8 Ways to Choose Happiness for Today Over Worry for Tomorrow

February in New York is not generally associated with being “balmy.” It’s a season that brings frigid temperatures, dark skies, and short days, so last week I was thrilled to step onto the deck in bare feet and hold my arms up to the beautiful blue sky. The sun warmed my heart and my face as I soaked it in!

Town was abuzz with people who couldn’t wait to be outside! Temperatures were in the upper 70’s one day and stayed (might I use the word!) BALMY for several! It was glorious for anywhere, anytime, but it was especially GLORIOUS  for a New York February!

Even still, no matter where I went or who I talked to, people commented on how our good weather wouldn’t last.

“There’s a storm blowing in, Sunday.”

“It’s gonna get cold over the weekend.”

“The groundhog said six more weeks of winter so you know this can’t last!”

How often, even in the midst of Joy among happy people on nearly perfect days, do we shift our attention to the negative and what might happen some day?

Sunday’s Gospel, from the Book of Matthew 6:24, tells us

Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.

In this beautiful reading, we are told at least several times not to worry or be anxious. We are told we cannot serve both God and mammon. Neither can we serve both God and worry! We are told to not to worry about food or drink. We are compared to birds flying freely in the sky, beautiful wildflowers growing in fields, and King Solomon in all his splendor.

We are told God loves us more than anything in His creation, more even than His most beautiful plants and animals. We are told, He’s got this!

Yet, when you’re a mom, worry often seems part of the job description. Gospel authors may not have been born with the same compulsion to worry. They didn’t have the same bills to pay, the same kids to raise, or the same husbands who repeatedly break their hearts.

Worry is very real. Sometimes worry is a gift from God telling us to address a wrong, but when worry turns into anxiety or impedes our ability to enjoy the goodness in each passing day, we need to put it to rest.

That’s easier said than done when you’re a busy mom with a lot of responsibilities! Not easy, but it is simple and possible!”

How to Choose Happiness Today Over Worry Tomorrow:

  1. Enjoy Your Limited Power – Start by humbly accepting you are not all knowing or all powerful. Stop trying to control the world or even your little corner of it. Turn often to the Serenity Prayer.
  2. Let Someone Else Win – Always being right is burdensome more than an honorable. Give another another the gift of importance by giving his ideas your full appreciation (not just your full attention!). Grace comes in godly submission.
  3. Eliminate Bad Habits – Focusing on the negative and what might happen becomes habitual. Be aware of how often you’re enjoying a balmy day but offer negative commentary. Awareness comes first. Change comes next.
  4. Apply the 80/20 Rule – To get quality feedback you should give 80% and receive 20%. Think of your internal dialogue. What kind of feedback do you give yourself? Every negative thought must be countered with at least four positive thoughts you create and then act on!
  5. Stop Time – It’s not impossible! We push time ahead by focusing on the “someday.” Let things happen in God’s time. Being stuck in limbo is a temporary situation that causes many to force permanent answers that don’t lead to better tomorrows. Take each day for what it is. Let go…refer to #1. Slowing down time by accepting God’s schedule is possible. Turning back time b/c you wish you’d done life differently is impossible. [tweetshare tweet=”Slowing time by accepting God’s schedule works. Rewinding time b/c u wish u’d done different doesn’t.” username=”StrahlenGrace”]
  6. Make a Rule – Include family and friends in a fun Positivity Only period. Hand out small noise makers and, if a negative comment is made, let loose! Laugh at the racket that drowns out negativity! Kids love this, but quieter versions also work. Fine negativity by adding quarters to a jar or, for a positive spin, reward unvoiced negative comments. Keeping a mental tally of rewards for countered negativity makes dealing with your boss, your ex, and your in-laws fun! Be sure not to hold onto negative comments; hold onto only the rewards! 
  7. Eliminate Time & Energy Drainers – If friends spout negativity, reevaluate the friendship. If they’re going through a rough time, stick it out, but if they are always negative ask how this affects you consciously and unconsciously. [tweetshare tweet=”Every minute you spend w/ a negative influence is one you don’t spend seeking a positive influence.” username=”StrahlenGrace”]
  8. Grab Your Go-To’s – Thoughts can pound in rapid fire succession, but it’s impossible to think two thoughts at the same time. Make a list of Go-To Thoughts & Comments you use when negativity strikes. Maybe it’s the time you made PB & J sandwiches, a special milestone or achievement, or something silly and imaginary like an elephant chewing pink bubble gum. Kids have great ideas! Ask them for help and let the giggles fly!

Whether you’re having a fantastic day, a so-so month, or a rotten decade, God always provides Beauty among ashes. Stop overcomplicating things. If you’ve done all you can (and worry is not doing all you can!) your job is to find and enjoy God’s Beauty in each moment. Choose happiness for today over worry for tomorrow.

Breathe in today’s Graces, and let tomorrow take care of itself!

God Bless…

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