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?
Can people count on you? Do you keep your commitments? Are you honest? Do you do what is right?
People with integrity have strong values, beliefs and principles. Their character is consistent and they always try to do the right thing even when it is hard or it goes against what society believes.
How can you tell if someone has integrity?
- they are truthful
- they keep their promises
- they are there for you even in tough times
- they are more concerned with giving than receiving
- they always do their best and care about what they are doing
- they accept responsibility for their mistakes
- they are forgiving
- they don’t blame others
- they don’t try to hurt others, instead they try to help others
Do you have integrity? Are you teaching your children to have integrity?
Do you feel that you will never measure up and are always comparing yourself to others?
Do you feel that you never do anything well or can never please anyone or yourself?
Are you always driven by the expectations of others?
Are you often frustrated or feel like a failure?
Have you ever stopped to wonder where these feelings come from? We form our opinions of others and ourselves mainly from the environment that we grow up in. This is reinforced by the people we surround ourselves with and how much we immerse ourselves in the media. Perhaps you grew up in a home where criticism was the norm and whatever you did was never good enough. When you cleaned your room and it wasn’t perfect, were you praised for what you did or criticized for what you didn’t do? When you brought home a report card with 5 B’s and 1 D, were you praised for doing a good job and encouraged to beat that D or were you just criticized for getting a D? When you brought home friends to enjoy some fun times, did your family welcome them and talk nicely about them when they left or did they pick out all their bad points and tell you that you didn’t choose your friends very well?
Growing up and living in an environment of criticism and negativity will have profound effects on how you live your life. Feeling that you never do anything right and thinking that all your choices are bad ones, will create a need to find perfection. Everything you do will be geared to pleasing someone else. The result is feeling like a failure because you can never measure up to anyone else’s expectations. The world continually promotes perfection and the need to succeed. We should always do our best but we can never be perfect in a world that is far from perfect.
We need to understand that we all have strengths and weaknesses and not be critical of our imperfections and flaws. We ALL are imperfect and we ALL have weaknesses. We just can’t be the ‘super’ person that everyone expects us to be. Even the expectations we put on ourselves are way too high and can never be reached. Accepting ourselves for who we really are is important. We all have unique value and worth. Discover your own amazing abilities, strengths and personality traits. Make a list and review them often to remind yourself what an awesome person you are!
Many people believe that they don’t have the power the change something in their lives. They believe that they are stuck in the same unhealthy relationships, the same dead-end job, the same negative way of thinking and that their health will never improve. I used to believe this myself, but the truth is, we CAN change our lives for the better if we really want to and are willing to take action.
You can’t keep doing things the same way over and over and expect a different result. You have to change something in your life: create new habits, develop new ideas, work on some goals. If you just keep thinking about making a change and don’t take action, nothing will ever change. You have to actively get going and do something in order to make positive changes in your life.
Change takes time. You have to be committed to working hard and being patient. Nothing worthwhile comes that quickly. People today want things instantly and are not willing to invest time in their future.
If you want your life to change, here are some steps you can take:
- Sit down with a pen and journal or pad of paper and start brainstorming. Write down your thoughts. Create a simple plan of action. Set some short and long term goals.
- Ask yourself some key questions. What kind of relationships do you want to have? What do you enjoy doing? What do you really want to achieve in life?
- Figure out what needs to be changed in your life. What are some things that are working for you now? What are some things that are not working?
- Determine any roadblocks that are stopping you from moving ahead. What are these roadblocks and how can they be removed?
- Organize your plan of action and post it somewhere so it can be a daily reminder.
- Keep track of your progress in your journal.
- If something isn’t working the way you expected, modify your plan and make any necessary changes.
- Include some trusted family and friends in your plan and allow them to motivate and support you.
- Remember to stay positive. You might not always accomplish what you want, but keep focusing on your plan and keep going.
- Most important. Be patient, persevere and never give up. Change will come if you keep working at it.
