Five Ways to Combat Worry

WorryWe are at war.  Everyday.  We are not even aware. We wake up and try to smile at the day ahead.  Almost immediately our dutiful brains remind us of challenges, old debates and grudges we continue to hold.  Tapes begin to play in our heads. We are not even aware of them.  We dress to disguise any trace of unrest, and get on with the day.

This worry, no matter how short-lived within our days, takes it toll on our bodies: our muscles, bones and organs; our blood pressure, blood sugar and ability to fight off infection. Often we engage in worrisome thoughts, emerging from one worry to another.  We think this is life.  We think we are destined to be concerned.  This is the adult thing to do.  But worry is a state that keeps us from our true happy selves.  Worry is a state that damages our body.  Worry is the war we need to win.  Here are five ways to replace worry with confidence, smiles and general, overall happiness.

  1. Look in the mirror every hour.

You can use a mirror or your iPhone/iPad/computer camera. Look carefully.  Each time you use the restroom, look, really look at your facial expression as you pass the mirror.  It may surprise you!  Where’s your smile?  Where’s your ease?  Where’s the person you think you are?  The answer is, probably lost in some concern or worry.  Easy enough fix!  As soon as you recognize the worry, let it go and turn it into a smile.

Hi there! you say to yourself as if to a best friend.  How’s it going!  I sure love you!.  Now that will get you smiling because you will feel foolish at first, but it will work.  The more you become friends with yourself, the stronger, more confident you will become.

Put your timer on and do a spot check every hour for the first week or two.  See if things won’t turn around almost immediately.

2.  When you catch yourself worrying, give it a category.

It is thought that there are three ways to handle worry.  One: see if you can change the situation.  Two: see if you can set yourself apart from the situation.  And, three: accept the situation and go on.

Once you hear yourself lost in a concern (and you may see yourself faster than hearing yourself, so use the mirror every hour), decide how you will proceed.  Stop the tapes immediately.  For example.  You see a worried person in the mirror and ask what is going on.  You’re thinking about a water bill that just came in the mail.  You decide to categorize the worry.  You choose to change the situation by going to your checkbook or computer and paying the water bill.  You have freed yourself from worry.

But what if you do not have funds for the water bill?  Then you will need to dig a bit deeper and see what situation is causing this.  Once you identify the situation, (perhaps you spent all your money on a party last week), then you need to change your way of living in the future to make room for your expenses.  You can forgive yourself for being human, call the water company and ask for an extension and then pay the bill.  If your situation is more complicated with lots of months or years of making decisions that cause you worry, then you will need to take one worry at a time and sort them into categories and act on each worry, one by one, until you find peace.

3.  Do something out of character.

When you live within the same situations every day, it is hard to find solutions for your worries.  Give yourself a new character when you find yourself worrying.  Put on a crazy hat or shirt. Put your plates where your drinking glasses are, and your glasses where your plates were.  Change things around and get your brain occupied with something other than chewing and re-chewing your current worry.  This is especially important when you have chosen to accept the situation or person who is causing you worry.  Put on some music and even listen to a type of music that you seldom hear.  Let the light in!  If you don’t wear shoes in the house, wear shoes.  If you don’t dress up in your house, dress up.  Do anything out of character and you’ll see an improvement.  The part of your brain previously sending feelings of worry, will stop sending the worries and pause long enough to listen for a different directive..  This is enough time \ sort out your worries in a happier state.  Quickly solve your concern and move on. Life will all of a sudden become fun.

4. Let nature calm you:  take a walk, stroll, or drive

Nature is a free gift that is everywhere.  Nature waits to calm you!  It’s just outside your door.  Sit with a flower, bush or tree.  If you are quiet enough, nature will speak to your heart and in no time at all you will be feeling great.  If you want to tell nature all about your concerns, go ahead.  In moments you’ll be putting them into the categories and feel 100% better.

