I am on a journey this year to live full of freedom, peace and joy. I let so many pressures dictate my day- pressure to please others in my family, pressure to succeed in my business, pressure to write 500 words a day , pressure to complete my to-do list, pressure to spend at least 30 minutes a day with God, pressure to serve at church, pressure and overwhelm wherever I turn.
The pressure looks like slavery, mostly of my own making. What are the expectations of myself, my family and the culture around me that create so much pressure? I feel compulsive, overwhelmed, distressed and at the mercy of an agenda that controls me.
Something is very wrong with this picture. Dr. Richard Swenson, in his book, Margin, restoring emotional, physical, financial and time reserves to overloaded lives, suggests that we live in a time of unprecedented change, which then contributes to what he calls “marginless living.
As a doctor, he sees people in pain – tired, frazzled, anxious, and depressed. They don’t have time to heal anymore. “There is a psychic instability in our day that prevents peace from implanting itself very firmly in the human spirit.”
How about you? Do you feel you have the freedom to make your priorities, take time for peace and rest and find joy in your daily living, regardless of your circumstances? It doesn’t come easily, it takes practice and it takes focus.
That’s what the journey to freedom, peace and joy is about this year. Coming together as Christian women to find the focus you need to live a life freely and lightly. What would it look like for you to shed the overwhelm in your life? To let go of worry and anxiety? To stop, pause and find peace for your soul? To make intentional choices that bring joy to your daily living?
Sound impossible? I hope not. I am on the journey and would love to have you come along. I have been able to shed the darkness of depression. Now I’m off to discover more peace and let God transform more of the way I live and think. The coaching process allows you move forward faster from where you are to where you want to be. Let’s start your journey now.
Recently I was asked to listen to what I said to myself on a regular basis, really listen. I was given a little notebook to carry around and jot down little snippets of what I was saying to myself. The premise was we all are much more negative thinkers that we realize. My first reaction was, “Me, I am not a negative thinker. I am a positive person.”
What is your first reaction when asked the question, “What kind of thinker are you?” What is the mind chatter you listen to on an hourly, daily, weekly basis? A person who is thinking negatively is someone who has thoughts that are worrisome, judgmental, guilt-producing, shaming, negative comparing, not good enough, , and generally blaming self for anything and everything. Do you fit in any of those categories? I know, you say, who doesn’t fit in any of those categories? The problem occurs when that becomes all the thoughts you have. Negative thinking is a bad habit and in your brain, it can become an addiction, because of the chemicals and energy levels it releases.
When was the last time you felt you were drawn into drama or been in a situation where you felt like the people around you stirred the emotional pot because of the drama that it creates? Different emotions emit different energy levels. Dr. Jeffrey Fannin, Ph.D has determined that the more positive emotions, love, joy, peace emit a higher frequency of energy. Principles of physics tell us that energy vibrating at a certain level attracts energy of the same kind. You have seen it in being drawn to other people of “kindred spirits.” Also if you are feeling angry, how many angry people seem to pop up in your life? Practice holding a positive emotion in your mind for 17 seconds, like gratitude, and see how your thinking changes. By practicing even this one step consistently, you will be on your way to changing your brain structure and how your brain thinks.
In the list below, what negative habitual patterns do you recognize and what positive habitual patterns would you like to work on?
I told you I began writing down my snippets of mental chatter and discovered that I make evaluations or judgments about myself, others, events, the world ALL the time! Whew! No wonder I get anxious! I am so busy pointing fingers, especially as what I coulda, shoulda been doing. I need to get busy describing what I actually see and have evidence for and be more mindful of the positive choices I am making and stay in the day. My prayer will be:
Romans 12:2. “Let God transform you by changing the way you think.”
I look forward to sharing my journey of how God is transforming my thinking from a more negative pattern to a more positive pattern. My goal is to share tips with you as well as the ups and downs of developing new habits as He helps me rewire my brain. I am officially retired from my educational consulting job now so I can devote more time to you, my self care and my family. I am looking forward to the journey.
If you would like to join the challenge of moving from negative to positive thinking and reduce your anxiety, join my private Facebook page LiveFullyNowFriends and we can continue the conversation of what it means to make these types of positive thinking pattern changes. Working together we can make healthy, positive changes. I look forward to hearing from you.
(This is for all my teacher friends as school begins. Blessings to you all!)
You are thinking, thinking, thinking even before your feet hit the floor in the morning. You run through your day as you shower, even brushing your teeth in the shower so you don’t forget. You examine different scenarios of the day, hoping you haven’t forgotten anything too important. You pack your lunch, fix breakfast for your family, determine which jacket to wear (in WI it was in the forties last night) and rush out the door for your commute to work, already considering which project to tackle first.
When you get to work, you debate about opening your email, or starting on your first project. You know if the emails get opened, you’ll lose at least 30-45 minutes of your precious thinking, working time. “What if there’s a message from a parent needing something?” you muse. And so the lure of the emails win out and off you go, down the garden path of other people’s agendas.
This day starts like many of our days, in a rush, with other people’s agendas. In school settings, this usually is the way, as we have 25 little variables running around, demanding our attention. However, before they come into our rooms, what things do we need to be doing? Can we determine what’s essential for our day, week, month and know that we can face our days with confidence, calmness and a sense of clarity? Can we truly accomplish what is essential for our students or the people we serve as we pursue our best selves as educators? What truly is our focus?
In the book, essentialism, the Disciplined Pursuit of Less, Greg McKeown makes the argument that we can live an essentialism lifestyle. We need to be clear about knowing what the right things are to get done. As an essentialist, we can discern what our essence as an educator is – by choosing, discerning and making trade-offs to get to the what is the essence of how we want to live our lives. What problems and passions do we really want to own?
