Life is stressful.
There is always an interview, a presentation, a trip, a to-do list, an illness, a difficult boss, a fractured friendship, unkind words, forgiveness that seems to stretch our ability to grant and now simmers below the surface of our smile.
Does it seem that your stress outweighs your peace?
Our bookshelves, Kindles, and podcast apps are littered with advice.
Brene Brown says we should divulge our vulnerability.
Marie Kondo says we should declutter our spaces and our lives.
Oprah and Dr. Phil say, “Name it to claim it”. Claim happiness. Then go out and serve, read, exercise, and eat delicious food. (And we have to admit Oprah looks mighty happy on her monthly magazine covers!)
Abraham Lincoln said, “Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.”
The Bible too offers advice, though not the self-help kind, more the God-help kind. The apostle Paul wrote to the Philippian church,
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)
I agree with all of the above. But how to bind my wayward mind in order to attain peace? Here are my top six practices.
-Make time to meditate. Here’s a 3-minute breathing technique
-Focus on one-step living. All you have is this very moment.
-Forget the “C” word. Relinquish CONTROL Ride the waves of life in the hand of God which could be the safest place to be.
-Follow Oprah’s advice and serve others. Perhaps write a note (who does that these days??). Go to Compassion International and select a child to sponsor.
-Pray in a palms-up; palms-down manner. Are you worried about a wayward child, an upcoming social event, an unfriendly bathroom scale, or a scary test result on the horizon? Turn up your palms and mentally place your concerns there, pray over them, then turn your palms downward. I believe a power greater than any you could ever muster wants to carry your burdens. (How do I know? He is holding my own tears and redeeming my own sadness, even as I write this.)
-Give your mind a stern lecture. Sing a song that makes you happy. Name your gratitudes. Check out a new recipe. Declutter just one teeny weeny drawer.
Eleanor Roosevelt said,
OK, Mind, you have your marching orders for today. Dream big; find beauty, and don’t let stress get the upper hand.
You’ve got this, Oh Mind of Mine.
-Claiming happiness sounds great. But really, it’s all about Doing Happiness. Hey Mind, are you listening? Get over yourself and make that call; try that recipe; sing. Splurge on a new face cream or a nice bottle of red.
-Channel Eleanor Roosevelt. A life well lived amid stress we cannot imagine. Here’s her book on 11 keys to a more fulfilling life.
Enjoy the Ride!
Barclay and Joy