What can Oprah Winfrey teach you about life that she hasn't already conveyed in the past 25 years on television? That's the question just waiting to be answered by Oprah's Lifeclass: The Tour, a six-hour motivational seminar that landed in Toronto today (it had stops in St. Louis and New York earlier this year).
The Oprah Lifeclass show, airing on Winfrey's OWN network, picked up where her daytime talk show left off, with an emphasis on spiritual fulfilment and positive thinking. For the Toronto stop on the tour, the largest one held at approximately 8,400 fans for each of the two sessions, Winfrey invited "coaches" Iyanla Vanzant, Tony Robbins, Bishop T.D. Jakes and Deepak Chopra to give their own lessons on the art of gratitude.
For Oprah devotees, the sessions from each of the coaches spoke to topics in which they were already well-versed: love, spirituality, forgiveness, and above all, thankfulness. But for those less familiar with what Winfrey has to offer, is there something to be learned?
We take a look at their biggest lessons and attempt to apply them to our own lives:
- Write Things Down
- Communication Isn't Just Talking
- Don't Be Afraid To Be A Fan
- Watch Your Language
- Start Retelling The Story
- See Everything As A Gift
- Find The Opportunity In Sadness
- Open Your Mind For Physical Health
- Stop Believing In Expectations
- Get Flooded Emotionally
- Get A Mantra
- Wear Flats -- And Put Some Space Between You And The Audience
Write Things Down
"I started a journal 16 years ago and write down the things I'm thankful for," Oprah told the crowd. In the past day, she continued, that included landing safety in Toronto, the beautiful hotel room she's staying in, and the fact that the fridge was stocked with her favourite things (peanut butter, almond butter and almond milk). "When you allow yourself to feel gratitude in the present moment, in the now, the spiritual dimension of your life begins to change and you just grow with it."
Practical application: Carrying around a notebook doesn't sound too difficult, but the challenge is more in the gratitude 'realizations.' Turning this into an end-of-day practice, however, could create a positive space to look back on at the end of the week.
Communication Isn't Just Talking
In response to a woman whose mother has Parkinson's, and in reference to his own mother who had Alzheimer's, Bishop Jakes advised, "Don't feel like you're not communicating because she doesn't understand what you say -- you can communite by love and by touch." Deepak Chopra added his own take on the notion, the basis of his book "Quantum Healing": "When you touch, you stimulate the neuropeptides [like serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin] that help all of those issues."
Practical applications: Don't be afraid to reach out and touch someone you love -- or even someone you like. Feeling someone else's hands on us in a hug, massage or just a quick squeeze has been proven time and again to be a genuine healing power.
Don't Be Afraid To Be A Fan
It wasn't so much what he said, but how he said it -- every time Tony Robbins spoke about Oprah while on stage, he just couldn't stop gushing. Despite all of his own accomplishments (and likely, because of them), he was more than willing to put her up on a pedestal.
Practical applications: Building someone up doesn't mean you're putting yourself down. Try complimenting and appreciating someone you admire, even if they're in direct competition to you -- it'll likely make you feel good.
Watch Your Language
For author and inspirational speaker Iyanla Vanzant, so much of how we respond to the world comes from the language we use to describe it. "Be mindful of how we language ourselves into disheartening, dysfunctional places," she told the audience. Her "PAIN" principle (pay attention inward now) tells people to be grateful for every stop along the way, and pay attention to how we respond to them.
Practical application: On an everyday basis, this seems like a good idea -- identifying how we label ourselves and changing that mindset if it's toward a negative viewpoint.
SEE: Here's how the audience reacted to Oprah and friends' appearance on the tour. Were you there? Let us know at @HuffPostCaLiv. More tips below:
Start Retelling The Story
When speaking with a woman in the audience who admitted she was angry after her husband passed away from cancer, Vanzant noted, "Many of us are angry with God because God didn't do things the way we wanted God to do them. You made up a story about what God was supposed to do, and then you held God hostage to that." She advised the woman to look at her situation as though God sent her husband to her in the first place to show the depth of love of which she was capable.
