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Five Secrets for Peace of Mind

Updated on February 10, 2010

Happiness is a Choice

Five Secrets for Peace of Mind

Start by Lightening Up

If you've ever been awake in the middle of the night all stressed out over problems or hurt emotions, sometimes you need a little extra help. Laughter, according to Proverbs 17:22 is therapeutic. A merry heart doeth good, like a medicine. Cardiologists at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore found in their study that laughter may help prevent heart disease. They found that people with heart disease were 40 percent less likely to laugh in situations compared to people of the same age without heart disease.........Hey, if I had heart disease I might not be laughing all the time either, but you get the point.

Norman Cousins, the editor of Saturday Review, was diagnosed with a debilitating and irreversible illness. He found the hospital atmosphere made matters worse and so he went on a campaign to introduce as much humor in his days as possible, even setting up a screen and showing Marx brothers movies while he and the staff laughed the illness away and wound up beating the disease.

So is this cure for anxiety, laughter? The answer is close---in my hub, How to Be Funny 101, I pose that humor is really perspective and a positive perspective is something you can choose to have in any situation.

1. Make peace with others and yourself.

Dale Carnegie, the Win Friends and Influence People guru, in his chapter entitled, “You Can’t Win an Argument” cites an article from Bits and Pieces, offering a few suggestions on how to avoid or settle disagreements.

  1. Distrust your first instinctive impression. Our first natural reaction in a disagreeable situation is to be defensive. Be careful. Keep calm and watch out for your first reaction. It may be you at your worst, not your best.
  2. Control your temper. Remember, you can measure the size of a person by what makes him or her angry.
  3. Listen first. Give your opponents a chance to talk. Let them finish. Do not resist, defend, or debate. This only raises barriers. Try to build bridges of understanding. Don’t build higher barriers of misunderstanding.
  4. Look for areas of agreement. When you have heard your opponents out, dwell first on the points and area of which you agree.
  5. Be honest. Look for area where you can admit error and say so. Apologize for your mistakes. It will help you disarm your opponents and reduce defensiveness.
  6. Promise to think over your opponents ideas and study them carefully. And mean it. Your opponents may be right. It’s a lot easier at this stage to agree to think about their points than to move rapidly ahead and find yourself in a position where your opponents can say: “We tried to tell you, but you wouldn’t listen.”
  7. Thank your opponents sincerely for their interest. Anyone who takes the time to disagree with you is interested in the same things that you are. Think of them as people who really want to help you, and you may turn your opponents into friends.
  8. Postpone action to give both sides time to think through the problem. Suggest that a new meeting be held later that day or the next day, when all the facts may be brought to bear. In preparation for this meeting, ask yourself some hard questions:

Could my opponents be right? Partly right? Is there truth or merit in their position or argument? Is my action one that will relieve the problem, or will it just relieve my frustration? Will my reaction drive my opponents away or draw them closer to me? Will my reaction elevate the estimation good people have in me? Will I win or lose? What price will I have to pay if I win? If I’m quiet about it, will the disagreement blow over? Is this difficult situation an opportunity for me?

Clearing the slate with others does more than heal relationships. Forgiving others frees the one most imprisoned by anger and resentment--yourself.

Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past. ~ Lily Tomlin

2. Forgive yourself, accept and enjoy who you are.

He who cannot forgive breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass. ~George Herbert

Many of us come with baggage. Often that baggage is guilt over what we have done or did not do. The best way to free yourself to be a positive influence for others is to let that baggage go. We are told to forgive each other in the same way as God forgave us--- before we were worthy or even sorry. That may work well for others, but what about ourselves? We may be extremely sorry, but the worthy part is the part that bothers us. We don't feel like we deserve to excuse ourselves so we hang on to the guilt as it hangs on to us and weighs us down. God didn't wait for us to deserve it, so if we are to forgive as He did, we need to forgive ourselves as we are---undeserving, rebellious, selfish and even sometimes unrepentant. Just do it. Let it go. God already gave us the standard of our worth when he exchanged His own Son's life for ours. If He considers us that worthy, who are we to argue.

After forgiveness comes acceptance. Even your most glaring shortcomings are often strengths in disguise. If you are critical, maybe you have the ability to handle details. If you give off a lot of emotional energy, maybe you can persuade or entertain. If you are quiet, maybe you can be a great listener. Take the time to look at your qualities with tenderness and creativity.

Love is an act of endless forgiveness, a tender look whch becomes a habit. ~Peter Ustinov

Don't take yourself too seriously. Learn to laugh at yourself as you celebrate your uniqueness. Visit some of my other humor hubs to lighten your day and your attitude.

The next three secrets are actually intended to be used as a set of habits which will liberate your soul and change your attitude permanently. They comprise the simple three-part prescription: THANK---ASK---THINK---Repeat as necessary

The Phillipians 4 Prescription set starts out with the (easy for you to say) instruction: Don't be anxious about anything...

3. Pray with Thanksgiving

Out of all the treasures in God's universe, that which He prizes most is gratitude.~Winsome

When you are awake in the night with the world on your shoulder and all the things you fear or worry about have filled up your thoughts, it's time to look around for things for which you are grateful. (It might help to keep a journal by your bed and add to it as you think of them.)Thank God for them--for as many as you can think of--then it's time for the next step:

4. Ask for what you need or desire

If you need help with your finances or your relationships or your job, just ask God for it. Be as specific as you can and as much as you are able, believe you will receive it. After a while doing this, praying--talking to God as you would a close friend--you will start to develop more confidence and ask with more conviction. The more conviction you have and the more expectant you become, you will start to act on the request even before you see it happen. That's probably the easiest definition of faith I know---turning the noun into a verb.

The last step or secret is the most fun.

5. Think about the good things

Mary Poppins said whenever she was afraid or upset she would think about her favorite things.The final secret is to merely concentrate on those things that are true, and honorable, and right. Those things that are pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. In my case, those things about my situation that I am thankful for are especially helpful. Good, uplifting humor--especially seeing the humor in your own experience can transform an otherwise hopeless situation into a hilarious and positive one.

"OK I've done all that" you say "and I'm still anxious, what now?" Well I'm so glad you asked that because I have an answer for you. If we could simply ask and rest upon the fact that it would be done, we wouldn't need these secrets. Lucky for us, God expects us to keep on asking if we need long as it takes for us to believe it will be done. So, if while you are thinking about all the good stuff---the worries and forebodings and hurts start trickling back in---just go back to step 3 and do steps 3-5 until they go away.

Thank--Ask--Think (Repeat as necessary)

If you have to go back all the way to step 1, that's ok too. I promise you they will go away and as the passage in Philippians concludes: His peace will guard your hearts and minds... I can't promise you will fall right back to sleep because you might have had two or three pepperoni pizzas before you went to bed and there's a whole other hub page for that. =:)

I hope this was of help to you. Please try it out--it has worked for me and many others I have known. Leave a comment and let me know how it works for you.

I have given you a lot of humorous material in my other hubs, but I intend to create another with "Wonderful Things to Think About" ---Stories of people who are patient, kind, generous, modest, humble, polite, obliging, calm, forgiving, amiable, benevolent, good, protective, trusting, persevering, hopeful, inspirational, beautiful and courageous--to help you with step 5.

We are not Grateful Because we are Happy, We are Happy Because We are Grateful ~Winsome


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