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Yes you can! Just Say No

Woman Boring a Hole in a Wooden Board with a DrillYes you can!  Just say No!

Perhaps you just lost your job – or you have spent four grueling years getting your degree but there are no jobs available in your line of work. What do you do?

Do you get up, put on a brave face and keep trying?  Or do you give up.

Yes you can! Just say No.

Yes, you can is a mindset that reflects our willingness to dig deep inside ourselves and look for the tools we need to hone and use them more effectively. This isn’t just about putting a positive spin on a serious, perhaps life threatening situation.

It’s looking at your situation squarely and saying, yes I can; with the help of God and doing whatever it takes within my principles and values to make it happen.

It won’t be easy. It will take hard work. It will take ingenuity and creativity. It will take doing many things you might have thought beneath your talents and abilities.

And it will require saying “No” to doing what feels good in the moment; “No” to taking life for granted; “No” to unrealistic expectations. It takes knowing where you are right now, and saying no to purchases you thought were absolutely necessary simply because everybody else is doing it.

Finances can become a serious problem if we do not have impulse control. Not having a budget and knowing how to manage our money can have long term consequences.

When my husband and I were first married, we had no financial cushion. He had just  returned to his home town after playing in big bands both on the road, in studios and in Vegas.

We got married with high hopes of him starting his own band. He tried selling real estate to pay the bills while trying to make the band business profitable. It didn’t.  We were back at square one.  Pregnant with our first child, I could no longer work at my job and we had to move in with his parents.

But, there was never the thought of giving up.  Instead we looked at other options.  Before letting real estate go, we used his commission to buy our first little track house. He realized that neither his dreams for his own big band nor real estate would take care of the needs of a family. He chose a new direction, worked at several jobs at once, went back to school to get his Masters in Music Education and took a job teaching school, something he swore he would never do.  He not only was an excellent teacher, (his students attest to that), but starting from scratch, we worked together as a team.  He became the head of a music department, respected by many, as we also met the challenges of raising a handicapped child and taking care of a Mom with a serious heart condition.  Later, I was able to go back to school as well and get my masters.

Yes you can!

But you might also have to say No.  No to getting all those things you believe you can’t live without in the moment; no to spending money whenever you feel like it. It isn’t easy.

Sometimes you have to scale back farther than you ever thought possible.  But when you develop an attitude of Yes I can, you will be amazed at what you can accomplish.

Throughout life there will be tough times when you will be sidelined, knocked down or will face a major roadblock. You may have to spend money getting more education or training; or you may have to cut way back to make ends meet while you work on how to take that next step.

 

MP900438950It is so easy to buy on credit.  With the click of a button on phone apps we can make purchases.

We are often unaware of how much we are spending and people can find themselves thousands of dollars in debt.

As important as it is to manage your time and put in place productive habits for healthy eating and exercise, it is equally as important to have a financial program in place.

A lesson I learned

My husband and I shared a similar mind set of, if you want to, you can find a way to do it. Here is my own story about discovering how I spent my money as a young adult – a very valuable lesson learned and remembered.

As a young woman, I shared an apartment with my sister and brother.  I worked at an entry level job and struggled to pay my portion of rent and food costs.  I rarely went shopping and avoided retail stores where I would be tempted to buy things on sale. 

Our Dad had instilled the importance of putting at least 10% of our earnings into savings.  Where was my money going?  How could I possibly do that?

I decided to put down on paper all the things I purchased in a month, no matter how miner or small. I was shocked to discover my lack of money came from all those little ticket items: a new lipstick, a quick cheap meal out at lunchtime, an inexpensive scarf, etc. This was the spending that kept me broke. 

When I put in place new habits around spending, I was again surprised when I was able to save over a $1,000 in a year’s time while still paying my share of the bills and even getting some new clothes from time to time. Back then, that was a lot of money.

Yes We Can

There are many organizations that can help us with financial planning and budgeting if we are having trouble.  The Dave Ramsey program has been very successful in teaching people how to spend wisely and prudently and accumulate wealth in the process.

But you can do this on your own if you are willing to take the time.  Getting higher incomes and better paying jobs does not automatically guarantee you will get out of debt.  Studies show we simply increase our spending in relation to what we earn. In fact, you will be able to accumulate more money by establishing prudent spending/budget/saving habits.

