Sometimes a Surplus of Information Creates a Deficit of Action

Don't Let Paralysis by Analysis Afflict You...

Action Quote About Taking a Step
Humans are pretty funny when you think about it. We have more information at our fingertips than ever before, yet we often don’t seem to know what to do with it. It’s as though we’re suffering from information overload and can’t figure out how to dump it all out.

If you’ve watched much golf – or any golf for that matter – no doubt you’ve seen golfers who suffer from something the great tennis player (and even better human being) Arthur Ashe referred to as “paralysis by analysis.” I remember one time thinking I could have baked a pie in the time it took Jim Furyk to hit a shot. He stood over the tiny little ball for what seemed like forever.

Finally, I just bellowed at the tv, “Hit the darn thing! It’s not going to hit back, I promise!

He spent too much time thinking and, sure enough, the golf shot was lousy.

Sergio is another golfer who often seems lost in time as well as in his own thoughts.

“Doing nothing gets you nothing.” – Sean Reichl

Truth be told, you don’t have to be a golfer to battle with over-thinking.  It gets us all at one time or another.  We gather data, facts, figures, and quotes. Heck, some of us (guilty, guilty, guilty) even print our information out, give it the hole-punch treatment, and house it in an appropriately colored binder. We fill our brains with information but we neglect to carry it out. It’s great to have facts, don’t get me wrong – but if that’s all we’ve got then… Well, then that’s all we’ve got.

To be fair, sometimes it takes a great leap of faith and a significant amount of guts to carry out an action. It’s so much safer to sit back and think about the action.

And think about it, and think about it… And, and, think about it….

The only problem is we end up standing around, doing little more than just getting in our own way. Our intentions are out of this world – but we just can’t seem to get everything out of our brains and into our hands.

People will gather and read everything they can get their hands on about eating healthy, then go out and order the biggest burger their lips will fit around as a prize for all the research.

If you aren’t going to change your game why even bother reading the rule book?

Is there anything in your life that you’ve been “studying on” without “acting on?” Decide, today, to stop standing over the ball – hit it a country mile. It may, or may not, go exactly where you expected it to go – but at least it went. You can always stomp through the rough and hit it again. If it goes in the water, you can roll up your pants and wade out to meet it. You wouldn’t be the first. You wouldn’t be the last.

Oh the stories I could tell you about my miniature golf experiences…

The point is, at some point we have to stop planning to act and just act!

“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.” – Bruce Lee

Think of at least one thing that you’ve been rolling over in your mind. Maybe you’ve been planning out the great walking regime you want to start, or maybe you’ve been planning to launch an e-bay business. Take ACTION right now. DO SOMETHING that will put these plans and thoughts in motion

The most important thing you can do is this: Take your first step. It’s the toughest, so just go ahead and get it out of the way.

Once you’ve put yourself in motion, keep on keeping on.

I’ll be here cheering you on!
~ Joi

One of the Most Buzz-Worthy of All Buzz Words

Making a Timely Appearance on Self Help Daily....

Quote about Perseverance
January is a month filled with great energy. Everyone is hopeful for the year ahead and buzzing with electricity over new resolutions and goals. Unfortunately, these resolutions very often fall by the wayside by the time Cupid shows up on the scene mid-February, half-dressed with nothing but love in mind.

We have the energy, steam, and electricity for a few weeks but – after that – eh, it’s business as usual.

Sometimes the reason is simple – in fact, I’d wager that most of the time the reason is simple: We’d like to have this particular goal… but we don’t want it badly enough to work for it and we certainly don’t want it badly enough to inconvenience ourselves for it.

During January, we throw buzz words like determination, goals, mindset, will-power, success, and resolve around like peanuts in a Christmas parade.

Problem is, reaching goals and following through with resolutions takes a whole other buzz word: perseverance.

As they say, anything worth having is worth fighting for. This means it’s worth digging in your heels, throwing out our chin, clinching your fists, and full out going to battle for.  What makes this war of wills so difficult is the fact that we’re fighting the person in the mirror and they know all our tricks.

It takes perseverance and it takes determination.  Put together, they make a pretty darn good team.

