What are you surrounded with? Are you aware that our environment can have a huge influence on the way we feel about ourselves and life in general? When we are surrounded by people and things that make us feel bad or remind us of some unhappy event, we are more likely to feel sadness or frustration. Think about a time when you were with someone who constantly complained about something. Did it have a positive or negative effect on you? Think about a time when you were forced into attending a family event where you knew there would be a lot of gossiping and arguing. Did it have a positive or negative effect on you?
Sometimes we are unable to do anything about the environment we live or work in. However, we can take steps to increase the positives and eliminate or decrease the negatives. Here are some ideas:
- Choose carefully who you spend time with. Do a checklist of your family and friends. Which ones encourage you and make you feel good? Which ones drag you down and make you feel bad? It isn’t always possible to detach yourself from negative family members but you can cut down on the time you spend with them. As for your friends, if they are causing pain or distress, it may be time to cut ties.
- Always try to be a positive influence on those around you. There may be negative people who attend school with you or work with you but you can try your best to provide a smile and a friendly attitude. Joining their negativity will just keep everyone around you in a bad mood.
- Is your living space comfortable, cheerful and bright or is it dark and cluttered? When you go into your home do you smile or feel stressed? Decorate with bright colours. Put up pictures that make you smile and plaques with positive statements.
- Does your workspace help you focus on being positive? Ask if you can put up some pictures, wall plaques or wall decals or add some colourful accessories to your office, a lunchroom, a hallway, a washroom. Get your co-workers involved and see how it affects the attitude of everyone where you work.
- What do you see when you first open your eyes in the morning? An inspirational wall decal at the bottom of your bed is a great way to uplift your spirits! There are thousands to choose from. Here are a few: ‘Be the reason someone smiles today. You are amazing and don’t forget it. Never give up on your dreams. You are stronger than you think.’
You can do a lot of things to make your environment more positive. All it takes is a little imagination and some effort. Do whatever you can to brighten up your life! You deserve it!
How often do you say these negative words? I can’t…. I won’t…. I shouldn’t. You can fill in the blank but I’m sure you will catch yourself saying these words if you pay attention to what you are thinking and what comes out of your mouth.
- I can’t help that I am feeling depressed.
- I won’t try to do that because it will make me look stupid.
- I shouldn’t be here because I don’t know anything.
Many times we say things that are causing us to think negatively and we don’t even realize it. We say words that are defeating and discouraging. Our brains are wired to have a negative bias, so unless we work hard to become more positive in our thinking, we will become stuck in a bad habit that will have a negative effect on our lives.
Try changing the way you talk to yourself. Take a look at the above examples reworded:
- I feel depressed but I CAN try to change the way I think.
- I feel stupid but I WILL try my best and if I fail, I will try again.
- I don’t think I know much but I SHOULD be here because I want to learn and grow.
Which set of statements push you forward and which drag you down? If we convince ourselves that we are unable to do something or change the way we feel, there is a 100% chance that we will stay stuck in a pattern of negative thinking. However, if we change the words we use and develop a positive perspective, we have much better chance of something good happening.
We all have bad habits. Some are just annoying like nail-biting or leaving wet towels on the floor but some are serious like smoking or taking illegal drugs. The more you focus on a bad habit, the stronger it has a hold on you and the more difficult it is to get rid of. However, every habit can be broken if you have a deep enough desire to break it. Here are the steps to breaking a habit:
- First you need to figure out why you have this habit. Does a person or situation cause you to do this? When did it start? How did you feel when you started doing this? How do you feel about yourself now? It is important to know if there are any triggers that keep you doing this habit. Be consciously aware of what you are doing and when you are doing it.
- Then you should record your thoughts in a journal. Write down your habits, the attached emotions, events, people, anything that pertains to the habit. What needs to be changed or eliminated?
- Find a replacement for your habit or create a reminder that you can’t avoid. If you bite your nails, keep gum handy for when you realize your fingers are in your mouth. If you leave wet towels on the floor, put a note on the bathroom mirror to remind you to pick them up. If you click your pen, buy straight pens instead of ones that click. If you are constantly talking or texting on your cell phone, keep it in your pocket or purse instead of carrying it around with you.
The more action you take to stop those bad or annoying habits, the sooner you will be able to break them. You can either take control of your habits or allow them to control you. The choice is yours. Stamp out those bad habits!!
