We are back!! My apologies to any of you who read the blog who found your access to it was blocked last week because the posting on Sex resulted in my site being listed as “pornographic.” I made some tweaks and now it is right as rain.
In celebration (read: mourning) over the last episode of Breaking Bad (#goodbyeBreakingBad) last night I am going to use various BB themes for all the postings this week. Just a quick note: I loved the finale and that it was brilliant on so many levels! The wife and I have been #teamWalt from the beginning and are still firmly in the Heisenberg camp!
I am not sure about you but I am already having a difficult Monday morning so these tips are speaking to me as well. We will see how successful I am at following my own advice today I guess! Let’s get started!
1. Don’t Worry
I am sure my wife is laughing as she reads this. No doubt “not worrying” about things is my biggest struggle. Sadly I come from a long line of people who spend more time worrying about things than enjoying life. I am still a work in progress and this is one of the more difficult areas I need to improve day in and day out. The most annoying thing is how much I worry about things I have no control over. Jesus (whether you believe in him or not) gave some really great advice in this area:
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34 (NIV)
I also have issues with trying to control as much as I can about what happens in my life, even if I know, logically, I have no control over it. Thus, for me I worry about things that I have no control over because in my mind I want to be prepared in case “it” (whatever “it” is) happens so I can be prepared ahead of time to deal with it. Sounds totally acceptable in my head but I am sure if a friend explained it in the same way I would roll my eyes can call him an idiot.
We see Job struggle with the consequences of his own worry: “What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me.” Job 3:25
There is another quote that I couldn’t find today when looking for it but it goes something like this: “Don’t worry about the things you can control because you can control them. Don’t worry about the things you can’t control because you can’t control them.”
The question becomes getting a good handle on what you can and cannot control. If the thing you worry about is in someone else’s hands you can’t control it (even if you think you can.) This would apply for auditions, job interviews, promotions etc. You can only do so much before it is out of your control. You have to take an honest assessment and realistically answer the question: “Can I control the outcome of this situation in any way?” If it takes you longer than 30 seconds to answer the question you probably cannot control it.
Here is a good tool to help you tackle worrying about things in your life. Make a list of the things you worry about. Divide that list into two categories:
1. Concerns you can do something about
2. Concerns beyond your control
For those items that fall under #1 (this list should be shorter than #2) prioritize those which are the most important and try and resolve them one at a time. As for those items under #2, congratulations! These things you can’t control and therefore you should not use your mental energy thinking about. Spending some time praying about those items and ask God why you worry about those things. For those items under #2 make a conscious effort to give them over to God and move on with your day.
I promise if you are able to do this exercise it will help you be free and enjoy yourself more.
“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.” Leo Buscaglia
“Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.” Benjamin Franklin
2. Take a Moment to be Grateful
Trust me I know how difficult it can be to be thankful for life when bills are due, a job is lacking and there has been a death or serious illness in the family. Life can be a real grind and often times we can start to think life is an unfair game we never asked to participate in. Whether you are struggling with the loss of a loved one, an end to a relationship, a failure at work or in your career or even if you are feeling depressed; there is always something you can be thankful for.
The key is to find one or two of those things and spend time thinking about them rather than your current circumstance. The things you are grateful for might be different from what I am grateful for but that doesn’t matter.
There are times when my life could have taken a sharp turn in a very bad direction but it didn’t. For that I am grateful. Other times I was thrown for a serious loop and felt like my life was totally out of control. Yet during those times I reminded myself how grateful I was to be alive, had friends/family who cared for me and that others were needing me to push through the difficult time and be there for them.
Now on a day like today I am grateful for my beautiful and wonderful wife who makes every effort to cheer me up when I am down. Nothing helps me get through a day like wanting to see her beautiful smile and to make her laugh when I get home. Remember it is the simple things we should be grateful for. You probably woke up this morning and were still breathing and that is enough for anyone to be grateful for.
When all else fails be grateful for beer. Just do so responsibly!
Because no matter how bad yesterday was, when you wake up today anything is possible and you have a chance to have a better day! Be grateful and it will help improve your mood!
3. Blow Off Steam
Part of having a bad or difficult day of course involves stress. How we deal with stress is an essential part of our lifestyle and is a key to living a long life. If you are like me you are easily stressed by an assortment of things. Finding a way to deal with it can be a challenge at times but I personally believe the solution is rather simple.
There are certainly plenty of bad or unhealthy ways to deal with stress such as drug/alcohol abuse, violence and yelling at everyone in your life. However, we all engage in activities that we really enjoy and usually aid us in relaxing after a long day. Here are several of mine:
1. Watching baseball – it doesn’t even have to be the Red Sox. As long as I don’t have to listen to Michael Kay or other Yankee broadcasters I can flip on a baseball game or even listen to it on the MLB.com app and I am a happy man. Even better if I can tune into a Dodger game to listen to Vin Scully. If you haven’t tried it you are missing out.
2. Killing Zombies/Virtual Humans – I am a huge fan of Call of Duty but a much larger fan of the COD Zombies (although the most recent zombie offering was terrible.) I also highly recommend you purchase or rent “The Last of Us” one of the most amazing games I have ever played. Anyway…nothing relaxes me quite as much as “mowing a lawn of flesh” (as Dr. Richtoften calls it) while playing zoms. It is totally mindless and it helps me to stop thinking about whatever is going on that is stressing me out.
3. Excercise – sadly I don’t use this as an outlet as often as I used to but even Dr’s agree that excercise is one of the best ways to relieve stress. I don’t think more needs to be said.
4. Sex – as a Christian man I am only encouraging this as an alternative if you are married to a member of the opposite sex (now please continue to throw things at me for being a terrible human.)
What do you like to do to relax? Those are the things you should try to do when you have had a long and/or stressful day. It isn’t always easy to make the time but if you don’t want to burn out and be miserable you need to work more of this kind of time into your life.
Follow the three steps above and I promise you will have a better go of it on your roughest and toughest of days. Well I have to run but until tomorrow make it an A-1 day!