Increase Optimism, Reduce Anxiety, Tribute Music, Extend Gratitude & Have Your Mind Blown!

Happy Soul Food Friday for the week of #GivingTuesday!

This week:
Our Most Powerful Force to Increase Optimism
Neuroscience Says Listening to This Song Reduces Anxiety by Up to 65 Percent
National Philanthropy Day Recap and the Dvorak 9th Symphony -a tribute to the cultural mix that is America
Extending the Power of Thank You Post Thanksgiving
Mind Bending Photos of the Places that Time Forgot


Our Most Powerful Force to Increase Optimism (#427)


WHAT IF . . . gratitude is the most powerful force we have to increase positive feelings of optimism, creativity, and friendliness?

RESEARCH SAYS: If you can spend 90 seconds, 3 times a day on what you’re grateful for you will actually build more brain capacity to feel happiness and well-being.  That’s because gratitude exercises the part of your brain that processes feelings of well-being so more and faster brain cell synapses develop.  Now that’s something to be grateful for!

TRY THIS:  Keep a daily gratitude journal.  When I wake up each morning I write down one thing I am grateful for that day.  I try to never repeat.  I read my entries on Sunday morning.  I hope you try it.  It’s happiness training and it works.

Neuroscience Says Listening to This Song Reduces Anxiety by Up to 65 Percent:!Z/

National Philanthropy Day Recap and the Dvorak 9th Symphony -a tribute to the cultural mix that is America
This was playing last week on NPR (Here and Now) and I found it most timely
The Dvorak 9th was written as his tribute to America and is infused with Spirituals, Native American drumming and other music that he viewed as truly representative of the cultural mix that is our country.

NPD was an amazing gathering where we also did three Facebook Live Broadcasts from the event and Mission Fed generated over a reach of over 3,000 per video.

Broadcast 1


Broadcast 2


Broadcast 3


Extending the Power of Thank You:

The Power of Thank You

In extending the spirit of Thanksgiving, this week I’d love to share with you the benefits and power of two simple words. THANK YOU.

They are two words that have the power to transform our health, happiness, athletic performance and success. Research shows that grateful people are happier and more likely to maintain good friendships. A state of gratitude, according to research by the Institute of HeartMath, also improves the heart’s rhythmic functioning, which helps us to reduce stress, think more clearly under pressure and heal physically. It’s actually physiologically impossible to be stressed and thankful at the same time. When you are grateful you flood your body and brain with emotions and endorphins that uplift and energize you rather than the stress hormones that drain you.

Gratitude and appreciation are also essential for a healthy work environment. In fact, the number one reason why people leave their jobs is because they don’t feel appreciated. A simple thank you and a show of appreciation can make all the difference.

Gratitude is like muscle. The more we do with it the stronger it gets. In this spirit here are 5 ways to practice Thanksgiving every day of the year.

  1. Take a Daily Thank You Walk – I started this practice 15 years ago and it changed my life. Take a simple 10-30 minute walk each day and say out loud what you are thankful for. This will set you up for a positive day. I wrote more about this in The Positive Dog.
  2. Meal Time Thank You’s – On Thanksgiving, or just at dinner with your friends and family, go around the table and have each person, including the kids at the little table, say what they are thankful for.
  3. Gratitude Visit – Martin Seligman, Ph.D., the father of positive psychology, suggests that we write a letter expressing our gratitude to someone. Then we visit this person and read them the letter. His research shows that people who do this are measurably happier and less depressed a month later.
  4. Say Thank You at Work – When Doug Conant was the CEO of Campbell Soup he wrote approximately 30,000 thank you notes to his employees and energized the company in the process. Energize and engage your co-workers and team by letting them know you are grateful for them and their work. Organizations spend billions of dollars collectively on recognition programs but the best and cheapest recognition program of all consists of a sincere THANK YOU. And of course don’t forget to say thank you to your clients and customers too.
  5. Say Thank you and Goodnight – At bedtime reflect on your day, identify and share all that you are thankful for. If you have children you can read Thank You and Goodnight with them and add to it.


