You know those days where nothing goes right, everything goes wrong, and your favorite shirt shrinks in the dryer? It seems like the last three weeks have been that way for almost everyone I’ve talked to. Me included. So this is about ways for all of us to keep a positive attitude. I often write what I need to hear, and that’s what I’m going to do again. Here goes.
1. Cry. Even Jesus wept. Sometimes, you girls out there especially understand, we just need a good cry. So if you need to get it out, then do. I have a movie that I rarely watch except when I have too much emotion and I need to release it. The thing is, the cry should be a temporary state. It should let you get on with what you need and want to do, so don’t get stuck here.
2. Laugh. Make yourself laugh. Whether you feel like it or not. Listen to someone funny. Watch your favorite comedy. Read your favorite funny story. Think of a time you did something incredibly silly. When was the last time you laughed so hard that you couldn’t breathe and your sides ached? Make that happen again today somehow. The Bible says in Proverbs 15:13, “A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.” So find a good way to find merry.
3. Sing. Paul and Silas sang when they were in prison, so surely we can do the same. My personal favorite for this situation is Sing and Be Happy. I have found that when I’m singing a cheerful song, even though it doesn’t instantly dissolve all my problems like sugar in tea, it does make me feel better.
4. Pray. We are never completely alone. We don’t have to worry about checking the time to see if it’s past nine in the evening and won’t use minutes on our cell phones. He won’t interrupt us to be critical when we are pouring our hearts out, and He can help us in ways we don’t even know how to ask. Ephesians 3:20 reminds us of the power of God: “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.”
5. Talk. Find a friend/relative/neighbor who will listen. We should turn to God first, but we are put in families and Church families for a reason. We can learn from those wiser than us. Sometimes it’s comforting, simple as it seems, to just hear someone say it’s going to be ok. It often helps me to put my problems in words; maybe it’s because when they’re in my head they can grow to mammoth size and sprout fangs, horns, and glowing red eyes like the monster under the bed. When they are out in the open they are more tangible, and I have more ideas about how to solve them.
6. Help. Find someone, anyone, and do something nice for them. Even being pleasant and asking how someone is doing is not common today. Cashiers usually appreciate this, and they do actually remember cheerful customers. Random acts of kindness help us look past ourselves. Our own worries get bigger and bigger the more wrapped up in them we allow ourselves to be. When we remind ourselves that there are a lot of other people in this world, and they all have problems too, it makes ours seem less unique and daunting.
7. Move. One of my favorite ways to calm down is to go for a run. When I get so overwhelmed I feel like I could burst like a firecracker I go outside and run. Exercise produces endorphins, which are basically a feel good chemical for the brain. Besides that, being outside is a good reminder that the world is a great big place. Hearing birds sing, feeling the wind on your face, and seeing trees unconcerned by mundane things like school and work helps keep things in perspective.
8. Plan. Come up with a way to fix the problem. Even if it isn’t the ideal way for the problem to be resolved, if I have a viable and ethical back up plan if the worst case scenario does happen, I can calm down more easily.
9. Count. As in count your blessings. Make a list of what you do still have left and focus on that. God, family, friends, home, pets, job, sense of humor, whatever you can think of. This is not to say that the struggles we go through don’t matter or are insignificant. Remembering what we do still have helps keep everything in perspective. Focus on the good.
10. Reflect. This isn’t the first time anything negative has happened in your life, and it won’t be the last permitting time stands. You got through whatever happened before, and you will get through this too.
So chins up! We can do this. Luke 1:37 says, “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” Remember Whose side we are on and Who is on our side. Romans 8:31 tells us, “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” Nothing and no one can stop us from being our Father’s children.
Have any other suggestions or comments? Chime in!
May the Lord bless and keep you,