Don’t Worry – Be Happy

Did you start humming the song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”?  I do every time I see or hear this line.  Have you ever wanted some of the “pink kool-aid” people who are alway happy take?  You must know someone who always seems to be happy, I have one or two people I know like that.

When I am not having a MS flare up (of the depression kind), I am pretty much a happy go lucky kind of gal.  Yes, I have times of sadness, anger, frustrate – don’t we all? I mean if we didn’t have a variety of emotions we would be “like a wet noodle” or a “block of stone”.

I will be the first to admit, on days when depression hits I enter a black hole where there sees to be no way out.  It can last for an hour, a day, a week and sadly there are times when it can last for longer.  You know those times when even the simplest word will make you cry.  Key the song “Cry Me a River”. LOL.  Thank you to “Modern Day Girl” for inspiring this post.

1. They don’t dwell on the past.

I know I do especially on a bad day.  The shoulda, coulda, woulda kick in and the path into the black hole gets deeper.  What happens when you start with the stinkin’ thinkin’? Things get worse instead of better, right?

So how do you stop yourself from dwelling on the past? Remember “It takes 21 days to make or break a habit”.  So you need to change your mindset.  Your mind is a powerful thing and you can control how you think, and it’s not hard either.  When you focus on the here and now, it becomes easier to get rid of the old bad habits.

FIRST, recognize you’re dwelling on past situations. I know, easier said then done.  When you spend time being more aware of your thoughts, it is easier to change your mindset. Like a new habit, once you start it becomes easier over time.  When you’re aware you are dwelling on thoughts of the past, you can work on ignoring them, or replacing them with focus on the here and now.

2. They focus on the here and now

When you get rid of the thoughts from your past, you can dwell more on the here and now.  I have been told meditation helps and will teach you how to focus on your breathing and what is around you.  I haven’t mastered this yet but I haven’t given up.    Here are some ways meditation and yoga (still need to try this) can help:

  • When you’re focusing on the past, you’re distracted.
  • We miss moments in our lives which may have been the happiest.
  • When we let our thoughts control us , we feel unbalanced
  • When we’re aware of our surroundings, we feel more empathetic towards others, have high self-esteem, and can reduce impulsivity (reducing mental health issues – Psychologytoday.com)

So, if meditation and yoga aren’t for you, find a way to focus on the here and now.  Journal your thoughts.  Take a few minutes to “zone” out.  I like to sit outside and watch the clouds float by, imagining it is all of my past floating away.  I guess my own form of meditation.

3. They recharge

Recharging is something we all need to do.  For happy people, it is part of the every day life.  Not sure what this means? Well, it means different things to different people. Think about what you like to do in your spare time? I know, what spare time, right?  I’ve been there.  The truth is having a chronic disease has helped to me identify when I need to recharge.  It is usually a SMACK but I am learning to stop and rest.  Maybe one of these will work for you:

  • A good book and a cup of coffee
  • A nap
  • Exercise of some kind
  • Drawing
  • Writing/scribbling
  • Painting
  • Spending time in a spa
  • Eating chocolate in front of the TV
  • Pretty much anything that makes you happy

The truth is, we live our lives in overdrive, always rushing to the next thing.  Our bodies need time to relax and recharge. How happy are you when your schedule is jammed full with no time for fun?  Probably not very, right?

If you feel like you don’t have time for yourself, make time. I know it’s hard, believe me I get it.  I was a single mom working full-time but you need to schedule time.  Maybe when the kids are napping, grab the book you’ve been meaning to read. Or on your lunch break at work – read your favourite magazine (whether online or paper).

Happy people value their time and know cultivating happiness is important.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

How’s Your Joy Quotient?

Sunday a day to relax, reflect and recharge.  This morning I will be enjoying Praise and Worship at National Conference.  It is the last day and then we will be headed home.  I amazing few days full of blessings where I got to fill my cup.  How appropriate today’s message is on “joy”.  Unfortunately, I found this and am not sure who to give thanks to but it was not written by me.

One of the overriding evidences someone has a genuine relationship with our living Savior is their consistent attitude of joy and outlook on life. A follower of Jesus should not be a person who always looks at life as if the glass is half empty. Instead, we should be the most positive people on earth. We should see opportunity in the midst of challenges.
The light resides in you should be like the beam of a lighthouse to a ship seeking direction. Our lives should have the fragrance of Christ. People should be attracted to our lives just as the bee is attracted to the nectar in the colorful flower.

The apostle Paul understood this when he said, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life” (2 Cor 2:14-16).

