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!

When Worry Weakens Your Soul

Thank you Sharon Jaynes for today’s message:

My husband, Steve, and I sat anxiously in our seats. I wondered if I was going to be able to endure the ride, especially knowing my propensity for motion sickness. But we began nonetheless.

The guide strapped all passengers into the tiny boats and gave last minute instructions. Of course there were life preservers, but what good would they do in the fierce rapids that threatened to suck its prey below the surface?

The crew boarded and began the journey down the mysterious Amazon. The calm meandering waters quickly gave way to fierce torrents, rushing rapids, and rocky crags protruding from the foaming waters. Alternating between plunging into the water and flying into the air, the boat made its way through the first set of rapids. My body relaxed, thankful that was over. Several times along the journey calm gave way to chaos as passengers maneuvered to keep the boats afloat. Often, I closed my eyes and waited for the turbulence to pass.

When we finally reached the end of our journey, I picked up my popcorn and walked out of the theater.

No, I wasn’t really on the Amazon River strapped in a tiny boat. I was comfortably sitting in a cushioned chair in the IMAX Theater watching a documentary about the Amazon River. In the five-story domed screen covering 6532 square feet of projection surface, large images put you in the center of the action, and the surround sound gave the illusion that you were indeed wherever the screen took you. It wasn’t real.

Yes, I did get a bit queasy from the larger-than-life movement down the river, but I was never in real danger. Even though the producers and engineer tried their best to create a realistic experience, I knew it wasn’t true. It was a movie. I would walk out unscathed.

That is the peace of walking, or in this case sitting, in the truth. Every day the enemy seeks to trip us up by stirring up worry about the future. It’s not real. It’s imaginings. Something that most likely will never happen.

Worrying is like sitting in the IMAX Theater watching a documentary about the Amazon River, but thinking you’re really in the boat. You’re not. It is your imagination running wild.

So what do you do?

Stop looking at the screen…the imaginings in your mind.

Leave the theater…the cinema where the worriers in you heart loop round and round.

Trust in God…the only One who knows what the future holds. He’s got this.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

How to Find Peace Under Pressure

Today’s blog is from LEAH DIPASCAL and first appeared in Proverbs 31 Ministries.

proverbs 31 w: flower

“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” Isaiah 26:3 

Frantically pushing my grocery cart through the parking lot, I glanced back and forth, trying to remember where I had parked the car.

The sun was blazing hot and as a bead of sweat dripped down my back, I couldn’t help but think of my hungry kids, waiting at home to consume the food I’d just bought.

It was way past lunchtime and knowing my family and some visiting relatives were waiting at home created anxiety in my heart. But I figured I would make things right by serving up a delicious pizza, freshly baked in the deli department.

As I continued to hunt for my car, the swirling aroma of mozzarella cheese, sweet basil, grilled garlic and fresh tomatoes was calling my name. I was tempted to snatch a slice, but decided to wait until I got home.

Besides, I could almost hear the cheers of approval as I imagined the moment I would place this scrumptious meal before my clan. Sure, it wasn’t homemade, but at this point anything edible would have been welcomed with open arms.

However, my thoughts came to an abrupt halt when my cart bobbled and suddenly stopped.

I glanced down, and there it was. My deliciously fresh stone-baked pizza — on the ground with a tire mark across the top of the box. Sure enough, I had rolled over it with my grocery cart.

You’ve got to be kidding! Honestly, who does that?

In my haste, I hadn’t noticed that the cashier placed my pizza carton on the lower rack of my cart due to the overflowing groceries.

With no time to have another one made, I rushed home with a car full of groceries, a smashed pizza and a very heavy heart.

I tried to fake a calm smile when I got home, but the house erupted in laughter when everyone saw my fumbled fiasco. As my younger son tried to scrape off the gooey cheese from the broken pizza lid, everyone else opted for sandwiches.

In situations like this, I need to be reminded of today’s key verse: “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!”

The whole pizza mess could have easily been avoided if I weren’t in such a rush and worried about my peeps back home. Sure, it’s important to take care of family, but when meeting their needs creates anxiety and stress, it’s an indication that something is out of balance.

Oftentimes, it’s not what my family asks of me — it’s what I demand of myself: I want everything to be perfect. I want to meet all my family’s needs. I want to please everyone.

