Find your way to peace in the present

September 21, 2019

In today’s post to his Jack’s Winning Words blog, Jack used this little saying that he saw on a Burger King crown –  “No one’s happy all the time…and that’s OK.” 

Jack must have seen that crown in May of this year, when Mental Health Month was celebrated in the United States. We see mental health advice or tips in many places, mostly in cheery little messages that are trying to chase the blues away. It is more realistic to say, as Burger King did, that we all have ups and downs and that it is OK to be down a little, so long as you don’t allow yourself to spiral all the way down into depression. In fact, poking a little fun at being down can often help relieve some of the tension that comes with being down.

A down feeling can result from many causes – a failure or defeat at work, the loss of a loved one, the end of a relationship and many other causes. In most cases the thing that you are down about was always out of your ability to control, but was all have a tendency to think that we could have done something different to effect the outcome and change history – we get down on ourselves.

That feeling of guilt stems from the thoughts that we could have done something different noticed something sooner or made a different choice or decision. Those thoughts can keep us awake at night going over and over the scenarios in our minds that will forever remained as options that we did not choose.

Sometimes our down mood is not about the past, but about the future – we play out option after option in our mind, fearing that the worst that we can imagine is going to happen. We spend restless nights in mental anguish fearing things that will never happen.

Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu had this bit of philosophical advice –

“If you are depressed you are living in the past.

If you are anxious you are living in the future.

If you are at peace you are living in the present.

Lao-Tzu  was a Chinese philosopher believed to have lived in the 6th Century BC and is credited with founding the philosophical system of Taoism, which stresses being in harmony with nature.

The best way that one can be at peace in the present is be at peace with God. Accept that God’s will has been done in the past and trust that it will be done in the future. Rather than lament what is past or fear what is in the future, marvel at what God is unfolding for you in the present.

Focus your attention on the wonderful people that he is causing to cross your path, so that you might experience them. Become more aware of, and thankful for, the wonders of nature that God has put all around you. Be thankful for the challenges that God is presenting to you to keep your life interesting. Make use of your time to learn and to increase your knowledge. Put 100% of your mental and physical effort into the moment at hand, rather than wasting either on things that are past or which may be in the future. 

Many find the Bible to be the best guide book for life and in the Bible we find these words –

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” –  John 14:27

Find your way to peace in the present.

Advertisements

What’s in your anti-stress kit?

December 15, 2016

Recently Jack Freed had this post on his blog, Jacks Winning Words

“For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.”  (Lily Tomlin)  In a devotional book I use, an anti-stressJack Freed kit is described for those who need “relief.”  It contains a rubber band (be flexible), a candy kiss (everyone needs a kiss–encouragement), a life-saver (be a helper), an eraser (we all make mistakes) and a toothpick (pick out the good things in others and in yourself).  Other stress relievers: Eat wisely, breathe deeply, shake and dance…and watch TV (not the news).    😉  Jack

 We all need an anti-stress kit of our own; some things relieve stress just by looking at them or maybe doing them. Some things help us break the hold of stress on our lives, if only for a moment. I have posted here before that I often make a funny face in the mirror in the morning while getting ready for the day as a way to start off the day in a better, less serious and less stressful way. Jack’s advice that adds dance to the anti-stress Snoopy joykit reminds me of Snoopy of the Peanuts cartoon. Snoopy often would break into his care-free happy dance, much to the chagrin of Lucy. Eventually his infectious joy would crack even her facade of stressful seriousness. We all need more Snoopy-like happy dancing in our lives.

What makes you forget about the stress of the day and be happy and maybe break into your happy dance? I find that my two dogs help me a lot. It’s hard to remain grumpy and stressed out when they come bounding at me just trying to share their unconditional love as I return from work. We go on four walks a day and those turn out to be four of the most peaceful and stress free times of my day. Maybe a pet is in your kit.

Other than the items mentioned above, what can you think of that might make it into an anti-stress kit? I might  include:

  • One of those little teddy bears that have “I am loved” stitched onto their little sweaters. It forces us to think of those we love who also love us, no matter what.
  • A favorite love song or the “our song” that you and a loved one share
  • Your favorite pair of worn old jeans. Nothing disassociates you from the stress of the business world like getting home and putting on your old jeans (an maybe having a glass of wine, too).
  • A hug – I’m not sure how you would put a hug in your kit – maybe just a little sign that says “go hug somebody.”
  • A quiet corner somewhere. Stress seems to make us hyper-sensitive to the noises and chatter going on all around us and a quiet place allows us escape the din and relax a bit.
  • A time out timer. Maybe it would help to give yourself a 5-10 minute time out by using one of those little timer gadgets that you can get for almost nothing these days. A key to heading Lilly Tomlin’s advice from Jack’s blog post is to stop, take some deep breaths and then to proceed more slowly.

So, what would be in your anti-stress kit?

There’s one item not mentioned above that is really like the Penicillin of stress relief and that is the Bible. Most of the things mentioned above just take your mind off the stress and hold it at bay for a while. Reading the Bible can actually destroy the stress by putting the things that cause that stress into the right perspective and providing the reassurance that no matter what, it’s going to be OK.

Reading the Bible allows you to get to that place where you off-load the stress to God. Youreading-bible may find comfort in the words of Philippians 4:6-7 – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” If you can get to that peace, you will realize that the stress is gone. So, make sure that a Bible is in your stress relief kit.

Make your own little stress-buster kit and keep it with you, so that you can drag out the list when you need it and think about the things that make you happy. Use your anti-stress kit and have a wonderful and stress-free rest of the week.