I guess what I’m saying is this – whatever you’re reaching for, whatever you’re striving for… keep on keeping on until it’s your’s.  When the going gets tough, think of the humble little snail.  It was by perseverance that his ancestors EVER reached the ark.

Keep going!

~ Joi

A Few Favorite Quotes About Perseverance:

Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another. – Walter Elliott

Lord, give me the determination and tenacity of a weed. – Mrs. Leon R. Walters

Character consists on what you do on the third and fourth tries. – James Michener

Vitality shows not only in the ability to persist but in the ability to start over. – F. Scott Fitzgerald

By perseverance, the snail reached the ark. – Charles Spurgeon

There’s only one thing that can guarantee our failure, and that’s if we quit. – Unknown

More Perseverance Quotes

Help Make 2015 the Year of Kindness

The Kindness Challenge from Cleverpedia... I Love It!

Make 2015 the Year of Kindness
 

Ironically, after publishing the last post about Treating Others with Kindness, I logged into my e-mail for my morning check in.  When you get lots of daily e-mails, you have to have “check ins” throughout the day or you’ll drown in them.

Been there. Done that. Have the scars to prove it.

As soon as I glanced down through the e-mail subject lines, one in particular caught my eye. The subject line said, “Hi, Joi! I wanted to share a cute project..”

First of all, I love personal greetings. Second of all, I’m always in the mood to hear about cute projects… or cute anything for that matter.   I put my coffee cup down and jumped into the message.

Ironically, it (like the post I’d just written) had to do with kindness.

Cleverpedia.com has stirred up something very cool – kindness.  To be exact, they’re on a mission to Make 2015 the Year of Kindness.

I am so on board that ship you’d think I was one of the flags.

After a decidedly unkind 2014 (fighting, protesting, arguing, debating, judging, condemning….), I want to do everything within my power to help bring about more tolerance, forgiveness, and – most of all – kindness to 2015. It’s obvious the kindhearted people at Cleverpedia are riding a similar thought wave.

I hope you’ll personally take the 2015 Kindness Challenge too. Hopefully, we’ll all love the effects so much we’ll carry it on into 2016, 2017, and beyond.

Click through the image at the top or the following link and do your part to help Make 2015 the Year of Kindness.

Be sure to spread the word – if there’s one thing we all need to spread it’s kindness.

~ Joi

How You Treat Others is a Reflection…

But Just What is it a Reflection Of?

Quote About Treating Others with Kindness

When you think of a “hateful” person, what do you think of? Someone with a biting sarcasm and so much nastiness about them that they’re pretty much a human repellent? I’ve known a few people like that – so mean-spirited it’s a wonder they could stand themselves.

Then again, maybe they couldn’t and that’s why they’re so mean.

I’m actually not thinking about the word “hateful” in regards to how a person acts, though.  I’m not thinking of it as an action verb as much as a state of being verb. I’m actually thinking about the following definition of the word:

Hateful – full of or expressing hate; malignant

Sadly, there are a lot of people who are full of hate and this makes them, just as the definition says, malignant.

Malignant:

  1. disposed to cause harm, suffering, or distress deliberately
  2. very dangerous or harmful in influence or effect.

Ugly stuff, right? It’s especially ugly when you think of a truth we’ve all heard for years: How we treat others says more about US than it does THEM.

Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. – T.H. Thompson

I can’t imagine that anyone would wake up in the morning and tell their cat, “I’d sure like to be malignant today! Yep, that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to spread destruction, suffering, and hatred. If I get cracking, maybe I can contaminate a good 10 people or more before lunch.”

Nah. Maybe I’m naive, but I doubt there are any human Grinches walking around. More likely than not, having a sour disposition has crept up on them and they don’t even realize it. They’ve become a negative, cynical, pessimistic, and hateful person without even realizing it.

That’s how all bad habits take root in our lives. Over time, they slowly soak into us until they become one with us. If left to their own devices, they come to define us. Think for a minute about the people you know – most of them, when you think of their name, conjure up an attribute or characteristic. Personally, I can’t think of anything worse than to be considered “hateful.”

