in the burgeoning field of positive psychology can actually quantify this stuff, asserting that while familial genetics plays a large role in longevity, researchers have amassed significant data suggesting that up to 75 percent of longevity is related to psychological and behavioral factors. Emmons notes that chronically angry, depressed, or pessimistic people have long been observed to have an increased disease risk and shorter life spans.  However, those who kept a simple ‘gratitude journal’ for three weeks or longer reported better sleep, increased energy, heightened creativity, enthusiasm, determination, and optimism…and an increased desire for exercise. Now that’s something to be grateful for!”

From The Primal Connection, pgs. 68-69

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9 thoughts on “Primal Starter: Reframing Your Definition of Affluence”

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  1. A few years back, I was going though a real rough spot in my life. My social network was thin, living in an isolated location in the Colorado rocky mountains, I was a prime candidate for depression, and possible suicide. long story short, finding gratitude was what really pulled me out. Now I find if I don’t practice gratitude every morning, I slip back a bit, leaving me feeling off.
    Now it’s easy to do, there are So many things, people, foods, walks, bike rides, sights, smells, clean water,etc to be grateful for.

  2. Our ancestors didn’t devise animism and the deities. Animism and the deities devised our ancestors.

  3. It’s easy to lose sight of gratitude if your life revolves around “stuff.” Give away or throw away what you don’t absolutely need, and get out of the habit of dragging home more. In a word, simplify. Affluence is (or should be) about contentment and good health, not how much stuff you can accumulate.

  4. I am grateful for everyday and all my blessings. Life is beautiful…living awesome.

  5. I love Shary’s comments and couldn’t agree more. In the middle of a move and have given away a ton of stuff which has been really liberating.

    I’m grateful for always having access to Mark and MDA, I find this site and it’s users a really life affirming group of like minded people.

  6. Love this place of practice! Since last autumn, I’ve taken a few minutes every evening to record “little gifts” I received that day in a handwritten journal. Every single day – no exceptions.

    The gifts are often unexpected shows of connection and kindness. But also yoga and movement practice, the moon, the sun, the skyline, eagle sightings, foods I’ve enjoyed, business successes, teaching successes, “actual” gifts big and small, and on and on.

    The noticing and writing of them has filled me with such gratitude – and has truly made me happier, even in the toughest of times.

  7. Reminds me of a Jack Reacher quote: “To have everything you need is the definition of affluence”. Most of us have a whole lot more than that.
    I love Shary’s view on this too.

  8. Thank you for this beautiful reminder to honor a sacred part of our psychology and behavior.

  9. Mark plays the piano? Should do a video. Sometimes I use my radio with limited reception to listen to classical music.
    And WLL edition I-can’t-remember-what-#-it’d-be …. I calculated approximately once … is what I’m looking forward to: the one when Mark breaks the centenarian sprinting record.