Walking is good for your body and good for relieving stress caused by worry.  A walk a day can keep the doctor away!

5.  Forgive yourself and others daily

Once you start thinking about the process of forgiveness, you can take advantage of the extraordinary opportunity it provides.  Letting go of resentment is a powerful tool toward letting go of worry.  Resentment imprisons us. Worry provides us with feelings of resentment.  It compares our lives to others and resents that we do not have the surplus of funds that seems so available to our friends.  Resentment goes on and on.  It provides us with a zillion reason this is so unfair.  We are lost and victimized through resentment and the worries continue.

Forgiveness is an often misunderstood and therefore under-utilized.  Lose the resentment of others when you perceive you are being threatened or disrespected.  Lose the resentment of perceived situations resembling hard times.  Lose the resentment of self when you do not measure up to what you perceive you should be.  Forgive, forgive, forgive.  Be generous in your for-giving!

When you are doing your hourly mirror checks, take a moment to forgive whatever is going on in the moment.  Forgive yourself, others and situations and you will become stronger, able to achieve more and happier.

Practice these five methods to decrease worry in your life.  I hope they help you and I hope they help to make a better, happier world.  I welcome your comments.

Love,

Barbara

Two Exercises For Peace, Love and Happiness

Today I am offering two ideas for a more pleasant day.  Audio Blog Available.

Number one:  Plan your day as if it has already taken place.

This exercise might seem a bit strange at first, but it packs a powerful punch. Instead of getting up in the morning and hoping things will turn out, imagine the actions of the day as already having taken place, as if you are watching a movie.  Imagine you are finished with the day.  Imagine how you feel because of the day’s events.

You can rise in the morning with enthusiasm, or you may dread the day.  The first thing you can do is be thankful for your bed, for the body you are in, for your surroundings and for the people in your life.  The best days start with appreciation for what you have.  The second thing you can do is to plan for your day.  See yourself talking to your co-workers in a happy environment of sharing.  See yourself completing your tasks at work with ease and enjoyment.  Imagine all sorts of good surprises for yourself. And, top it off with the thought, that all of your dreams have already come true!  Imagine you are getting ready for bed tonight and enjoying the memories of the actualization of your dreams.

As I said, this may seem a bit strange at first. But don’t give up!  It will bring about happier situations throughout your day as you perfect your skills.  You are beginning to achieve the skill of objectivity.  You are beginning to see yourself and your situations in a new light and gain power over your daily life and situations.  You are in touch with your core of happiness.

Number two:  Be your greatest fan

Have you ever heard yourself singing or read something you wrote long ago and been surprised that it was you singing or writing? Have you ever come across a project from work that gave you an amazing feeling that it was you who accomplished that project?  If so, you have a rare opportunity to be your greatest fan.

Self-love is the beginning task for all of us.  To the extent you love and admire your true self you will be able to love others … and not a speck more.   Take time today to find out more about yourself and see if you can be proud to know yourself the same way you would be proud to say you know a rockstar or politician or actress or boss or anyone you admire in your life.  Are you proud to know you?  Are you proud to be you?  That is powerful stuff.

Many people are taught to love their neighbor as themselves.  They may work hard on charity events only to find themselves unhappy and in conflict with those they work with.  They wonder how it is that they can be so charitable and so irritated at the same time.  Of course, you know the answer.  You cannot give what you do not have.  Love yourself and loving others becomes a natural response.

Perhaps today you will take time to express yourself in art, writing, singing, playing an instrument or creating an audio book.  Tomorrow, enjoy what you have created.  Don’t worry if you have not received any feedback from anyone regarding how great you are.  Take time to enjoy and admire who the person is behind the creation …. you!  Allow yourself to admire yourself and you will experience happiness and peace because you will be coming in contact with all that we consider important.

Peace!

