Tuesday, November 1, 2016

"Most people are as happy as they make their minds up to be." -Abraham Lincoln

It took me a few decades to figure out how to be happy. Truly happy. There were points in my life where it was frequent to cry myself to sleep. And not due to some sort of clinical issue... only due to my own self imposed circumstances and perceptions of my reality.

I started changing my reality about 4 years ago. I realized that everything that was happening in my life; the good, the bad and the ugly, were all under my control. You know you have that one friend on social media who always seems to have something going wrong in their life? The even exclaim, "If it is not one thing, it's another!!" And I always wonder how the world can always be crashing down on one person over and over, seemingly daily.

I have come to realize, a lot of the ugly in your world is either self perpetuated or a self- fulfilling prophecy.

There are so many insurmountable issues to some that seem so easy to fix to me... money problems? Spend less and/or earn more. Relationship problems? Choose your partners more wisely. I know if a person was in the midst of one of these crisis', they would find my advice condescending and patronizing. But, really, if you removed yourself from yet another bad relationship where you were, yet again, being treated like less than the queen you deserve and looked back over your choices, is there a reason you have had 10 boyfriends over the past decade and every one of them has been an absolute jerk? Is there possibly any way you could avoid that scenario for your future self?

Here are a few from my list to get you started:

1. You do not NEED a partner. I see sooo many women who simply can not fathom being "lonely". I have never shared that mentality, so this one is hard for me to comprehend. But there are literally a million other things in life to entertain you besides a man. Concentrate on your kids, your hobbies, your job, a new hobby, your community, volunteering, your pet... there are so very many ways you can find happiness that do not include settling for a partner that will actually derail your happiness.

2. Be grateful. It sounds so trite these days (especially on November first where people will start with their 30 days of grateful posts) but it is true. Take the power away from the negative thoughts by filling your head with positive thoughts. Do you have healthy kids? Attentive friends? Food in your fridge? Did your boss give you extra kudos today? There must be reason you have that you can be grateful every single day. Concentrate on those.

3. Set goals and achieve them. I don't even mean goals like getting your Masters Degree or buying a house. I mean achievable small goals that you can check off a list every day to give yourself some sense of accomplishment. I have 2 apps that help me achieve this. The first is a household cleaning app called Tody. I use it to track all of my household chores and LOVE when I have a free couple of hours to check a bunch of stuff off my list. Right now... it's all in the red:
But you better believe when I get a day to move it all to green, I will be all smiles. Today, I am just grateful to have a beautiful home to even worry about cleaning.

The next app is called Three Things. Again, this is not life changing goal setting here... I put three on the app at the start of the day that I would like to accomplish. Previous entries are: Buy cat food, pay phone bill, mail mom birthday card, random act of kindness....

Again, I get a sense of relief and accomplishment to complete a goal and feel freed up to set a new goal. Of course I support setting loftier goals as well, but as a mother of three very active children who also works outside the home, if I have not forgotten kid at soccer and they have all been fed, I feel like a superhero that day. Bigger goals in my life will come post-children years.

4. Exercise. Move, Get outside. I have never felt happier than I have in the past year or two where I have decided to get my ass outside and move. It might just be a 45 minutes walk in the morning after I get the kids on the bus or it may be a trip to the gym to sweat on the elliptical.  I do not have enough ways to exclaim how important this one is for every momma!!! There are a ridiculous amount of studies and articles expanding on the benefits of moving, so I will not belabor the point.

Please... when you feel like life is one constant battle for you, just stop and take a breath. Is it truly the world against you or are you bringing it on to yourself? Can you make even a few minor changes that may sway the current of your life in a positive manner? I honestly believe that you can.

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