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Appreciating Life is the foundation for making the most of your Life.

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Appreciating Life:

Appreciating Life is the foundation for making the most of your Life.

We wish to inspire you to appreciate life, people and everything around you. "Stop and smell the roses" of this wonderful life. We have each been freely given to explore our world and all the different people, cultures and places on this living breathing planet we live on. When everything "seems" to be looking bad or crazy, we have found that just taking a few moments in our day to stop and smell the roses to take an inventory of all the positive things and blessings we have in our lives can make a world of difference. Clearly, the more we do that, the more we can benefit from truly appreciating life.

There is always someone else in this world of now nearly 7 billion people who have it worse than us. There are over 2 billion people who live on less than 2 dollars a day. 25,000 children starve to death each and every day. I have been to some of the poorest countries on earth and found to our absolute amazement that more of those people have learned a secret that we in our modern "civilized" world seem to so easily to take for granted and forget. That secret is simply to learn to appreciate all of the blessings we have in our lives.

I will never forget the spirit of joy I saw in the eyes of the poorest man I have ever seen in a wheelchair with no legs going from car to car at a stop light in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, giving everyone a high 5 and a blast of happiness that I had never known before. That was my first trip outside of the United States in my early 20's and marked a major turning point in my life that opened my eyes to the amazing world of discovery and adventure that we have been given the opportunity to explore and learn so much from. I truly hope that you, the readers of this site, can close your eyes and imagine what a deep lesson I learned from that man of just how much of a difference the simple choice we each have of appreciating life can make. I thought to myself, if a man living in such absolute poverty who doesn't even have any legs can be so ecstatically happy, why can't you and I? Since then I have seen far more smiles on the faces of the poorest of the poor in the world than those of us in the so called "civilized world" have.

There are so many people and experiences we each have encounters with that hold hidden opportunities to learn as much as we can from every person we meet and every experience we have. Every cloud has a silver lining and this site is dedicated to reminding ourselves, us included, of the wonderous benefits of appreciating life.

It is said in many ancient texts that the highest vibration man can reach is through the deepest [illuminated] realization of complete appreciation of all we have. There is always some lemonade in the lemons of life or the opportunity in the challenges that life brings our way. Let's try more to stop for a moment and take inventory of all the blessings we have in our lives. Let's stop and smell the roses of this wonderful life. It is all about choice! We have each been given the freedom to decide what parallel universe of emotions to live within. Will that choice be to live within a universe of "doom and gloom" that in a way the media, hollywood and others seem to have entrapped us within, or will we choose to find and/or create a universe of happiness and appreciation for all the wonderous beauty this world has to offer? This site is intended to help encourage all of us to make that positive conscious choice of appreciating life.

Appreciation: Heartfelt Story of Fatherhood learning the art of appreciation.

Appreciation is a term used in accounting relating to the increase in value of an asset. In this sense it is the reverse of depreciation, which measures the fall in value of assets over their normal life-time. Appreciation is a rise of a currency in a floating exchange rate. In times of high inflation, appreciation will be common to all balance sheet assets. Generally, the term is reserved for property or, more specifically, land and buildings. In any viable modern economy, such property tends to increase in value over the years - if only because of the scarcity of usable land forces its price in a competitive situation. However, this belief has often caused speculative bubbles to arise. There are considerable difficulties in assessing the increase in value of any particular asset. This is principally because of the variety of interpretations that can be attached to the word value itself and due to the various instruments and methods used in the valuation process.

Appreciation is also a term meaning an expression of gratitude.
Venice

Gratitude


Gratitude, appreciation, or thankfulness is a positive
emotions or attitude in acknowledgment of a benefit that one has received or will receive.

In a religious context, gratitude can also refer to a feeling of indebtedness towards a deity. Most religions prescribe rituals of thanksgiving towards their higher powers; the expression of gratitude to God is a central theme of Christianity and Islam.

