Can being thankful make us happier?

This time of year is filled to-do lists, stress, family plans, work schedules, and fast-approaching deadlines. Is there a way we can feel happier and more fulfilled? Good news! Studies tell us there's a secret path to happiness: gratitude.

Gratitude expert Dr. Robert Emmons, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, has proof that actively being thankful for what we have can improve our mental health. In a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Dr. Emmons and his colleague Dr. Michael McCullough from the University of Miami examined the effects of writing gratitude diaries on almost 200 college undergraduates. Students were divided into three groups. Group 1 was instructed to write weekly diaries about things they were thankful for. Group 2 wrote about daily annoyances, and Group 3 wrote about neutral events. After 10 weeks, the students who focused on their gratitude felt an overall higher satisfaction with their lives than the other students.

Various other studies based on similar ideas have shown the same results: when we focus on the reasons we have to be happy, we actually feel happier. When we remember and relive moments when we felt joy, we receive similar or same effects as when we first lived in that moment. The more happiness we recall and consume, the more we realize that a majority of our life is focused on this positive emotion. Who doesn't want to feel happier?!

We challenge you to add something new to your to-do list. Spend five minutes at the beginning of your day writing down three things you are thankful for. If you are really ambitious, add why you are thankful. These can be people, experiences, jobs, opportunities, memories, material things, or anything else you are grateful for. After a few weeks of writing down the good things in your life, let us know how you feel! Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or just email us. We look forward to hearing how this gratitude practice impacts your life. 

How to select the best neighborhoods to farm

Have you been farming an area for months, or even years, without the results you were hoping for? We can help! Improving your farming results may be as simple as making a few adjustments in your strategy. For starters, let's discuss some questions to see if you've selected the best neighborhoods to farm.

Is your farm area the optimal size?

Many real estate experts suggest a farm of 400-600 homes as the optimal starter size. Target neighborhoods or a partial zip code to set the boundaries. Define your marketing niche by choosing homes that appeal to the same demographics or that fall within a certain price range. Ideally, your farm should be near your home or in a community you are familiar with. As you continue to grow your business, you can always expand your boundaries or start additional farms in other neighborhoods.

What is the turnover rate in the neighborhoods?

As you define your geographic boundaries, it's wise to begin collecting data. Crunch the numbers to find the turnover rate in these neighborhoods. Divide the total number of properties sold during the past year by the total number of homes in the farm.

For example: 35 homes sold / 500 homes = .07 or 7% turnover rate.

For best results, your farm should have a turnover rate of 7 percent or more. Other information to consider is the average selling price of the homes as well as the average number of days on the market. Establish yourself in neighborhoods where the commissions and opportunities are worth the price of your time and marketing costs.

Are you appealing to the right demographics?

The best farming areas are often close to your home. The benefits here are two-fold. Logistically, you will spend less time commuting back and forth for showings, open houses and meetings. Additionally, being part of the community automatically increases your trustworthiness. You know the neighborhood, you know the people, and they know you're invested in the community's future.

If you are farming an area that is farther away from your home, it's still possible to find a niche that shows your knowledge and passion for the area. For instance, if the neighborhood consists mostly of older homes, and you can recommend top-notch remodelers, you've found your niche. If you're well acquainted with the school district and can vouch for its excellence, you've created another niche in an area that is popular among young families.

When your clients and prospects can identify with you, trust you and feel like they truly know you is when they'll remember you and refer you to their friends and family.

Want to chat in more depth about your personal marketing strategy? We'd love to help you choose the marketing materials that will appeal to the prospects in your farm. Call us at 800.458.8245 to talk with a living, breathing person. Or visit to learn more.