Before you start thinking that I have gone from writing Viewpoint pieces to reviewing movies, in this case Spielberg’s second instalment to the Transformers series entitled “Revenge of the fallen”, I have not! Instead, I’d like to share with you two tips that will contribute to positively transforming our lives.

Bill Phillips in his newest best-seller entitled Transformation relates a story about a man named Azim whose 20-year old son was tragically murdered by a teenage gang member. In what can only be considered one of the most courageous acts of compassion, Azim did something that is deemed unfathomable by the majority of us – he forgave his son’s murderer. I thank God that most of us will not experience an event as extreme as such but if you care to dig deeper into the recesses of your heart, you will probably find that there are issues bottled up inside us, causing us undue stress. This could take the form of a grudge or pent-up bitterness that is harming you more than the person who had caused it.

U.S. author and movie actress Carrie Fisher was quoted to have so appropriately said, “Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” Bill, in his book, points out a study which appeared in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. This piece of research concluded that those who repressed anger and held resentments were found to be twice as likely to die of a heart attack compared to people who were able to process and let go of negative things.  In Bill’s words, “…granting someone true forgiveness is not based on any conditions; the forgiven don’t have to deserve it or earn it. It’s an act of grace and mercy on your part.”

So Transformer Tip 1: Forgive!

Some years ago, Bill Phillips had the opportunity of meeting the late American fitness icon Jack Lalanne at an interview which both of them had with USA Today. The reporter was said to have asked Jack, “What should people who want to live a healthy life do first thing in the morning?” Expecting an exercise or nutrition tip, he was surprised when Mr Lalanne answered, “A healthy person always starts the day by counting his blessings.”

Even before I encountered this story, it has already been a practice of mine every morning to lie awake on my bed for an extra 4 to 5 minutes thanking God for the blessings he continues to graciously pour onto my life! I believe that this daily “feel good” ritual sets a positive foundational template to how the day in front of you will unfold. Dr Robert Emmons, PhD from the University of California, who was involved in a large research project on gratitude wrote, “A daily gratitude intervention produced higher levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness, and energy.” I am a firm believer that thankfulness truly begets health and happiness!

So Transformer Tip 2: Count your blessings!

Here’s wishing you a great “transformational” week!