Wednesday, March 26, 2014

7 Ways To Live A Happy Life (No Matter What The Heck Is Going On Around You)

Although I live in Wisconsin and am becoming increasingly jealous of people posting 'spring time' photos on Instagram, while I go out still bundled up in my winter coat, I can see bits and pieces of spring and summer approaching every so often and it makes me happy to see the sun shining and the snow melting. There is something about new life and green grass and warmer weather after a very cold winter that makes us happy and want to stay that way. But even when the day is gloomy outside or things aren't always going our way, we can still choose to live a life of happiness. I wanted to share a few approaches to life that I have taken over the past few years that make me smile and live in peace no matter what is going on around me. Hope some of these you are able to take to heart and apply to your day and your life!

1. Today, I Will Be Intentional
You may not have any grandeur plans to change the world today. It's probably not even the day that you go out and start your own personal charity project to even a single person. But that doesn't mean you can't live intentionally. Each day is an opportunity to be a better person. There are a million ways you can live an intentional life and not let your day just go by without doing something good for yourself or someone else. Send an encouraging email or comment on facebook. Praise your husband or your children for something good you see in them. Eat healthy or go to the gym today and let today be the day that you start doing good for yourself. Set aside time in your car or in your room to pray for someone you know really needs it. When you live intentionally, you are happier. It's those days, weeks and months that slip by with no real purpose, you find yourself depressed or unhappy with your choices. Choose today (each day) to wake up and live a live aimed with purpose.

2. Today, I Will Forgive.
Forgiveness is hard when someone has hurt you terribly. Perhaps someone has hurt you repeatedly throughout your life, causing you to feel bitter not only at them, but distrusting with people in general. Maybe you even blame God. But unforgiveness is the easiest way to ruin your own life. So many times when we don't forgive, the person who has hurt us doesn't even know we are feeling that way or maybe doesn't even care. It's unfortunate, but it's true. So the only person our grudge is hurting is us.  We can even try waking up with an ultra-superior attitude that says "I don't care about anyone, anything or who says what about me anymore. I'm not anyone's doormat." But that is not healthy either. Because it still stems from bitterness which gives us an unhappy view of the world and life. Choose to live in peace with an attitude of joy. The biggest payback to someone who has hurt you is to be legitimately happy. Not fake, I've got an bad-a** attitude, nobody is gonna hurt me, happy. You don't live happy to "show them." You live happy to be happy. That's it.

3. Today, I Will Forgive Myself
This is another big one we all struggle with from time to time. Letting our failures defeat us into days, weeks and months of mediocrity. We allow ourselves to suffer because of something we have done that we feel bad about. We close ourselves off to the world and pretend we like it that way. Or we shut down, and block out everyone who cares about us because we don't know how to face people without appearing or feeling guilty. We also close our hearts down to the one who forgives all, God. We think we aren't good enough to even approach him. I've been at that place, where I almost feel embarrassed or ashamed to even talk to God about things, because I feel unworthy. But what we have to realize is, God already knows. He knows and sees everything we do in secret. The best way to get over it is just to talk about it with him and realize He has forgiven us. And it's an honor to God and to other people when we just get over ourselves, forgive ourselves and move on with what we are intended to do in this life, instead of sulk.

4. Today, I Will Be Grateful
I'm the first one to admit that I don't  have everything I want. I can't even always say I have everything I need. But I do have everything I need to be happy and content. Wake up knowing that as bad as things may seem at moments, you can still justify an attitude of gratefulness. We have all been at that point that it seems like our whole world has caved in and we feel like no one understands. Perhaps none of us have been through your exact circumstances, but every person has been in the ditches and trenches of life, feeling like we have nothing left to live for. But it's not true. We have the next day to live for. Even if we are on our death bed or in prison, we have eternity to live for. And we can be thankful for 2nd chances. We can be thankful that God spared our life for this long, allowing us to redeem some time on earth. We can be thankful the weather is getting warmer. We can be thankful for the smile on our child's face when they see us after school. Find something in your life that is good and say "God, I thank you today that you have given me....."