I must admit I’ve been with some believers whose attitude toward life is more like a porcupine. It’s painful to get too close to them because of their negative and poisonous view of life that criticizes the world around them.

No matter what circumstance you may find yourself in, the joy of the Lord must be your strength. Paul learned this truth even in the midst of his adversities. “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength (Phil 4:12-13).

How would others describe your joy quotient? On a scale of 1 to 10, where would they rank you? Today, make a commitment to greet every circumstance knowing the joy of the Lord is your strength.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Things Successful Women Do Differently 

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I have had an “AHA” moment I wanted to share with you.  I don’t know about you but FEAR and DOUBT tend to hit me this time of the month.  No, it isn’t “my time” of the month.  As the end of the month draw nears, some of us in direct sales tend to worry.  Maybe our numbers aren’t where we want them to be.  We begin to focus on all of the “wrong things” instead of seeking out the positives.  Let’s see a show of hands for those in direct sales who feel the same way…ea-blog-712x394-success

Do you know why two women, similar in background and talent, yet one excels while the other seems to do just alright? Or have you wondered what the difference was between average results and spectacular ones for these same women?

On the surface, it doesn’t make sense, right?  It is only when we dig a little deeper – and listen to the differences in how they speak and think – you’ll find the clues to the difference.

Every year, Thirty One offers a Leadership Incentive Trip.  Every year, I TALK about earning it.  I say I am working towards the goal yet fear and doubt always creep in.  I was working my business like a hobby, not real sure it could or would be a success.  As a result, the results I got were average.  This year, I set the same goal.  Almost halfway through and I was having doubts.  Then I got a “SMACK” on the head from God.  I looked at my goal sheet and started to figure out what I needed to earn the trip and WHAM… it from doubtful to doable.  Why?  Because I thought differently.

I read an article and here are the three big differences:

1. Successful woman explain their successes and failures in a distinct and empowering way.

They attribute their successes to personal traits and see them as repeatable. They attribute failure to changeable factors and see them as isolated incidents.

This quote was an eye opener for me.  I need to look at today’s failures as lessons on the road to future successes instead of personal flaws. An optimistic person predicts success, and explains successes by attributing it to their own efforts.  They believe it will spill over into more success in other areas of their life.  A pessimistic person tends to explain success as luck, seeing it as an isolated incident which may not happen again.  Which kind of person are you?

2. Successful women don’t underestimate themselves.

Where would you rate your worth right now, on a scale of 1 – 10?  With 10 being the highest.  On any given day, I would rate myself as a 5 or below.  Research shows most women underestimate themselves and their worth.  I am sure I am not alone.  Chances are we believe we aren’t ready for opportunities which we are probably qualified for.  When was the last time you negotiated for your raise or spoke up with your own great idea or opinion?

Successful women recognize their potential is greater than they know.  As a result,  they are willing to risk failure to go for it.  We need to adopt a “growth mindset,” where your current success is just a starting point.  We stay stuck because of a “fixed mindset” where we believe our talent and intelligence are set.  Which one do you have?  We need to adopt a growth mindset so our current talent and intelligence can expand.  Don’t be afraid of opportunities BUT allow yourself to learn and grow into potential the opportunity offers.

3. Successful women consider happiness a success strategy.

This one is HUGE.  Successful women don’t pursue success to become happy, they realize happiness causes success. They pursue what brings them joy, knowing the rewards will follow. Consistency and patience are part of this – definitely not a strong point for me BUT I am working on changing…. what about you?

Research shows happier people are more likely to get promotions and raises, take action towards their goals, have stronger relationships, fight illnesses better and even live longer. Start with happiness and success will follow.

If you are underestimating yourself – STOP!  You are capable of far more than you know.dream big

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Money Lessons

“If you want to feel rich, just count the things you have that money can’t buy.” ~Proverb

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The back to school rush is on!  It has been a few years since I had to get Belinda back to school but I still remember the struggles.  I was a single mom who struggled to make ends meet.

Are your kids going back to school?  Have you just lost your job?  Have you left a job to start your own business?  Or are you unemployed and receiving assistance.

Think about YOUR bad money situation.  The time when you had to carefully watch your spending.  You weren’t able to afford simple luxuries like McDonald’s or a Starbucks coffee.   You worried about how to make ends meet.  Maybe you have a dream that you thought was impossible.  The kind that scares you to the core, makes your palms sweat, and your heart beat faster? Yep, that’s the one.8496580A0000

I have been there, done that and still sometimes seem to live paycheck to paycheck.  The reality is that we need to look at those times as blessings with LOTS of valuable lessons in them.  I know it is hard when you are struggling and you can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel BUT believe me there is a light.  You just need to focus on the end and enjoy the ride in between EVEN when it is bumpy.

