Burning Topics Reading Books

An Attitude of Gratitude

As we enter the busy, holiday season, we wanted to take a moment to pause and reflect on the importance of gratitude. A practice of gratitude can bring so much to our lives! Recent research suggests that rituals of thankfulness may even have lasting, positive health outcomes.

UC Davis psychologist, Robert Emmons has studied gratitude extensively, and remarks in a recent study, “Research has shown that gratitude enhances nearly all spheres of functioning. It can lower blood pressure, improve immune function, and facilitate more efficient sleep.” We know it is not a magic cure-all, but an attitude of gratitude has its merits, so how can we practice it more frequently?

Here are a few ideas to establish a practice of gratitude:

1.) Write a thank you note. When was the last time you wrote a handwritten card to a loved-one or acquaintance? Hand deliver it to a coworker or snail mail it to provide a joyful mailbox surprise.

2.) Journal daily. Make a goal to record one thing that you feel grateful for per day. Jot it down in a beautiful notebook or keep it easy and type it in a notes app on your mobile device. Set yourself up for success, it does not need to be complicated.

3.) Find a gratitude buddy! Choose a friend to text your thankfulness to and ask them to do the same with you. You do not necessarily have to share your gratitude for them. Although that will likely not go unappreciated!

4.) Create a gratitude jar. Set a goal to place a note of gratitude in your jar for however many days you want. Collect your notes for days, months or years! In the end, you will have a collection of your thankfulness.

It may take some time to build a habit of expressing your gratitude: on a note or a card or a text. Be patient with yourself. Change takes time, and gratitude will always be there.

If you would like to read up on practices of gratitude, Sedera board member Dr. Felicity Dale recommends Prison to Praise by Merlin Carothers, noting that it tells the simple story of one man learning to “give thanks in all circumstances.”

We also recommend neurologist and author Dr. Oliver Sack’s book Gratitude which features stories, research and Sack’s personal reflections on gratitude.

Want to practice expressing your thanks? Tell us what you are grateful for. We would love to know.

Good Habits Reading Books

Sedera’s 2019 Summer Reading List

We are looking forward to sunny days reading and relaxing by Barton Springs Pool and we hope you are making time for rest and recreation too. At Sedera, we celebrate taking time to invest in one’s spiritual, social, physical and mental health. That is why we created the Sedera 2019 Summer Reading List, a collection of our team’s favorite books to inspire healthy minds, hearts and lives.

This first section of book recommendations corresponds with our core values.

Health Champions: We promote the whole health of our team and members.

Health-Wealth for You: 11 Steps to Save Big & Live Health by Dr. Josh Luke – this book identifies eleven simple concepts that individuals and families can implement to improve health and save money on health care costs.

Genius Foods: Become Smarter, Happier, and More Productive While Protecting Your Brain for Life by Max Lugavere – this NYTimes bestseller discusses groundbreaking research on how lifestyle can affect brain health. It is an accessible and informative read.

Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker – described as, “compelling and utterly convincing” by the Sunday Times, this book describes how good sleep can be a massive benefit to our health and how to get the best sleep possible.

Present over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, Soulful Way of Living by Shauna Niequist – Shauna uses her own life as the basis for a collection of essays on leaving behind busy, mindless living to be more purposeful in mind, body and spirit.

How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease by Gene Stone MD and Michael Geger MD – in this book, nutritionists and doctors Stone and Geger discuss the top fifteen causes of premature death in the US and how to avoid them through diet and lifestyle.

Intentionally not Status Quo: Our service and product experience is distinctly refreshing and always excellent.

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover – this inspiring read tells the story of a young woman who was raised by a survivalist family who did not believe in formal education. Yet she was able to earn prestigious degrees from Harvard and Cambridge Universities.

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcom Gladwell – learn how successful and renowned individuals gain their claim to fame in this in depth look at how to become an outlier.

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D Vance – the author of this memoir is a true testament to hard work paying off and provides a compassionate perspective on his Appalachian roots.