Are you on a mission to find happiness? We search for happiness everywhere and we often come up empty. We think that special someone will make us happy and they do for a while but the initial excitement soon wears off and we start looking for someone else. We think that new job will make us happy and it does for a few months but then it gets too difficult, so we quit and look for another job. We think that expensive dream vacation, new car, new house or new trinket will make us happy and it certainly does for some time but then when the bills come in and we have trouble paying for them, we soon lose our happiness.
Why do we have so much trouble finding happiness? It is because we are looking for other people and things to make us happy. This is a selfish desire and when that person or that thing doesn’t provide us with the happiness we want, we just give up and look for something else. It is like an addiction. We crave happiness so we look for a quick fix somewhere. This is why there are so many relationship and marriage breakdowns today.
If you want to find real happiness, you have to bring happiness to others. Instead of thinking about what someone can do to make you happy, think about how you can make their life better. Instead of believing that ‘stuff’ will make you happy, think about what you can give to someone else to make their life better. When you bring happiness to other people, this is how happiness comes to you.
We live in a selfish world. One that teaches us to think about ourselves first and try to fill our lives with things that don’t matter. Loving others and trying to spread happiness around is the only way to find happiness.
People are always in such a hurry, especially at this time of year. We rush here and there trying to get everything ready for Christmas and it often seems like we are getting nowhere fast. What we do get, is a lot of stress and frustration.
Christmas should be a time to create new memories with family and friends. We should be able to stop our busy lives, take some time to relax and reflect on what Christmas is all about. Christmas was never meant to be a mad rush to spend a lot of money trying to impress people with lavish gifts. Consumerism has taken the joy away from this wonderful season. We spend more time and money looking for gifts that people don’t really want or will soon lose interest in or even replace with something that is newer or more interesting, than we spend sharing memories with the people we love.
Think about the time you spend shopping versus the time you spend with your families and friends and ask these questions:
- Do you spend more money or more time with your loved ones?
- Do they really need those items you are madly searching for?
- Can you afford those items or will you be paying for them months and years down the road?
- Are you feeling relaxed or stressed?
- Are you happier before, during or after Christmas?
We all need to slow down and stop rushing through life. We all feel pressure to want things to happen immediately and we don’t want to wait for anything. The problem is, we are often disappointed with our lives and in our busyness we miss a lot of what is going on around us. There are so many little, important things that happen when we are too busy to notice: the smile of a child, the chirp of a bird, a beautiful sunset, laughter, acts of kindness.
Are you ready for Christmas or are you still rushing around doing things that are not really that important? Take some time this Christmas to slow down, relax and reflect.
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. Luke 2:11
We all have different holiday traditions and we celebrate according to our beliefs. Many families gather together to share a meal and open presents. Others travel to a vacation spot to relax and forget about the stresses of everyday life. Some people don’t celebrate Christmas because of various reasons and it is just another day for them. Then there are those who don’t have anyone to spend Christmas with because their families live too far away, they have no family, there is conflict or all their loved ones have passed away.
Most of us have high expectations of Christmas. We want to spend time with family and friends, enjoying the season. When this doesn’t happen we feel like something is wrong and we react in a negative way, often hurting ourselves in the process.
Christmas can be a difficult time if you are alone. However, being alone does not have to result in unhappiness. Many people spend Christmas alone by choice and they are not lonely or miserable. It is all a matter of perception.
Instead of feeling bad about the season, try making a list of things you like to do and then take action. Here are some ideas:
- Watch some favourite movies, read some books, listen to music.
- Call some friends and invite them to come for coffee. They might feel lonely too and enjoy the company.
- Consider getting a pet if you don’t have one. They are great companions. Find one that suits your needs and is easy to care for. Having a dog is a great excuse for taking a walk.
- If you belong to a church, make sure you attend Christmas services. If you don’t, consider attending one as it will help you feel part of the celebration.
- Organize your home or start a new project.
- Do something creative. Starting writing, drawing or do some crafts.
- Play a game like solitaire or do crossword puzzles.
- Visit a mall while they are open and watch people.
- Help volunteer at a soup kitchen or visit a senior home and share yourself with others. This is guaranteed to bring happiness to all.
- Always be positive about life.