Time management, financial management, self-regulation and self-discipline can be the greatest gifts you give yourself.  Yes you can.  Just say No to impulses. And Yes to meaningful long term goals.

Marlene Anderson

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To Receive a Free Consultation for putting together a Personal Plan of Action for yourself,  fill out the contact form beside this blog or send me an e-mail.  I am also available for speaking engagements, retreats or teaching workshops for your church, clubs or women’s groups on a variety of topics that affect our lives.

How was your day?

Woman filling in a formHow was your day?”

It is a question we need to ask ourselves at the end of the day regardless if we work from a home office, are a stay-at-home Mom, or commute to a job away from home.

Are you exhausted, worn out and ready to collapse at the end of the day?

If your job leaves you drained of energy, coming home each day to a chaotic environment, dishes in the sink, clothes and toys scattered all over, chores left undone, is not what you want to have to face. It’s hard to relax when everything around you is a mess.

Time management is your tool.  It will be effective only as it fits your wants, needs and goals.

What can a time management plan do for you?

It can put in place routines, schedules and to do lists that give you overall control over each day’s tasks and duties.  A time management plan can reduce stress, indecision, and create habits that work for you and not against you. Included in that plan is establishing specific times for relaxation and enjoyment with your family or the people you love.

Replacing one habit with another 

Before you put any plan of action to work, you need to know what you are currently doing.  What habits already in place are not working? What keeps them in place? What needs to happen to replace those not working?  Consider the following examples of every day living that can make your life easier instead of harder.

  • Having clothes washed and ready to wear when you want them
  • Keeping the kitchen free from dirty dishes making it easier to prepare meals when you want
  • Making supply lists and regularly selecting a time to purchase groceries on a regular basis
  • Sitting down together as a family for meals
  • Designated times for work and free time with family, spouses or friends
  • Morning and bedtime routines that allow for minimum stress and frustration
  • Developing sleep habits that insure maximum sleep advantage
  • Planning and completing long term tasks such as thorough house cleaning, car maintenance, etc.

As I mentioned in last week’s blog, to change course requires both a conscious and deliberate decision followed by some kind of action.  It takes both to change to a new direction.  Habits based on what you feel like in the moment will lead you on a downward spiral of exhaustion, frustration and depression.

How do you spend your day?

 

Young Woman Holding Two Brown Paper Grocery BagsMost of us assume we know exactly what we do every day – how we spend our time.  When we are asked to keep a log for a week, however, we are often surprised at how much time is wasted or used inefficiently.

Keeping a log is a gift to yourself. It is time well spent.

Keep a daily log for a week, from the time you get up in the morning until you go to bed at night to discover how you really spend your time.

Take a piece of paper with lines for the times of day, from when you get up in the morning until you go to bed at night. Then for a week, each day jot down what you do at these times. Don’t make any changes or any judgments.  Just record.  Be as honest as you can.  You are doing this for you – not anybody else. The following questions in each section can help as you record and evaluate at the end of the process.

Let’s Start

  1.  Morning Routines

When do you get up?  How long does it take to get ready for work?  If you have children, how long does it take them to get dressed, eat, and leave for school? Put down commute times to and from work. At the end of the week, you will see routines that have helped and those that haven’t.

2.    During the Day

If you work outside the home your time will be dictated pretty much by your job.  You have a choice as to how you spend your lunchtime.  Simple chores can be done during such times if you choose such as writing thank you cards, etc. If you work at a home office, do you start work at a designated time each day? Do you take breaks and time for lunch? If retired, it may be more difficult to remain motivated without a schedule in place. What are you missing at this time of life by not having a schedule? What could your retirement look life if you did? What opportunities are you missing?

Woman Holding Broom and Dustpan3.    Evening Routines

Who makes meals, is in charge of preparation and clean up?  Are chores shared by all members of the family or does the responsibility fall on one person? Do you eat together as a family and how does different meal times create extra stress and work?  Is there a consistent school homework schedule for children as well as play time?

Father and Son Having Fun TogetherIs there a time when family members can come together to enjoy one another? Is there a bedtime routine that is followed fairly consistent? Does your current schedule make it more difficult to get to sleep and get a full night’s rest sleep?

