65. Unplug, Wake Up

Unplug.  Put down your phone,  close your laptop,  turn off the TV.  Unplugging is especially hard for someone who relies on technology for everything.  I can’t write this blog post without technology.  There are many people I know who can’t even talk to anyone without the use of their computer.  It’s much harder these days to take a break from electronics and just do nothing.  It was so much easier when I was a kid,  and I would just go for a walk for hours at a time.  I was lucky enough to live out in the country,  where your nearest neighbor was at least a quarter-mile away.  I had never heard of meditation,  but,  especially in the summer time,  I probably did a form of it everyday.   My dog and I would go for a walk almost everyday.  We would walk all through the fields and through the woods,  for hours.  We would pick flowers (well, one of us would).  We would pick berries (yes,  both of us).   Nowadays,  even when I try to meditate,  I use a computer or an app on my phone, or computer, with a guided meditation.  It’s called, Headspace, and I’d really recommend it, if you need a little help in that area.  I often find myself thinking of more things,  when I try not to think.  Does that make any sense?

In a world where multi-tasking is viewed as a positive attribute, unplugging can provide a much-needed break.  I used to pride myself in my ability to do many things at once,  and it especially came in handy at work.  Now,  I realize that it’s not necessarily a great thing.  Multi-tasking causes stress and migraines,  and leads to over working. Slowing down your brain is a good thing.  It leads to calm and peace and quiet.

If you can unplug for even a short amount of time, you will feel like you are more awake!  The things you have no time to notice are suddenly there again.  The world will look a little brighter.  The air might smell a little crisper.  Just take a tiny break.  See if you notice a difference.

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54. Feel Good

Feel good, all the time.  Every day,  all day.  I’m talking about mentally feeling good.  If the mental body feels good,  the physical body feels better.  And,  yes,  I know,  if you didn’t have all of those aches and pains,  your mental self would feel better too.

You were meant to feel good,  both mentally and physically.  Way back when God created you,  or when you evolved from a monkey,  or whatever it is that you believe,  you were meant to feel good.  Your body and mind were created to let you know when you were doing something that your true self didn’t like.  Or,  when someone else was doing something to you that your true self didn’t approve of.  Mainly,  those red flags are called pain.  But,  they can also be discomfort of the mental kind.  When you are doing something that you don’t like doing,  maybe it just doesn’t feel right.  Or,  you may notice that your head hurts a little bit,  or maybe your stomach aches a little.  Those are signs that your true self doesn’t agree with what’s going on.  Sometimes, you have to ignore that response from your body,  and do you don’t really want to,  like going to the dentist.  Your true self might not like it,  but you really should get your teeth cleaned!

Your true self is that little voice in your head that you probably largely ignore.  Most of us do.  It’s that way you just “know” things.  When you are feeling good,  you are being true to who you are.  When you feel bad,  you are not being your true self.  When something feels bad,  you need to figure out a way to change that thing.  Let’s say that you really hate your job.  Your body might put up with going to a job you hate for a while,  but then it’s going to let you know that your true self is not happy,  by giving you headaches,  or stomach issues,  maybe back pains.  If you pay attention early on,  your pains will quit.  If however,  you ignore them,  they will just get worse.  Your stomach aches might turn into an ulcer.  Your headaches may turn into migraines.  And on and on,  until you change whatever it is that you are doing that you know you really aren’t ok with doing.  The tricky thing is,  that will be different for everyone.  There is no book you can use to look up your symptom,  and it tells you what you are doing that your true self doesn’t like.  Doctors try to help with that, but they really can only treat your symptoms,  they won’t know that you hate your job,  or you don’t want to be married anymore,  or that your dog just died,  or you are stressed about your finances,  or whatever the issue is.

We all have those things that we need to work on,  or changes we need to make.  But,  in the meantime,  we can try to feel good in the moment.  We all have things or memories that make us feel good.  When you notice yourself worrying about something,  or just feeling anything other than good, mentally,  try bringing one of those stored up happy,  good feeling thoughts to mind.  You don’t have to stop what you are doing.  You can be driving down the road,  or working on the computer at work.  Just take a twenty seconds and remember whatever it is that makes you happy.  If it actually brings a smile to your face,  that’s even better.  The faster your pace of life,  the easier it is to let those bad feelings to go on without noticing.  When you slow down,  it’s harder to ignore the feelings both physical and mental that you don’t want in your life.  Maybe that’s why people who are always on the go seem so stressed out.  They don’t slow down enough to listen to their true self.

