WHAT GROUP DO YOU BELONG IN?

A FUN GROUP INDEED!

Many of us have heard that you are, in many ways, the aggregate of the 5 people you are surrounded by most. As much as we strive to be our individual selves, I believe the people that are in our lives have a far greater impact on us than we would like to believe or certainly admit. To me, that is not a liability, but an opportunity. We can begin to focus on surrounding ourselves with people who bring positive changes and experiences into our lives. There is a picture of some wonderful and fun people I am sharing an experience at our local state fair with.

That is not to say we should base all of our interactions on a ‘what can you do for me’ mentality. Just be aware how you feel and act around certain people. I know when I enjoy a walk or a cup of coffee with my friend Nick I end feeling both empowered and inspired. When I walk with my mom in nature we both feel relaxed and grateful for the natural beauty we have experienced. When I spend a romantic evening with Margie and I am always left feeling loved and grateful to have such a beautiful and amazing lady to share life with. Even though these are examples of groups of two, it is important to appreciate the magic that happens when people get together!

Of course there are negative groups of people too. Yes, people who unite behind causes that are at best, less than noble. This was brought to my attention by a coworker of mine who was feeling despondent because, as he mentioned, everywhere he looked he seemed to see some depressing news. “Even on my Facebook it is all negative!” he proclaimed. I have explained how important it is to choose those you include in your social media posse carefully. I have actually dedicated an entire section on how to do this and why it is important in my new book, Living the Dream. I would like to give you a great example of a group I am in and how it affects my life.

I am a big fan of Mr. Rogers, the television show host who taught children valuable life lessons. Many of these lessons, such as the importance of expressing negative emotions in a positive and constructive way, could be used on adults today. I joined a group on the afore mentioned Facebook, that is all about Mr. Rogers and people’s memories of him. In this group people not only share the valuable lessons they learned, they practice them as well. I recall a young man who had autism and wanted one of the puppets like Mr. Rogers used on his show. Not only was there an outpouring of support and encouragement for this young man, but someone also sent him a puppet as well. This holds true for people who lost jobs, are feeling down or could just use a little support in general.

I told this to my troubled coworker who countered with “Yes, but that is just one group of people. Not everyone is like that.” I pondered these words. There was some truth in them, but there was an important fact that he was missing. “What about the groups of people you were talking about before? The negative and angry people.” I asked him. “Aren’t those people just one group of people? They certainly do not represent the world at large.” In this day an age, it may very well be true that negative groups get more of the press, but that does not mean they represent everyone. Just like my group of fellow Mr. Rogers fans, there are plenty of groups who display the good that is inside every one of us, no matter how deep it is buried.

I suggest we search out these groups and lend our own positivity and compassion to them. Groups of positive people not only encourage and support each other, but working together can make a greater difference than all of those individuals working on their own. Can’t find a group like this to join try searching positive terms online. I belong to groups that have a positive view on motivation, inspiration, fitness and many other subjects. If you are a self-starter, try forming your own group of positive people! I have started one on Facebook called “Fall in love with your life” that not only contains these blogs, but many other positive stories and examples! Find your group of positive people and surround yourself with them as often as you can!

WHAT A GREAT EXPERIENCE

This was one of those things on social media you post and people comment what they love most about you. I did it as a means to discover new and interesting views about how people see me. It was a good exercise for several reasons. What I left with was a profound and grateful feeling in my heart for the kind words that people shared as well as a greater appreciation for the friends that I have in them. It also served as a great indicator as to whether or not I was really fulfilling the vision of the man I strive to be. One thing that made me happy, was judging by the comments I read the answer to that was definitely in the affirmative. New friends, not so new friends and even soul friends let me know that I was indeed living up to my standards for the type of man I wish to be.

I formerly advocated to write your own eulogy as a means of gaining clarity as to the type of person you wish to be thought of at the end of your life as well as how far you have to go to reach that point. I still think that is a very powerful exercise. If you would like more information on doing so, you can watch the video with that title on my YouTube channel, Neil Panosian, or read that section in my first book, A Happy Life for Busy People. While that is helpful in discovering who you want to be and how far you have to go, putting something like this on your social media is a good way to get a snapshot of how you are being viewed currently. The answers will hopefully fill you with a sense of joy and a great deal of appreciation for those you share your life with, like it did for me.