The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life by David Brooks – Brooks examines how individuals stay joyous during the turmoils of life. He offers wisdom on how to pick a vocation, how to live out a philosophy, and how we can begin to integrate our commitments into one overriding purpose.

Rooted in Love: Love is central, so we strive to treat everyone as we’d like to be treated.

An Unexpected Turn: Inspired by a True Story by Ellen Carlisle – This is the story of a crude oil ship captain who is prevented by the WWII from returning to his family in Holland, and instead circles the Southern hemisphere delivering oil to Allied forces. He meets a special woman in South Africa, and the tale unfolds between her home and his home in Holland. It’s a compelling story with several questions of what’s right and wrong at a time when everyone was challenged. Most importantly, this novel was written by one of our very own Sedera Members! How wonderful is that?

Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion by Gregory Boyle – author Gregory Boyle describes his experiences founding and running Homeboy Industries, a gang-intervention, rehabilitation, and reentry program in Los Angeles. This story reminds us how to maintain a loving heart, even in times of failure.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho – this slim, yet beloved book is a must-read for everyone. It is a simple story of self-discovery that dives into the complex concepts of following dreams and listening to one’s own heart.

Gilead: A Novel by Marilyn Robinson – this artfully crafted piece of fiction is the story of a retired minister reflecting on his past. It raises questions about how people reconcile faith in a challenging world and most importantly, stay rooted in love.

Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World by Bob Goff – this dynamic memoir follows Goff through his adventures touring the world, making friends in Uganda and talking his way into law school, all along the way making lasting impacts in so many lives with his compassionate and loving demeanor.

Solution Shapers: We lift ceilings, pave runways, and forge a better new way.

The Life of Pi by Yann Martel – no need to plan summer travels after reading this book. The Life of Pi is truly transportive in both space and emotion. Gear up for an adventure that will rock your boat. This is an incredible story of finding solutions to impossible problems.

The Power of Positive Thinking: 10 Traits for Maximum Results by Norman Peele – sometimes the best solution to a problem is a change of perspective. This straight-forward, no-nonsense guidebook to success is written with the sole objective of helping the reader achieve a happy, satisfying, and worthwhile life.

Meaningful Work: A Quest to do Great Business, Find Your Calling and Feed You Soul by Shawn and Lawren Askinosie – this book will leave your mouth watering and your spirit inspired. Learn how a high-powered lawyer decided to embrace a career change to follow his passion of chocolate making.

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg – NYTimes investigative reporter, Charles Duhigg explains the latest research on behavioral science and how we can start and maintain habits that create huge, impactful results.

Community Builders: Every day we create authentic connection with our members and one another

Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives our Success by Adam Grant – this book deeply resonates with our values at Sedera. The author takes a close look at the forces that cause some people to rise to the top while others sink to the bottom. We’ll hint as to why: it has a lot to do with lending a helping hand in times of need.

Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts by Brené Brown – a beautiful read that clarifies the roll of leadership inside and outside the office. Brown, in her signature way, distills research and anecdote into a highly readable book that will empower everyone to be better community members.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni – reveals why leaders often struggle. He outlines a powerful model and actionable steps that can be used to overcome these common hurdles and build a cohesive, effective team.

Everybody, Always: Becoming Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People by Bob Goff – Goff takes readers on a journey into the secret of living without fear, constraint, or worry. The path toward the liberated existence we all long for is found in a truth as simple to say as it is hard to do: love people, even the difficult ones, without distinction and without limits.

Business Books: most of the books we’ve already listed will enrich your professional life, but here are a few more that our office loves.

Noteworthy Novels: if you need a full escape to a new reality.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Origin by Dan Brown

The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown

Dune by Frank Hebert

Animal Farm by George Orwell

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

The Lord of the Rings Series by JRR Tolkien

Honorable Nonfiction Mentions: here are a few more reads that our team recommends.

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1963 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown

The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by Ian Morgan Crone and Suzanne Stabile

The Alhambra by Robert Irwin

The Culture of Honor by Danny Silk

Becoming Beyonce: The Untold Story by J Randy Taraborrelli