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.
Our health is very important. If we don’t take care of ourselves, we can easily develop major health issues that will affect everything in our lives.
We should try to eat healthy foods, exercise regularly, get proper sleep and eliminate any negative stresses. This isn’t easy in a world that promotes fast food and a fast life. We fill our lives with so many activities that we are too busy to cook healthy meals, go for a leisurely walk or get to bed at a reasonable hour. The sad thing is, we believe that our value is found in how much we can accomplish in a day and we keep adding more and more stress until we reach a point where our health fails.
My own lifestyle was certainly not the healthiest. I didn’t really watch what I ate, I exercised very little and my sleeping patterns were terrible. Stress was a huge part of my life and I kept driving myself to do more that I could handle. Having a stroke was not something I expected at this stage of my life. On a positive note, it has changed my thinking and I have no choice but to take care of myself.
Here are some healthy habits that you should incorporate into your lifestyle:
- Eat a diet that is low-sodium, low-sugar and low-fat. Lots of vegetables and fruits are important. Never eat on the rush, take time to enjoy your food. Frozen and prepared foods along with fast foods are unhealthy so try to cook at home as much as possible. Eating healthy is a good habit to get your family and yourself into.
- Exercise a minimum of 30 minutes or more each day. If you have an active job, this really doesn’t count. Join a gym or exercise club. Walking is the cheapest and most effective exercise. Get a walking buddy and support each other. I’ve been walking with my husband every day and it is benefiting both of us!
- Go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time. Of course, there will be times when events or activities get in the way but that’s okay. As long as you develop a habit that works most of the time.
- Try to eliminate as much stress as you can. Positive stresses like getting ready for a exciting event are great but negative stresses will just drag you down. Think about what is important and what isn’t important. Spend less time with people who stress you out. Cut down on your to-do list and make sure you add some quiet time each day.
You are an important person and you need to take care of yourself. Don’t wait until something happens. Start today!
We have all been hurt at one time or another. Being hurt is unavoidable and just a normal part of life. The problem is, many of us have difficulty processing our hurts in a positive way and our emotions become badly damaged. It is important that we address our hurts and deal with them so they can’t continue to cause pain in our lives.
Here are some steps we can take to heal any damaged emotions:
- Face your problems dead on. If you try to avoid them, deny them or hide them, it won’t work. Pushing the pain away may temporarily relieve the pain, but in the long run, the hurt will keep coming back. Take an honest look at what happened and talk to someone you can trust.
- Take responsibility for what happened. Be totally honest with yourself. Did you play any part in what happened? Most of the time, there can be blame placed on both sides. How did you respond? Did you show anger or did you try to understand the situation?
- Ask yourself if you really want your damaged emotions to heal. Sometimes people use their problems to get attention and to make other people feel sorry for them. They get stuck in a bad habit and become comfortable struggling with their problems. This is really not a good way to live as it never allows any possibility of peace or happiness.
- In order to heal, you must be forgiving. First you need to forgive the people who hurt you. This does not mean that you are telling them it is okay for them to hurt you because it was certainly not okay at all, it means that you are giving up the hold they have on you. As long as you have unforgiveness for a person, you are tied to them and they can continue to hurt you over and over again. Tell the person you forgive them for hurting you and then forgive yourself and move on.
How many times have you said something that you wished you hadn’t?
How many times have critical or complaining words have tumbled out of your mouth?
How many times have you expressed anger that hurt someone else?
How many times have you belittled or torn down another person?
How many times have you spread gossip that wasn’t entirely true?
Just think about it. You have probably spoken thousands of negative, critical, angry, hurtful words that had the potential to hurt many people. Our words have such powerful effects!
We should always be careful with our words and think before we speak. Our thoughts often come to us without warning and if don’t pay attention to what we are thinking and stop any negative thoughts from being processed into negative words, we can do a lot of damage to the lives of others and also ourselves. Careless words can result in misunderstanding, miscommunication and cause problems in our relationships.