My greeting for all of you today

My next thought about this activity was what a great addition to everyone’s day this probably was. How many of us are quick to post a snarky political post or some sarcastic meme? I hear people complain about social media as a negative influence more than anything else at my seminars. This still strikes me as odd because we, for the most part, control who and what we see on our social media pages. This got me thinking about something I teach in my books and when I speak live. The best, and often easiest, way to eliminate negativity from your life is to add positivity. This is easy to see on social media. Are you sick of all the negative political banter? Do not like seeing depressing news? Done with people who bring nothing but drama, yet you are hesitant to delete them because it will just cause…well…drama? Have no fear my friends! The solution is at hand. You add some positive material.

This doesn’t have to even be something in the self-improvement field or subscribing to the Secret2anamazinglife Facebook page, although you could certainly do worse. No, it can be anything that brings you a smile. If you were my lovely Margie it could be the unicorn and puppy cupcake eating page. If you happen to be a future best selling author and speaker, it could be the sipping Jamaican coffee while sitting on a beach in…say…Jamaica page. The formula here is as follows – even if the usual amount of negative nonsense would still be on your page, it would be coupled with unicorns and puppies eating cupcakes, or coffee and beaches, depending on who you are. Eventually, things would begin to shift towards the positive. If you share this formula with all of your friends and family (you can even share it with all of those people who continue with the political posts) and have them start doing it, that will lead to even MORE positive things showing up on your page! This brings us to our final point and challenge….

I would like to invite you to the Secret2anamazinglife positive social media challenge! For the rest of September, post at least one positive thing on social media every day. This can be many things. It could be a romantic and loving post about your significant other (I think you can guess the positive outcome that might have) It can be a picture of a person or animal that makes you smile. It can be an inspiring news story. It can even be a picture of a beautiful beach you would like to visit. One caveat here, it cannot be accompanied by a sarcastic caption or comment. You cannot post a getaway in Fiji and caption it “I would rather be relaxing here than working this stupid postal job” Nothing negative. Either just post the picture or add something like, “I can’t wait to be relaxing here one day” I am going to do this, and I invite all of you to do the same. Feel free to share some of the positive things you will share in the comments below. If we all do this for the rest of the month, we will bring a lot of smiles to those who see our social media, which in tru

SHRED HATE

Further proof that self-improvement tips can come from places you do not expect, I give you the example above. A picture with a lot of great ideas. In these days and times it would seem hate and negativity are gaining a big foothold. These are simple steps in which we can turn the tide. I saw this picture on the Facebook page from an amazing DJ I enjoy from Trinidad and Tobago, DJ Ana. Her great Soca mixes are definitely worth checking out.

Let us look at a few of these and how we can put them to use. I like the idea of “Being kind in the comments.” It would seem that many people do not feel the need to engage unless it falls into the critical category. Sometimes, it is just to disagree with someone’s expressed opinion. Both of those are certainly valid comments, but how you say something can be even more important than what you are saying. I value people who offer me opinions that are different than mine or who have ways in which my writing or content can be improved. If, however, they say so in a harsh and confrontational manner I am less likely to be receptive. Being kind and encouraging in any and all situations can certainly help shred hate.

Spread positive content is another great one. A lot of us think that positivity and social media are opposites. That is a sad commentary in regards to most people’s social circle. When we are on social media, we choose who, and what we will follow. We also choose what we will share and bring to the lives of others. Do you really want to share that click bait negative headline just so people will check out your page? Wouldn’t it be better to introduce your friends and family to something that can help them reduce their stress, increase their joy and become the best version of themselves? Kind of like the post you are reading presently? We here at Secret2anamazinglife.com love it when our content is shared. Word of mouth is the best way to spread the word and help us reach the hearts and minds of those who really need us. Next time you are tempted to share that article about the celebrity failing their sobriety, do yourself and those you share with a favor and share something that will bring something positive to their lives instead. A picture of a monkey or baby bear wouldn’t hurt either.

Follow the good is our last category we are going to look at. This one should again be very simple, but might have been overlooked up until now. If you find something good, someone inspiring, or something useful – follow it. Whether that is a certain podcast you might sign up for, a YouTube channel to subscribe to, a Facebook page to like or group to join. Even this blog you are currently reading. If there is something that will add joy and positivity to your life, make sure to get it in your schedule and in your life right away. Be alerted when new content is posted. That way there is always a little bit of positivity showing up in your life when you need it. How do you know when you might need it? You don’t. That is exactly why it is so important to have it in front of you as often as you can. Find the good and follow it.