The Art of Feeling Good – Five Lessons

There are so many ways to feel good. Here are some:

  1. Wake up with the enthusiasm of a child. A child wakes up with surprise, readiness and willingness to explore whatever is around. It can be a toy, a first experience with snow, a shadow, the sun or anything else that presents itself. Before you go to sleep, make the intention to wake up with childlike acceptance of all around you. Be aware the moment you find yourself conscious. Listen. Look around the room and enjoy the delights of your furniture, the light coming into the window, the feeling of your bedding and anything else that catches your attention. Take a moment to feel your toes, your legs, your arms, your hands and your amazing ability to use your eyes!
  2. Be grateful for everything you encounter. Forget judging situations as good or bad. Enjoy the rainy weather with as much enthusiasm as sunny days. Enjoy the days you are tired as much as the days you have great spurts of energy. Enjoy the opportunity to be on earth to explore all kinds of experiences. Nothing is good or bad. Everything is. The more you appreciate each moment, the more capacity you will have for happiness.
  3. Forget what you should do and just do. Let go of obligatory relationships. Take on relationships that feel free. Love another and actively demonstrate your love to another because the opportunity is in front of you. Let go of thoughts that tell you to demonstrate your love out of duty. Let go of thoughts when you think that performing such actions will make you a better human being. You already are perfect. Act from the core of love and you will always feel good.
  4. Remember you come from the same source as everyone else. There is no one better than you. You are not better than anyone else. You are of the same substance as everything and everyone. How you wish to express your being-ness makes you unique and gives you the enjoyment of being on earth. Try not to benchmark yourself with anyone else. It may be difficult to do at first, but with practice you will experience such joy that you will forget the introspection in exchange for the good feelings of satisfaction.
  5. Recognize that love isn’t only for the flower-children. Be truly brave and find your sense of well-being. Sometimes it doesn’t seem to be a very popular stance to choose to love over defending one’s position. Most times we get caught up in fighting for some intellectual thought cloaked as morality and all but lose our connection with our true nature. We think we must stand fast if we are to save this nation or ourselves. We fight and stand up for so many ideals that allude us and wonder why we don’t feel well. Choose love and every time you will be saved from feeling bad.

The Closet: Uncovering The State of Happiness

Happiness is Us.  Our substance is happiness.  Yet, everyday, we get up with resolve to discover that elusive happy moment.  Hopefully this story will help us all remember the ease at which we can locate happiness.

****

Stella loved her mother.  She tried to do all the things her mother asked of her.  Stella’s mother loved clothes and each day she prepared to offer Stella  a most lavish coat that she insisted Stella wear.

The first day, she dressed Stella in a pale red, magic coat.  Everyone in the village knew about this particular coat.  The coat’s purpose was to teach the wearer how to be popular and be accepted by everyone else in the village.  This coat magically sent directives as soon as the person put the coat on.  The thing is, the longer Stella wore the coat the heavier it became and although Stella felt confident she would be the most popular in the village, she experienced a feeling of frustration and a bit of anger , emotions she not encountered before.  She didn’t understand.

As she wore the pale, red magic coat, she found that people came to the door to talk with her.  They smiled at her and giggled at whatever she said.  They invited her to the village dance and asked her if she would sing for them.  They complimented her hair and her lovely coat for somehow they realized it was what was attracting her to them.  Still they felt happy around her and loved sitting and chatting.  But Stella became more and more anxious and even a little irritated that these villagers were hanging around her house.  At the end of the day she was so tired she took off the coat and went to bed.

In the morning, she felt her old self.  She felt happy.  She looked out the window and saw the sunshine and flowers and heard the birds and she felt so thankful to be alive!  No one came to her house that day and when her mother’s friend came to the door she looked right at Stella and shook her head and said, “Stella, when are you going to comb your hair.”

So her Mother took down another coat.  This time she asked Stella to wear the purple, magic coat.  The magic in this coat would teach Stella to create an appearance that would please the villagers.  It would also teach Stella to clean and cook, walk and talk in a way that was more acceptable to all the villagers.

