Want to Be a Happier? Make a Shift

Want to be happier, more blessed? It can be as simple as making a mental shift.

When I think about  the blessings in my life, rather than the burdens, a truly wonderful thing happens. Put simply,  I’m happier.  Like everyone else, I have things in my life that are uncomfortable, disheartening, and plain old tough–failures, illnesses, bad decisions, pain given and pain received. I’m just as much a mess as everyone else. But I’ve finally determined I really, really like being happy and the choice is mine. That’s a shift–and an empowering one at that!

I’m seeing that as a woman thinketh in her heart, so is she (Proverbs 23:7). As I’ve deliberately focused on the blessings in my life they’ve “magically” increased. Instead of griping about extra projects on the job I can make a mental shift and thank God for a job with great bosses and a collaborative, positive environment. Complain about a migraine or not? I feel worse when I talk about and dwell on the pain. So, I rub on some essential oils or pop a pill and move on. One of the most important decisions I’ve made is to force myself to meditate on the great qualities my loved ones possess. When I feel irritated with my husband I mentally list his strengths and the many kindnesses he’s bestowed upon me until the irritation dissolves. Fume about traffic or turn on my favorite song? Sulk about the long lines at the store or grab my phone and check out Pinterest? You get the idea. Make the shift. It’s taken practice, but I’m getting good at almost immediately seeing the positive side of the coin. (Disclaimer: I don’t always CHOOSE to see and think about the positive. I sometimes intentionally dwell on the negative. It’s never beneficial, but I still opt to do it at times.)

I’ve also learned to relentlessly notice and collect the little joys that pop up– bear hugs, a kind word, puffy clouds, coffee in bed, making the light when I’m in a hurry, good hair days, a belly laugh. I’ve also tried to limit my time with negative people. Avoiding them altogether is impossible, but I don’t have to linger in their presence. Negativity and complaining are incredibly contagious. I don’t want to catch or spread that! I know from past experience how susceptible I am to it.

So, there it is. It’s taken me a couple of decades to figure out that Martha Washington had it right all along when she said, “I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.” My happiness is my choice.

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5 thoughts on “Want to Be a Happier? Make a Shift

  1. LOVE this. The Lord has been nudging me toward something similar. I find myself with blinders on at times, in my own little world. I have felt the Lord urging me to “look up”. Instead of looking at my own irritations, problems, self-involvement, etc., there is always someone who needs a touch, a kind word, a smile. Maybe it’s the lady behind me in line or the one behind the register at the store. He seems to be telling me, “SEE people. Don’t just pass them by. “Martha’s” quote reminds me of what Paul said, “…I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content…I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:11,13 Now that’s happiness! :0)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So well put, Ju! How many times have I missed seeing what God is doing in my life because I’ve been focused on what He’s not? Ugh!

    I love how you included small examples of ways to choose joy. It seems obvious how to when we get that promotion or something else like that. But by racking up joy points with smaller, everyday things, we surround ourselves with joy and gratitude. That’s how I want to live!

    We do get a choice – and today, I choose joy!

    Like

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