But that’s not possible, and God doesn’t require it of me. Instead, based on Isaiah 26:3, He promises to keep me in perfect peace, despite any situation, if I willingly commit to doing these two things:

1. Trust God, instead of trying to master things on my own.

2. Keep my thoughts fixed on God, instead of worrying about what everyone else thinks.

Are you feeling rushed or anxious today? Would you like a slice of peace to calm your nerves and settle down the stress you’re experiencing? Jesus wants to offer you a holy deposit of His perfect peace that will last a lifetime — and not just satisfy you for a few hours.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Toss Fear Aside

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV)

Have you every thought “I’m tired of worrying yet you can’t seem to stop”?  Maybe the worry is whether or not you have enough money to pay the bills.  Maybe the worry about your aging parents.  Maybe the worry is about your children and the decisions they will make.  I am tired of worrying about (fill in the blank).

Worry is due to FEAR!  I feel like I have had fear since my early teens.  Fear of rejection. Fear of failing.  Fear of success.  Fear of not being good enough.  Fear of being alone.  I stuffed the feelings and moved forward in my career.  Fear surfaced when I made mistakes or when I was about to make a change personally or professionally.  Somewhere along the way, I started to believe that fear was just a fact of life and I could do nothing to change it.  I started to believe that I was alone with my fears.

How wrong I was!

When I started truly believing that God had a plan for me and he was in control, the worry subsided.  Notice I didn’t say go away because those evil gremlins try to rear their heads when I least expect it.  We can decide though what we want to with with our fears.  Here are some truths:

 

Truth #1: Other people do worry; they just don’t talk about it or let it consume their lives

Truth #2: Worry and fear must be a normal because God tells us not to, over 100 times in the Bible.

Truth #3: God doesn’t just tell us not to worry or fear, He tells us what to do when we do!

 

 

ball toss

Picture your worry as a ball.  What do you want to do with the ball?  Do you want to toss it or do you want to hold on to it? No, we aren’t going to have a game of catch because we truly want to rid ourselves of the fear that is holding us back.

Let’s toss the worry (ball) to God and let him handle it.  As we do that, let’s ask for peace – not a solution and thank him for taking care of things in the past.  How does that feel?  Do you feel relief?  Try that with each worry that you have today and see what happens.

Each time that we do this, we strengthen our faith and our ability to decide what to do when hard times come.  It allows us to see that we can either control the fear or let the fear control us.  Which way would you prefer to live?

Share your thoughts with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Stop Worrying

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)

By definition “Worry”  means to give way to anxiety or unease; allow one’s mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles.  It is a state of anxiety and uncertainty over actual or potential problems.

worry-chart

Most days, I don’t think I worry or at least not to the point of anxiety.  I do tend to worry about the usual things – finances, the health of family, and business. And despite my best efforts and my hard fast “I am NOT political”, I am concerned about the state of the country and the world.  It is definitely the Social Worker in me.

I am a doer and I definitely do not have patience.  When life starts to unravel and things seem out of control, I do everything I can to fix them.  When things can’t be fixed (by me), I worry.  I say that I put things in God’s hands but the reality is, when things don’t happen in MY time frame, I am quick to retrieve them and begin the process again of trying to fix them.

I never really thought of prayer as an action step until recently and I began my God bag.  When I read these verses, I have a clear picture of what action I should take to FIX things.  Although I still have no control over certain situations, I am bringing it before the Almighty One who did. And that was the very best “doing.”  I leave things in my God bag until prayers are answered.  I am beginning to think it is overflowing with worries but I know that God will handle them in his time.

When we carry the Word of God in our hearts, it becomes a weapon against worry and anxiousness.

Things beyond our control happen every day of our lives, but we can equip ourselves with the Truth that protects our hearts and minds. When we do this, the words become like a soothing balm for our anxious souls.

Confidence replaces doubt and peace replaces worry. We find sweet rest because instead of relying on our own strength to carry us, we rely on the promises found in Christ Jesus.

Are you worrying today?  Place your worries at God’s feet and leave them there.  Trust me when I say that this is much easier said then done, at least by me.  Just for today – I will place my worries at God’s feet and leave them there knowing that there are some things that I just can’t fix.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day as you relax, reflect and recharge!