Two weeks after my 58th birthday, I suffered a mild stroke. After I stopped denying that this ‘couldn’t happen to me’ (it could and it did), I struggled to accept this as my new normal. What skills I want back I must work to get back. Here are some tips that have helped me along (these are from George PH):
- Stop Chasing and Start Living – Many people feel they need something – more money, new clothes, better relationships – to make them happy. . .If you look hard enough, you’ll always find reasons to be miserable. So stop chasing; start living. Wanting more is fine, but don’t forget to relax and enjoy life for what it is – in the present.
- Assume Responsibility – We often blame other people, circumstances and even objects for our problems. . . Unless you assume responsibility for your life, you’ll always be at the mercy of those circumstances. Instead of blaming others for what’s wrong in your life, focus on what you can do to make things better. Never sulk and try not to feel sorry for yourself too often. It’s your responsibility to make yourself happy: nobody else’s.
- Stop Seeking Stimulation – We live in a world of endless stimulation. Between movies, video games and the internet, something exciting’s always going on. Sometimes, this makes us feel bored and restless when we run out of stuff to do. If you want to be happy, overcome this addiction. Develop the ability to enjoy life in its entirety – even when the stimulation stops. Appreciate the sky you see on your way to work each day. Cherish each moment you spend with the people you love. Savor every bite of food you get to eat. Enjoying every experience will give you many new reasons to be happy.
- Take Action – Taking action is the logical consequence of assuming responsibility for your life (Point #2). . . Get behind the steering wheel of your own life! . . . Educate yourself and commit to find happiness no matter what it takes. With enough hard work and dedication, you really can create the life you want.
- Expect Nothing – We expect others to treat us better than we treat them. . . The difference between what we feel entitled to and what we actually get is the source of much misery. Accept life in its entirety; stop thinking in terms of what should be and accept what is. When you live without entitlement, every good thing becomes a wonderful surprise. Even better, expecting nothing means never being disappointed.
So here’s to living in the present, making things better, and enjoying each moment. Join me this November.
Pastor Peter J. Blank
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