If we want to shred hate, I suggest using one of the many suggestions in the first picture. Bringing in as much positivity into our lives as we can is one way. Sharing as much positivity with others is certainly another. I would love to hear your suggestions for shredding hate. Please leave them in the comments below. Your idea could be explored in our next post!

DOES MICHAEL JORDAN WRITE YOUTUBE COMMENTS?

Last post we talked about exposing yourself to as much intelligent content and great leaders as you can. This post comes from such a venture. Recently, I was watching to the Joe Rogan podcast where he was interviewing Kevin Hart. There was a great deal of surprising content on this show. I learned a good deal about both men, especially Kevin Hart.

At one point in the podcast, they were discussing the negativity so prevalent online. It is a reason why we do what we do on this website. It is safe to say this part of the conversation really resonated with me. The focus narrowed to people who feel the need to be contrary. You know the ones. You are having a discussion about a movie or band you like and out of nowhere they pop up and say, “I don’t like them, they suck.” When pressed for a reason, often they don’t even have one. This goes ten times when you post something online. You are sharing a nice romantic date you had with your spouse. A fancy dinner, a show and maybe some quality time together after. No sooner is it posted, the comments begin. “That restaurant is overrated.” “You saw what show? That was terrible and boring!” or even just an attack on your love itself. “Stop with all of the romance already!” or even comments like, “You make me sick with all of that love.”

The million dollar question is why do people feel so compelled to be negative? They could keep their opinions to themselves. They could simply just keep scrolling. Instead, they stop, take time and what to be a cloud to your sunshine. Apparently, they have so much free time that this is possible. Online there is no repercussion for a total lack of manners. You can hide behind a keyboard and say as many negative things as your heart desires. Sadly, I have seen this begin to show itself in person as well. You could be discussing your favorite recipe with a coworker and here comes the sunshine-challenged. “What? I would never eat that! I can’t stand onions.”

While discussing this on the podcast, Mr. Rogan made a joke, but it had a very good point. “Do you think Michael Jordan comments on YouTube videos?” he asked. The point is that Michael Jordan is busy running his businesses and basketball teams to bother with such trivial matters. He is busy improving his life to comment some contrary statement on a social media post. Taking time to leave a little encouragement or motivation on a friend’s post can really do wonders for them. What do you think is accomplished with doing the opposite? What is the point really?

Next time you feel the urge to inject a contrary or negative comment on someone’s post or in their conversation, ask yourself, “What am I going to accomplish by doing this?” “Is there a better way I could use my time?” You can rest assured Michael Jordan, Warren Buffet, Elon Musk or any other driven and accomplished individual is not wasting time on such activities. Let us build each other up, not tear each other down.

LOCAL MASTERMINDS WORKING TO BETTER THE CITY

The internet defines ‘mastermind’ in 2 distinct ways. noun – a person with outstanding intellect and verb – plan and direct (an ingenious and complex scheme or enterprise) In the city where I live, West Allis Wisconsin, we have a local group of masterminds who fit that definition exactly. The group is called “West Allis Masterminds”. It consists of a small group of local business owners from the city. Recently, I sat down with the group’s founder, Ricky Grabow, to learn more about this amazing group, who they are and what they are doing to improve the city.

My first question to Ricky was what exactly is the West Allis Masterminds? As I discovered, not only are they people of outstanding intellect, but they are owners of local brick and mortar stores located in the city of West Allis. How does such a group come together and why the name masterminds? Several years back the city had decided to disband its local chamber of commerce. When Mr. Grabow heard of this, he saw a great opportunity to establish a group of people that are not only vested in the city, but dedicated to its success. The exact mission statement of the Mastermind group reads as follows, “To provide West Allis small businesses a supportive community that ensures long term success and survival.” That certainly fits the second part of our definition of mastermind, plan and direct an ingenious and complex scheme or enterprise. In this case they are planning and scheming ways in which to improve the climate for small businesses in the city by working together cooperatively.

