Grateful

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Do you ever watch the news and just feel glad you’re not in someone else’s shoes? As I’ve watched the news over the years I’m so grateful that I’ve never had to struggle with floods, tornados and the fires that so many people across the country have had to deal with.

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We often, present company included, say that we don’t have enough money, can’t lose the last 10 pounds, wish we could quit our jobs and, sing the “if only” song all day long. If you are not happy did you know you can learn to be happy? I recently learned that happiness is a litmus test for well-being, how you’re living your life and enjoying the relationships you have. Take some time and write down what makes you happy. Some of the things that are on my happy list: extra money, good health, nice weather, going out to dinner, dressing up and cute babies.

Did you know you have to actually take time to be happy? I learned this in a happiness class. The instructor told us that we should take time to be happy at least one hour a day. I looked up some things that can increase your happiness quotient. Tolerate your own mistakes: you will make mistakes—in fact, you will make so many mistakes you will never be able to list them all. Learn that mistakes happen and the best thing you can do is to learn from them. Don’t spend your entire life dwelling on mistakes you made years ago, learn from it and move on. The world isn’t going to wait while you live in the past. Forgive yourself: Stop beating yourself up over things that happened in the past—things you did or didn’t do, and mistakes you may have made with others, forgiving yourself is a skill so few of us have the ability to accomplish.

It’s such a shame that we spend so much time living in the past and never make it to our full potential in the future. Forgive yourself—and just as importantly forgive others. Have a sense of humor: find something to laugh at, watch a rerun of “Martin” or “In Living Color,” go to the comedy club. Better yet go to a concert and sit in the corner and watch all the people who could not possibly have a full-length mirror. That last one is on my personal list, if you do this make sure no one sees you laughing, you don’t want to end up in a fight.

Try to keep life simple and practice being satisfied. I’ve added to my list: to learn to say no, cut back on multi-tasking, don’t over-schedule, delegate and don’t sweat the small stuff and as Richard Carlson, Ph.D., told us so many years ago in his book “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff,” it’s all small stuff. In his book Carlson says turn your melodrama into a mellow-drama. He says we blow things out of proportion, and make a big deal out of little things. We forget that life isn’t as bad as we make it out to be. We also forget that when we’re blowing things out of proportion, we are the ones doing the blowing.

The next time you feel stressed out remind yourself life is not an emergency.

(Email the columnist at deb­bie­norrell@aol.com.)

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