Before you speak:
- think carefully about what you are saying
- be consciously aware of any negative thoughts
- stop those negative thoughts
- picture a stop sign, take a few deep breaths, count to 10
- focus on something positive
- say positive statements
- write your thoughts in a journal or type them into your phone
- gather your thoughts and say something positive
- if you do say something negative, apologize before the situation gets worse
You do have the power to control your thoughts. You don’t have to keep every negative thought that pops into your head. Get rid of those negative thoughts and create a habit of positive thinking. Believe me it does work! All it takes is continual practice.
Let’s face it – life IS difficult and there are so many things that we can worry about – our families, our jobs, our friends, our finances, our future. However, what value does worrying have? The answer is – absolutely none!! Worry doesn’t make anything better and it won’t resolve any problems. Worry is just a major cause of stress and we know that stress can kill us.
So if we are worrying about everything in our lives, then we are impacting everyone around us, especially our children. Think about it – our children are watching everything we say and do and will likely pick up any bad habits we have, like worrying! We are giving them a terrible gift, one that will harm their health and possibly destroy any close parent/child relationship.
Are you teaching your children to worry? If you are a worrier, take some steps to change this bad habit. Write down your worries and try to change your perspective on them. Ask yourself why you are worrying so much. Try to focus on a positive solution and have faith that things will usually turn out okay. The fact is, about 95% of the things we worry about never happen!
The truth is we all gossip. Gossip is idle talk about the personal or private affairs of others. It is a natural and expected part of our lives and helps us learn how to relate to others. If we are sharing good news about something positive and exciting, gossip can be a good thing.
However, problems can arise when we start talking about things that are mean, nasty, inaccurate or incomplete. If we discover a person doing something we think is wrong, we may want to share the information, not even knowing if what we saw has a good explanation. We can even add information that isn’t true, just to make the story more interesting and to make the person look really bad. This can start vicious rumours that embarrass or humiliate the person.
Gossiping that is intended to hurt someone is NEVER appropriate. Often we don’t know the whole story behind what we saw and it isn’t our business anyway. The only time we should gossip about something serious is when it is a matter of life and death. We certainly wouldn’t like other people to gossip about us, so we should extend the same courtesy.
Do you gossip? Does it hurt other people? If you are a parent, gossiping is a bad thing to model to your children. You are teaching them how to hurt other people and this will eventually end up hurting them. Be a positive role model. Be careful with your words and try not to gossip. If you catch your child gossiping, talk to them and discuss why it is wrong. Explain how it can hurt people and damage relationships. Help them develop empathy and make sure they apologize to anyone they have hurt.
Studies show that about 90% of life’s daily friction is caused by the wrong tone of voice! This means it is not just important that you choose the right words when speaking with others, it means that you also need to be careful about the tone you use.
How do you communicate with your family, friends, co-workers and other people you meet? Does your voice indicate anger, frustration, irritation, disappointment or does it indicate love, calmness, reassurance and/or support? It makes a huge difference how you say things.
Look at this sentence, “I’d like to speak with you if you have a moment“. If you say this in an angry or irritated voice, it conveys the message that there is something wrong and the person you are speaking to will be very apprehensive about meeting with you. If you say it in a friendly manner, it conveys the message that you are going to have a pleasant conversation.
Instead of speaking to people in a voice that is angry, disappointed or frustrated, try to keep your emotions under control. Take a minute to think about what you want to say, calm yourself down and then speak lovingly and calmly. It takes ongoing practice but the results are so worthwhile.
Many adults today are not financially responsible. They don’t know how to budget for their expenses and often don’t have any savings at all. They live week to week, spending every cent they have and using that convenient plastic card when they run out of money.
- If you have grown up in a home where everything is charged and your parents are up to their eyeballs in debt, it’s unlikely that you will be able to responsibly handle your money.
- If you have grown up in a home where you have been given everything you want, you won’t feel any responsibility for the money you earn and will expect to have whatever your little heart desires.
It is important to teach your children how to spend and save money efficiently so they will become responsible adults. The world pressures us to spend more than we earn by using credit whenever possible and we need to learn how make good decisions so we don’t end up with mountains of debt.