 

4.    Weekend Schedules

If working full time, is there time designated on weekends for cleaning, vacuuming, and other ongoing home tasks?  If you work out of your home, as I do, I can complete tasks throughout the day as I schedule ten or fifteen minutes away from my desk making it easier to complete larger tasks at a time I choose. Knowing what needs to be done to make the home run smoothly ahead of time, gives you the option of perhaps doing some laundry or house cleaning during the week allowing more free time on weekends.

 Patterns

At the end of your week, review your time and habits.  Do you see patterns of behavior that are ineffective? How could you change them so they work for you? How could some tweaking make it better. What benefits are you receiving in the short term that costs you more in the long term.  It might feel okay to leave dishes until the morning because you just don’t feel like doing them.  But the cost will involve doing double duty the next day.  Only you can determine both the short term and long term benefits for how you direct your day.

Remember, whatever you do, you are doing it for you and your family.  However you set up your routines is up to you.  Each family and circumstances will be different.

This isn’t a “see how much I can accomplish” mission.  It is about finding out if you are satisfied with things as they are, or if you want to improve your options by replacing old habits.

Marlene Anderson

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To Receive a Free Consultation for putting together a Personal Plan of Action for yourself,  fill out the contact form beside this blog or send me an e-mail.  I am also available for speaking engagements, retreats or teaching workshops for your church, clubs or women’s groups on a variety of topics that affect our lives.

 

Habits – A Curse or a Blessing

MP900438523Habits can keep us mired in a rut or they can take us to lofty heights of achievement.

Habits are great because we don’t have to think about what we are doing. It is like being on auto pilot.

We are creatures of habit.  Some habits keep us from using our time efficiently.  Others are time wasters.

Habits and behaviors are continued because we get a payoff or reward of some kind that motivates us.

We watch TV or play video games as a reward for working hard all day.  We may stop and have a drink with buddies.  But along with a reward, there is also a cost.

We do things in the moment because they are gratifying; but they may have negative long term consequences.

When we regulate our behaviors, we are able to harness our energy more productively, in a way we plan and choose.

Behaviors made through careful thought allows you to be in the driver’s seat.  With thoughtful predetermined goals and plans, you profit through achievement.  You will feel excited and jubilant when you use your talents and abilities to accomplish goals. The short term cost of not following instant gratification or indulgence will result in the long term benefit of satisfaction and gratification.

Self Regulation

CB063487Self-regulation requires self-discipline.  The word discipline often triggers a negative response based on our childhood interpretation of discipline.

Instead, see it as a positive reward for your actions. Then you will be able to put in place habits and behaviors that benefit you in the long term, not just the short term.

Self regulation doesn’t mean we lead a regimented life with no pleasure or down times.

In fact, when you regulate your time based on time management you will find you have more time than you did before.  You are able to schedule in fun and pleasant times as well as the accomplishment of tasks and chores.

Giving into that momentary pleasure can quickly put in place an addictive habit you may not want.  If you respond to the whims of the moment, you will eventually feel less and less in control of your lives. Depression is often a result of a downward spiral of such habits.

 

Taking Charge

To replace a habit, you must first be aware of what you are currently doing, why you are doing it, and why you want to change it.  What are the costs and benefits?

 

To Replace a Habit

First – Why do I have this habit?

Second – What is the short term benefit?

Third – What is the long term cost?

Research on how our brain works has given us new insights into why we do the things we do and continue to do them even when they are not beneficial.  To change a downward spiral of impairing habits and routines requires first recognition and then making a conscious decision along with action.  When you do both, recognize and make a conscious decision and then add a step in that new direction, you are changing the dynamics of the neurons and neurotransmitters in your brain.

According to Dr.Alex Korb, author of “The Upward Spiral – Using neuroscience to reverse the course of depression, one small change at a time,” it takes both decision and action to change a downward spiral to an upward one.  That tiny step in a new direction is enough to begin the upward process versus downward.

Next week we’ll go through a time logging process to discover your wants and needs.

Marlene Anderson

If you enjoyed this blog post, share with your friends.

