During the four weeks before Christmas, I try to prepare emotionally and spiritually for the Sacred Holiday. As is my custom, I practice new constructive behavior with the hope of incorporating them permanently into my life. This year, my goal was to immerse myself more fully in the present moment and develop a more positive attitude. To help me accomplish this, I created five rules I call the “Five R’s. Implementing them made a vast difference. This month, I want to share these concepts with you, in the hope that they will inspire you to live your life a little differently and renew for the New Year.

Release your Oppressor. The primary oppressor in my life is a long “to do” list and the phrase “I should”. Even though some of the things on the list may be enjoyable, the extent of the task or the time necessary to complete it sometimes robs me of peace. Does this happen to you? By becoming discriminating about tasks at hand, you can see if the activity causes you more stress than benefit (ROI see Sept tip 08) then decide whether to postpone it, delegate it or let it go. When you stay more aware of the moment, the opportunity to complete the task often presents itself at a more convenient time and then becomes more enjoyable. Releasing your oppressive “to do’ list helps free you up and create more time to renew your spirit.

Respite from a Racing Mind. Are you a person who is always 3 steps ahead in your thought process? While this ability can help you to be efficient, it also prevents you from slowing down and relaxing. To counteract this “blessing”, it helps to write down the idea on paper because it will get it out of your head. You might also want to decide upon a tentative time when you will execute the idea. Do you seem to spend more time solving someone else’s problem then they do themselves? If this is the case, step back and practice self talk; say “I will allow the person to take responsibility for their own acts and life”.

Reframe your words and attitude toward people and events and your attitude will become more positive. Remind yourself that people are doing the best that they can do because it is true. Try to avoid judging but if something is out of kilter, acknowledge it and say the least negative thing about the situation that is still true. In addition, rather than harbor a negative feeling that will taint your disposition, allow yourself some time to feel your feelings then choose to think about something else that is positive. You deserve to have a mood of peace, love and benevolence. Reframing is a habit that will enable you to free up your attention to focus on things that make you happy.

Refrain from spreading doom and gloom. If the statement is not positive, does it really need to be said? Of what benefit is it to point out to someone else an irrelevant negative observation? Recently, I went away with friends and had a delightful time. At the end of the weekend, one woman pointed out the glitches that occurred; I found myself re-evaluating the pleasant experience. The next morning, another friend shared all the positives in the weekend; I found myself refocusing on what was equally true and once again became delighted. In pointing out the negative, my first friend unwittingly tarnished my experience. The third “R” is that if the words you speak are not edifying or uplifting, refrain from speaking them. When you avoid sharing inconsequential negative comments, you will notice that you share more positive observations because otherwise you will have nothing to say.

Relax and Breathe .When all else fails and your mind continues to race or you stay stuck in a rut of negativity, STOP and take a few deep breaths. Physiologically, breath work slows you down and relaxes because you secrete endorphins that decrease stress or arousal. While you are exhaling, look around and focus on one beautiful sight around you. As you slow down, pay attention; allow the image to go inside of you. Your mind can only focus on one thing at a time. When you attend to the beauty in your surroundings, your brain can no longer deliberate on the mental gymnastics or negativity in your head. A side benefit is when you go to sleep that night, you can return to the positive observation and your body will further relax as it recalls it.

“Two men looked out from prison bars, one saw the mud, the other saw the stars" wrote Frederick Langbridge. What do you see when you look around? Two people can look at one event and come up with a different perspective about what is occurring. Life is beautiful if you allow yourself to stop and see its splendor. Your invitation this month is to practice these five “R’s, release negative habits, immerse yourself in the charm of each the moment, and be renewed. Make the decision to gaze at the stars because they are as true as the mud on the ground.

Author's Bio: 

JoAnne is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, who believes in the connection of emotional health to body, mind and spirit. She has integrated clinical counseling with holistic techniques and has formalized her knowledge by creating the Journey Back to Self program which is available in a recorded CD. In addition, in order to further assist others, she writes self improvement tips that you can find on Facebook or her website, www.TryaNewPerspective.com