Your collection of good feeling memories won’t really fix things.  They are just a short-term fix.  You need to make whatever changes you need to for a long-term fix.  Find a new career,  or a new girlfriend,  or adopt a child,  whatever it is that will make you happy.   Give feeling good a try.  Whenever you notice yourself feeling good,  stop for a split second and pay attention to what you are doing.  What is it that is making you so happy?  What are you doing in that instant?  Do more of whatever that is,  whenever you can!

47. Do Something

Do something. Do something to help others. It doesn’t have to be big. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, or time. But, do something. I think school children should learn to do for others, the same as they learn math, science and English. I think taxpayers would be more likely to do volunteer work, if they received a tax credit for their work. Or, maybe every adult citizen should be required to something for others. People seem to be in favor of making laws to help prevent people from doing the wrong things. How about a law to help them do good things?

I try to do what I can, whenever I can. I can’t physically do anything, so I donate each month to a couple of wonderful charities, World Food Program USA and BRAC. I also donate clothing to a local church, who makes it available to anyone who needs it. I once organized a day at the races for a very young PALS (person with ALS) , whom I met on Facebook. I mentioned this, not to toot my own horn, so to speak, because I had a huge amount of help in making it happen. I mentioned it because it just shows that you can do all kinds of things to help someone, or just brighten their day, if you try. I was just as excited to send my friend, Dominic, to the race, as he was to go! Helping someone else can help you just as much as it helps them.

You can donate money or your time. If you love animals, maybe you could foster dogs or cats. There are probably a million ways you could help someone else. When you are trying to find a way to help others, try and think outside the box. I started this blog because I thought it might be fun, and I hoped people might enjoy it. People have told me they like it, so I try to keep it going. I hope it helps someone in some small way.

If everyone did one small thing to help someone else just once a week, or even every other week, it would make a huge difference in the world. You will never know how much of an impact your life can have on another person. I lost a friend this week who’s thirty year journey with ALS has made a big difference in the lives of many, many people, much more than he ever realized.

Once you start helping other people, you may find yourself wanting to do more and more. You might like the great way you feel after you’ve done something nice for someone else. So, if you haven’t tried it yet, give it a go. Do something for someone else today!

42. Feel Good Today

Take a break from whatever is bothering you, and feel good today.   Forget about your problems for just one day,  or one hour,  if that’s all you can handle right now.  Even one minute.  Maybe start with one minute and then go for two minutes,  then five or ten minutes.  Work your way up from there.  Just focus on feeling good.  Focus on any thoughts that feel good.  If you have pain in your back,  and you think,  oh my back hurts so bad!  That thought doesn’t do anything to help you feel better, does it?  When you are thinking the thought,  it may feel accurate,  but it doesn’t make you feel better.  But,  let’s say you instead think,  oh,  wouldn’t it be nice if I woke up tomorrow and my back felt better.  Doesn’t that thought,  in itself just feel like a better thought?  Your back probably won’t feel any better in that moment,  but the thought of it feeling better at some point in the future feels good.  Pay attention to your thoughts,  because whatever you are thinking about is what finds its way into your life.  If you are constantly thinking about things you don’t like,  things you don’t like will constantly be introduced into your life.

When you are having money issues,  specifically not enough money.  Try,  just for a couple of minutes,  thinking good thoughts about money.  Did you ever notice how it seems so easy for people with a lot of money to make more money?  Maybe it’s because they are focusing on their abundance of money,  so they are attracting more money.   I know,  it’s easier said than done to feel good about money when you have none,  but that is what you need to do. When you think about how you have so little money and how you wish you could have more,  you are concentrating on your lack of money.  Instead,  try thinking in terms of the positive.  Don’t think about how you wish you didn’t have so many bills,  because you are still focusing on the lack of money to pay the bills,  and the debt.  Instead,  think about how nice it would feel if you had all the money you needed to pay all of your bills off.  Doesn’t that thought,  in itself feel better?