The problem with being filled with hate (anger, resentment, bitterness – or any of its other cousins) is two-fold:

  1. hate makes its host miserable
  2. the host then takes it out on everyone else

Personally, I think some people treat others badly – not so much because of who the other person is – but because of the hateful seed deep within themselves.

By swallowing evil words unsaid, no one has ever harmed his stomach. – Winston Churchill

Here’s an example, without going into specifics:

Recently one of my favorite athletes shared a family Christmas photo. The shot included himself, his girlfriend, his mom, and his grandmother! Precious, right? Most of us who commented on the picture wished him and his family a wonderful Christmas. One person (it may or may not have been me) commented on how downright adorable his grandmother was.

But there were others who, disgustingly, left cruel comments about him and his family. Some hate-filled jackasses simply said, “Shut up.”

Seriously. There are people like this in the world.  When I saw these comments…. left on an individual’s family Christmas photo, mind you!.. I grew angrier by the minute. I ran away from Twitter and practically threw my iPad down. I’m not sure I could have been any angrier if this young man had been my own son!

As I sat there wondering what was wrong with humanity and how such vile humans could even exist, the anger slowly turned to sadness.

Kindness, like a boomerang, always returns. – Author Unknown

Let’s face it, for anyone to leave UGLY, HATE-LACED comments (which is literally speaking to someone) like this, they have to be filled with hate and ugliness, themselves.

When I pour myself a glass of sweet tea out of my favorite glass pitcher, sweet tea goes into my glass. Sweet tea is in the container. Sweet tea comes out.

Those of us (Thanks be to God we outnumbered the Nasty Nellies!) who wished this athlete’s family a wonderful Christmas and echoed his happiness with our own words were filled with happiness, kindness, and love for others.

Sweet tea’s in the container. Sweet tea’s in the glass.

The others were obviously filled with unhappiness, bitterness, ugliness… not just the cousins of hate – I think they were hosts for hate’s entire family.

And an ugly sight they make.

The kindest word in all the world is the unkind word, unsaid. – Author Unknown

I was thinking earlier about some of my favorite people. I’ve always been particularly fond of people who are agreeable, funny, and kind-hearted. People who are so busy living their own lives and trying to perfect the person in the mirror that they haven’t time time to criticize and demean people around them.

They’re happy with their life. They’re happy with themselves. They don’t want to knock anyone down or spread toxicity because they’re too busy enjoying life.

Show me that sort of individual and I’ll walk to the ends of the world with them. I’m lucky to have a great number of people around me who fit that bill.

The next time you catch yourself even thinking something mean or hateful about another person, catch yourself and MAKE yourself think something positive about them instead. After a while you will have developed a newer, better habit and no one will benefit from it any more than you will.

What if any one of the individuals who lashed out with ugliness and toxicity had stopped themselves and typed in: “Beautiful family! Y’all have a wonderful Christmas!” instead.

What would have happened? Well, think back to the Christmas classic “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.”  Remember when his little bitty heart grew larger?

Yeah. Something like that.

Very often the way we treat others is the way we look at the world. It’s a reflection of how we feel about life, in general – especially as it relates to us.  Someone who is never content or happy with life – the one who thinks nothing is ever good enough – is often the one who treats others the worst.  Their discontentment with life makes them discontent with just about everyone in it.

Like most things in life, the choice is ours. We can improve the way we treat others by improving our outlook on life or we can become so toxic and negative that small children run from us.

Not much of a choice is there?

Here are a few Calls to Action (because nothing is ever of any  use until it’s put to use!):

