Life throws curve balls. It just does.
How you respond can determine the outcome, if not the rest of your life.
If I were to describe an ideal life, it might look very much like a boulevard with a straight, even, wide open path. An easy stroll.
Unfortunately, most of us don’t get that boulevard, all of the time. We tend to get the hikes. We get to exchange the even pathway for a rock-strewn trail that winds through mountain peaks and valleys.
Here are 5 simple steps I take when life becomes challenging, or big decisions have to be made, or disappointments cloud my horizon… and the trail gets a little steep. They’re simple, and easy… and effective.
5 Ways to Brighten Your Outlook
1. Strengthen your Faith and Look Outward
This cannot be overstated. When life throws challenges your way, strengthen your faith. Period.
Every day, make this a priority. Read, pray, meditate on scripture. Attend services, surround yourself with like-minded people.
• Meditate on scripture
• Attend services
• Surround yourself with like-minded people
And, give. As much as you can, whenever you can. Look outside yourself and you’ll be amazed how this can put everything in perspective.
2. Look for Blessings
When life becomes challenging and disappointing if not shattering in some instances, look for the small blessings in your life.
You will be surprised at how many you can find on any given day. Here are a few examples.
• A free cup of coffee comes your way because the Starbuck’s barista says the computer is taking too long (this happened to me this morning!).
• When you wake, you hear birds singing in the trees.
• The rains come and wash everything clean.
• Someone opens the door for you and smiles.
• You find a long-forgotten $5 bill tucked in a jacket pocket unworn since last spring.
• Etc., etc., etc.. (Insert your own).
3. Life is Not Stagnate
Here’s the good news. Life moves on, always. My dad once said, “Life is a river, not a lake.” And it’s completely true. Life will change. How it changes is up to God and you, your outlook and your ability to adapt. Be flexible. Life is so much easier that way. Hope. There is always hope when we know that life will keep moving.
4. Be Creative
Find time to indulge in a creative outlet. Whether that be as simple as reading or as challenging as writing the next great American novel. Just… create something new.
Here are some ideas:
• Plant a garden… or just a small house plant.
• Cook an interesting meal you’ve not made before.
• Knit or crochet — or any needle art (I always find solace in the rhythmic clicking of knitting needles).
• Read an inspiring biography (look outward, not inward… always).
• Learn a new hobby (visit a craft store and see if anything peaks your interest).
• Take nature photos on your phone.
• Draw, doodle, color
Exercise reduces mental and physical stress. Mayo Clinic says, “Being active can boost your feel-good endorphins and distract you from daily worries.”
It has to do with control. Many of one’s circumstances are beyond their control, but exercise and nutrition are not. Exercise also helps improve sleep — and who couldn’t use a good night’s rest when worries crop up.
So back to the curve balls. Look up. Life will get better. The sun will shine again.