You know if a thought feels good or bad by the way you feel when you think it.  If you’re thinking about how tired you are and how you have so much to do that you’ll never get done,  your stomach may feel a little tight,  or upset,  or maybe you get a pain in your back,  or your head might start to pound a little.  There will be some sign that your body isn’t in love with that thought.   But,  if you are thinking about how great it will feel to get home and see what your kids are doing,  or maybe how great it will be to finish up that project you have been meaning to work on,  how you will feel relieved when you have finished and will feel a sense of accomplishment.  Those are good feeling thoughts,  and your body may feel relaxed,  or you may feel happy,  or content.  You might find yourself excited to get started on your project.  Feel the difference?

Try to take some baby steps in just beginning to notice what thoughts you are thinking.  Replace those negative thoughts with happier,  positive thoughts and feelings.   Always think in terms of the positive instead of the negative.  If you don’t want something to happen,  don’t think over and over again about how you don’t want it to happen,  because you are still focused on what you don’t want.  Instead,  focus on what you do want!  If you wish that you wouldn’t get the flu this year,  but you keep thinking about how you don’t want to get the flu.  You get your flu shot,  and you really hope it works.  You notice when anyone at your work is absent,  and wonder if they caught the flu.  You hear about how many people have been diagnosed with the flu that week on the news.  You think well maybe you won’t get it.  And,  then after two or three months of this,  guess what,?  You get the flu!  Or,  maybe you don’t.  But,  I believe that your chances are a lot better that you don’t get sick,  if you were to simply switch your focus to the hope of being healthy, and feeling good.  Don’t think about the flu at all.  Think in terms of the positive (health),  instead of the negative (flu).

If you have a bad day at work,  and on your drive home you continue to go over everything in your mind that went wrong in your day,  you will continue to feel bad,  even though your work day is over.  Instead,  try to find some happier thoughts to focus on. Maybe you could think about how good it will feel to get home.  Maybe just focus on how good it feels to be driving and not at work.  Maybe you can turn on the radio and focus on nothing except driving and the music playing.  Those would all be better feeling thoughts than thoughts about your bad day.

I recently had a weird freak type of accidental thing happen to me.  I was sitting in my chaise lounge chair with my computer on my table in front of me,  and surfing the internet when the sun hit our truck outside and was suddenly shining directly into my eyes.  I use an eyegaze system to control my computer, and it quit working because of the sun hitting my eyes.  I bent my head this way and that,  trying to get it to work,  and suddenly found myself with my head slumped forward and my chin on my chest.  My neck muscles weren’t strong enough to lift my head up.  I was stuck.  I had my computer right there,  but couldn’t see it enough to type.  I had my phone,  but because my chin was on my chest,  I couldn’t talk enough to ask Siri to call anyone.  My husband was outside mowing.  All I could do was wait.  I could have spiraled into thoughts about how much my neck was beginning to hurt,  and how long I might have to wait until my husband came back inside.  But, I tried to stay positive.  I thought that the situation was the perfect opportunity to try a little meditation.   I never seem to be able to find time for it,  so I gave that a go.  Then, after a full two minutes of meditation (I’m guessing),  I tried thinking about how good I would feel when I heard the lawnmower pull up to the garage.  I thought about the relief I would feel when this was all over.  How good I would feel when I heard my husband open the door to the utility room,  and then the door to the hall way.  I focused on how good it would feel when he lifted my head back up.  Did any of that help to get my head up any faster?   No.   But, you know what?  The time I spent with my head stuck in a horribly uncomfortable position went by amazingly quickly.  It was an hour and ten minutes.  It felt more like twenty minutes.   I also feel like I recovered really well from the whole ordeal.  Normally any fall or accident like that would affect me for days.  This time, not so much.  So, my positive attitude made all the difference.  And,  it gave me a good ending to my blog post!   Try to think in the positive,  no matter what is going on in your life right now,  and see if it makes a difference for you too!