  • Start being kinder than you have to be.  When you feel the temptation to say something negative to someone (whether it’s about their job, their weight, how they wear their hair..), say something nice instead. Not only will they feel wonderful (and possibly even surprised), something unexpected will happen – you’ll feel even better than you make them feel!
  • Do something unexpected and kind for someone. It doesn’t take much (time or money) to make someone smile.  If I haven’t said it recently (which I know I have), I’ll say it now – I’m the luckiest person in the world when it comes to family.  This colorful cast of characters that fill my life are wonderful about doing extra little “somethings” for one another. Whether it’s me grabbing a great looking color of nail polish for my girls simply because, my youngest daughter leaving unexpected gluten free treats on the kitchen counter for me, one of my other daughters (or sons-in-law) bringing me a favorite drink from Starbucks, or my husband ordering me something awesome off of Amazon just to make me smile – we are all always thinking about ways to bring smiles to one another’s faces.  What a wonderful world it’d be if everyone had the same mindset – about family, friends, neighbors, and complete strangers.
  • Remind yourself each day to be the kindest person you know!  New concepts, habits, and mindsets can quickly be tossed aside. After all, that’s why we have to make NEW New Year’s Resolutions each year.  If you’re striving to be a kinder person – to life, to yourself, and… by reflection.. to others – remind yourself each day that life is a wonderful gift! To behave differently is a slap in the face to God, himself. Stop dwelling on negatives and dwell, instead, on positives. Doing so will affect the way you feel inside and the way you make others feel outside. The way you make other people feel is a reflection on you more than it is on them.
  • Be careful what you THINK and how you TALK about others behind their back.  These thoughts and “private” words will come to the surface and do more damage than you have right to do.

If you improve just one thing this year, improve the way you treat others. You may be thinking, “That’s fine and good for them… but what’s in it for me?!”  Well, everything! If you treat others with kindness, you will be the biggest benefactor of all. Should that be your number one goal? Of course not, but it’s the truth.

Spread kindness. Spread happiness. There’s enough toxicity and negativity out there and the world doesn’t need any more of it.

~ Joi

See More Quotes About Kindness.

Quote About the Way You Treat Others

A Reminder to Slow Down and Appreciate the Beauty All Around Us

The Wonder of a Single Snowflake...

Quote about Snowflakes

The wonder of a single snowflake outweighs the wisdom of a million meteorologists. –Sir Francis Bacon, philosopher

I once heard someone say that we should “look at” everything in life as though we were seeing it for the first or last time. If you think about it, that’s a very profound – life-changing, even – approach.

It reminds me of the unspeakable joy I always got when my daughters were babies and would see anything for the first time – snow, Christmas lights, cats, airplanes, monkeys at the zoo, etc.   Things that we all saw for the first time at some point.  None of these things are any less spectacular or beautiful today than they were then.  The problem is we get “used” to so many of them and take them for granted.

The holidays are a perfect example – whether it’s Thanksgiving or Christmas, we often get so busy buying, baking, wrapping, and complaining about money (come on… we’re all guilty!) that we allow one beautiful scene after the next to slip right past us.

  • I always get a kick out of mall “Santas” – well, not them as much as the little ones in line and on lap.  Their expressions are precious and their excitement is contagious. If you need a little extra Christmas cheer, trust me, find a mall Santa and the company he keeps.
  • Christmas lights always put on a dazzling show.
  • Maybe it’s because I’m a foodie, but I think there’s a great deal of beauty in all the candies, cookies, pies, hams, and casseroles!
  • Candles – especially the ones that smell as beautiful as they look.
  • Nativity scenes are also extra beautiful and meaningful.
  • Christmas music – driving around town while bellowing out loud with songs on the radio? Priceless.
  • Tinsel, bows, wrapping paper, ribbons, bags… they’re works of art in and of themselves.
  • Christmas trees – a beautifully decorated Christmas tree is gorgeous  – but so is a small, humble “Charlie Brown” tree. No such thing as an ugly Christmas tree as far as I’m concerned.
  • Last… but certainly not least… there isn’t anything more beautiful than families gathering together – around the tree, around the table, and around the tv – this is the stuff memories AND LIFE are made of.

Like snowflakes, there are wonders all around us. I hope that this Christmas season – and all the seasons thereafter – you’ll slow down and allow yourself to be awestruck by the beauty and the wonders that surround you.

~ Joi

Change??? Difficult?? Not According to the Man in Red

In Fact, Just Put One Foot in Front of the Other... Soon You'll be Walking Across the Floor..

Santa Claus is Coming to Town Quote about Change
THE WINTER WARLOCK: It’s so difficult to really change.

KRIS KRINGLE aka SANTA CLAUS: Difficult? (hearty laugh) Why… look here… changing from bad to good’s as easy as taking your first step… Put one foot in front of the other…

Santa Claus is Coming to Town Quote about Change

 

Who knew you could get a motivational self help kick in the keister from an animated Christmas episode from 1970?!  Okay, besides Kris Kringle… who else would have known?

There are cookies to bake, ribbons to be perfected, and shopping to be done, so I won’t be my normal long-winded self today (Santa’s listening, so don’t go sayin’ anything ornery!)

I’ll just leave you and your thoughts with a few graphics, quotes, and  a video – all straight from a favorite scene in Santa Claus is Coming to Town.

Whatever change or changes you’re mulling over for 2015… get up on your feet!

~ Joi

P.S. Filing this one under “Vintage Self Help Daily” because if making animated graphics and turning Santa’s words into a motivational speech isn’t vintage me, absolutely nothing is.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town Quote about Change

Review: 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do

Amy Morin's Book Should be Required Reading for Everyone

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do Review
 

I love it when I’m sent a book to review and I, literally, have trouble putting it down. 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do by Amy Morin is the latest book to fit this description.

I’ll tell you what reading it reminded me of: Sitting in a Baptist Church in the South on a Sunday morning as the Man of God in front of the congregation was on FIRE! He paces and preaches and preaches and paces – the whole time leaving you thinking things like, “That’s right!,” “That’s SO GOOD!,” and “AMEN!”

I’ve had the supreme privilege and honor of sitting in many Sunday morning services just like that. They’re downright tingly to your body, mind, and spirit because they serve as wonderful wake up calls.

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do is a wake up call in its own right. I can’t say that it stirs the Spirit necessarily, but that’s not what it’s setting out to do. THIS particular wake-up call stirs your mind and even your heart.

And does so with aplomb.

Expanding on her viral post that has become an international phenomenon, a psychotherapist offers simple yet effective solutions for increasing mental strength and finding happiness and success in life.

As a licensed clinical social worker, college psychology instructor, and psychotherapist, Amy Morin has seen countless people choose to succeed despite facing enormous challenges. That resilience inspired her to write 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, a web post that instantly went viral, and was picked up by the Forbes website.

Morin’s post focused on the concept of mental strength, how mentally strong people avoid negative behaviors—feeling sorry for themselves, resenting other people’s success, and dwelling on the past. Instead, they focus on the positive to help them overcome challenges and become their best.

In this inspirational, affirmative book, Morin expands upon her original message, providing practical strategies to help readers avoid the thirteen common habits that can hold them back from success. Combining compelling anecdotal stories with the latest psychological research, she offers strategies for avoiding destructive thoughts, emotions, and behaviors common to everyone.

Like physical strength, mental strength requires healthy habits, exercise, and hard work. Morin teaches you how to embrace a happier outlook and arms you to emotionally deal with life’s inevitable hardships, setbacks, and heartbreaks—sharing for the first time her own poignant story of tragedy, and how she summoned the mental strength to move on. As she makes clear, mental strength isn’t about acting tough; it’s about feeling empowered to overcome life’s challenges.

Each chapter goes into great (eye-opening) detail about the pitfalls of the 13 things successful people do not do.  As you read through the book, you will (given the fact that you look human to me) recognize yourself in a few scenarios.

This is a good thing! WHEN you realize bad habits or choices, THEN you’re able to give yourself a good old-fashioned kick in the seat of the pants and vow never to go down that dead end road again.

That’s why I call these moments wake up calls. They sound off alarms that help you shake out of a deep sleep and get moving in the right direction.

Amy Morin has put together an absolutely wonderful book that reads fast but leaves a lasting impression.  Since I read it (a few weeks ago), I’ve often thought of her words.

Chapter 4: They Don’t Focus on Things They Can’t Control

You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” - Maya Angelou

One of my favorite chapters in the book addresses the fact that Successful People Don’t Focus on Things They Can’t Control. Not only would it be a colossal waste of time and energy to focus on things you cannot control – it sucks time and energy AWAY that could actually be productive.

It feels so safe to have everything under control, but thinking we have the power to always pull the strings can become problematic.” (Page 74)

The chapter includes examples and “symptoms” of this type of thinking.

