A friend wrote to me recently “Challenging times tend not to improve quickly.” Yes, that’s true if we continue focusing on the challenging times. But that doesn’t have to be the case. We do have a choice in the matter.

The key to maintaining a state of happiness is, first, to notice when you're beginning to not feel happy or at peace. At that moment, you have a wonderful opportunity to “turn it around” before it gets too big to readily turn around. When it’s still small, it’s much easier to turn around. Right then, make a firm decision to stop that chain of thoughts, which will continue spiraling downward, if you allow it to continue, and replace that chain of thoughts (or “chain of pain”) with a chain of thoughts that serves and blesses you.

You’re going to make a decision one way or another, by either making a conscious decision or by unconsciously making no decision at all. Remember, “not to decide” is to “decide not to.” You’re either going to continue thinking the chain of pain thoughts or you’re going to turn it around. That’s what’s going to happen. You always have that choice, and it’s always your choice what you choose. If you don’t consciously make that choice, you will probably, unconsciously, continue the chain of pain, out of habit, since that’s probably what you’ve done most of your life. I encourage you to exert your power and choose to change the chain of pain into a chain of joy.

How do you do that? By first stopping the chain of pain thoughts. Just say No! Even say it out loud, if that will help you bring it into focus more clearly. Then, consciously and deliberately, choose to think a different thought. Think of anything that makes you feel good, or even a little bit better. It could be remembering the beauty of flowers or a sunset you’ve seen, remembering some favorite moment in your life, or anything else that brings you some bit of joy and that begins to replace that chain of pain. Just as one painful thought leads to another painful thought, increasing the chain of pain, likewise can one happy thought lead to another happy thought, increasing and building the new chain of joy.

That’s how you can “turn it around” if you choose to. But the practice of just keeping on keeping on thinking that chain of pain, is strong, since it’s habitual. So it will take strength and resolve to replace it. And you have that, if you so choose.

By doing so, your “challenging times” don’t have to improve slowly. They can improve quickly. Maybe events and circumstances won’t improve quickly, but at least your attitude about them will improve quickly, and that will help everything else to improve. We can’t always control what happens or doesn’t happen to us, but we can always, if we so choose, control what we think at that time. And that thought will tend to either continue “what is” or replace it with something better, if that’s where our thinking is heading, or something worse, if that’s where our thinking is heading.

That’s how it’s done. That’s how you’ve done it all your life, but you didn’t realize what you were doing. You were continuing the chain of pain, not realizing that you have a choice in the matter, a choice of turning it around or leaving it as it is. That process has been termed pivoting, which is simply “turning it around,” which is what “repentance” means. You’re turning around thoughts that don’t serve you into thoughts that do serve you.

You’re the only thinker in your world. Others can influence your thought, but, in the end, you’re the only one thinking them in your mind. and you get to choose which thoughts will “play” in your world of thought. Choose wisely, thoughts that will serve you, instead of thoughts that dis-serve you.

How do I know that works? I use it all the time, throughout the day, day after day. By consciously and deliberately using this simple process, we can put an end to “bad days” forever, one day at a time. After all, we’re the one who determines it (or names it) to be a “bad day.” We can choose again.

When we notice a “bad day” starting to appear, notice who’s thinking that thought. We are! We’re the one declaring it a “bad day.” We’re the only thinker in our mental world. We can choose to think a different thought, if we so choose.

But, you may say, “That’s just a thought.” Yes, it’s just a thought But our lives are made up of “just thoughts.” And we can determine the quality of those thoughts, if we so choose. We can give up “bad days” by simply giving up “bad days.” It’s really that simple. Don’t fool yourself into thinking it’s harder than that. It isn’t.

It’s not easy at first, because it’s habitual, and habits happen automatically. They happen easily. So it takes deliberate, conscious effort to replace an automatic habit with a new, non-automatic action. But we can do that. We really do have that kind of control, if we choose to exert it. It’s always our choice.

Will you choose to continue the chain of pain or will you choose to replace that chain of pain with a chain of joy? It’s always your choice. The chain of joy will serve you just as well as the chain of pain dis-served you. You get to choose which way it will be. And nobody else can choose it for you, no matter how much they might want to do that for you. You have to do it, if it’s going to happen. And you can do it.

Now that you know “the secret” of giving up “bad days,” you can no longer blame them on someone or something else. You still can, if you so choose, but now you know that’s not the truth of the matter. Since you now know, why not use what you now know to serve and bless yourself? Make a challenge out of it.

If you find yourself giving in to a “bad day,” remind yourself that you have a choice about the matter, and decide to not let yourself get away with that deception again. Be bigger than that deception. Don’t be cowed by that little lie any more. You know better now. You know that you’re in the driver’s seat, whether you choose to keep on believing in your “bad day” or whether you choose to “turn it around.” Knowing that, choose to do what serves you, not what dis-serves you. You’re the boss in your little corner of the world. Don’t let a bad habit make that decision for you. Make a better decision for yourself. Give up “bad days” forever.

Charles David Heineke, 2007
Spread the word. Please copy freely.

Author's Bio: 

Charles David Heineke is a single, retired, senior citizen with a long history of study in personal development and spiritual growth. He's the author of a number of inspirational poems and essays.