In contrast to the positive feeling of gratitude, the feeling of indebtedness is a negative reaction to a favor (Tsang, 2006a; Watkins, Scheer, Ovnicek, & Kolts, 2006). Even though our reactions to favors might not always be positive, researchers have found that people express gratitude often. In a 1998 Gallup poll, the majority of Americans said they express gratitude to God (54%) and others (67%) "all the time."

Psychological research has demonstrated that individuals are more likely to experience gratitude when they receive a favor that is perceived to be (1) valued by the recipient, costly to the benefactor, given by the benefactor with benevolent intentions, and (4) given gratuitously (rather than out of role-based obligations) (e.g., Bar-Tal, Bar-Zohar, Greenberg, & Hermon, 1977; Graham, 1988; Lane & Anderson, 1976; Tesser, Gatewood, & Driver, 1968). Individuals who are induced to feel grateful are more likely to behave prosocially toward their benefactor (Tsang, 2006b) or toward unrelated others (Bartlett & DeSteno, 2006).

Gratitude may also serve to reinforce future prosocial behavior in benefactors. For example, Carey and colleagues (Carey, Clicque, Leighton, & Milton, 1976) found that customers of a jewelry store who were called and thanked showed a subsequent 70% increase in purchases. In comparison, customers who were thanked and told about a sale showed only a 30% increase in purchases, and customers who were not called at all did not show an increase. Rind and Bordia (1995) found that restaurant patrons gave bigger tips when their servers wrote “Thank you” on their checks.

Research has also suggested that feelings of gratitude may be beneficial to subjective emotional well-being (Emmons & McCullough, 2003). For example, Watkins and colleagues (Watkins et al., 2003) had participants test a number of different gratitude exercises, such as thinking about a living person for whom they were grateful, writing about someone for whom they were grateful, and writing a letter to deliver to someone for whom they were grateful. Participants in the control condition were asked to describe their living room. Participant who engaged in a gratitude exercise showed increases in their experiences of positive emotion immediately after the exercise, and this effect was strongest for participants who were asked to think about a person for whom they were grateful. Participants who had grateful personalities to begin with showed the greatest benefit from these gratitude exercises. In people who are grateful in general, life events have little influence on experienced gratitude (McCullough, Tsang & Emmons, 2004).


sea life

Although gratitude is something that anyone can experience, some people seem to feel grateful more often than others. People who tend to experience gratitude more frequently than do others also tend to be happier, more helpful and forgiving, and less depressed than their less grateful counterparts (Kashdan, Uswatte, & Julian, 2006; McCullough, Emmons, & Tsang, 2002; Watkins, Woodward, Stone, & Kolts, 2003)

From a Buddhist point of view, the Pali word which we translate in English as gratitude is katannuta. The word katannuta consists of two parts: kata which means that which has been done, especially that which has been done to one, to oneself, and annuta which means knowing or recognising. So katannuta means knowing or recognizing what has been done to one, that is to say knowing and recognising what has been done to one for one's benefit. Hence the connotation of the Pali word is rather different from its English equivalent. The connotation of the English gratitude is rather more emotional (we feel gratitude, feel grateful, etc.) but the connotation of katannuta is rather more intellectual, more cognitive. It makes it clear that what we call gratitude involves an element of knowledge - knowledge of what has been done to us or for us for our benefit. If we do not know that something has benefited us, we will not feel gratitude. Yet, interesting enough many people regard gratitude as a part of life not part of the human body or soul which many buddhists related to on their way to find enlightenment, not only of the body but also of the mind.

Life

Life is a condition that distinguishes organisms from non-living objects, such as non-life, and dead organisms, being manifested by growth through metabolism and reproduction. Some living things can communicate and many can adapt to their environment through changes originating internally. A physical characteristic of life is that it feeds on negative entropy. In more detail, according to physicists such as John Bernal, Erwin Schrödinger, Eugene Wigner, and John Avery, life is a member of the class of phenomena which are open or continuous systems able to decrease their internal entropy at the expense of substances or free energy taken in from the environment and subsequently rejected in a degraded form (see: entropy and life).