These ideas are great for anytime of year. If you fill your life with positive activity and surround yourself with positive people, you won’t have time to feel lonely. Treat yourself like the special person you are and have a very merry Christmas! Love to everyone! 🙂
This is the message of Christmas: We are never alone. ~Taylor Caldwell
We all know that Christmas is a time for giving presents and that can be a good thing if the presents are simple and come from the heart. However, many people believe that they have to spend a lot of money on extravagant gifts so they will be loved and appreciated. A big screen TV, a new expensive designer outfit, gold jewelry, the latest gadget or gimmick. Doesn’t it mean you love someone more if you spend more money??? No, this is certainly not true. It is just a false belief that tricks you into parting with your money, makes you feel bad and often puts you in debt.
It is far more important to give your PRESENCE on Christmas rather than PRESENTS. Think about it.
- Is a child happier when they are surrounded with piles of new toys and have nobody to play with OR are they happier when they have one game to play with someone they love?
- Is a wife happier when her husband gives her a diamond bracelet and then works overtime to pay for it OR is she happier when her husband gives her an inexpensive pair of earrings and then spends time watching TV with her every evening?
- Is a friend happier when she gets the newest I-phone from her friend and doesn’t see her for 6 months because she is too busy OR is she happier when her friend takes her for coffee once a week and spends time chatting with her?
Spending time with people spreads more happiness than spending money on people. What are you giving this Christmas…..Presents or Presence?
Laughter is the best medicine. Laughing has many benefits to your health. It can improve your physical, mental and emotional health. It lessens stress, increases immune cells, fights infections and helps resist disease. Laughter is very beneficial to relationships and produces a general sense of well-being. It is almost impossible to be anxious or worried and laugh at the same time.
The best thing about laughter…it is free! You don’t have to get a prescription, go to the drug store and pay money for something that might make you feel better. Laughter costs nothing and in my opinion, it works better than a lot of medications. People who are sick or in hospitals have been known to have improved health due to laughing. In the Cancer Treatment Centres of America, they are using laughter therapy to help their patients. You can read the article here.
Maybe you haven’t laughed in a long time because of situations in your life. Maybe you don’t feel like there is anything to laugh at. You might be struggling with health issues, emotional problems or relationship breakdowns. Life can be very discouraging and depressing at times when all you can see is the negative side. This is why you need to try to look at things with a positive perspective instead of a negative perspective. Laughter can really help. Read this article from the Mayo Clinic about the benefits of laughter.
Here are some ways to add laughter to your life:
- surround yourself with funny and encouraging people
- watch a funny movie
- read a funny book
- schedule time for laughter each day
- laugh when you make a mistake
- try to see things from a positive perspective
- get a coach who can help you change your perspective
You can laugh about a lot of things in life that may not seem funny. It takes a lot of practice if you are normally negative and serious, but you can do it. One time I was walking downtown and I felt my slip sliding down my legs right in the middle of a busy sidewalk. I was starting to feel embarrassed and my brain was telling me to leave the slip on the ground and walk away quickly but I chose to just reach down and pick up my slip, stuff it in my purse and smile at the people around me. It was much more comfortable feeling amused than upset.
So put on a smile, develop a positive perspective and laugh!!
A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.
Have you ever stopped to consider how powerful our words can be? Everything that we say can have a huge impact on other people and even ourselves. Just one little word or phrase can heal a person’s life or it can destroy it. When we use words that are kind, loving and supportive we can lift people up and make them feel good. On the other hand, when we say words that are mean, nasty and vindictive we can tear people down and make them feel bad.
Think about words that people say to you:
- When you felt lonely and a family member said something loving to you, how did it make you feel?
- When you were feeling down and a friend said something encouraging, did it lift you up?
- When you were having a bad day at work and your boss told you that you did a good job, did your day go better?
Remember those times when a family member spoke to you in anger or someone at work criticized something you did or a friend told you they were too busy to have coffee with you. How did those words make you feel?
We should always be careful with our words and choose them carefully. Don’t let unkind, careless or cruel words come out of your mouth. Think before you speak especially when you are stressed, tired, angry or upset. Those are times when even the nicest person can be thoughtless and let words slip out that should never be spoken.
Saying unkind words to ourselves is also a bad thing. We can be very cruel to ourselves, speaking words we have heard other people say to us or about us. We need to challenge our self-talk and make sure we are not hurting ourselves with our own words. What other people say is only a reflection of who they are and not who we are. We believe a lot of things that are just not true.
We need to understand how powerful our words are and make sure we use them to lift people up, encourage them, support them and show our love.