Someone who loves me recently told me that I could work harder to make myself a more positive person.
Apparently, I tend to be an Eeyore. When life feels stressful and gets chaotic, I tend to focus on the negative, blow it way out of proportion and make life about surviving or getting through the day instead of enjoying where I am in the moment.
Jesus wants us to have an abundant life, enriched with purpose, peace and joy and not just on the other side of heaven (John 10:10). Having been reminded of this through several people whom I respect, I have been challenged to make several changes to my daily routine in order to see the world with a positive perspective and outlook.
Because, let me be honest, the past few weeks I’ve struggled to get out of bed. I have been dreading what tomorrow will bring instead of looking forward to it. I have been a Debbie Downer and, instead of counting my blessings, I have been focusing on everything God hasn’t given me instead of what he has given me.
If you can relate, I ask you to consider joining me on this 30-day challenge to encourage myself to be a more positive person.
There are five steps to this equation:
1. Start the day off with an intentional time of prayer and Bible study.
Anyone can prattle off a prayer and skim a few verses. Sometimes, I can get stuck in the routine of it all instead of eagerly looking for what God has to share with me at the beginning of the day.
In order to prevent excessive dry spells during this time, I read through several books of the Bible at once. No one wants to read through the book of Isaiah or Deuteronomy or Numbers and get bogged down by it. I try to differentiate what books I am in by reading in the New Testament, Old Testament and in Psalms or Proverbs.
I have kept a journal for almost ten years now, and it can be a tool to be intentional with your prayers. I like to write my prayers down. However, sometimes my written prayers can lack intentionality as well.
It’s all about the heart. And every morning, I need to eagerly desire to draw near to God through his Word and through time in prayer with him.
2. Exercise in the morning.
This isn’t going to be an easy one for me. Because not only do I get up a little earlier to read my Bible, now I have to allot more time to wake up and get my body moving.
But I will tell you there are plenty of easy ten-minute YouTube morning workout routines for stretching out stiff joints. If your body already hurts and is uncomfortable and achy at the beginning of the day . . . it is going to be a long day.
Going to the gym, walking around the neighborhood if you have a safe one or doing Pilates in your living room all might be great options. But I think adding this to my routine will have benefits for both my mental and physical health.
3. More water, less caffeine.
This is another hard one, let’s be honest. The first thing I do in the morning is put my K-cup in the Keurig and click “brew.”
And then, come mid-morning, I may need another dose. I might need an extra one to get through some afternoons too . . .
And once I get home, if I want to sit back on the couch and pop in a movie to relax, I will want popcorn . . . and soda to go with the hot, buttery and salty snack.
At least I drink caffeine free tea instead after six pm, right?
Except, with all that soda and coffee, I probably don’t drink enough water to balance it out. I know I don’t. And if I am dehydrated, it will make me less energetic and more lethargic, which in turn makes me go for another cup of coffee.
I need to break that cycle and drink water as if I was still running cross country and needed it to survive practices and meets (I only ran for one season. I may have survived, but I wasn’t fast).
4. Have a healthy way to process anxious emotions.
I watched the movie It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood last weekend. This film portrays the benevolent Mr. Rogers through the eyes of someone whose life was changed because of him.
Mr. Rogers teaches the protagonist, Lloyd Vogel, how to deal with emotions that are hard to process in order for Lloyd to process his anger towards his father. He tells Lloyd he can play the piano or go for a swim or even talk to someone to let out the emotions he has been internalizing that have consumed him from the inside out.
This lesson is suitable for anyone and everyone.
For me, I process my emotions by talking through them with a trusted friend or counselor or writing poems about them.
It is not easy to own my emotions sometimes. I don’t want to admit that I am worried or angry or stressed or scared . . . But by trying to ignore them they only grow in the back of my mind until they are pervading my everyday life and decisions.
Therapy is not easy for me to go to. I guess, in the back of my head, I feel like there is a negative stereotype that something is wrong with me if I need to consult a therapist.
I have to be “fixed.”
Now, this is a horrible way to look at therapy.
It’s not easy, but it is healthy to be honest with yourself and where you are and to allow someone else to help you through it.
Proverbs 11:4 says, “Where there is no guidance, a people fall, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.”
Find someone you can trust, maybe a mentor, a life coach, a friend or a professional counselor that you can be honest with. It will go a long way.
5. Do something you genuinely enjoy every day.
In other words, have a hobby.
I tend to be the person who will bury themselves in work and to-do lists. But I also need space in my life to rest. There’s a reason God created the Sabbath – humans are not designed to go 100% all the time.
God values rest.
Psalm 127:2 says, “It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones.”
Maybe you like to color or draw or paint.
Maybe you like to play a sport.
Maybe you like to curl up with hot chocolate and cozy up to a good book.
Maybe you like to garden or decorate your house.
Honestly, there’s a million hobbies out there that can be beneficial for people to have some time out of their busy days to do something they enjoy.
For me, the last 30 minutes before I go to sleep, I normally watch an episode or something on Prime Video, Disney Plus or Netflix. But, that’s kind of a mindless activity that makes me feel like I am wasting my time. The same goes with social media. I need to spend less time keeping up with the Joneses and more time on maybe coloring or reading a book.
In conclusion, my daily routine needs to change for me to be a better person to myself and also for others to be around.
If you want to join me, please do! Let’s start today and see if this 30-day challenge will have a positive effect on our lives.