A diverse array of living organisms can be found in the biosphere on Earth. Properties common to these organisms—plants, animals, fungi, protists, archaea and bacteria—are a carbon- and water-based cellular form with complex organization and heritable genetic information. They undergo metabolism, possess a capacity to grow, respond to stimuli, reproduce and, through natural selection, adapt to their environment in successive generations.

An entity with the above properties is considered to be a living organism, that is an organism that is alive hence can be called a life form. However, not every definition of life considers all of these properties to be essential. For example, the capacity for descent with modification is often taken as the only essential property of life. This definition notably includes viruses, which do not qualify under narrower definitions as they are acellular and do not metabolize.

sea life

Definitions:
There is no universal definition of life; there are a variety of definitions proposed by different scientists. To define life in unequivocal terms is still a challenge for scientists.

Conventional definition: Often scientists say that life is a characteristic of organisms that exhibit the following phenomena:

Homeostasis: Regulation of the internal environment to maintain a constant state; for example, sweating to reduce temperature. Organization: Being composed of one or more cells, which are the basic units of life. Metabolism: Consumption of energy by converting nonliving material into cellular components (anabolism) and decomposing organic matter (catabolism). Living things require energy to maintain internal organization (homeostasis) and to produce the other phenomena associated with life. Growth: Maintenance of a higher rate of synthesis than catalysis. A growing organism increases in size in all of its parts, rather than simply accumulating matter. The particular species begins to multiply and expand as the evolution continues to flourish. Adaptation: The ability to change over a period of time in response to the environment. This ability is fundamental to the process of evolution and is determined by the organism's heredity as well as the composition of metabolized substances, and external factors present. Response to stimuli: A response can take many forms, from the contraction of a unicellular organism when touched to complex reactions involving all the senses of higher animals. A response is often expressed by motion, for example, the leaves of a plant turning toward the sun or an animal chasing its prey. Reproduction: The ability to produce new organisms. Reproduction can be the division of one cell to form two new cells. Usually the term is applied to the production of a new individual (either asexually, from a single parent organism, or sexually, from at least two differing parent organisms), although strictly speaking it also describes the production of new cells in the process of growth.

However, others cite several limitations of this definition.[citation needed] Thus, many members of several species do not reproduce, possibly because they belong to specialized sterile castes (such as ant workers), these are still considered forms of life. One could say that the property of life is inherited; hence, sterile or hybrid organisms such as mules, ligers, and eunuchs are alive although they are not capable of self-reproduction. However, (a) The species as a whole does reproduce, (b) There are no cases of species where 100% of the individuals reproduce, and (c) specialized non-reproducing individuals of the species may still partially propagate their DNA or other master pattern through mechanisms such as kin selection. Viruses and aberrant prion proteins are often considered replicators rather than forms of life, a distinction warranted because they cannot reproduce without very specialized substrates such as host cells or proteins, respectively. Also, the Rickettsia and Chlamydia are examples of bacteria that cannot independently fulfill many vital biochemical processes, and depend on entry, growth, and replication within the cytoplasm of eukaryotic host cells. However, most forms of life rely on foods produced by other species, or at least the specific chemistry of Earth's environment. The systemic definition of life is that living things are self-organizing and autopoietic (self-producing). These objects are not to be confused with dissipative structures (e.g. fire). Variations of this definition include Stuart Kauffman's definition of life as an autonomous agent or a multi-agent system capable of reproducing itself or themselves, and of completing at least one thermodynamic work cycle.

Proposed definitions of life include:
Living things are systems that tend to respond to changes in their environment, and inside themselves, in such a way as to promote their own continuation. Life (a living individual) is defined as a network of inferior negative feedbacks (regulatory mechanisms) subordinated to a superior positive feedback (potential of expansion, reproduction) Life is a characteristic of self-organizing, self-recycling systems consisting of populations of replicators that are capable of mutation, around most of which homeostatic, metabolizing organisms evolve. Type of organization of matter producing various interacting forms of variable complexity, whose main property is to replicate almost perfectly by using matter and energy available in their environment to which they may adapt. In this definition "almost perfectly" relates to mutations happening during replication of organisms that may have adaptive benefits. Life is a potentially self-perpetuating open system of linked organic reactions, catalyzed simultaneously and almost isothermally by complex chemicals (enzymes) that are themselves produced by the open system.