Ricky is the owner of Peak Physique a local gym here in West Allis. He is not only vested in the city, but has a passion for seeing it, and those in it, do well. I asked him how he chose the name for the group. He said it was inspired from the 1937 Napoleon Hill classic Think and Grow Rich. In which Mr. Hill advocates forming a group of individuals all with different opinions and talents dedicated to a common purpose. In this case that means Mr. Grabow contacted other West Allis business owners who also wanted to work together to not only improve their chances for success, but the chance for other local businesses to succeed as well.

There were several local businesses that were involved from very early on. Westallion Brewing Company and their owners were eager to help out. They often do many things to promote and benefit the city. Peanut Butter and Jelly Deli was another business working within the group. Mike, the owner, is not only a great businessman, but one of the friendliest people you will have the pleasure of meeting. Andrea and her business Oniomania, a small boutique on the east side of the city was another early member. Lisa and Josh from Transaction Skate Shop were also eager to help Ricky in his mission. These five businesses were soon joined by others and continue to work to improve the environment for small business.

Being a man of specifics, I wanted to know what steps they were taking to improve the climate for local businesses and how people can become a part of their efforts. The first way in which they are assisting local businesses is by providing a platform on which they can network with each other. In this way, the businesses can discover ways in which they can both support each other and work together to increase business in the city as a whole. Local business owners are encouraged to attend one of their monthly meetings and become a part of this amazing group. The next one is April 22nd at Westallion Brewing Company at 2pm. There is no cost to attend the event or be a part of the group and it is a fun and unique way to get to know fellow business owners.

The current goal the group is working towards is developing a stream of revenue to be able to provide new businesses with grants to assist them in getting started. They are also focused on being able to provide assistance to businesses that may be struggling in these current and difficult circumstances. I was curious as to how an average citizen could play a part in the efforts of the group. Once again Mr. Grabow had an answer. Starting June 8th, the group will hold a vendor fair showcasing many of the amazing businesses that are a part of this group. These will be held in the beer garden right outside the restaurant Public Table. Past events have not only featured beers from Westallion and amazing gift ideas from Oniomania, but also massages from Susan of Massage MKE. It is a free event where you can browse and experience many of the amazing businesses present in the city. A portion of the revenue will go towards the group and their goals. You can enjoy a good meal, a tasty beverage, a relaxing massage and do some shopping all while helping support the health and vitality of the city and its small businesses.

If you would like to know more about the group, the fun things they have planned and how you can be a part of the great positive changes they are striving to make in the community, I will include a link to the group’s Facebook page at the end of this blog. I am very proud to be in a city that is filled with such caring business owners. They are people dedicated to not only the health of the local business community , but the city as a whole. I strongly encourage you to learn more about the group and attend one or more of their vending fairs.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT WEST ALLIS MASTERMINDS

A VITAL COMMUNITY

Time is one thing that always moves on. In the photo above you see the intersection of the streets of 70th and Greenfield in the city of West Allis taken in the early 1900s. The Bank is still there. It is now BMO Harris, not First National. It also doesn’t look nearly as cool though. The building that says Schurs was for a moment a diner called Skelly’s that served delicious greasy breakfast. I recall walking in there and always smelling eggs and toast. The street lights also look a great deal different.

Some people may lament over the passing of time and the changes it creates. Not only is this a fools endeavor, as the only thing constant is change, but it robs us of a chance to focus on some of the positives. Yes, the bank looked far more impressive to me in the picture above than it does now, but it also has a little seating area it didn’t have before. I sure love little places that you can stop and get breakfast and would have loved to go to Skelly’s with Margie. What is there now is a nice place called Urban Joe’s. Not only do they serve wonderful breakfast and great coffee, they do so with a smile.

2 great local businesses

It certainly doesn’t do us harm to fondly remember the businesses of yesteryear, but let us celebrate and support the businesses of today. We may not have a Shur’s or Skelly’s anymore, but we do have plenty of other amazing businesses. We have Peanut Butter and Jelly Deli where you can explore the crazy possibilities of creating things with… you guessed it peanut butter and jelly! Trust me when I tell you that you will be in for some delicious surprises. There are also great gyms like Peak Physique where you can learn everything from kickboxing to yoga and so much more. Ricky, the owner, is passionate and knowledgeable about fitness and would love to help you.