We can’t possibly make all of our circumstances and all the people in our lives fit into the way we think things should be. When you learn to let go of the details you can’t control, the amount of time and energy you’ll be able to devote to the things you can control will give you the ability to accomplish incredible feats.” (Page 75)

How great is that?!

This one chapter, alone, should be required reading for everyone in the world. If you cannot control it… let it go. Not only will everyone else around you be happier, you’ll be freer.

As I read through this chapter, I thought of a few modern-day illustrations of this bad habit.

  • Women who call or text their boyfriends/husbands again and again and again while he is on the golf course, fishing, watching a game, etc.  If the truth came out…. they don’t want them THERE! They want them where they want them and yet, somehow, lost control of the situation. He wandered away! What’s a gal to do?  She can retain a little bit of control by keeping tabs on him.  Personally, I think a trip to Target would be a lot funner, but that’s just me.
  • This one’s timely – how about holiday get-togethers?  Tension often runs high because every family has that one person who acts as though no one EVER does enough for them. They’re sour and resentful because they’re unable to control what everyone else says and does.
  • Anyone with co-workers knows how maddening control freaks can be.  They aren’t the least bit interested in being a team player because they want to be the puppet master. They want to tell everyone else what “their job” is while refusing to let any “job descriptions” stick to them!

The list goes on, of course.  This is one of the most powerful chapters in the book -but  each chapter is profoundly powerful.

I know that  13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do is a book you’ll love. Even more importantly, I know it’s a book you’ll get A LOT out of. One of the first things I thought after I finished the book was, “The phrase game changer is woefully overused… heck, I overuse it on a gruesome level… THIS book truly is a game changer and could help SO MANY PEOPLE!”

I thought it then and I think it now. You need this book. Period.

On December 23, you’ll be able to buy  13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do on Amazon. Click through and pre-order  it now!

~ Joi

From the Inside Cover

The Ultimate Guide to Mastering Your Mental Strength

Everyone knows that regular exercise and weight training lead to physical strength. But how do we strengthen ourselves mentally for the truly tough times? And what should we do when we face these challenges? Or as psychotherapist Amy Morin asks, what should we avoid when we encounter adversity? Through her years counseling others and her own experiences navigating personal loss, Morin realized it is often the habits we cannot break that are holding us back from true success and happiness. Indulging in self-pity, agonizing over things beyond our control, obsessing over past events, resenting the achievements of others, or expecting immediate positive results holds us back. This list of things mentally strong people don’t do resonated so much with readers that when it was picked up by Forbes.com it received ten million views.

Now, for the first time, Morin expands upon the thirteen things from her viral post and shares her tried-and-true practices for increasing mental strength. Morin writes with searing honesty, incorporating anecdotes from her work as a college psychology instructor and psychotherapist as well as personal stories about how she bolstered her own mental strength when tragedy threatened to consume her.

Increasing your mental strength can change your entire attitude. It takes practice and hard work, but with Morin’s specific tips, exercises, and troubleshooting advice, it is possible to not only fortify your mental muscle but also drastically improve the quality of your life.

About the Author

Amy Morin is a licensed clinical social worker, college psychology instructor, and psychotherapist. She is the only person in the psychology industry who is talking about mental strength on a global level. She lives in Enfield, Maine.

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do Review

Top 10 Mood Lifters

Snap Yourself Out of a Bad Mood FAST!

How to Snap Out of a Bad Mood
Ever feel draggy? That’s my word for that feeling you get when you’re not physically sick, not exactly sad, and not remotely mad… you’re just kind of out of sorts. Like your normal, upbeat mood has BEEN beaten with a crowbar.

Bad moods happen to all of us every now and again – and usually we can’t put one single mopey finger on WHAT got us here, WHO did this to us, WHEN we’re going to feel normal again, HOW to snap out of it, or WHERE we can hide in the meantime.  All we know for sure is that, if our mood had a color, it’d be gray.

One of my daughters put her own spin on it once as she came through the kitchen.  I asked her how she was doing and she said, “I think my face has forgotten how to smile today.”  Draggy.

Whenever your face has forgotten how to smile, try one of the Ten Mood Lifters below.  These are 10 sure-fire ways to snap out of your bad mood fast. You’ll get an instant lift and – heck if you do them often enough, your face might just forget how to frown.