Sign up today to receive the entire series:  http://eepurl.com/baaiQ1

To Receive a Free Consultation for putting together a Personal Plan of Action for yourself,  fill out the contact form beside this blog or send me an e-mail.  I am also available for speaking engagements, retreats or teaching workshops for your church, clubs or women’s groups on a variety of topics that affect our lives.

Who’s In Charge

MP900438650Survival requires management – the ability to manage our time, our attitudes, our relationships and our finances. Management means you are in charge. It means you have organized and supervise what you do. You are the CEO of your life.

Do you know how you spend your time? What routines and schedules are habits that keep you moving in the right direction? Which are time wasters?

There is an immediate payoff from unproductive behaviors. That instant gratification, however, has a long term cost; giving in to our moods in the moment can eventually create a downward spiral of dissatisfaction, discontent and eventually depression.

Do you know how much money you spend in a month?  Do you have an emergency fund in savings?  Have you set up a budget that you follow?

Finances are managed by setting up a budget and monitoring how we spend our money. It isn’t just about saving but prudent shopping.

Marketing ads are designed to convince us we need to purchase their product in order to be happy. That is their job.  Our job is to ask ourselves whether we really need that product.  Will it really make you happy? Do you really need it?

There is a difference between needs and wants. Happiness doesn’t come from having lots of money or having lots of toys.

If success is defined by how much money you make, while you may succeed, the cost could be the loss of loving relationships with spouse and family and a life of meaning and purpose.

Woman and young girl embracing outdoors smilingIts not just finances that need managing, but our attitudes.

Defeatist attitudes blame somebody or something else for what is wrong in your life.

It allows you to hang onto and nurse grievances when we perceive we have been wronged.  But it can also come in the form of an internal critic that whispers in your ear that no matter what you do, it won’t ever be good enough.

If we listen to either of those messages for any length of time, it will keep us from living a happy, satisfying life. Such attitudes take you out of the driver’s seat of control.

We have only so much energy. We can direct that energy to create a more meaningful and purposeful future or remain a victim to circumstances.

 

Life can be tough. Life can be a struggle. We can probably think of a million reasons why we can’t succeed.  But, there probably are a million + reasons why you can.

 

We can focus on what we can’t do or we can focus on all the things we can. It’s our choice.

 

Tune in next week, as we continue our discussion on habits, which are productive or wasteful and how we can replace ineffective habits.

Marlene Anderson

If you enjoyed this blog post, share with your friends.

Sign up today to receive the entire series:  http://eepurl.com/baaiQ1

To Receive a Free Consultation for putting together a Personal Plan of Action for yourself,  fill out the contact form beside this blog or send me an e-mail.  I am also available for speaking engagements, retreats or teaching workshops for your church, clubs or women’s groups on a variety of topics that affect our lives.

 

Acceptance in Tough Times

img_2847What are you being asked to accept today?

What major change are you facing?

As I enter the senior years, losses seem to be a routine part of life. I hear the poignant and tragic stories of people who are struggling to make ends meet, or struggle with the loss of their health or the untimely death of a spouse.

My first response when I suffer a setback is to think, Oh no, not again, Lord, I have had enough.

But then I read of what others are going through and realize my problems are trivial in comparison.

As I complete a new chapter in my new book, The Next Step, which speaks to acceptance and letting go, I am reminded again of how important it is to develop this skill.

What acceptance is not 

To accept our situation does not mean we are powerless, unless we choose to remain powerless. It doesn’t mean we give up; instead it means we stop resisting and struggling.  It doesn’t mean we are a victim or somehow to blame or others are to blame for all the bad luck we are having.

Working through the hurt and uncertainty of adversity is never easy. We may want to withdraw and isolate ourselves, not wanting others to see our vulnerability or our doubts. Sometimes we build thick walls around our spirits to protect us from further hurt and disappointments.

But it is precisely in those difficult times where we grow our spiritual muscles, come to terms with our inabilities and begin a trusting relationship with God.

 

j0433127We find in acceptance and letting go, a relief and sense of peace because we have stopped struggling with the reality we find ourselves.

Letting go may not give us all the answers we desire, but our spirits are calmed and we are able to look for new solutions, pick up the pieces and rebuild.

Acceptance is not giving up. It is not resignation. It is opening your hand and allowing new information to meld with the old in order to examine new options and new opportunities.