Stella felt the weight of this coat as she put it on.  Still, she found herself making up her bed and sweeping the floor.  All the while she wondered if she were making the bed and sweeping the floor the way all the villagers would want her to do these things.  She began to feel anxious again and a little irritated.  But she could not stop.  She showered and washed her hair.  When her hair had dried she combed it over and over until it look beautiful and she put a flower behind her ear, just the way she knew the villagers would like her to.  When she looked into the mirror she did not receive any satisfaction.  She hoped the way she looked would please all the villagers.  As the day went on she grew more tired and more irritated.  She smiled as she offered her Mother’s friend a cookie she had just baked, but inside she wondered if the friend would now accept her.  Her friend smiled back and said, “Stella, you are a fine cook. Is there nothing you cannot do?!”  But Stella did not feel very happy.  She felt very nervous and hoped she could continue to please her Mother’s friend.  By afternoon she felt exhausted and sad, and she did not know why.  She sat outside and waited for night to come.  Finally, her mother told her she could take the coat off and Stella headed straight to bed.

Once again, Stella felt her happy self as she woke up.  She stretched out and looked again at the trees and flowers and birds and even a little bee who was buzzing around a lovely rose.  She thought about how much she loved waking up and how much she loved all the people in the village.

Before long, her Mother came to her room.  “Stella,” she said.  “I have a special coat for you to wear today.  This coat is more special than all of the coats you have worn or ever will wear.”

Stella wondered what she would learn today.  “Mother, each day that you ask me to wear a coat I try to learn whatever it is that will make the villagers find me more acceptable.  I am trying so hard that every day I feel unhappy and irritated.  Do you know why this is, Mother?”

Stella’s Mother answered, “Stella, you have learned a great lesson.  You are now ready for the coat I will give you today.  Please put it on”

Stella did what her Mother asked.  But this time the coat felt like she was wearing absolutely nothing!  She felt exactly like she did when she first woke up.  She was filled with quiet happiness.

“Mother,” Stella asked, “what should I do?  I feel like I’ve been freed from trying to please anyone.  I feel like I am good enough.  I love you, Mother.  What do you say we have breakfast together?  Would you like to cook together.”

Stella’s Mother smiled. “The coat you are wearing, my dear, is the coat of love. It will never weigh you down. It will always let you float in the waters of happiness. Wear this invisible coat, and you will always be happy”

And so it was, Stella learned the lesson that everything Stella needed to learn came from wearing only the coat love.  She closed the closet where all the other coats hung and hoped she would never wear them again.

***

It might seem like a silly story, but each time you experience sadness, irritation, anger, anxiety, stress and the like, think of this little story, know you wearing something that is an obstacle to your happiness. You are trying to fit in to someone else’s idea of life and you are leaving your natural ability to live a life of love.  Take off the exterior and you will be left with everything: love.

Is There a Little White Lie in “Believe”?

Why do I continually talk about positive thinking? Why do I continually check on my own negative thinking, say, “Thank you, but no thank you!” to the thoughts that bring me feelings of doubt, pain and worry?  Why is it so hard to stay positive?  Perhaps the answer is this.

In order to believe, I must go beyond what I already know. Possibilities are infinite and beyond!  To believe I need to tell myself a little white lie.  I need to pretend beyond where I am now.  I need to believe in the silver lining before I really see it.  Every choice to let go of worry or criticism of others or every disappointment or fear will bring about a happier me.  When I let go, I make way for happiness.  To let go may require telling myself a little white lie.  When I intend to get to the positive side of life, that lie will not bite me.

