"Where does your security lie? Is God your refuge, your hiding place, your stronghold, your shepherd, your counselor, your friend, your redeemer, your saviour, your guide? If He is, you don't need to search any further for security." --Elizabeth Elliot
How to maintain a positive outlook*~
- Attitude. Wake up refusing to believe that things are upside down. Tell yourself the moment your feet hit the carpet that, "yeah, so yesterday stinks. . .the whole week stinks. . .but this--this is a new day. The day that the Lord has made. I'm alive, I'm breathing. . .Jesus loves me. Creating me was a huge compliment. Because He has a purpose for my life. He wants me to succeed. He wants me to find joy. No matter how dark, no matter how uncertain, I really have no idea what this day will bring." A verse that has been really encouraging to me lately is 1 Corinthians 10:13--"There hath no temptation taken you but such is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
- Replace negativity. Prayer is your best outlet. Pray for others. Focus on their lives. Get the attention off yourself. Remember, as we already discussed, there is always hope. Nothing ever stays the same. Try smiling more. . .even when you don't feel like it. Laugh as often as possible (totally, even if your not nominated, take the Ice Bucket Challenge. One of the awesome-est things I've seen in a long time. ;) ) Feel those negative thoughts or words crowding out your joy? Crush them, change them before they have the chance to escape your lips. Refuse to let negativity dictate your mood, personality, or day. Of course, you aren't always going to be positive. But, like anything, practice makes perfect. Make positive the new you.
- Minimize caffeine and sugar intake. Ok, so before you freak out on me! There are substitutes. . .you'll get used to them after awhile. Honestly. (cough. . .though I should prolly take my own advice and go cold turkey. :P ) Caffeine, sugar, gluten, and many other food-sources can play into emotional and mental health. Learn what your body needs. . .and doesn't need. A few life style changes can revolutionize your outlook. For ie, I decided to switch to decaf coffee recently, and ok, so the energy rush is gone, but the taste is the same, and besides, I'd rather have a healthier-energy-source. We'll discuss that next.
- Drink green. Green smoothies are the trendy-but-amazing powerhouses for your brain and health. (did someone say kale?) They are naturally energizing, vibrant, and just a lot of fun. There are some great recipes online, but hey, if you have some fruit and random leafy greens in the fridge, go ahead and experiment for yourself! Be creative. Sip it through a straw (because straws make everything better.) Oh yeah, and if your watching your weight, smoothies are awesome meal replacements.
- S-T-R-E-T-C-H. Ok, so I totally don't like coming right out with "ohhhh my word, I LOVE Yoga." It has bad connotations to a lot of people, and I am so not into the New-Age-mediation-mumbo-jumbo. HOWEVER, God wants us to exercise, stay healthy, and um, there is nothing at all wrong with stretching. Ditch the name if that helps. . .its a modern term anyway. You may be surprised at how clear-headed and rejuvenated you feel, after a few simple stretches. In fact, your body may even visibly detox. Go ahead and check into some of the great Pilates stretching routines on Youtube. Pop Pilates is my favorite. Lately I love jumping out of bed and straight into my "Stretch and Relax Routine." Does wonders.
- Find a listening ear. Moms are generally good at this. Sisters and close friends are next on the list. Of course you don't want to dump all your emotional-trash on the world, but confiding in someone you trust--especially with life-experience and Godly wisdom--is the perfect retreat. Let them share your burden, but don't overwhelm with constant complaints. Mmmm. . .tea and downtime with mom. Refreshing. Or maybe a coffee shop with a girlfriend. Whatever you do, regrouping and growing together is truly a beautiful thing.
- Keep busy. If you are home a lot or just in between jobs, its important not to fall into The-Couch-Potato-Slump. Lazing around all day over-reading, obsessively pinning, Instagraming everything, (Selfieforthe100thtime) or constantly watching Netflixs is a hugely-potential breeding ground for laziness, discontentment, and even depression. Get up and get busy! FIND A PROJECT, even if seemingly insignificant or small. (The dishes DO need washing. ;) ) Walk the dog. Join a gym. Find a hobby that uses your brain and hands. Stop sitting around feeling sorry for yourself. Is your life going nowhere? Is the Land of Fiction your scape-goat? Ladies! These things are all temporary. Try making a dent in an otherwise boring day. It is worth it.
- Essential oils. So I am still exploring in the area of aroma-therapy, but I am really excited to begin my collection and see the results! I already tried peppermint oil on a throbbing headache yesterday, and voila! It went away within maybe 30 minutes. Amazing, right? If any of you have more experience with essential oils, comment and let me know what you think.
- Music. Its a language. Something with inspirational or uplifting lyrics can really help lift a dark mood.
- Dress up. Take a few moments every day to do your hair, put on a little makeup, and a nicer outfit. (nothing overly fancy, but something that makes you feel pretty.) Looking in the mirror at a fresh, put-together you does wonders for self confidence. Messy top-knots and baggy sweatshirts have their place, (um, hello rainy-day-Twilight-Zone-marathon!) but sometimes ya just need to dress up.
- Make a place for you and God. This definitely should have been first, but as I wrote the draft for this post in a notebook. . .it kinda landed where it landed. . .and stayed there. :P Your place with God can be anywhere, literally. A nook in the woods or the field behind the house. A cubby hole in the basement. A quiet corner of your bedroom. A closet. Get quiet, get alone, listen for His still, small voice. Cast your burdens on Him, but don't demand instant relief or results. How can we say "thy Will be done," while meaning "MY WAY NOW!" Don't expect anything. Trust that He knows what He's doing. Christ is the Overcomer. He has won the victory. He is fully capable of caring for each of us. And He does care. Because in Christ, there is hope. There is life. Find God, let Him have His way. . .and the puzzle we call life will finally fit together. Give it time. Give it to God.