Supporting local businesses is one way to have a vital and healthy community. What I think is even more important and constructive is to get to know and support your neighbors. There are plenty of fun and exciting ways in which to do this. True, we may never go back to the days of leaving our doors unlocked, but we can make our towns a lot friendlier and safer by connecting with those in our community.

Supporting local businesses and getting to know their owners like Mike from Peanut Butter and Jelly Deli and Ricky from Peak Physique is a good start. I suggest adding connecting with other neighbors through groups on social media such as Facebook and Nextdoor. You can also join local community groups. We have several in my city such as East Allis Association and Women’s Club of West Allis. There are countless others that all represent one possible fun way to get to meet and know your neighbors. Taking classes at your local recreation center is another great way to meet those who live near you. Even simply taking a walk through the neighborhood can introduce you to a host of new smiling faces.

Everyone wants a safe, strong and vital community. It is up to us to create it. Support local business, get to know your neighbors and join groups that make a difference. Be a part of the solution and you will feel better about the town you live in.

A MOMENT OF REFLECTION

In the spirit of ‘Throwback Thursday’ I wanted to take a moment to look back at this blog and see where we have come from and where we are heading. Just like when you are walking up a steep hill and running out of energy, it can help to stop, look down and see how far you have already climbed. To me, growing this blog can sometimes seem like climbing a hill. Although I am extremely passionate about helping others and learning and sharing ways to improve our lives, the business of growing an audience can, on occasion, feel daunting. How I measure success in my writing, speaking and coaching business is the amount of lives I have touched. When it comes to this blog, the metrics are pretty much the same.

Lucky for me, I can see the stats daily. This not only shows me how many people my words are reaching, but also where these people are! So far we have reached over 150 countries and all 7 continents! Imagine how thrilled I was the day I received notice that someone at a base in Antarctica was reading what we share here. Still no Greenland. Perhaps everyone on that island country is living the life of their dreams. I must confess as to not having the pleasure of visiting there. I look to having more ‘meet and greets’ and book signings in many more locations as soon as the world goes back to a degree of normal.

Back to our friendly stats. As you can see I began this blog in 2012, eight years ago. That seems like a different lifetime entirely to me. When I began it served more as a place to record not only the best of what I had discovered in the world of personal-development, but my own thoughts of many of the challenges facing the world today. I began that year on Thanksgiving and by the end of the year had over 100 people visit this site. I was shocked to discover there were that many people interested in discovering secrets to an amazing life. Fast forward several years and we had grown our community to almost 15,000 visitors. I was excited to share with, and learn from so many wonderful people. My goal this year is to double the size of our community. Imagine having that many minds sharing secrets that have allowed them to lead an amazing life?

As we look ahead I am excited to see what the future holds. I would love nothing more than to continue to develop this online community and discover more ways to be of service to all of you. With that in mind, I humbly request you share this site with anyone you might know who would enjoy learning and sharing with us secrets to living an amazing life. This site is completely sharable on all social media platforms. Feel free to share it with your friends on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and anywhere else you think would be served with a little light and love. If you have any suggestions to increase our following or add to what you would like to see on this site, I encourage you to leave them in the comments below. Once again, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for a great 8 years and look forward to an even better next 8 years!

WHERE TO SPEND YOUR ENERGY

Last post we spoke about resisting posting or responding to negative content online. We also mentioned using these platforms, whether they be Facebook, Twitter or any other social media, to spread love and appreciation we may be hesitant to voice in person. Today we are going to expand that principle. We are going to ‘take it outside the classroom’ as they say.

As responsible human beings we always want to fix what is wrong. That is a good urge and one I could certainly get behind. The method in which this is often done can be focused incorrectly. We worry about fighting a world in which all people are not treated equal. That in itself is a rather noble pursuit. In my opinion our focus should be on creating a world where everyone is treated equal. This may sound like the same thing, but it is not. Instead of focusing solely on eliminating hate, we should spend the bulk of our time on spreading love.

This may seem difficult to do when we look at issues of things such as racism, spiritual persecution, bullying and other societal behaviors. It would indeed be rather overwhelming to change all of that, but what we do have complete control over is ourselves. Let us focus on creating the new that we desire with our own behavior. Do we desire a world that is more loving and accepting? Let us be more loving and accepting ourselves. Let us join groups and organizations that promote unity and love.