It’s a little hard to find examples but here goes:

  • I wake up and remember it is Monday and time to go to work.  I have feelings of angst.  I lie to myself and tell myself that I am getting a big happy surprise at work.  I tell myself a little white lie and picture my boss giving me a great compliment.  I decide to tell myself another white lie.  I tell myself that I will experience new insight into my job.  I am happy now and ready to go to work with happy anticipation.  The result:  I will hear and accept the compliment my boss gives me ,and I will be open to the insights that will make my job easier to accomplish.  This, my friends, is beLIEving!
  • I start to make dinner and the recipe I am following turns completely wrong.  I don’t know what I did to make this so much of a mess.  I feel angry and frustrated.  I decide to tell myself a little white lie.  I tell myself that I am so lucky to be right in the midst of a new discovery.  I am about the create a meal that is tasty, nutritious and will be a family favorite for years to come, along with this great story of how it was created.  Now that I have paused and all the negative thoughts have mysteriously vanished, I have thoughts that will save the recipe and the more I have fun the more I see possibilities.  The meal is a hit with the family who appreciate the calm and happy cook in the kitchen.  We love being together at this meal.  The food does not seem particularly good or bad but the happy and warm feelings around the table cannot be surpassed!  This is beLIEving!
  • You’ve misplaced your checkbook and you are sure that it has been lost and taken by some similar thief you’ve heard about on the news.  It’s time for a little white lie.  You picture the checkbook in the house.  You remember the game “hide-the-thing” and you decide to have a go at it.   You relax for a few moments as if it is already found.  You picture the checkbook in the same place you always keep it. Your little white lie tells you that it has already been recovered.  Now you feel better and thoughts come to you as to what to do next.  You begin to play “hide-the-thing” and the “thing” is your checkbook.  As you beLIEve you get closer to its whereabout.  You will locate it and all will be fine because you beLIEve.

It is not easy to stay positive, to believe.  It is less easy to remain in the negative world of fear, sorrow, anger, irritation, frustration and pain.  When you’ve had enough just let yourself believe in happiness.

Gratitude Changes Everything — Thank You!

No Matter What You Just Did You can Turn Everything Around!

It’s is true that you never have to stay in an unhappy state.  No matter what just transpired.  No matter how sad you are about the loss of a loved one.  No matter how angry you are about an auto accident.  No matter what mistake you just made. No matter what, you can change things right now!

Choose anything to be grateful for.  Anything at all.  Your dog.  Your cat.  Your home.  Your breakfast.  Your coffee.  Anything.  Think about how grateful you are for your eyelids!  Rubbish, you say?!!

Then think about how grateful you are for the little garden you have outside and think about how good it will feel to put your hands into the dirt and play like a kid.  Don’t stop until you regain your joy.  And, whatever you do, don’t go back to the thoughts that put you in the unhappy state. Your thoughts can create more like-situations.

When you think about what you are not grateful for, you are welcoming all those events into your life once again. Let go of those thoughts right now by replacing them with much lighter, happier and pleasing thoughts.  You see, happiness is really all up to you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Year’s Recipe for Happiness

After welcoming in the New Year last night, you may need a bit of a pick-me-up this morning. Here’s a recipe that can be used throughout the year. It serves between one and a million. It’s a great hit at parties.

  • 2 parts       Appreciation
  • 1 part        Confidence
  • 2 parts      Imagination
  • A sprinkle of humor
  • A dash of mischief
  • 5 parts       Action
  1. Take the appreciation you have for the people in your life and mix it slowly with confidence you have in yourself until well blended.  Be sure to let the feelings breathe so that the mixture rises and doubles about 2-1/2 times.
  2. Now take the imagination of all things possible and sprinkle the humor and
  3. mischief.  Beat happily at high speed until well-formed ideas begin to emerge.
  4. Combine the blended appreciation and confidence with the blended imagination, humor and mischief until effervescent.
  5. Let concoction stand until it sustains a new action filled with peace, joy, hope and love.

Amazingly, this recipe can take the form of dance, singing, playing an instrument, leaving for an adventure, driving peacefully in a traffic jam, going to work,
cleaning up a room, gardening, talking with a friend, reading a book, rearranging a drawer, playing with your dog and so much more.  Be prepared to have a really good time!  Happy New Year!