Practical applications: This sounds almost impossible to achieve unless you're, well, an inspirational speaker. The nearest we could hope to get to on our own is recognizing the good that's come out of any bad situation and allowing time to do its work.
See Everything As A Gift
For Bishop T. D. Jakes, finding appreciation means responding everything we've been given as a gift, "every breath you take, every day you get out of the bed, everything is a gift ... take your attitude to a place of appreciation, and where there is appreciation, there is duplication."
Practical application: Who can deny the challenging aspect of this? It's hard to appreciate even the most positive things, let alone the ones we take for granted. But try to find one thing each day that is worthy of a "thank you," and you're on your way.
Find The Opportunity In Sadness
Along the same lines (and to the same woman), Bishop Jakes said, "There are women who have lived and died who have never been loved the way you've been loved, husbands and wives who have survived who never had that love. I believe God loves us through people, and Alton's love was God's love for you. When you stop crying about how [Alton] used to give it to you, you will discover how [God's] going to give it to you."
Practical applications: For those less inclined to believe directly in God, there's no question this is tough to wrap your head around. But the greater lesson still holds true: appreciate what you've been given and learn from it for your next great challenge.
Open Your Mind For Physical Health
According to Deepak Chopra, "When you're in resentment, jealousy, anger, shame, when your mind is agitated, your body is fatigued. When you open your mind, you have a quiet, joyful energy in your body."
Practical applications: It's a simple enough premise, and one that anyone who has felt good after a yoga class can attest to. But in everyday life, it can mean letting go of bitterness towards co-workers or family members who have wronged you -- and welcoming better health because of it.
Stop Believing In Expectations
According to Bishop Jakes, "We've all been marketed this expectation of how long things are supposed to last or how they're supposed to go. The reality is, what you have is this moment with the people you love, with the air you breathe, with the space you're in. You must live today, and maximize the people in your life." And as Tony Robbins put it, "Expectation that isn't met is where the pain comes from -- make your expectation appreciation, and it changes everything."
Practical application: Losing all expectations sounds both amazing and terrifying -- which is likely why we hold on to them so fast. Baby steps could be anticipating every possible outcome, instead of just one, and moving from there into appreciating whatever it is we are given.
Get Flooded Emotionally
One of the Tour's greatest moments was Tony Robbins' "emotional flood" -- a four-minute process where he had audience members 'flood' their brains with positive memories instead of the usual negative ones. He started with something they were grateful for, then moved on to something they were proud of, something that was sexy or sensual, something magical and ended with something they were excited about. Robbins noted that most people would encounter things they hadn't thought about in years.
Practical applications: It sounds New Age and somewhat out there, but darn if it didn't work -- audience members were crying with happiness and gratitude at the end of it. Try this 'layering' exercise using those five steps (thankfulness, pride, sexy, magic, excitement) with your eyes closed and just see if you don't feel good afterwards.
Get A Mantra
In response to one woman's query about a mantra that she can apply directly to her life right away, Deepak Chopra responded, "There's one based on the idea that the only true belief you need to have is your infinite potential: 'I am the universe'."
Practical applications: If you've never used a mantra before, telling yourself you're the universe could be a tad confusing, but the germ of the idea -- that we're all connected to everything -- can help give perspective when everything feels overwhelming.
Wear Flats -- And Present In A Very Large Room
Less geared toward gratitude and far more toward everyday solutions, Oprah demonstrated her practical side by showing off her high heels -- then promptly putting them away for the day for her "comfy shoes." In other charming moves, she shouted to the very back of the conference room, "I love those of you who are way back there -- don't I look thin?"
Practical applications: Get a crowd of 8,000 to come watch you and admire you from afar -- and always bring a pair of flats.
SEE: Here's how the audience reacted to Oprah and friends' appearance on the tour. Were you there? Let us know at @HuffPostCaLiv: