More Happiness; Less Stress.

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I came across a book on gratitude, which has actually changed my life, and I was a very grateful person, to begin with.

We all have problems; they come to us all. Some are physical, others are emotional, and sometimes even spiritual ones arise.

We like to be in control of any change in our lives, but it doesn’t always work out that way; life evolves at an alarming rate. With all the pressure, stress and worry, we can easily get caught up in it, not seeing a way out.

“I would be very grateful if things would just work out the way I want.” Then it works out, and we are thankful for a fleeting moment.

In the book, it made reference to Matthew 13:12. “Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away.”

Many people have said to me, this passage sounds unjust, as it seems to be saying the rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer. For me, Jesus is talking about knowledge of the kingdom of heaven, but gratitude fits very well.

“Whoever has gratitude will be given more, and he will have abundance. Whoever does not have gratitude, even what he has will be taken away.”

We live in a society of MORE, everyone wants MORE, they want to lose more weight, they want more holidays, they want more money, then they will be happy. In their search for more, they are missing a vital ingredient – Gratitude.

The art of being grateful for what we already have.

When you are grateful for your job, even if it’s not perfect, your view on it will change, meaning you will enjoy it more.

When you are grateful for the relationships in your life, even if some of them are not perfect, you will begin to look at the positive aspects of them, and the appreciation for them will grow.

When you are grateful for the money you have, no matter how little, you will find, this simple change of focus makes a huge difference in how rich you feel.

The flipside is when you are not grateful, you will find that you will only look at the negative things in your job, in your relationships, you will complain about the lack of money, meaning you will not even get the enjoyment out of the little you have.

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What You Focus On Grows.

It was recommended to write down 10 things each morning that you were grateful for. I thought to myself after a few days this is going to be difficult, but what I found was, during the day new ideas kept popping into my head. It became clear to me, very quickly, there was so much in my life to be grateful for.

My list started with the Internet because it is the reason I am connecting to you today. My family for giving me a solid foundation of faith. My senses so I can experience the world in all its glory. It actually alarmed me the number of things that I took for granted.

If you mentioned being thankful for your sight to anyone that has sight they would not really appreciate what you mean. Take it away from them for even an hour, and their life would come to a stand still.

Throughout the week my list started to include the simple pleasures of life, coffee, food, clothes, nature. Then I began to realise the number of people that contributed to provide service to me throughout the week. Thousands of farmers, manufacturers, packers, delivery drivers. All essential people to my survival, but all of which, until recently – I took for granted.

Happy Person That I Am

The more I was grateful, the happier I became. There was so much in my life that I took for granted; I simply did not realise how rich and successful I really was. I have absolutely no excuse to complain about anything. In today’s high standard of living, I haven’t got much, but I am still richer than half the people on this planet.

Some people might say, all this grateful stuff is not going to make my life any better, so what if I can walk, so what if I can talk, feel, hear, see, everyone can do these things? What am I gaining by being thankful for what I already have, it seems pointless?

You will find that these same people are not entirely happy; they will constantly be depressed and stressed. No matter how much money they have, they will still have a void in their life. They will spend all the money they have, maybe even more than they have, with the illusion that MORE will fill the void, but they will still be unhappy stressed and depressed. They will still say that gratitude is a waste of time.

When you think, I don’t like my job, I’m not happy in my relationship, I haven’t got enough money, my life’s a mess, I cant pay my bills, no one appreciates me, I haven’t got enough time, then you attract more of these experiences.

Learn to turn it around to:

I’m grateful for my job. I’m grateful for the relationships that make me happy; I’m thankful for the money I have, I’m grateful for my life. I’m grateful that I am able to use service’s before I need to pay for them. I’m thankful for the people that do appreciate me.

True happiness and fulfilment come from being thankful for what you already have. When you are grateful, even the smallest increase in any of these things feels like a gift.

Much of what we take for granted living in the west, people in other parts of the world dream about.

True riches come from gratitude. Try it just for today, and you will see the difference that it makes.

Have a good weekend.

Rev J Martin

 

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How to Win Friends and Influence People.

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Many people down through the years have recommended that I read a book called, ‘How to win friends and influence people’.

The title never really appealed to me.

Recently, I received a voucher for a bookstore, which happened to be doing a promotion on the book, so I bought it. As it turned out; it was not what I expected at all. As the saying goes, don’t judge a book by its cover.

The first thing I found very surprising was the fact that it was written in 1937. Secondly, that it contained some principles that were just as relevant in human relations.  One chapter stood out above all others, which I will focus on today.

The chapter was called, ‘If you want to gather honey, don’t kick over the beehive.’ It talked about the fact you should never criticise someone, as you never know what they have
been through.

The author used many stories to demonstrate this point, but the ones that had the deepest impact on me involved Abraham Lincoln.

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When Mrs Lincoln and others spoke harshly about southern people. Lincoln replied, “Don’t criticise them, they are just what we would be under similar circumstances.

A very inspirational view.

Another example.

During the American civil war in fighting the Battle of Gettysburg. The enemy got cornered by a swollen river. They were trapped, surrounded on all sides.

Hearing this, Lincoln telegraphed his orders to his General, ‘Attack immediately,’ and not wait to have a council of war.

What did the General do?

He did the exact opposite of what he was told. He hesitated. He procrastinated. He called a council of war. He refused point blank to attack. Within a week, the waters receded, and the enemy escaped.

Lincoln was furious. They had the enemy at their weakest point. The war could have been over in a matter of days, but the general called up all his troops for a meeting.

In bitter disappointment at his general, Lincoln sat down and wrote a letter, and at this time a letter coming from Lincoln was the severest rebuke.

What do you think the general did when he read the letter?

The general never seen the letter. Lincoln never mailed it. It was found among his papers when he died.

It was said, that Lincoln never mailed the letter because he saw it from the Generals perspective. If he had seen as much blood, if he had listened to the screams and shrieks of the wounded and dying for weeks; maybe he would not have been so anxious to attack.

Rather than criticise, he put himself in the general’s boots.

It reminded me of how quickly we often jump to a conclusion and judge or criticise without much thought where the other person is coming from.

How To Apply

When we find ourselves annoyed of upset at what someone said or done, it is important to rather than take offence to take a step back and look at the situation.

This is easier said than done.

This requires a strength of character as it is human nature to defend what we think is correct. It’s in these moments that our faith is tested.

Do we show love and understanding, or not. It’s in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped. Be shaped by Love.

Enjoy your weekend.
Rev J Martin

Is being Happy & Stress-free worth feeling uncomfortable for a short time.

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Do you find yourself, avoiding new situations because they make you uncomfortable?

It’s normal to feel uncertain before you face a new challenge, but stepping outside our comfort zone is the only time we grow.

Why would you want to do something uncomfortable?

We go out of our way to get away from stress and doing anything that makes us feel uncomfortable, but there is a difference between the discomfort of trying something new and stressful feelings.

At one time you were afraid to drive. Now you enjoy it. You may not have liked eating vegetables when you were younger, but now you couldn’t live without them. You were once afraid of applying for that first big job, but now that you have a career you enjoy, you wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. We all do things that at one time we were afraid to do.

Good things in life come to those who take risks, those who step outside their comfort zones in the knowing that with God anything is possible.

Matthew 9:29
Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you.”

Faith is stepping out into the unknown with the knowing that all will be ok. Successful people in all walks of life, take risks. They feel fear, but they do not let it push them back. Their faith in succeeding drive’s them forward

If you avoid new experiences, you are missing out on the best that life has to offer. The longer that you wait, procrastinate, or cower in fear, the more “comfortable” you get with how things are, and that’s not a very good place to be.

Before we go any further, ask yourself if you are happy?

Are you happy in your current state or do you ever dream of doing something else, something more?

Do you think about reaching out to other people, starting a new hobby, eating healthier, or even going for a new job?

If the answer is yes, then you have already decided this is something you want to do. Now it’s just a matter of making up your mind to overcome your fears.

Once people get settled into a routine, it can be difficult to break. Most people are running on a sort of “autopilot,” it takes them from point A to point B with little to no thought, but this is not what God created you for.

When we are young – we are fearless. Young children will pull an iron off the iron-board on top of themselves because they want to know where the lead is coming from.

We are told repeatedly growing up, don’t do this, don’t do that, so we stop exploring life. It gets to a point where we are afraid to try anything new; we get into a routine; we enter the comfort zone.

It takes no thought to stay in a comfort zone, for this reason, many people take up permanent residency.

Getting out of a comfort zone starts with deciding to take action.

Decide that it’s time to do something new. Decide to do something you have been afraid to do in the past. Take up a new hobby. Visit a new place — Decide to break the routine.

“But I’m Scared!”

You are not alone, many people are afraid to take that first step and take action. The idea of making a significant change may even lead to feelings of deep anxiety and self-doubt.

The first step to overcoming the fear of the unknown is to learn to take baby steps. If you fear to look for a new job. Start with writing out a C.V. /Resume. If you would love to lose weight but can’t find the time to go to a gym. Park 10 minutes from work – over a week that is nearly two hours of walking.

Some Helpful Advice

Two things that will help you get started are a list of goals (including those that make you uncomfortable or scare you) and a reliable buddy system.

Write the list of targets that you want to accomplish first. Things that you have always wanted to do but have been afraid to attempt.

Next, enlist the aid of a friend to help you accomplish those goals. Naturally, it’s easy to give up when you are the only one trying. A friend can provide that emotional support you need.