 

Here are some ways we can understand acceptance

 

  • Acceptance means I do not have to stay in this uncomfortable spot – I can learn and move on
  • Acceptance says life isn’t fair – I didn’t ask for this, but I can work with it
  • Acceptance means a new beginning, starting right here, in this moment , right nowj0438577
  • Acceptance tells me I don’t have all the answers and don’t need to pretend I do
  • Acceptance means I can ask for help when I need it
  • Acceptance tells me I am okay no matter what has happened
  • Acceptance means I don’t have to blame someone or something for what has happened; Allowing ourselves to remain a victim is self-defeating and a dead end
  • Acceptance acknowledges my need for forgiveness, grace, humility and honesty. I allow God and others into my life and walk with their support
  • Acceptance allows me to discover myself with dignity and honesty. I am free to be me, with all my shortcomings as well as all my unique qualities, special gifts and talents

Marlene Anderson

If you enjoyed this blog post, share with your friends.

Sign up today to receive the entire series:  http://eepurl.com/baaiQ1

To Receive a Free Consultation for putting together a Personal Plan of Action for yourself,  fill out the contact form beside this blog or send me an e-mail.  I am also available for speaking engagements, retreats or teaching workshops for your church, clubs or women’s groups on a variety of topics that affect our lives.

 

 

Love or Hate

Frustrated Businesswoman on the PhoneLove or Hate – Which of these two emotions would you say resonates more in your life?

In his book, You Will Not Have my Hate, Antioine Leiris writes about the shooting rampage on November 13, 2015 when terrorists took the lives of people attending a rock concert at the Batacian Theater in Paris.  His wife was one of the victims.

Shortly afterwards, he posted on Facebook an open letter addressed to his wife’s killer that stated in part,

 “. . .you stole the life of an exceptional person, the love of my life, the mother of my son, but you will not have my hate.”

Later he wrote a memoir book on the shock, grief and challenges he faced to move forward with his life (click on the book title link above for more information). He was instantly widowed with a seventeen month old son.  How would he teach his son not to hate?  How would he rebuild a life that had been so happy with his wife.

It seems we often put our focus on either love or hate or anger – with few exceptions. Can we forgive and refuse to hate?

In a 2015 post I did a book review on “Forgive for Good” by Dr. Fred Luskin, covering the points Dr. Luskin presented in letting go of hate, bitterness and resentment.  (Click on the link to read that blog).  In the “Yes I Can, Three Steps to Enrich your Life” life coaching program I am completing, there is an exercise on Forgiveness.  Here are some excerpts from that exercise:

fourteen year old teenage with aggressive bully expressionTragedies or senseless acts of violence can create deep-seated resentment and bitterness that keeps us in a powerful grip.  It is not easy to let go of wrongs.

However, if we remain resentful, blaming and angry, hanging onto our grudges and grievances, it will have a huge psychological and emotional effect on our well-being.

Learning to forgive allows us to free ourselves of that anger and replace it with renewed optimism, trust and enthusiasm for the future.

We remain prisoners to resentments that we choose to hold on to, becoming a victim to our own story.

While it gives us short term satisfaction to continue to repeat how we were maligned or wronged, it is a toxic and corrosive mindset that will eventually devour us.

MP900285119Forgiveness is not condoning unkindness, inconsiderate or selfish behavior of anyone who might have hurt us.  It is not the same as forgetting that something painful happened.  We do not want to forget so we don’t allow it to happen again.

Instead, we put in place appropriate boundaries that guides both our behaviors and what we allow from others.  It is not imposing our rules on someone else.  It is simply saying, I choose what is right for me and hold myself responsible for my responses and actions.

Man and woman shaking hands isolated on a white background.Forgiveness opens the door for possible reconciliation with others.  But forgiveness and reconciliation is not the same thing.  Forgiveness means you make peace with a bitter part of your past, refusing to push the “Blame” button, and choosing instead how you want to live.

As Dr. Luskin says in his book, Forgive for Good, “we create grievance stories because of unrealistic and unenforceable rules we put in place.”  We have expectations that life will follow some sort of predictable path.

It is not a normal expectation to have terrorists kill people we love while they are attending a concert or going to church or an outdoor market.

How easy it is to hate.  It is our first reaction to senseless actions.  But we choose what we want to do with that hate, anger, injustice, etc.  We can choose not to hate, but instead to forgive.  As Jesus told us so long ago, “. . .pray for those who persecute you.” In so doing, we can let go and focus on loving those in our circle of family and friends.

Marlene Anderson

If you enjoyed this blog post, share with your friends.

Sign up today to receive the entire series:  http://eepurl.com/baaiQ1

To Receive a Free Consultation for putting together a Personal Plan of Action for yourself,  fill out the contact form beside this blog or send me an e-mail.  I am also available for speaking engagements, retreats or teaching workshops for your church, clubs or women’s groups on a variety of topics that affect our lives.

 

Losses

Aria as baby - 9-03-07As I write the chapters for my book, “The Next Step,” I am reminded of the many losses people face within their lifetime. Some are a normal part of life. But many are unexpected, traumatic and devastating.

The last thing you wanted was to lose your baby, or your marriage or your health that impairs your ability to earn a living. When hit with such major losses or tragedies, we can’t imagine that life can ever be considered normal again.

Think of soldiers who come home with the loss of arms or legs or PTSD nightmares. Or a parent who is told their child has a terminal illness after waiting for years to have that child. Or a teacher who discovers she has a slow degenerative disease that will take every ounce of effort to continue working to support herself.

As great as the death of a loved one, chronic illness can seem like a slow death sentence.  Living with severe health restrictions is a struggle few of us experience. Losing a beloved child, born or yet to be born, can be devastating. Losing your ability to make a living, tragic.  Losing the ability to see there are options even more tragic.

 

SCOC0070There are many losses that crash into our lives like the waves of a powerful storm.

The loss of your home, your job, your financial security – all can seem like the end of the world. Where do we go from here?

Part of grieving is coming to terms with what has happened. If an accident or senseless act of violence has taken a loved one, you will struggle with the enormity of those events.

And yet, it is precisely here and in the worst circumstances where we are asked to accept and let go – let go of what was important and valuable to us.

How can you accept such awful and life shattering circumstances?

Acceptance

 

RainbowIn order to accept and let go, we need to understand what acceptance means. Coming to terms with our tragedy is not resignation. Letting go does not mean it wasn’t important. We may not get the justice we feel we deserve, but in letting go, we can take the next step needed to create a new positive reality.

Acceptance and letting go does not mean you let go of what your loss meant to you; it means you will work with it and go beyond it. You do not need to remain stuck in that place of mourning forever.  The loss and its meaning can be integrated safely into our memories if we allow it.

Unwanted change, tragedies or losses of any kind can seem overwhelming. Working through the endless tangles of emotions and thoughts, we often feel as though we will never see the sun of joy again, never experience happiness, laughter, contentment or satisfaction. But we do.

Over the following weeks, the focus of my blogs will be on how we can accept, let go and reframe our situations so we can take that next step in life, finding the options that will help us create a new reality that brings with it the possibility for peace, hope, contentment and joy.

Marlene Anderson

 

If you enjoyed this blog post, share with your friends.

Sign up today to receive the entire series:  http://eepurl.com/baaiQ1

To Receive a Free Consultation for putting together a Personal Plan of Action for yourself,  fill out the contact form beside this blog or send me an e-mail.  I am also available for speaking engagements, retreats or teaching workshops for your church, clubs or women’s groups on a variety of topics that affect our lives.

Gratitude

DSC00751Did you know that just by searching for positive things to be grateful for, you are activating your brain to produce more “feel good” hormones? Just by the process itself you are changing how your brain is operating.

Wow! That’s pretty significant. But why then don’t we focus more on all the blessings and things we can be thankful for rather than the things we don’t like and that make us unhappy?

Because we also get a payoff from continuing to focus on all the bad things.  We are rewarded at least in the short term. Even worrying makes your brain feel better – at least for the moment.  But not in the long term.

And that is what is important – the long term consequence of what you are doing.  Because that will have a more lasting effect on everything you do.  It produces a feedback loop that continues to expand into more positive things.

Alex Korb, a UCLA neuroscience researcher gives us insights into the importance of gratefulness, happiness, and reduced depression in our life and has written a book about it entitled The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time.

j0438577We see around us so much anger and hatred; hanging onto  grievances and seeking retribution. We fail to see the long term negative effect it can have on us.

