Today I’m thinking about noise. Noise comes in many forms, such as loud voices, background noise or too much clutter in a room. My husband will testify that I am very sensitive to sound. I know he initially thinks I’m being bossy when I say turn down the radio or television but when any sound is at a certain decibel it physically hurts me. Look around. Have you filled your time, your days and your surroundings with noise and clutter? Only you can create the space and room to prepare for joy. I’m going to clear one area of my home from clutter and clear a part of my day for quiet.

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!