To conquer your fears once and for all and start living the life you dream of; take decisive action. Make up your mind that you can do anything, that you will be successful in whatever you decide to do.

What’s the worst that can happen?

Typically it won’t be as bad as you think. Doing things that make you feel uncomfortable or scared, eventually get easier to do. You may even wonder why you were so afraid in the first place.

Realise your true potential by stretching yourself. God created you to achieve great things. Don’t let fear hold you back.

Enjoy your week.
Rev J Martin

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17 Ways To Be A Lot Happier In 2017

2016 has had its ups and downs, full of personal heartache, sickness, and a little slice of success.

New doors are opening in front of me, and although scared what may be on the other side, I’m also confident, when I walk through them; a new world awaits.

Within the year, I’ve learned new lessons about what happiness means, and how you can attain it, which I would like to share with you today.

Here are my 17 ways to be a lot happier in 2017.

 

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1 – Take Good Care Of Yourself

Unless you are running at 100%, you can not truly help others. You must first look after your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health. Only then, can the Spirit of God flow through you into everything you do.

 

2 – Stop Trying To Change Others

It very rarely happens. The older we get, the more set in our ways we become. You can’t change others; you just can’t. Be the change you want to see in others, which ties in with number 3.

 

3 – Work On Yourself

This might sound a little selfish at first, but you will quickly realize how challenging it is to change your bad habits, which will make point 2 a lot clearer.

 

4 – Take Your Time

When you slow your life down and realize it is not a race, you begin to enjoy it more. When we are always running after others, or ourselves, we miss out on all the good things.

A beautiful sunrise or sunset, birds chirping, and the soothing sound of a stream.

 

5 – Surround Yourself With Good People

The people that you surround yourself with, has a massive impact on your life. It can seem good to help negative people, but if you are not careful, negative people can affect your spirit.

Make sure you are surrounded with good people, people that encourage you and help you grow. People that can keep an eye on you when your life gets out of balance.

2017 is a year for growth. Cut out all the dead weight – all those that are holding you back.

 

6 – Trust Gods Timing

In life, we want everything on our timetable, but I have found life has its own timetable. The more you fight the natural speed of things, the more you will be stress, depressed or anxious.

Learn to surrender in 2017.

 

7- Be Mindful Of What You Consume

Food, friendships, media, etc. Get rid of everything that does not support you, and help you become a healthier version of yourself.

 

8 – Forgive, Even When You Have Been Wronged.

Forgive yourself and others quickly. Forgiveness is one of Jesus central messages and one of the most important ones.

When you forgive, you do not forgive their behavior. You are not saying what they did was right. You are simply releasing the infection, emptying out the toxins, so they can no longer poison your life.

 

9 – Look For The Silver Lining

Even at the worst moment, there is a lesson to be learned. There is always a reason things don’t work out, or happen in the way we expect, but often we need to look hard for it.

 

10 – It’s Not Always About You

Sometimes how someone treats you is a reflection of how they feel about themselves. Their actions or words reveal the condition of their own heart.

Learn not to take things personally. Instead, pray for that person.

I forgive you for not being who I want you to be, I forgive you and set you free.

 

11 – Don’t Be A Doormat

Have enough respect to walk away from the people that misuse or mistreat you. People respond better to you when you are assertive and ask for what you deserve.

 

12 – Apologize

If you are in the wrong, be big enough to admit it.

 

13 – Understand That Everyone Has His Or Her Own Perception

We all view things differently. How you look or feel about a situation can be completely different than the next person. Example, one person looks at the glass half empty, the other looks at the glass half full.

 

14 – Put Down The Phone, and enjoy what is happening around you.

I recently visited a beautiful waterfall. As the sun came out from behind the clouds, the way the light bounced off it was breathtaking. Everyone took out their phones, and so did I.

As the water was spraying everywhere getting a good shot was near to impossible. Before I got one, the sun had gone.

Lesson learned.

 

15 – Realize Social Media Is Not Reality

Don’t buy into the hype. Everyone is human, with ups and downs in life.

Facebook, etc. are excellent ways to connect with people, but I often see others trying so hard to impress, trying to portray a perfect life, only posting exciting cool things.

You can easily feel that you are missing out on something, but you’re not.

 

16- Never Assume Someone Knows How You Feel

People cannot read your mind. If someone has hurt you, get it out in the open. In many cases, when I have done this I realized that I took what was said the wrong way entirely.

Issues cannot be resolved without communication.

 

17 – Stay On Your Own Path

Most of us think that we are qualified to tell others how they should or shouldn’t be living their lives; even if we have zero experience in the matter.

Unless asked for advice, plus have firsthand experience, I have found it’s better to let others make their own mistakes, as they grow wiser and stronger.

Wishing you all a Happy New Year!

Rev J Martin

 

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