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.