Work and life balance is central to health, real wealth, and enjoyable relationships. Gratitude and appreciation are apparently little known secret ingredients to what everyone is really seeking: inner peace, meaning, and joy. Then we can “in joy” our efforts and monetary results and use money constructively and with greater purpose. Then “stuff” starts to lose its meaning, in general.

Happiness is very situational, yet joy is the ‘peace that passes understanding’. It is not a transient mental state; it is the essence of our being. We’ve just lost sight of this truth. So, why is there so much increase in disease, debt, and divorce or unsatisfying relationships, both at home and at work? For one thing, we have forgotten who we are. We have attached our worth and identity to “stuff” that many of us don’t really want.

In fact, I’d venture to say that most people don’t really know what they want or why they are so busy ‘doing’ things. It has become a national epidemic, this "doingitis.” It's a ‘dis-ease’ state. Then, we don’t even feel grateful or appreciate what we accomplish or have. There are steps and processes one can take to disentangle one’s self-worth and meaning from this chronic, distracted way of living. However, here I will offer one simple remedy: cultivate gratitude and appreciation.

This one thing, felt with the heart and not just an intellectual exercise, can 1) Increase your overall health and well-being; 2) Decrease the stress response in your body that can be the source of everything from headaches to cancer; 3) Develop a state of joy so that you can “in joy” your work – infuse joy into your work instead of trying to extract joy from it, which can paradoxically wear you out; 4) Raise your energy and productivity via more meaning, passion, and creativity; and 5) Balance your fearful, negative emotions, and likely greatly reduce them altogether.

I read something this morning that is very on target and is an innovative idea for some. “There’s such a thing as trying too hard. You’ve got to sing like you don’t need the money and love like you’ll never get hurt. You’ve got to dance like nobody’s watching. And it has to come from the heart if you want it to work.”

To work, I would say, it has to be sustainable, healthy, and truly joyful; you have to be able to enjoy your money. Hard work (you can be more productive with less stress and effort when you are in alignment, mind with heart), greed, lack of trust, and worrying about what others think are not going to obtain the results I’m referring to here. The magnetic energy of the heart is reported by the HeartMath Institute to be 5,000 times greater than that of thought (brain). Don’t tell me the heart is weak. People who say this are just stuck in their heads and don’t know what they don’t know. Most people do just the opposite in this song and then wonder what is wrong, or they blame life and others for their woes. Our results are an effect of the seeds we plant; it’s that simple.

Gratitude and appreciation are much more effective than just apples to keep the doctor away. Go ahead, try it.

Author's Bio: 

Valencia Ray, M.D. teaches business owners and corporate leaders how their amazing brain can actually hijack personal power -- not in the abstract, but in the context of integrating business and personal life. Dr. Ray, a board-certified eye surgeon and medical business owner for over 20 years before selling her practice, shares her own life changing process. By sharing her story, she helps others to expand their vision and learn that by living with purpose and confidence, it is possible to have a more integrated, healthier lifestyle – with less struggle, more inner peace and more abundance.

For more information and to contact her regarding dynamic, inspirational keynotes, trainings in collaborative leadership and team building, entrepreneurship and coaching programs, visit her website at