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Thursday, May 14, 2009

10 Tips To Living Well

Many of my friends and co-workers have always told me that I am way too positive and happy. I am not sure what that means exactly. How can you be way too positive or happy? I don't think that I have anything that they don't. I just know how to appreciate them. I am also constantly working on it. Oh, and I do have my "bad" days!

Here are some of the tips that I have learned over the years and a few I am still working on.

1. Decide what you love or value. I have been reading up on this subject a lot lately. I wrote about it in a previous blog. I want to spend more time doing the things that I love and value and less doing the things that I don't. Check out for more information on this subject. This site has some great tips on simplifying.

2. Cut out the things that didn't make your list of things you love or value. Doesn't this sound so simple and easy? Well, it's not always that simple. First, you have to do step number 1. Second, you have to make a conscious effort to get rid of everything else.

3. Realize that other people cannot MAKE you feel a certain way. When I was doing my master's in counseling, our professor told us this and I cannot believe how much it impacted me. I should have known this, but I guess I didn't. Others can try to make you feel a certain way, but only YOU have the power to change your mood. There really are people who like to bring us down. Find ways to effectively deal with these people.

4. Think positively!! Here's the deal...if you think negative thoughts, negative things are GOING TO HAPPEN!!!! It's true! Think positive thoughts and your energy will be focused on positive things. Yes, I have read the Secret. I have mentioned this before, but believe me this is no real secret.

5. Don't share the bad stuff with your family. If you have had a bad day, try not to share it right when you walk in your front door. If the first thing you do is start complaining about your day to your spouse, you are just bringing them down with you. Even if you have to fake a good mood, do it. Come in, give everyone a happy hello and hugs. After talking about their days, then you can mention the things that didn't go well but try to put a positive spin on it. You will probably find that you will feel much better about the events of the day and your significant other can find a way to deal with it in a positive way.

6. Do what you love. I can't say that I always love my job, but I do love working in higher education. This makes all the difference in the world. I don't make the most money right now and that's okay. I feel like I can make a difference and that feels good.

7. Practice forgiveness. When you are angry with someone, try to stop and think about how they must be feeling. One day I was upset with someone and was talking to my husband about what I wanted to say to them. My daughter overheard me and came up to me with a pitiful look and said, "You need to forgive. Jesus would not like this at all." Boy, talk about the wisdom of a child. I felt about two inches high. Then I suddenly found myself thinking about how the other person must be feeling and I felt even more terrible. I realized the person I was upset with was under a lot of stress and was probably reacting to that stress. I also realized that by my saying something to that person, I was only trying to make myself feel better. It would only have hurt our relationship further and I really did not want that. This brings me to number 8.

8. Put yourself in someone else's shoes. When you are upset with someone, try to stop and think about what they might be feeling or going through. Maybe there has been a misunderstanding. If someone snaps at you one day, don't take it personally. Maybe they had a fight with their spouse that morning, maybe they are facing a financial crisis, death or illness in the family, or just can't think of anything positive. You have no idea what that person's homelife might be like, so try to understand that they may not be upset with you at all and don't ever take it personally.

9. Be thankful for what you have and say it out loud. This is one of my favorite tips. Every night at dinner my family and I say what we are thankful for and talk about the good parts of our day. This makes it much easier to focus less on the not-so-great stuff and to focus more on the good stuff.

10. Focus on the good stuff. Stop focusing on the bad stuff that happened to you today, yesterday and ten years ago. This does you absolutely NO GOOD! Start focusing on all of the wonderfully good things that make up your life right now. I started doing this by journaling what I was thanful for every day. It started out as a small list of saying I was thankful for my family, but it has grown to all sorts of things now that I can be thankful for. I do admit that on occasion I will focus too much on stupid things, but not very often and I am getting better and better at it every day.

Try even one of these tips and I bet you will start to see a difference. Check my next list of what I am thankful for and have a wonderful day!

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