  1. Go outside.  A little fresh air, combined with natural sunlight is a sure-fire Pick-Me-Up.  Even if it’s smack in the middle of winter, bundle up and walk around your yard for about 10 minutes.  There’s something invigorating about the outdoors and it’s a quick cure for the droops.
  2. Take a stretching break. Stand up and stretch your hands toward the ceiling, then bend over and touch the floor.  Next, stretch slowly from side to side.  Repeat the entire cycle several times – breathing deeply the entire time.  It’ll refresh your mind and mood. Just be sure to take deep breaths – a lot of the feel-good power in stretching lies  in the breathing.
  3. Spend some time with a pet. There’s something profoundly peaceful and fun about petting a furry loved one. The love you give comes back and, let’s face it, it’s almost impossible to do anything but smile when you’re looking into an animal’s loving eyes.
  4. If possible, elevate your heart with a little exercise.  Aerobic activity is one of the best ways to slap a good mood on your psyche.  Take a walk, pick up sticks in your yard, or clean your house with gusto.  Get mooving and grooving.  If you do it with some really upbeat music, the effects will be even better. My favorite music to listen to when at times like this are 80’s and Motown – you just can’t stay draggy when Smokey Robinson’s Cruisn’. No way, no how.
  5. Recall a time when you couldn’t stop laughing.  It was probably a time when laughter was unacceptable, right?!  That usually seems to be the case.  In high school, my best friend, Randy, and I would break out into fits of laughter all the time.  Sometimes we’d be on the phone and there’d be no sound at all except laughter for 5 minutes.  When we thought we had it under control, one of us would fall victim to the giggles again, then the other would crack up.  I can still hear the sound of his laugh in my head and it still makes me smile. He’d love to make me laugh at the most ridiculous times – in the middle of class was his favorite opportunity.  He got me so bad once during a college lecture that I thought I’d pass out.  Actually, passing out would have been less embarrassing. My youngest daughter, Stephany, may have gotten my ticklebox at THE most inappropriate time, ever, though. When she was around 2, we were listening to a sermon… a long, long sermon mind you… at a church we didn’t normally visit.  She fell asleep halfway through the sermon. After about 30 minutes she sat up, and IN A FRIGHTFULLY quiet auditorium said, “He’s not through yet?!!”  One of her sisters (Brittany) fought giggles off with me – and about 40 other people –  but her other sister (Emily) looked more mortified than anyone has ever looked! When I need a good laugh, I think back to each of their three adorable faces at that moment.
  6.  Watch a favorite sitcom, stand-up routine or movie.  Laughter really is the best medicine, especially when it’s your mood that needs a remedy.  If you can’t get to a television, don’t underestimate YouTube.  Enter the name of a favorite old sitcom, comedian, or bloopers to a favorite show.
  7. Change things up!  If you’re able to, change what you’re wearing.  Brush your hair, brush your teeth, and even wash your face.  Your mind “gets” that you’re trying to start fresh and it welcomes the idea.  If you’re at work, straighten up your desk, readjust your clothes – maybe even untie and tie (or unbuckle and buckle) your shoes.  You know how you “refresh” a webpage if it hasn’t “loaded” properly?  Same premise.  Refresh and try again.
  8. Talk to someone who lifts your spirits.  All of us have at least one person who seems to make our life a better place just by being around. They always seem to know what to say and what not to say. Their attitude and humor act as a tonic.  If you’re feeling low, search them out – take them to lunch or out for coffee. Let them work their magic on you.
  9. Do something special for yourself. Whether it’s a trip to Starbucks or a bouquet of flowers (some days call for both), do something that’ll bring a smile to your face.
  10. Do something special for someone else.  I saved the best for last. When you bring a smile to someone else’s face, it’s impossible to feel anything but joy and happiness.  By the same token, making your cat purr or your dog wag its tail will also bring about great contentment.  When you create happiness for others, you create it for yourself as well.

