Day 7: Think about the best parts of your life while you’re waiting in line or at a stop light.
Stoplights and lines are usually places where I complain in my head about all the things that I could be doing with my time instead of sitting there waiting. So this was a great challenge for me! I took a second to look in the rearview mirror at my beautiful children, to thank God for the working car I was driving, to appreciate the nice weather, to be thankful for good health, for my husband and how hard he works to provide for our family, and more! This really made a difference in my mindset! We spend a lot of time waiting each day, and this time can either be used as a positive influence or a negative influence. When you choose to utilize that time as a positive influence you are not wasting it, and you are not letting it control you!
Day 8: Take a few minutes to write down your values. What is most important in your life?
Here is a list of my values:
- God is Lord over my life & Jesus is my Savior
- Our purpose in life is to glorify God, not ourselves & our accomplishments
- My husband and my children are my first priority over other people
- Loving and caring for those around me is more important than my own material wants
- Our possessions and money belong to God and we should be good stewards of them
- Encouragement is essential in any relationship
Reflecting on your values allows you to recognize what is most important and to actually start living them out. You are probably already focusing on most of them in your daily life, but stating them makes it more of a reality and a challenge to yourself to be the person whose life revolves around those values. If we don’t stand for anything it is easy to get sucked into what others believe is important. In order to maintain a positive mindset and experience joy in our lives, we have to know who we are. In my life, that means recognizing who created me (God) and what I was created for (to glorify Him). If I don’t keep that first in my mind it is easy to become overwhelmed and bogged down by the pressures, negative cultural influences, and stresses of the world.
Day 9: Whenever you have a minute, take 3 full deep breaths to get your oxygen flowing.
This challenge is *literally* a breath of fresh air. 😉 But seriously, how often do you do this if you’re not intentional about it? I know I never do. Taking three full deep breaths helps me to stop my body from moving and my mind from racing for a couple of seconds, but really that is all it takes to redirect and refocus your thoughts. Sometimes I just have 5,000 thoughts running through my head at once creating a sense of chaos and of being overwhelmed. Taking three deep breaths helps me to focus on one. Other times I can only focus on one thought, but it is never a positive one. Taking three deep breaths in that situation helped me to calm down, and redirect to what I actually need to think about, or even just an opposite & positive version of what I had been thinking before! This challenge is SO easy but so vital to our mental health.
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Day 10: Dance, run, jump on a trampoline. Get out there & get your endorphins going for at least 5 minutes.
So, this one was a challenge with two kids under 5 in the Winter (yup it was 30 degrees outside), but we did it! I bundled up the littlest one in my Ergobaby Carrier (<–that one is on sale for $25 off right now on Amazon!), put a hat, scarf, gloves, and winter coat on Joy, grabbed the dog & off we went! Honestly by the end of the 20-minute walk, everyone (including me) was in tears but hey, we did it. 🙂 Although it was a struggle, it was good just to get out of that house! It got my endorphins going, breathing cold air definitely woke me up, and it motivated me to keep that positive energy going the rest of the day!
Day 11: Do something nice for someone unexpectedly. Keep your eyes open for someone who could use a boost.
So, surprises & gift-giving is kind of a hobby/favorite thing of mine, making this one of the more fun challenges for me. It also came the day after my husband had bought me these beautiful flowers for no reason other than love: 🙂
So I knew that my nice thing was going to be for my husband because come on, those are BEAUTIFUL. Even though him giving me something first may have disqualified this as an “unexpectedly” thing, but oh well. I ended up just surprising him with ice cream at work (his favorite – Reese’s PB Cups with chocolate in milkshake form.) I also bought a little cup of ice cream for my daughter (who can always use a boost because she is an emotional preschooler) and that made her day. (Not to mention the ice cream I bought myself …win-win right?) Anyways, doing nice things for people when they don’t expect it is awesome because you get to take part in the joy and appreciation they feel! There are no negative thoughts/feelings associated with doing something nice for no reason, just a lot of thinking about why you appreciate them and feeling great because of how you made them feel! Also keep in mind that the important thing isn’t a grand gesture, but your intent behind it to let that person know that you see them and you notice how wonderful they are. (Thanks Jack Pearson) 😉 <3 P.S. I’m a This Is Us addict…
Day 12: Share a good memory with 2 friends & reminisce about good times.
Okay, to be honest, I didn’t take the time to do this one for some reason. Okay, for one reason – talking on the phone for longer than 1 minute is super difficult as a stay-at-home mom! I DID spend some time working on plans for a girls trip to Denver with 5 of my closest life-long friends THIS SPRING, which will be an overload of reminiscing on good memories, having tons of “good times”, and creating more beautiful memories together! So, I counted that and am looking forward to it every day. <3 Just for fun, here’s a picture from our last “girls trip” a couple of years ago:
So, spending time in conversation (or even better in person) with friends that KNOW you, and that you have a long history of memories with, is SO beneficial to your mental & emotional health! The picture above just brings so many positive feelings of friendship & fun & a lifetime of “good times”. Even though these aren’t women that I now see every day because of where we all live, they are women that I grew up with and learned about life with and went through joy and heartache with, and connecting with people like that in your life is, in my opinion, one of the BEST ways to create joy in your life!
That is it for Days 7-12! Don’t forget to go back and read the Days 1-6 Reflections, and I’ll be posting my Days 13-18 Reflections soon!
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