Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Practical tips for positive thinking!

People say that I am a positive person.  It's not that I don't think negative thoughts, it's just that I have developed some "checkpoints" so that my thoughts don't become my words or actions.
I am successful at this at least some of the time.

The first checkpoint is to be aware of your thoughts. 
I try to change negative thoughts at the moment I think them.
Example: The other day I took an ice tray out of the freezer and there were ice cubes that I could tell just started to form.  The ice cubes in the tray underneath were ready.  I thought "why did my husband not put the ready cube tray on top." 
I stopped myself right there and thought "hey, I am thankful he filled the tray!"
We think "why don't they do it how I want them to or in the way I would do it?"  We all do this multiple times a day in varying degrees.
Another example: I see another mother handling a situation in a way that is different than I would handle it.  So I stop and think  "She is crazy" and I follow it with "just like me."  Saying "just like me" after thinking something good or bad about someone is a way to be united. 
If your brain is anything like mine it goes a million miles a minute and it can be very challenging to be aware of all the thoughts flooding through.  Start slow.

The next checkpoint is to be aware of how you feel and how you talk about
what is going on in the world.
How do you feel when you watch the news?
In media today, tragedy is often glorified.  More attention is given to the suspects and to the fear we should be feeling.  We know that a child will misbehave even when the attention he/she gets is negative because they are still getting attention.  If we give our attention to the suspects, then there will likely be more suspects doing crazier and crazier things.
That is how we as a society contribute to what is happening.
The more we talk about how terrible things are, the more that becomes our reality.
How can we solve this?  We can turn the channel on the TV or radio.  We can read a different article. 
When we hear about a tragic event, we can pray for the victims and for the suspect.
We don't have to keep watching the news until we are blue in the face.
I am not saying to not talk about what is going on or to not know what is happening in the world, what I am saying is put limits on how much exposure you have and what kind of exposure you have.
We need to pay attention to how we are feeling and how we are talking about things.

The last checkpoint I want to talk about is to pay attention to what you worry about.
Most of what we worry about has no place in reality.
I could and do worry for weeks even months before something is going to happen
and then said event happens and nothing I worried about even happened.
Like tonight, I took my daughter to her first swim lesson.  Since I signed her up a month and a half ago, I worried about being late, about not finding the right entrance to the school, about being unable to listen to the teacher and follow directions etc.
Then we actually got there and everything was so awesome.
We worry about how we look, what people think of us, if we are doing things "right."
I think there is a certain amount of worry that helps us to grow and prepare.
Example : Worrying about being late helps us to prepare to be on time.
Example: Worrying about how we look helps us to not look like a slob.
The best thing we can do is to not to let worry paralyze us.  Don't let worry keep you from doing the things you want to do.  Instead of always comparing yourself to others, look at yourself and how you can improve you based on your dreams and values.

I hope you find these tips helpful!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

You never fully arrive!

We've heard time and time again that it is the journey that counts and not the destination.
I always thought "yeah, yeah I get it."  But the other day I REALLY thought about
what it meant.  I was driving home from work and thinking a lot about life, which is a usual occurrence. 
I have an amazing husband and daughter and I am so grateful for them.
But what would it have been like if, lets say, at 15 years old someone told me, "you are going to marry this person on this day and you will have
this many children and you will live in this house...." etc.
That may have sounded great when I was 15 because I didn't enjoy getting my heart broken over and over, I didn't like being an awkward teenager, I didn't like my moms rules and I didn't like stumbling.
But through all that I learned about myself.
I learned which qualities I admired in others.
I learned that what I do and think does affect the outcome.
I know now that every trial and triumph have helped me to be who I am.
My character was built along the way. 
The journey is about building who you are.
You never fully arrive at "who you are" because it is a lifetime process.
At this point in my life I am not even sure there is a "destination" other than heaven.
For example, I continue to learn how to be Matt's wife because we are constantly growing and evolving.  I continue to learn about the thinking behind my actions.  We all do certain things without even thinking about it.  We react or act in ways that don't match up with our values.
We are ever-evolving-beings of magical energy!
We are Children of God.