As a therapist and former teacher and facilitator, I encourage people to challenge negative thinking and replace with more positive thinking.  As we change how we interpret and respond to life’s challenges, we will begin to see things to be grateful for. Even if they seem small and inconsequential, they are still important.

It isn’t events or people who make us angry, depressed, etc. It is how we choose to respond to whatever is happening around us.

We can reframe our circumstances so we not only see the bad stuff but the good stuff too, which all too often gets pushed in the background. The wonderful thing is that nobody can force us to remain angry, upset or hopeless if we choose not to.

Start a gratitude journal

Get a journal and call it your gratitude journal.  Every day write down something you are thankful for.  Search for those jewels of gratitude.  Include those bits of humor or funny quips – those things that make you smile. Read them as often as you can.

Purposefully search out those blessings and they will expand your frame of reference – your view of the world. You no longer see the telescopic dot of misery, but other aspects of life that is good. When you do, you will find your mood, attitude, thinking, point of view, and your life take on a new color, a new sense of thankfulness and contentment.

We are making choices all the time. We choose what we want to focus our attention on. We can focus on constructive planning and decision making or we can focus on thinking about how nothing will turn out. We can choose to worry or we can choose to put our energy into problem solving. We can spend our time thinking about how little we have or we can be truly grateful for all we do have. We can choose to be happy.

Marlene Anderson

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To Receive a Free Consultation for putting together a Personal Plan of Action for yourself,  fill out the contact form beside this blog or send me an e-mail.  I am also available for speaking engagements, retreats or teaching workshops for your church, clubs or women’s groups on a variety of topics that affect our lives.

Laugh – Its good for your health

Eliz and Don“Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand.”

Mark Twain

 

“When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and

hang on.  And swing!!!”  Leo Buscaglia

 

“The crisis of today is the joke of tomorrow”   H. G. Wells

 

Laughter is a tonic that makes today better and raises hopes for tomorrow. Humor is not just fun. It is extremely powerful “medicine” that heals the soul and mends the body.

 

Each person has within them the ability to create humor and laugh.

 

Medical research suggests that it gives a workout to many bodily organs and triggers the secretion of hormones connected with the immune system. Humor is a revival, a mini vacation, a breath of fresh air, a way to cope. Laughter counters isolation and puts people in empathetic touch with others.

 

Humor can:

  • Instantly transport you to another world
  • Remove you from the troubles of the moment
  • Allow the pain to subside for a moment
  • Make life more bearable
  • Allow you to laugh at yourself and your situation
  • Give you power over what seems impossible and powerless

 

Don in disguise 001

What makes you laugh?

Our youngest son had to wear a brace to hold his head up.  While it took a bit longer with more hard falls to learn to walk, once he did he never stopped.  Full of mischief and a sense of humor that never quit, he would do something totally unexpected and have us all laughing.

Our days are full of moments when if we are aware give us not only pause to smile but out and out laugh.  The ordinary can become moments of comedy or an opportunity to turn it into something to laugh at.

 

When do you laugh the most?

 

The following are some ways to bring humor into your life. Try some. Don’t be concerned about whether it seems strange or phony.  It may seem corny, but if it makes you smile or laugh, hey isn’t that what we need today?

 

  1. Take an intolerable situation – one that is packed with emotions and stress. Flip it over and “tickle its tummy.” Humor can take the edge off any crisis.

 

            “I’m giving so much money to the doctors, they’ll want to

erect a statue in my honor.”

            “I’m hanging on so tight, I’m getting rope burn!”

 

  1. Exaggerate. Take a bad day. Blow it out of proportion. Make a mountain out of a mole hill. Imagine you are giving a performance at the local theatre. Or become one of your favorite comedians and during the day deliver their usual script using your situation.

 

            “I had such a bad day. . . You wouldn’t believe

how bad it was.   It was so bad. . . “

            “I wouldn’t say the rooms in my last hotel were small,

but the mice were hunchbacked!” Fred Allen

 

  1. Create a good news/bad news scenario by turning upsetting events into humorous ones. Start with the bad news – then end it with a humorous punch.

 

            “The bad news is I had all my teeth pulled.

“The good news is I don’t have to floss anymore!!”