Beginning today, let us focus our energy on growing the new world in which we wish to live. Let us do it by both changing our own actions as well as promoting and joining forces with individuals and groups that do the same. Instead of focusing on fixing what is wrong, let us instead focus on growing what is right.

HAVE YOU LOST IT?

Although this photo may sound a bit harsh, it is still very true. It never ceases to amaze me how many of us will sit behind our keyboards spewing words that are not only negative, but can be both mean and hurtful. It seems almost daily I read comments on people’s political or spiritual beliefs that I would imagine would not be said in a face to face meeting.

That is not to say you have to agree with everything that everyone says. Quite the contrary. It is the variety of opinions and beliefs that make this world a beautiful place. Ask yourself, if this person expressed this opinion in person what would I say? Even if it is something you disagree with, would you even bother expressing that? If so, would you do so in a hurtful angry way?

The same holds true about what you post. If you have a negative opinion about something will you feel the need to share it with every person you come across? Would you do it by calling those people names to their faces? It is very important to remember that seeing your words in black and white can be even more hurtful to someone than hearing them in person. Before you type that phrase or respond to that post or comment, ask yourself, “Would I say this if we were in person?” Chances are the answer would be ‘no’. Let it go. The world has more than enough anger and hate.

If there is any advantage that we can use behind a keyboard, it is to overcome the shyness of expressing our love and appreciation for each other. It may seem awkward for some of us to tell someone how much they mean to us. In today’s society this is not often the norm. Sad, but that is the case. Let us use social media and our online presence to remove some of the uncomfortable feelings associated with that. You can tell your friend how amazing they are or how much you love them online without having to worry about being uncomfortable. The great part about sharing positivtiy online is it can be reviewed at a later date should the receiving party need to hear it again. (That being said, you can also see the danger of posting hurtful things online)

Having a reputation of spreading the positive online will have people wanting to have you as an online presence in their lives. After all, there is no shortage of negative things available to read online. Having even a brief positive thought to read is a pleasant escape. Even if the positive thought expressed is not about the person reading it, just the fact that there is a positive post can make them feel good.

Let us not lose our basic human decency just because we do not face immediate consequences for the words we type. Fight the urge to respond to every negative post and comment. Do not add to the problem. Do not say anything you would not say if you were face to face. If you are going to use your social media for anything, why not use it to express thoughts of love and appreciation you may be uncomfortable doing in person. They will make the receiving party feel good and you will not have to worry about feeling awkward. If each one of us reading this would take these actions we would go a long way to making the world a more positive place.

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOUR LIFE SUCKS?

Today’s post may sound rather negative on the surface. We here at Secret2anamazinglife.com do more than just share knowledge. This website serves as an online community. We share ideas, we share challenges but most importantly, we share solutions. We also share encouragement. We share inspiration. We share motivation. The posts themselves are only one part of the equation. The comments on this website and its corresponding social media pages form a collective group of people determined to live the most positive and rewarding life they can. They are also compassionate souls that understand life is not a competition. They understand that one of the secrets of an amazing life is the ability to help others and the joy and peace that gives us. At the end of this blog, I am going to provide a link to our Facebook page Fall in Love With Your Life. I would encourage anyone wanting to be a part of this wonderful group of people to join.

This brings us to the subject of today’s post. Has your life ever sucked? I would be bold enough to assume the answer is yes. Even in the best of lives, the world can sometimes get the best of us. We may be focused on gratitude and using the power of positive thinking. We may be able to see the beauty in ourselves, others and the world around us. We may meditate, walk in nature, practice altruism and live a life a spiritual fulfillment. We may be doing everything right and out of nowhere life can sucker punch you right in the gut. I am not saying this to sound negative, but instill a sense of urgency in you. Urgency for what? I am so glad you asked. Knowing that at some point life will deliver a challenge that may momentarily get the best of you, it is important to prepare for such an occasion. How do you prepare for life sucking? That is a million dollar question. Let us get into it.

Recently, I had the honor of being on the television show Positively Milwaukee. This is one of my favorite shows and it was quite an honor. One of the things I shared with the viewers is the importance of preparing for emotional challenges. As I told the wonderful host Carole, the time to learn to swim is on the shore, not when the boat is sinking. Let me explain what I mean and then I will relay to you a personal example of what a big difference this can make.

