10 ways you’re making your life harder than it has to be: reposted (+ 10 ways to turn it around)

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This is it in a nutshell: https://thoughtcatalog.com/tim-hoch/2014/06/10-ways-youre-making-your-life-harder-than-it-has-to-be/. Plus 10 quick tips on how to make life easier (repeat after me):

  • When we continue to rehash (supposed) offenses: Let it go.
  • When we look for affirmation from others: I’m enough.
  • When our worries escalate to panic-attack proportions: It’s temporary.
  • If unrealistic/uncommunicated expectations eclipse our blessings: Be grateful.
  • Sometimes we pray, sometimes we wait but we must always do our homework: Be wise.
  • It’s okay to be picky and/or less bold when taking risks: Failure is better than not trying at all.
  • The truth on comparison shopping: The grass is not greener.
  • We cannot retrieve time we’ve lost or fast forward to the future: Practice mindfulness daily.
  • Let go of [fill in the blank]: Focus on what we can control.
  • About giving back: In the end it’s not the years in your life that count; it’s the life in your years. ~ Abraham Lincoln.

How do you make life easier?

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

The difference between happiness, joy

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happiness-vs-joy
Recently I heard an apt description of both happiness and joy. In a nutshell: happiness comes to us; joy is inside of us. It stands to reason, then, that happiness is created by external and oftentimes fleeting or fickle people, places and/or things. If we base our happiness on our spouse, job, car or health, and our relationship dies, we’re laid off, we total the car or get sick, it can be hard to put on a happy face (until the next whatever it is). Also, if everything external is temporary, then there must be something more that creates internal joy. For me and for many others, this source of joy is spiritual. For others, it’s a mindset to choose happy, while at the same time setting the intention that nothing or no one will steal their peace away. And, it doesn’t hurt to take the focus off ourselves, whenever possible, to invest in the lives of others (see ‘A rebirth of sorts…“).

Are you happy… or joyful?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net. 

How (not) to be miserable for the rest of your life

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How not to be miserable

 

A recent disappointment cast a close family member into a weeklong mopefest, binging on Netflix and junk food. I told her it’s OK to throw a pity party, as long as she doesn’t pitch a tent and take residence. And then there’s Rob, the employee at my neighborhood grocery store who was diagnosed last year with stage three lung cancer. This past week I ran into him and learned his recent CT scan uncovered new growths on his lungs. For the first 24 hours after receiving the news, he holed himself off from the world. Then he picked himself up and said, ‘OK, I don’t want to be miserable for the rest of my life so let’s do this.’ Sometimes my pity parties last a day or two before I adjust my attitude. Because attitude is everything, isn’t it? Or at least half the battle. And our minds believe what we tell them. So remember: every situation is temporary. Now let’s do this.

Does your attitude need adjusting?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Practice the pause

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practice the pause

While scrolling through Facebook the other day, I paused on a friend’s wall whose recent post read: Practice the pause. When in doubt, pause. When angry, pause. When tired, pause. When stressed, pause. And when you pause, pray. The simple definition of pause is a temporary stop or rest. My post, “Sweet and simple…,” stresses my intent to simplify this year, including my speech. And I believe if we observe the art of pause—when in doubt, when angry, when tired, when stressed, whenever it would benefit the situation—while we rest in prayer or in silence during that temporary stop, we might be able to hear the greater needs of others. And then offer to meet those needs with our provisions. It doesn’t cost us anything to pause… except maybe a second chance we’ll never require. But it takes discipline to practice anything, even stopping or resting. It’s a process, this life thing. Be gentle with yourself.

How easy is it for you to practice the pause?

Image courtesy of Tuomas_Lehtinen at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Purging and prioritizing: housekeeping for the soul

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regrets mistakes memories

Hard, this life thing. Over the past few weeks I’ve engaged in significant housekeeping tasks that, below the surface, denote a clean slate—a ‘starting over’ in practice and in theory. On the home front, I’ve tackled clutter and tossed what is no longer necessary, bagged up things to be sorted through eventually and donated items I hope might bless others. My personal life also experienced a collective loss, which has become the catalyst toward a sense of peace and healing—an opportunity to put my priorities in right order, to live with intention instead of allowing life to happen to me. Every regret or mistake I’ve made is a lesson learned, a temporary memory purged much like photos that fade over time or are deleted off a hard drive. And then replaced by the truth of knowing I’m finally on the right path as I leave behind my self-centered ways and prepare to step into my fabulous new life.

How do you ‘get over’ regrets or mistakes?

The trick is to remember

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Temporary

Ever get excited about a vacation day but little transpires as planned? That was me yesterday. Often, it’s a wonder I manage to get myself to work each morning by 7 a.m., show up at the gym or yoga studio nine hours later and then crawl into bed by 8:30 at night. And sometimes cook, clean and do my volunteer thing. Especially after a month packed with deadline upon deadline, as well as the one-year anniversary of my pop’s death, losing a beloved feline, vandalism of my daughter’s vehicle, a broken clothes dryer, infestation of ants and another kitty struggling post-surgery. I arrived at that point where, if I didn’t take the day off, I’d pack my bags and hightail it across country. Only my day off went from bad to worse—until sometime around the eleventh hour, it started to look up. And I was reminded of that very thing: whatever we’re going through is temporary. The trick is remembering.

How do you remember it’s just temporary?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Habits are choices… good or bad

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habits are choices...

I’ve got a bad habit. Okay, numerous bad habits. As I engage in these harmful rituals, however, I realize the resounding reason why stems from fear. Oftentimes when I am challenged to step outside of my comfort zone, when change is inevitable or painful and/or I desire to avoid a certain situation, I seek solace in habitual patterns—even if these patterns are not good for me. I create a panacea for the unknown with something known, a temporary fix that is all-too-often self-destructive. In particular, I excel at stuffing my feelings with junk food and drink and then cursing myself the next morning when I awaken puffy, sad and no closer to a resolution. I sabotage any strides I might experience because it’s easier to fall back into my safety net of familiarity. And then I wonder why my life doesn’t change. But today is a new day. Time to make better choices.

What is a bad habit you can replace today with a better one?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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