References

  1. Schrödinger, Erwin (1944). What is Life?. Cambridge University Press.
  2. Margulis, Lynn; Sagan, Dorion (1995). What is Life?. University of California Press.
  3. Lovelock, James (2000). Gaia – a New Look at Life on Earth. Oxford University Press.
  4. Avery, John (2003). Information Theory and Evolution. World Scientific.
  5. Defining Life :: Astrobiology Magazine - earth science - evolution distribution Origin of life universe - life beyond :: Astrobiology is study of earth science evolution distribution Origin of life in universe terrestrial
  6. Defining Life, Explaining Emergence
  7. Witzany, G. (2007). The Logos of the Bios 2. Bio-Communication. Helsinki, Umweb.
  8. clKorzeniewski, Bernard (2001). Cybernetic formulation of the definition of life. Journal of Theoretical Biology. 2001 Apr 7;209(3):275-86
  9. History of life through time
  10. Barlett, M.Y., & DeSteno, D. (2006). Gratitude and prosocial behavior: Helping when it costs you. Psychological Science, 17, 319-325.
  11. Bar-Tal, D., Bar-Zohar, Y., Greenberg, M. S., & Hermon, M. (1977). Reciprocity behavior in the relationship between donor and recipient and between harm-doer and victim. Sociometry, 40, 293-298.
  12. Carey, J. R., Clicque, S. H., Leighton, B. A., & Milton, F. (1976). A test of positive reinforcement of customers. Journal of Marketing, 40, 98-100.
  13. Emmons, R.A. (2007). Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier. New York: Houghton-Mifflin.
  14. Emmons, R. A. & McCullough, M. E. (2003). Counting blessings versus burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. 377-389. (electronic copy)
  15. Gallup, G. H., Jr. (1998 May). Thankfulness: America's saving grace. Paper presented at the National Day of Prayer Breakfast, Thanks-Giving Square, Dallas.
  16. Graham, S. (1988). Children’s developing understanding of the motivational role of affect: An attributional analysis. Cognitive Development, 3, 71-88.
  17. Kashdan, T.B., Uswatte, G., & Julian, T. (2006). Gratitude and hedonic and eudaimonic well-being in Vietnam War veterans. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 44, 177-199.
  18. Lane, J., & Anderson, N.H. (1976). Integration of intention and outcome in moral judgment. Memory and Cognition, 4, 1-5.
  19. McCullough, M. E., Emmons, R. A., & Tsang, J. (2002). The grateful disposition: A conceptual and empirical topography. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82, 112-127.
  20. McCullough, M. E., Tsang, J. & Emmons, R. A. (2004). Gratitude in intermediate affective terrain: Links of grateful moods to individual differences and daily emotional experience.
  21. Rind, B., & Bordia, P. (1995). Effect of server's "Thank you" and personalization on restaurant tipping. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 25, 745-751.
  22. Tesser, A., Gatewood, R. & Driver, M. (1968). Some determinants of gratitude.
  23. Tsang, J. (2006a). The effects of helper intention on gratitude and indebtedness. Motivation and Emotion, 30, 198-204.
  24. Tsang, J. (2006b). Gratitude and prosocial behavior: An experimental test of gratitude. Cognition and Emotion, 20, 138-148.
  25. Watkins, P. C., Scheer, J., Ovnicek, M., & Kolts, R. (2006). The debt of gratitude: Dissociating gratitude and indebtedness. Cognition and Emotion, 20, 217-241.
  26. Watkins, P. C., Woodward, K., Stone, T., & Kolts, R. L. (2003). Gratitude and happiness: Development of a measure of gratitude, and relationships with subjective well-being. Social Behavior and Personality, 31, 431-452.



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