This morning I am remembering that I am responsible for my own joy and happiness. You too can thoroughly embrace this idea — it can make you feel powerful. You have the ability to bring joy into your life. Anytime you feel as if you have been taking life too seriously, remember funny scenes from a television show or movie. You can look up funny scenes on YouTube and watch anytime. Today, I choose joy. Will you?

Do you hold your breath as you concentrate on something? I’ve seen people hold their breath when doing strenuous exercises or when they get nervous or tense. Several months ago I flew in an airplane for the first time in over 25 years. I was anxious about it, to say the least. It wasn’t that I was afraid of crashing — I was, instead, afraid of being afraid. I feared that I would be overcome with, well, fear. I have often suggested to others to remind themselves to breathe. It sounds funny to have to be reminded to breathe, but when we don’t breathe deeply, we are denying our cells (including the ones in our brains) the oxygen they need for optimal performance. I took my own advice and focused on breathing when I felt that first little bit of turbulence. I made it through two flights by simply reminding myself to breathe. Use calming breathing techniques throughout your day. Remind yourself. You will be amazed at the difference in the results of interactions if you intentionally breathe before phone calls that may be anxiety producing, before speaking at a meeting, and before addressing a person whom you know is difficult. I’m reminding myself today to breathe.

Ever hear the saying, “you can’t see the forest for the trees”? That’s what happens when you have a problem that you can’t seem to solve. You become too close to it and can’t see your way to a solution. Take a “day off” from the problem. When the problem comes to mind, tell it that you are taking a day off. Your mind continues to work on the solution at a subconscious level. I’ve done this and been surprised at what solutions arise the following day.

Sometimes a change of scenery is needed. Even a day trip to a different part of the state or region can be refreshing. I’m going to set out after work with a tent and a couple of other items for an overnight at a not too far away resort. A campfire and no television sounds to me like the makings of a period of refreshing. I’m not making a weekend of it and actually have an appointment tomorrow afternoon in “civilization”. I read somewhere that a new place gives us new images and ideas to add to our reality. I’m thinking that at this point even refreshing the old images and ideas will be well worth the short drive and little bit of effort this brief respite requires.

I’m always in a hurry. The usual is “I have a meeting in 5 minutes”, “I can fit that in at 2:00 on Tuesday”, and so on. On the other hand, I’m oftentimes heard saying “at the end of the day, it’s all about relationships”. In all my busyness, I need to keep in mind that I need to take care of my relationships by making sure that I am available when friends and family need me. Over the course of a friendship, friends will need each other at different times, sometimes more than others. A healthy relationship will balance out in the long run, and it takes both parties making an effort. I was once again reminded that I should not take anything, or more importantly anyone for granted, by the mass shooting in Las Vegas. I will always want “one more day” or “one more time” with the special people in my life but I don’t want to miss an opportunity while you are here, my friends and family!

Someone recently commented to me that I am very self-confident. I laughed out loud – literally. I am definitely a work in progress when it comes to self-confidence. I have learned and apparently am pretty good at faking it. Until I can demonstrate true self-confidence, I fake it. When I do this, I am sending a message to my inner self: “See, this is what it looks like.” Today I will encourage my strength to come out and show itself. In those not so confident moments I will continue to fake it til I make it.

I read something recently that suggested that I say out loud, “I am wonderful just as I am right now.” Honestly, I have a difficult time saying that. I would have to add “… but wait, I need to lose weight” or “…but my hair…” It’s time to embrace the wonderfulness of me, God’s child, with no limitations. No buts about it. No haughtiness. No arrogance. So today I will repeat, “I am wonderful just as I am right now” until I can say it without the buts. #soblessed

I’m realizing lately that I have thoughts that should be ignored. Not every battle that comes across my path is a battle I’m supposed to fight. Many battles are simply distractions to try to lure me off course. I can’t and shouldn’t try to straighten everyone else out or win their approval. Today I will free myself from seeing every battle as mine to fight. The word for my day is “focus”. The dictionary definition of focus as a verb is “(of a person or their eyes) adapt to the prevailing level of light and become able to see clearly”. Oh that today I may see clearly. :-)

Sometimes I feel helpless. Usually this feeling washes over me when all around me seems to be in turmoil. People I care about are going through frustrating or overwhelming times, the news is as the news is and so on and so on. Sometimes I allow the feeling of helplessness to take over so much that I don’t feel capable. It’s at this very low ebb that something happens or someone says or does something that reminds me that I am capable. I can run my own life. I may need to ask for assistance or encouragement sometimes, but I am not helpless. I don’t need to act helpless. I can feel the sense of power that comes with taking charge and running my own life the way I see fit. It doesn’t happen easily. I have to intentionally decide to move forward and not let inertia take over. Oftentimes it is in doing one small thing for someone else that empowers me once more. Looking for a little good thing that I can do (action) turns the tide of wallowing (inaction) into a day that looks much more hopeful.