When we know our what, then we explore the trivial many from the vital few. Especially in an educational setting, we need to take the time to explore what really is vital for students to know and be able to do. What do we need to focus on for their learning that is absolutely vital that I want to own. For example, in the teaching of reading, what are the most vital practices for students to learn? As an essentialist, we could explore those practices and then focus only on those practices and let go of everything else – the less is more concept. We would look to see what really matters and use extreme criteria in choosing. Most of all, we would protect our own well-being of rest and health in being able to choose the essentials.
In a family setting, the questions can be the same, what is it we need to focus on that is most important for our families to be thriving?
The second step in essentialism is to eliminate ruthlessly. We clarify, dare to say no, uncommit, edit and limit what is going on in the learning of our students. We would continually boil down to what we want the children to know and be able to do and the minimum of best practices and resources for them to be able to do that. We would continually ask the question – Is this essential?
Finally, we would execute. How can we make doing the vital few things almost effortless? We would look for ways to buffer our time, remove any obstacles we could, celebrate progress, continue to focus on what is important each step of the way and move forward together.
What could an essential classroom look like? What could an essential school look like? What could an essential educator look like? What could an essential life look like? How will you move forward towards an essential life? Join the conversation on LiveFullyLifeCoaching Facebook. Happy Essential Living School Year!!
Remember the song, “I have the joy, joy, joy, Down in my heart” when you were little? I remember singing, “Down in my heart to stay.” As an adult, I wonder, where does my joy go? Fighting the overwhem of health concerns and depression or even the gloom of a rainy day, I can find myself on the wrong side of joy.
In our last post we looked for ways outside ourselves to find joy I have been thinking about how do I choose my joy with intentional effort ? I believe I have come up with four ways to practice that “joy down in my heart.”
When I get up in the morning, I can choose what I will put into my mind. Will it be joy thoughts of God, prayer and meditation or worry thoughts about the day and things I don’t have control over? Will it be anxious thoughts about the news or uplifting music? Will it be a word of God to think about for the day or newspaper headlines that make me anxious? I am not saying to not keep up with the world, but how to start your day can make a difference in how you filter the rest of your day. How can your thoughts of joy raise you above the fray that you don’t have control over? Joy is about focused thinking.
I know that exercise is that bad word for many of us. I am not a fan of it myself but the deep breathing, stretching, moving your body – all those things will bring life to your brain, your body and your soul. I find it amazing each time I exercise how good I feel afterwards. Research shows it helps alleviate depression, helps you focus, alleviates stress and helps your memory. For me, even developing a short routine will bring clear my thinking and wake up my body. What exercise can you find that brings you joy- holy yoga, walking with a friend, stretching, biking, deep breathing exercises?
On my way to a meeting last evening, I stopped at a nearby nature preserve for only 10 minutes. I watched monarch butterflies flitter from flower to flower. I looked over the grassy tall meadow and heard the red-winged blackbird singing. The cottonwood leaves rustling. The gentle evening breeze came in through my car windows. In those 10 minutes, I breathed deeply the sweet smell, sights and sounds of the meadow. I rejoiced in the beauty of the simpleness of nature and noticed how my body relaxed so quickly As I drove away, I was amazed at what those 10 minutes did for my body, my mind and my soul. I was grateful for such a marvelous gift of creation.
Finally, I realized on my hardest days, I need to give myself permission to choose the joy of loving myself. I sat on the back porch this week and just sat. I didn’t do anything else and told myself that was just fine.
What about you? I would love to hear from you. What self-care strategies will you use to choose joy this week? Be sure to comment below or post on Nancy Booth Coaching facebook. Next week we’ll talk about Avoiding the Joy Killers.
Nancy Booth is a certified life coach and certified brain-based coach. She loves creating safe spaces for women going through life’s transitions to discover and support their visions for health and well-being in an overwhelming world, explore possibilities for next steps and find hope. She writes about taming the overwhelm and reducing stress, looking for ways to motivate, energize and inspire you! You can sign up to receive her weekly blog or contact her to find out ways you can begin to shed overwhelm and stress. It’s time to explore possibilities of new relationships, better life pacing and gain hope and peace.
When my granddaughter Nora was two years old, she was learning that a short blessing at our house was to be said before we ate. “Come Lord Jesus, be our guest. Bless this food, to us be blessed. Amen” However, with so many (8) of us getting food and sitting down at the table, she decided that she wanted us to say it each time someone sat down at the table, especially the AMEN. So, of course, we said it eight times!
Would it not be great to be blessed like that constantly? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition, a blessing is the help and approval from God as well as something that helps you or brings happiness. How often do you think about giving away a blessing to others or even asking for God’s blessing?
We are starved and sensitive to blessings for our souls, for we don’t take the time to bless someone or receive it. It’s seems that we are in too much of a hurry or don’t have time to really touch each other’s souls. Also we don’t think we are worthy of receiving a blessing. However, we can become the blessing givers as we listen closely to God.
In John Ortberg’s book, Soul Keeping, he writes how we can give a blessing. As you read this, ask God to open your heart as to who He might want you to bless.
The LORD bless you and keep you:
The LORD make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.
( Blessing is from Numbers 6:24-26 ESV)
How will you give away a blessing now? What will you do? How was it for you? How was it for the person you blessed?
We are blessed to be a blessing. “May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and give you peace.” Our home in the country is one way we have been blessed to be a blessing. It will be a place for women to come away for the day and enjoy time for retreat.