 

  1. “Accent-tchu-ate the positive, eliminate the negative. . .” and “latch onto the affirmative” was a popular 1940’s song. Choose to look at the world on the positive vs negative side. Example: a 50% chance of sunshine instead of a 50% chance of rain. A glass half full vs half empty.

 

            “How did the play go tonight?” “Oh, the play was

a great success,  but the audience was a failure!”

Oscar Wilde, Playwright

 

  1. When you’re hurting, the world looks grey and dismal. Start a “Happy Journal.” Paste a large smiling face on the cover.

Record one happy, pleasant or joyful event each day. This may include smiles, warm comments, a beautiful sunset, a favorite saying or anything that made you laugh. Paste in cards and letters. Write a love letter to yourself.

 

  1. Start a list of fun things to do. Things you have always wanted to do. Choose one to do each day.

 

  1. Smile at yourself every time you pass a mirror! At the same time, give yourself a big hug. (Simply wrap your arms around yourself and squeeze!)

 

Then, the next person you meet, ask for and give them a big hug.

Hug somebody new each day!

 

  1. Cut out jokes and cartoons and place around the house.

9.   Create and put some humor affirmations. When you start to feel depressed, repeat:

“I love to laugh”

“Each day provides funny moments. I just have to look for them.”

“I am so grateful I just want to laugh!”

 

  1. Write your troubles on a piece of paper. Burn it in a large ashtray and watch “your troubles go up in smoke.” Or tie the pieces of paper to a helium balloon. Take outside and release. Watch your troubles float away.

 

10.  Perhaps the greatest gift of all is our ability to laugh at ourselves! If we laugh at ourselves

nobody can laugh “at us” – they can only laugh “with us”.

 

            “When we admit our schnozzles, instead of defending them,

we begin to laugh and the world laughs with us.”   Jimmy Durante

 

So try it out.  Smile, laugh, share a moment of happiness with someone else, hug a friend who needs it and then help them smile with a word of hope and grace and humor.

 

Marlene Anderson

If you enjoyed this blog post, share with your friends.

Sign up today to receive the entire series:  http://eepurl.com/baaiQ1

To Receive a Free Consultation for putting together a Personal Plan of Action for yourself,  fill out the contact form beside this blog or send me an e-mail.  I am also available for speaking engagements, retreats or teaching workshops for your church, clubs or women’s groups on a variety of topics that affect our lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Packing

IMG_2971Last year I went on a long anticipated river cruise. It was something I had wanted to do for years and was excited when I had the opportunity to go.

Because good friends had done most of the research for our trip and had established our traveling plans, what was left for me was to determine what I would take with me for the fifteen days we would be traveling on a beautiful river boat up the Danube, Main and Rheine rivers.

It took careful thought to determine what I would need on the trip.  The clothes I chose would need to meet many different weather situations: rain, sunshine and chilly winds as well as dress up and casual. At home I had a whole closet to choose from as needed. Now however, what ever clothes I took had to fit into two suitcases that I could carry.

What should I take? What do I need to purchase? What would I like to take but really could do without? Eventually, I came up with just the right amount, the right balance and was ready to take off.

 

The Trip of Life

As I work on my next book, The Next Step, Beyond Survival, I am reminded again of all the “stuff” we take with us through the trip of life:

resentment, grievances, labels, fault finding, unfair comparisons, hate, anger, fear, anxiety and tons of other garbage that continue to weigh us down.

Perhaps as we travel on this trip through 2017, we can repack our bags, take out the things that only weigh us down and put the following in place instead:

acceptance, confidence, problem solver, compassion, hope, humility, love, forgiveness and grace. The load will be lighter and much more serviceable.

Whatever we decide to take with us on our next steps into the future, I hope they will be exciting and motivating and energizing, helping us to solve problems, enhance our relationships and make life a true bold adventure.

Marlene Anderson

 

If you enjoyed this blog post, share with your friends.

Sign up today to receive the entire series:  http://eepurl.com/baaiQ1

To Receive a Free Consultation for putting together a Personal Plan of Action for yourself,  fill out the contact form beside this blog or send me an e-mail.  I am also available for speaking engagements, retreats or teaching workshops for your church, clubs or women’s groups on a variety of topics that affect our lives.