Here are some ideas to help your children learn the value of money:
- Set a good example by using cash when you buy things. Your children will imitate what you do and if you use credit cards, they will do the same thing and think it is okay. Remember, it is way to easy to slap down plastic and not think about making those payments later.
- Give them an allowance based on their age and what jobs you expect them to do in return. If the jobs are done, they don’t get their allowance. When kids are paid to do work, they learn the value of working and getting paid. However, some family chores should not receive monetary payment (making bed, picking up toys, doing dishes) but should receive payment in praise for helping and being part of the family. Paid work could include cleaning the basement, vacuuming, taking out the garbage and cutting grass.
- Guide them as to how they should spend their money. Teach them the difference between wants and needs. It is so easy to spend money on things we want but don’t need. Encourage them to save some and also donate to a church/charity. A reasonable percentage might be saving 20-30%, giving 10% and spending the rest.
- Open a bank account for their savings and as they get older add a chequing account so they will be ready to pay for item they need or a small monthly bill like a cell phone.
- Let your child shop for their own items. A small child might be given $5 to buy toys or snacks – this could buy a couple of small items or 1 larger item. A teen might be given $100 to spend on clothing – this could buy 1 sweater at an expensive store or several items at a discount or second-hand store.
- An older teenager should be encouraged to get a part-time job and save money towards their future.
- Talk to your children about the dangers of having credit cards and how easy it is to get deeply into debt. Encourage them to pay cash when possible. Teach them how to say ‘no’ to pushy salesmen and to think carefully when spending money, to avoid buying things they don’t need.
If you don’t teach your children how to manage their money, they will likely end up being pressured into buying things they don’t need and end up deep in debt.
We live in a society that promotes spending. Everywhere you look, someone is offering products and services that are sure to make you a better person. Or do they? How many of those products and services gave you lasting happiness? And how many caused you to dig a deeper ditch that put you in deeper debt?
Spending money can be fun. Buying clothes, enjoying a nice meal or taking a vacation are great. But what happens when you overspend and find yourself in trouble?
“The American consumer is facing dire financial straits……..As a people we have forgotten how to delay pleasure”. These words are found in a book by Dave Ramsey, a man who knows what it’s like to have it all and lose it all. He was a millionaire by age 26 and lost it all by age 30 due to many foolish decisions about money. In his books, he tries to help people get debt-free using tough but successful methods that have worked for him. He promotes having Financial Peace, which is the name of one of his best-selling books.
We have to stop digging debt ditches and pay cash for things we want. That shiny new car, expensive wardrobe or must-have vacation should be something to save towards instead of paying on credit and enjoying it right now. When you get to the bottom of your ditch and there isn’t anywhere else to go, does that new item still look good? Not likely. I’ve already been to the bottom of my ditch and I wish I had made better choices.
Buy what you need and save for want you want. Remember, your wants are not the same as your needs. Plan for a vacation or those expensive ‘toys’ that you want and then start saving. Believe me, you will get much more satisfaction and joy when you pay cash and don’t have all the bills coming in.
STOP DIGGING THOSE DEBT DITCHES!
Everyone likes nice things. I certainly do. But sometimes getting nice things takes priority over the more important things in life. Have you ever driven by a junkyard or landfill and looked at the piles of stuff that has been thrown away? Did you ever think about where the stuff came from? Most of it came from people’s houses:
- worn out furniture
- ornaments that are no longer wanted
- old clothing
- appliances that don’t work
- electronics that have been traded for the newer model
- broken toys
People probably worked long hours to pay for all these obsolete items that no longer have any value to them. Some of us are even considered to be workaholics and put our work and the desire for money and possessions ahead of everything else. We don’t spend enough time with our families or have any quiet time for ourselves because we are just too busy. But at what cost?
Instead of investing in things that don’t really have any value, we need to spend more time creating and keeping good relationships with our families, friends, neighbours and co-workers. We also need to take time each day to relax and take care of our bodies and minds. Don’t spend your time building up a junkyard of dreams. Spend your time creating a beautiful world around you.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.”