In the 1920’s an American physiologist called Walter Cannon came up with a term to describe the chain of reactions in our bodies that help us deal with threatening circumstances. The term he used was the ‘fight-or-flight response‘ which appropriately explained the need for us to stay and deal with a conflict or run away to safety. When we are feeling stressed, our nervous system automatically reacts so we are ready to deal with the problem, however, many times this automatic response doesn’t help us resolve the problem and can actually make it worse.
When someone has hurt us we need to stop and look at the situation realistically and reasonably. Instead of just getting angry and fighting with the person or getting upset and running away, there is a way that might possibly resolve the situation and have a positive outcome. Really? We don’t have to let ourselves be controlled by our emotions. We can stop ourselves from reacting automatically.
In the past, whenever I faced a conflict, I would just allow the ‘fight-or-flight response‘ to kick in. Did it resolve the conflict? Of course not. I decided that resolution would be much better than reaction, so I started to use a different approach. When a situation arose, I would try to look at things from a different perspective and understand what was causing the problem. In order to do this I had to face the person, communicate my feelings with them and then forgive them for hurting me. I call this a ‘face and forgive response’. It certainly worked a lot better than fighting or running away. It actually resolved the problem most of the time.
How does it work? First, stop yourself from reacting immediately – count to 10, take a deep breath.
- FACE the person by CALMLY starting a conversation that might bring out the reason for their actions
- ask them if they are having a bad day and why they said or did what they did
- ask if they are going through something difficult themselves
- ask if they are under some kind of stress
- is there anything you can do to help them
- Tell them that their words or actions hurt you
- Then FORGIVE them either mentally (to yourself) or verbally tell them if possible
If you can’t remain calm or the other person can’t control their emotions, then walk away and go somewhere until you are both able to carry on a quiet conversation. NEVER stay in a stressful situation when your emotions are out of control because the result will never be good.
Fighting or running away will never resolve a problem, it will just keep you holding onto it. Wouldn’t it be better to try to resolve things and have a positive outcome? Don’t just let your automatic response kick in when you are facing difficulty. Don’t fight or flee, instead FACE and FORGIVE!
Just because we are alive doesn’t mean we are living. It is possible to be alive on the outside and dead on the inside. If we are just doing the same thing every day without passion or purpose,we are basically walking around dead. We may be breathing, moving, talking, working and interacting with other people but inside we might feel empty and alone.
Every day we should think about what we are doing and work towards some kind of goal. It might be just a simple goal like getting up, getting dressed and going for a walk or it could be to start a course, join a group or write a book. The more we focus on doing something positive in our lives, the more alive we will feel.
A good idea to get motivated is to make a list of goals, both short and long-term. What do you enjoy doing? What are you good at? What do you want to achieve? What do you need to do in order to get to where you want to be in life?
Instead of just going through each day, doing the same thing over and over again and feeling dead inside, start doing something that will help you get out of your rut and moving forward. Surround yourself with positive people, places and things. Here are some ideas:
- make a list of your skills, abilities and interests
- read motivational books and watch programs that will inspire you
- join an interest group or a church that can provide ongoing support
- take a course that deals with communication and learn how to build good relationships
- work on a healthier lifestyle – eat proper foods, exercise, get enough sleep
- try to focus on what is positive in life
- learn to appreciate what you have
- spend time helping other people – this will increase your level of happiness
Are you walking dead? If the answer is yes, than start doing something about it today! Don’t waste one more day feeling lost and alone. TAKE ACTION and start living your life.
We are all driven to believe that if we have more stuff, more power, more money, more anything, that we will be happier. When are people going to realize that having more does not bring happiness?
At this time in history, we have access to more choices than ever before. We can have almost anything we want. Yet depression, anxiety and stress are growing. We have more stuff but less happiness. More money but more debt. More power but feel powerless. More toys but less fun.
We need to realize that happiness comes from within. It is how we feel about ourselves and our inner strength. We can’t buy happiness, gain it through other people or create it from things that aren’t real.
If you want more out of life, start focusing on what is important. What do you have that adds joy to your life? What are you passionate about? What are the things that just take up your time and only bring stress? Try to eliminate anything that is basically wasting your time and adding no value to your life. Set your priorities and invest time in those areas.
Life is short. Make the most of the time you have and have more of what is important.