Every month you know you will have bills to pay. In order to prepare for that, you save some of the money you bring home from working. What if you just spent as you pleased on whatever you wanted and said, “I will worry about those bills when they come.” I would venture you would find yourself sitting in a dark house pondering how to heat Ramen noodles without electricity. The same can be said for emotional challenges. That is why working on ways to reduce stress and increase joy in your life should be a daily endeavor. If we just wait for the moments when our joy is challenged to create a solution, life will be a far more difficult and dark place. If, however, we are always on the lookout for, and putting into action ways to fill our life with some emotional sunshine, when the darkness comes we will be far more prepared to return to the light.

This may sound good in theory, but let me show you exactly how it works in practice. Today I had a really great day. I began work at 5 a.m. Okay, that part was not exactly great, but I was on time, the day went by pretty much without any major problems. After work, I was able to come home and kiss the lips on the most beautiful face of the woman I love. While she readied herself for our evening together, I enjoyed a walk in nature with my mother. The weather was warm and sunny, just the way I like it. After the walk I picked up my lady and took her to the cinema. We have not been to the movies, which we love, since the beginning of the corona virus. We watched a movie we both loved and enjoyed each other’s company. We then went to Starbucks to meet a very nice couple that were having Margie make their wedding cake. When the details were worked out, I dropped Margie off to shop while I wrote.

Driving home to grab my laptop the oddest thing happened – I became extremely sad. It was as if a wave of sadness had washed over me. The really frustrating thing was that I had no idea where this feeling came from. By all accounts I had one of the best days I have had in a long time. How can you deal with a negative feeling when you don’t even know the source of that feeling? Sure, it would be easier if I knew what caused me to become overcome with such emotion, but it was not entirely necessary to change it. Here I was, home alone and feeling down. Margie had bought me one of those ‘Happy Lamps’ that mimic sunshine for my seasonal affective disorder. Although today that shouldn’t have been an issue as it was warm and sunny, I plugged it in next to my laptop. Behind me I noticed my daily motivational calendar. Everyday it displays a new and inspiring quote. Todays? “Every day may not be good…but there is something good in every day.” I decided to enjoy some tea as I wrote. I looked at our rather vast selection of tea we have and found some called Cup of Sunshine. As you may have guessed by the name, it is a mood-enhancing herbal tea. As I sat in the ‘Happy Light’ sipping my cup of shine pondering my daily dose of inspiration my mood slowly began to shift.

As I wrote the notification sound on my cell phone went off. It was from a motivational YouTube channel I subscribe to. They had just uploaded a new video. I decided I could do worse than to listen as I wrote. The video was all about the importance of how we view things. It was rather striking as that was what I had just wrote about. Like a sign I was doing the right thing. I began to not only lose my feeling of sadness, but it was being replaced by a feeling of purpose and inspiration. My mood was rescued by the tools I had put into place long before the feeling ever arrived. You can do the same starting right now. Do you like unicorns and rainbows? Subscribe to a social media page focused on those. Do you enjoy stand-up comedy? Subscribe to a YouTube channel that features different comics. Fill your life with things that inspire and move you. Take actions such as meditating, reading inspiring material and maybe even purchasing some artwork that inspires.

The most important decision I made that changed my state was choosing to have people in my life that are kind, compassionate and inspiring. Throughout my little ordeal I was messaging Margie at the store. Her words and ideas of encouragement and love did more to change my state than the amazing tools mentioned above. I received another notification on my phone. My friend Alisa had commented on something I wrote that added so much more to help even more people than the post itself. You may think I am lucky to have a loving and caring woman in my life. You may think it was a stroke of good luck that I have a like-minded and intelligent friend to comment on my post. Although that is true to some extent, the more important fact was that I chose to include these people in my life. Margie and I work at our love and relationship in such a way that way have a closeness and can understand what will help each other when we are feeling down. Alisa and I share through comments and conversation ideas that not only help each other, but those who read what we write as well.

Know that you too will have times when life gets the best of you. There is not much we can do to entirely prevent these from happening. By preparing and having inspiring and stress reducing tools and people already in our life, we can shorten the duration and intensity of these episodes. That will make our entire life more amazing. I would love to know what you do when life sucks and you find yourself in a funk. The more we share and learn from each other, the better all of our lives will be. Speaking of sharing and learning from each other, remember if you are interested in joining our online Facebook group of caring people, click the link below!

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