Here are some lessons that I learned along the way:

1. You connect with people.

When we lack money, we become more dependent on others.  It can be a painful experience, but it can actually help you strengthen your connections. Allowing others to be there in moments of difficulty isn’t always easy (hello, pride).  When you share your vulnerability with others, you give them permission to do the same and you make deeper connections.  Build stronger relationships.

2. You realize your fears were overblown.

Let’s test your fears.  List all of the worst things that could happen if you don’t have enough money (or whatever your fear is).  Write them all down in detail.  It may look like this:

FEAR told me that I wouldn’t be able to pay the rent, so I’d end up on the street. I’d lose all my friends, I couldn’t afford to go out, so I’m at risk of starvation and potential death.

Has any of that happened?  Is it really going to happen?  Our minds imagine everything that can go wrong, and builds up our negative expectations.  The reality is rarely as bad as we imagine it will be.  Most of the scenarios exist in one place only: our imagination.

3. You tap into your inner strength.

When things around you are uncertain and unstable and life isn’t easy, you simply have to tap into your inner strength.  The only thing that you can control is YOU!  It is inside YOU that you can draw true and lasting strength.

4. You become more grateful.

When was the last time you were grateful for the little things – the ability to go for a walk, watching the sunrise/sunset, or playing in the park with the kids.  Maybe you can’t afford material things or things that others take for granted, BUT you are blessed.

Happiness isn’t derived from what we can buy, but from the gratitude and appreciation we gain from our own experiences.  Each day is a gift.  Good or bad, each day is a blessing.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Feel Good Friday!

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Today is a day filled with mixed emotions….Today would have been my Aunt Elsie’s 68th birthday.  She was my mom’s baby sister.  She was Belinda’s “buddy“.  She became a Weston angel in 1999.  My past blogs on this day have focused on family and been all about Elsie’s cancer journey. Today I decided to change it up and talk about a path to happiness.  Yes, I miss Elsie – everyday.  I realized that she would not want me dwelling on the past – she would want me to be happy, enjoying the moment while remembering the good times and not the struggle.

Elsie

With the help of some tips from Valerie Burton, we are going to talk about journaling to reflect and shift your attitude in a positive direction.

In her book, Successful Women Think Differently, Valerie talks about the research of Dr. Laura King, a professor at University of Missouri, who discovered that writing about “your best possible future self” actually has health benefits such as boosting your immune system.  Apparently, writing about your life has a very positive impact on your emotions. Then when you combine that with some powerful questions, you will be prompted towards happiness triggers and you’ll feel a shift in your emotions in a matter of minutes.

Here are three questions to do just that:

1. What are you looking forward to tomorrow? (Or tonight/this week/this season?)

No matter what you are looking forward to – dinner with friends, a favorite show or vacation – thinking about it makes you smile.  Anticipation is a happiness trigger. So, the inner gremlins are squashed.  The positive emotions create positive energy.

2. What was your favorite moment of the day and why was it meaningful to you?

It is all about gratitude. It may not be easy but you need to sift through the moments of your day and find the shiny, golden nugget.  No matter how small it may be, find that golden nugget.  Then to deepen the positive emotion created, then reflect upon why you are grateful for it.

3. What achievement are you most proud of (in your relationship/career/finances/health) and why?

Alright, I know the eyes are rolling! Many of you have the tendency to gloss over your efforts or beat yourself up when things aren’t perfect, right? When was the last time you reflected on something you are proud of?  Overachievers and people with high standards tend to take themselves for granted and with the feeling that you’ve never done enough, despite your best efforts, your progress isn’t worthy of celebration yet. BOOO!!!  You push through obstacles and challenges every day and continue moving forward. That is an achievement. Pick something from your life and journal about what you are most proud of and why you’re so proud. What did it take for you to get there, what did you have to push through, and what does it tell you about your ability to handle the opportunities and challenges that lie before you now?

My challenge is to journal yourself to a happier place. I will be journal into a happy place knowing that Elsie is with me.  I have so many memories but her strength stands out the most.  Her fight, her commitment to our family and her ability to dream big are what help me to keep going when my faith starts to waiver. I DREAM BIG and hold fast for I know that in God’s time, my Weston angels will help me to reach my dreams and my goals. I step out of my comfort zone and I know that she is right behind me cheering me on.

Happy Birthday, Elsie. I miss you and I know that even though you don’t like parties – there is one going on in heaven today just for you.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!