Collect moments to dispel anxiety or lingering sadness.
To summarize our current situation as residents of planet earth, I contend that the world has lost its collective mind. So, how do we look around and not drown in the darkness of it? How can you or I fight the depression and anxiety of this current mess? How will moments or any other thoughts help us?
Think of a time when you felt truly happy or peaceful. Stop and think. Let your mind wander to moments other than anxiety, sorrow, or confusion.
Think of one time or one place that was happy, peaceful, joyful…
I close my eyes and remember a long afternoon spent on a Florida beach several years ago with my husband. It was a beautiful blue sky day, barely a cloud in the sky. The water was pale turquoise, calm on the horizon, and lazily coming up on the sand and sliding back out. No sound but that. Our hair was ruffled by a soft breeze and it was 76 degrees. We had nowhere to be but there. As I remember it, my husband and I hardly spoke, no words were needed.
Were WE perfect? Was our life perfect? No, because life is hard and we are human and humans are not perfect. It was the moment.
The moment was lovely.
What moment would you go back to? Which ones would you relive? Everyone has moments and memories. We just have to take note of them, acknowledge them.
Even the small.
If dark unhappy thoughts flood your mind, stop, say “No” and focus on your happy, peaceful, or contented moments instead.
Maybe your happy moment was an afternoon when you felt right with the world and life seemed amazing. You lay your head on someone you love’s shoulder. Or, it was a perfect day outdoors with the kids or friends. Maybe it was an event or a moment you felt accomplished. The day your child was born, or when you met your spouse. It might be the day you were rescued from something. Have you ever overcome something or did something you were afraid to do? What moments make you feel good inside?
Really think about this for a few minutes.
Find one good moment. If it makes you feel guilty or creates stress, choose another.
Remembering our best moments can dispel the darkness. Focus on the every day good moments will change your life.
For some people happiness is elusive, almost unobtainable, but everyone has moments. Those happy moments are where we need to dwell.
If you truly want to get rid of the pervasive negative feelings, your thoughts are where you have to start.
Moments are memory. Observations. Collections of life, love, joy. These moments will erase negative feelings and anxiety.
I call these moments “Every good and perfect gift,” from James 1:17, Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, with whom there is no change or shifting shadow.
Some of you might look at being happy or peaceful as something that happens to other people, as if the happy people are just lucky. However, I think that is rarely the case. I know from my own experience contentment is not an accident or a gift from fate. God doesn’t tap me with a happy stick, and slap you.
Joy is not something that happens according to how easy your life has been. Thousands of books have been written by people who have gone through terrible things and come out on the other side renewed and spreading joy, teaching others to overcome.
So consider, if happiness/joy/contentment/peace is not fate or accident, then it is something else.
From what I have seen and experienced, feeling good is perspective. It is in our/your approach to day to day anxiety or pain, and where in memory we dwell. We choose to side with joy, or conversely, we side with something negative, but our state of mind stems directly from our approach, how we view and face life overall. Past or present, it is our perspective, our point of view that colors our life.
Not to oversimplify, but if you need somewhere to start that is it. Happiness starts with a decision to address your own life, past horrors, or situation with a new vision.
I understand that many of you have had tragic circumstance or face something awful right now. Finding a way through does not negate those events or dishonor the ones you have loved who are no longer here. For others, constantly beating yourself up with regret, sadness, and guilt destroys happiness. Instead, think of it this way.
Life is made of memories and which moments we choose to dwell on will help us cast off the chains of mourning and sadness.
Try to think of several moments in time when you felt truly happy. (At the same time, try not to argue about how much pain there has been. Trust me, I understand.)
Just look through your memory and find a moment of joy or good feelings. Don’t judge it. Maybe you made someone laugh when they needed it, or helped them move. Those are moments. You were kind, don’t judge it, let it be.
This past weekend, I sat on the porch with my husband, sister in law, and brother in law. We weren’t talking about anything major, but the view was pretty as the sun set. It was so relaxing, we lost track of time for a little while. That is a moment to acknowledge.
Now take a deep breath and think about someone you love or that has loved you and remember something else good. Remember one thing, and another.
Now, write them down.
For a flood of good, write a bunch of them down. Write down every happy moment in a day or week.
In my blog, I write about this tool often, because nothing dispels darkness, but light. Joy chases away sadness. Happy overcomes sad.
Beautiful memories and dwelling in the best parts of your life grows into joy.
It is a way of turning on the light.
In fact, write down all your favorite vacations or triumphant moments, times with friends or family. That camping trip or holiday. Remember the girl or guy you met, the good deed that led to something wonderful, the time you laughed until you cried. Whether it was first grade or your favorite birthday, there were moments where you felt good. Some of those moments might just be the pure relief that something ended.
Philippians 4:8 NKJV
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
Assignment: Buy a journal. Call it your joy book, or your happiness journal where you only record good thoughts, moments, events, and triumphs.
Record every time you felt something other than bad. Write down the dates, the circumstance, who was there.
Record the true, noble, just, pure, and lovely thoughts and memories.
Stop letting your mind say things like, “but there is so much more bad than good,” or “You don’t know what I have been through.”
You are right, I don’t. But if you are in a competition to see whose life has sucked the most, I guarantee you there are many who have been through worse. We can’t even imagine the horrors some people have faced. It isn’t a competition. Pain is still pain. Loss is still loss. If you think you are suffering more than the next person, you need to deal with that first. Generally, if you talk to people long enough, you will discover that they struggle too.
Empathy will help you release your own pain.
Your pain is real, because you are human. But, pain is a heavy chain if we can’t get beyond it.
Let yourself dwell on your unearthed happy thoughts. They are pleasant because you view/viewed what happened in a positive way. It felt good. It can feel good now. More so, the memories attached to that moment are good, so let them come.
Let yourself remember the great and small joys of your life. Relive them and swim in them like your own pool of joy.
In every life, anxiety needs a release valve, so breathe deep and let it float away in a river of good thoughts.
Let it go.
Barefoot and writing, making memories, reliving moments,
Galatians 5:22,23a But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.