5. Today, I Will Be Confident
We can all find a great deal about ourselves that we aren't crazy about. From a physical aspect we dislike to a bad habit we know we have to something we want to succeed in that we haven't conquered yet. We can easily feel inferior when we compare ourselves to others. But instead of finding everything wrong with yourself that you can, try finding all the good things about  yourself and step up the confidence in who you are right now in this moment today. Having a good hair day? Make the most of it! Have white teeth? Flash them pearly whites. Have you been working out more than you used to? Have you been reading your Bible or spending time with God more than you used to? Have you been writing more? Blogging more? Have you become more aware of what you want out of life lately? Whatever good thing you have done for yourself or see in your self, be proud and confident in those aspects of who YOU are today. Don't focus on the failures, but on the successes and when you do, it will make you strive to up the ante on all the things you want to get better at or be better at.

6. Today, I Won't Let The Little Things Get To Me
Sometimes, when I accidentally cut someone off in traffic or I am daydreaming at a stop light and someone flips me off... or beeps at me...or drives by shaking their head or yelling from their car, I think to myself, "Wow, I really ruined their day, didn't I?"
I bet they went and complained to their wife about some crazy lady in traffic who wasn't paying attention, or went off on a rant on facebook how people need to learn how to drive. And I'm sorry but all I can think is, what a pathetic way to live. To let some little minor thing done by some stranger ruin your entire outlook on your day or your life. My husband is famous for getting beeped at and instead of ignoring it, he lets it bother him and rides up on the persons tail or else suddenly stops to a hault just to tick the person behind us off even more. And I always tell him "Chill out! Who cares! You are never going to see that person again."
There are things in life that we will never be able to change about our situation, our jobs, our bosses or about other people we have in our lives. Those things might ultimately bother us, but instead of letting their attitude, behavior, character flaw or their personal rant ruin our day, sometimes you can choose to simply walk around like you are in your own little world. It's easy. It's not a haughty  "I'm better than you" attitude, but its simply, I choose to be happy. That's all there is to it.

7. Today, I Can Say No
This was a big one for me. Because by nature, I am a people pleaser. I've said before how I'm a preachers kids and how I feel like throughout my life, I have let my fear of what people thought about me steer me into always trying to make other people happy, no matter how miserable or stressed out I got. I want the best for people. I want to help people. But ultimately I am of no use to no one~ God, my family, my husband, my church or anyone else if I am tired, crabby, unrested or haven't spent time focusing on myself or my relationship with God. Sometimes we just have to rest. We don't have to take our kids to every event available to them. We don't have to say yes to every event at our church. We don't have to be involved in every PTA meeting. We don't have to go to every party we are invited to. We don't have to do every craft we see on Pinterest that we love. We don't have to blog every day. We may want to, but we don't have to. Almost everything we do that keeps us busy is by choice. Even our jobs. It sounds crazy, but we can choose to go without some luxuries in life if we have to work so hard to get them that it stresses our bodies or minds out. I've had to say NO to people and things I love before and say "I'm sorry. I don't have a bad attitude. I want to help. But I can't do this right now because its stressing me out and it's no good for my family or my peace of mind." I seriously feel like it's a huge lesson God taught me last year is simply to learn to slow down.


Lisa @ MMT said...

Such a great reminder about the things we can do to be happier. I def need to bookmark this and save it for one of those really bad days!

Joy Foucault said...

I honestly wasn't sure what I would see/read when I saw this new post. It blew me away. Not those mindless lists that we forget. This is truly a God-breathed reminder through you to us all that we have choices. Thanks for sharing this. I know I needed to hear it today.

Sarah said...

These are such great reminders & things that are hard for me to do on a daily basis. Especially living intentionally. I realize if I don't start my day off by being intentional with my time, instead I just let what happens, happen, I get consumed with small tasks that are begging for my attention & I don't end up getting things done that are actually important. Thanks for sharing!

Julie S. said...

I so needed this today! Lovely post!

Kristine@thefoleyfam said...

So much truth here Julie! Seriously #7 is a killer for me as well. Thanks for the awesome reminder and perspective! XO

Brooke @ Covered in Grace said...

I sure did like this. #5 & 6 really speak to me and my "situation" right now.
Like Kristine said...thank you for the awesome perspective.
And..I want to say props to you.. I love how you keep writing, no matter what, even after long pauses for reflection. I hope to follow suit.

Cody Doll said...

These are great. I loved every one of them. Now to actually make it happen.

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