~ Joi

Be of good cheer. Do not think of to-day’s failures, but of success that may come to-morrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will have a joy in overcoming obstacles–a delight in climbing rugged paths which you would perhaps never know if you did not sometimes slip backward, if the road were always smooth and pleasant. Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost. -Helen Keller.

Be Yourself: Let Them Be Them, You Be You

I Am Who I Am, Your Approval is Not Needed

Quote About Being Unique

If God had wanted me otherwise, He would have created me otherwise.  – Johann von Goethe

True story:  When I was on the verge of high school, I was in a department store shopping with my mom and my one of my best friends, Tamra.  We were shopping for back to school clothes and Tamra and I each had a certain amount of money to spend.  I will just go ahead and admit it – I was up to my elbows in the “hot new” and “popular” clothes. Calvin Klein jeans, crazy colored tops, and.. of course… the coolest of the cool shoes.

At some point, I was mid-rant about the price of a pair of jeans when I realized I’d misplaced my buddy. While my mom scampered off to look at something else (and to probably escape my “How can I get everything I simply must have if the price tags are so unfair?? Life isn’t faaaaiiirrr….” meltdown), I went off in search of Tamra. I found her in a section of clothes I didn’t even know existed – inexpensive ones.

She said some sort of nonsense about being able to actually get MORE clothes if she bought CHEAPER clothes.

I’m sure I wondered how she and I were even friends at that point. I mean, what was with this girl?

Trying to save her from herself, I leaned in and whispered something like, “But no one’s wearing these clothes.”

My buddy supreme lit up and said, “That’s why I love them – I’ll be the only one!

I’d LOVE to be able to say that the early teen version of me had a moment of clarity and tossed down my Calvin Klein’s and pulled out some clothes from Tamra’s goldmine but, alas, I did not. Enlightenment was a word I could probably barely spell, let alone claim ownership of.

We were going to be entering high school for the first time, I was not going to do it in clothes that weren’t all the rage! I would not walk through those doors without the most expensive jeans in the store on my behind!

After about two hours (feeling sorry for my mom yet?), we left the store.  Tamra had more bags than me… more clothes than me.. and even had money left.

I thought possibly she was an alien. I walked out with my bag… yes, BAG.. felling like I had just won the shopping game.

Funny thing, though, my mom went on and on about Tamra’s approach. Praised her as we walked to the car… praised her as we ate the lunch she treated us to… at one point, it hit me that all this “praise” was as much for my benefit as it was her’s.   She kept looking at me as she said words like smart and thrifty.. and something about stretching money.  I’m pretty sure the whole lunch thing was so I could hear about “making the most of your money” and “making it last.” How “clothes were clothes” blah blah blah.

Great. So now I had two aliens.

Oddly enough, over the years I came to realize that… of course… I was the one who “didn’t get it.”  I was too preoccupied with wearing what the other kids were wearing to realize that the greatest thing in life is to make your own way, be yourself, and not worry about who anyone else thinks you should be.

Or what they think you should wear.

The whole enlightenment thing didn’t hit me until I was in my Senior year of High School.

My poor mom.

It finally became clear to me that the coolest thing in the world was to stand out from everyone else… not blend in.

Whether it’s what you wear, how you do your hair, how you walk, how you talk, or any dang thing that makes you you…  don’t let anyone try to re-make you or re-do you. I don’t care whether they think their intentions are great or not.  They don’t have the right. It’s YOUR life.

They have their own.

Truth is, if anyone tries to make you into something or someone you’re not, they’re actually the one with the problem, not you.  If they were completely comfortable in their own skin and at peace with life, they’d have better things to do than worry about your hair. Or clothes. Or anything.

Personally, I cannot imagine taking issue with something personal about another individual. If they’re mistreating someone or putting someone else at risk… sure, I’d have to say something. But if they want to braid garlic cloves into their hair and dress in sackcloth, I’m not going to let it rock my boat. I won’t sit downwind from them, but I’ll let them stink if they want to.

It’s their right.

There’s an old Polish proverb my husband loves, “Not my circus, not my monkeys.”  Pretty much I think you could also say it this way: “That’s none of my dang business, so I’m going to just do me!”

Be you…. let them be them.

Life’s better that way.

~ Joi

I am who I am your approval is not needed