1  A tree growing through an abandoned piano


2  Overgrown palace, Poland
In 1910, this grand palace was built as a home for Polish Royalty. The rest of the century proved uncertain for the country And under communist rule the palace became an agricultural school, as well as a home for mentally handicapped adults and children.  The former palace was deserted following the fall of the USSR.

3  Jet Star Rollercoaster, Seaside Heights, New Jersey
The Jet Star Rollercoaster was left submerged in the Atlantic Ocean after Superstorm Sandy in 2013.  It stood rusting for six months, until it was plucked from the sea.

4  Abandoned House in the Woods

5  Church in St. Etienne, France

6  An abandoned church with a few lingering parishioners, Netherlands

7  Doll factory, Spain

8  Tree growing around an abandoned bicycle

9  Shipwrecks in a sandbar, Bermuda Triangle

10  Floating forest, Sydney, Australia

11  Movie theater in Detroit, Michigan
With Detroit’s decline, many of its historic buildings have fallen into disuse. This movie theater is both a fascinating and sad example.

12  Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Vallejo, California
The Mare Island Naval Shipyard acted as a submarine port during both of the World Wars. In the 1990s,  The building was abandoned and flooding has since created an amazing mirror effect.

13  Victorian-style tree house, Florida, USA

14  Forgotten Bugattis

15  The Titanic wreck

The titanic took its first and last voyage in April, 1912. It was not until 73 years later that the decaying wreck of what was once The greatest ship in the world was discovered. The 1,500 souls lost with the vessel had been devoured by sea life, leaving behind a ghost ship.

16  Chemin de fer de Petite Ceinture, France
The “little belt railway” was a circular railway system built in 1852 to supply Paris’ fortifications. When the city outgrew its defenses in 1934, the railway system was also left to run wild.

17  Spreepark, Berlin, Germany
Spreepark, opened in 1969, was the only amusement park in East Berlin during Soviet rule.  When the Wall fell, bigger and better parks opened, leading to Spreeparks closure in 2001.

18  Library, Russia

19  Island Home, Finland

20  Chris McCandless’ magic bus, Stampede Trail, Alaska
Bus 142 was left behind by the workers who built the railway at Stampede Trail. Christopher McCandless, an American hitchhiker whose story was told through the movie “Into The Wild, lived and died in what he referred to as the “magic bus” during the summer of 1992.

21  Turquoise Canal, Venice, Italy
Just like any other city, areas of Venice are boarded up and abandoned.

22  Staircase to nowhere, Pismo Beach, California
Once giving access to the beach, the walkway that connected this staircase to the bluffs has long since Rotted away.

23  Nara Dreamland, Japan
Nara Dreamland was built in 1961 after Disneyland took the world by storm. The entrance to the park Was almost identical to Disneyland and included its own version of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle.  The park closed in 2006 because of low visitor numbers.

24  Abandoned mining track, Taiwan

25  Abandoned Jetty

26  Bare footprints in an abandoned nuclear reactor

27  An abandoned waterpark

28  Boathouse, Obersee Lake, Germany

29  Abandoned hallway

30  Methodist church, Gary, Indiana
Gary, Indiana, was founded in 1905 during the boom of US steel. During the 1950s, more than 200,000 people worked in the bustling city. As the manufacturing sector declined, nearly half of the city fell into disuse.

31  Church in the snow, Canada

32  Blue spiral staircase in a European castle

33  Soviet naval testing station in Makhachkala, Russia

34  Church steeple peeking out of a frozen lake, Reschen, Italy

Lake Reschen is an artifical reservoir which submerged several villages and a 14th century church.

35  Glenwood power station, New York

The Glenwood Power Station, built in 1906, has long been obsolete. After closing in 1968, the sight was used as a backdrop for creepy thrillers and zombie movies.

Thanks this week go to Will M, the team at Mission Fed, Larry H, and those that make our lives better through the power of music!

Pay it forward…

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“When I was 5 years old, my mother always
told me that happiness was the key to life.
When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted
to be when I grew up.
I wrote down ‘happy’.
They told me I didn’t understand the assignment,
and I told them they didn’t understand life.”

–John Lennon

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