Spring-Cleaning for the Soul: 18 Ways to be Happy, Healthy, & Sane

Spring-Cleaning for the Soul: 18 Ways to be Healthy, Happy, & Sane; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #happiness #mentalhealth #health

Spring-Cleaning for the Soul: 18 Ways to be Healthy, Happy, & Sane; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #happiness #mentalhealth #healthMy house got pretty out of order last year while I was busy writing and publishing This is How We Grow. For weeks this winter, I would walk around analyzing and listing all that needed to be done. Recently, I finally jumped in—brutally tossing piles of “stuff” we’ve accumulated over the past months (and with 8 people in my home, it’s a lot of stuff). I’m starting to re-paint our house, and we’ve been putting our kids to work raking pine needles outside. It feels good to get my home in order once again.

 

Spring-Cleaning for the Soul

Think about what’s involved in spring cleaning a home. First, you take stock of the areas that need a little cleaning out or fixing up—inside and out—and prepare your plan of attack. Next, you start the purge—decluttering, tossing, getting rid of all the “stuff” you no longer need. Finally, you create—organization, order, and beauty.

The same principles apply to cleaning your internal space. Here are 18 ways to spring-clean your body, mind, and yes, your soul.

 

18 Ways to Be Healthy, Happy, & Sane!

 

Step 1: Take Stock & Prepare

1)   Ponder “What matters most.” Before you begin your soul cleaning, it’s important to know what you’re looking for. What matters most to you? Is it family? Relationships? Career? Faith? In a journal or notebook, list your “top 5” most important things. It’s much easier to know what kind of soul-cleaning you need to do if you first know what matters most. (Read What Matters Most)

2)   Analyze where you currently are. Examine at all “realms”—your physical, emotional, mental/intellectual, spiritual, and social sides. Which areas need a little “tidying up?” Grab your journal, notebook, or a piece of paper, and list it all.

3)   Set small goals. Small goals are a great way to get your soul-cleaning done. Even 10-15 focused minutes a day in any or each of the above “realms” can add up to a big difference down the road. For more on how to set goals you’ll actually keep, read Goal-Setting.

4)   Prepare to take action. Preparing for the changes you want to make is important to achieving your goals. What do you need to do for your goals to work? Do you need to investigate a new nutritional plan? Or perhaps you need to learn a couple parenting strategies so you can regain a little order with your kids? Prepare, and you’re much more likely to succeed. (Read How to Make Lasting Change)

 

Step 2: Purge and Declutter

5)   Cut the physical clutter. Perhaps you need to purge the sugary treats from your kitchen, or perhaps you need to Spring-Cleaning for the Soul: 18 Ways to Be Happy, Healthy, & Sane; www.DrChristinaHibbert.comcut the excuses for why you don’t exercise. What is blocking you from being your best physical self? Is it poor sleep, nutrition, exercise, or stress? Once you see the mess, work to clean out whatever’s causing it. (Read Sleep Better, Cope Better, & Get Mentally & Physically FITT: How to Create an Exercise Program that Works)

6)   Cut the mental and emotional clutter. What issues are bothering you? Do you have unresolved grief, or a relationship problem? Are you constantly feeling overwhelmed and stressed? Whatever is clouding your mind, work it through and let it go. You might consider seeking help from a therapist for this one, or joining my This Is How We Grow Personal Growth Group. (Read Thought Management: Part 1, M5 Steps to a Clutter-Free Mind (& Life!, & Stress  Management: 15 Proven ways to Stress Less and Smile More)

7)   Cut the social clutter. Are there people in your life who are unhealthy for you? If you struggle with negative or unhealthy people in your life, it’s time to purge the clutter. You can still have a relationship, but either let it be one that inspires and uplifts you, or else choose to spend less time in that relationship. (Read the ABC’s of Making and Keeping Friends)

8)   Cut the distractions. Do you spend too much time on social media, TV, or the internet? If so, purge the distractions. It’s hard to feel connected spiritually, and it’s hard to really focus on what matters most if you’re always tuning out.

9)   Purge a “bad habit” or two. Being inside so much during cold winters can bring bad habits come spring. Perhaps you’ve been exercising less, sleeping in too late, or watching more TV because you’ve been inside so much. Whatever the case, pick one “bad habit,” and work to purge it. Spring is the season when the cold—and excuses—melt away. (Read Understanding the Seasons of Personal Growth)

10) De-clutter your “To-Do” list. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all you have to do each day, then try this. Next to each item on your list, write either an “A” (absolutely must do today), “B” (really should to do today), or “C” (would be nice to get done today). Then, cut all the “C’s”. And all the “B’s.” Simplify by focusing only on what matters most. (Then, if you happen to get a “B” or “C” done, bonus for you!)

 

Step 3: Create

11)  Create internal space. Without internal space, it’s hard to hear the whispers that guide and direct us in life. “By submitting, humbling ourselves, and actively listening to those whispers, we receive answers, and by obeyng those promptings we receive an ease and certainty about life.” (This is How We Grow, p. 389) Sit still and watch the world around you, practice meditation, mindfulness, or deep breathing. They’re all great ways to create internal space. (Read The Mind-Body-Spirit Connection)

Watch “How to Practice Deep Breathing—3-Minute Therapy” on my YouTube channel. Then, continue reading, below.

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12)  Create a vision and/or daily mantra. Now that you know what matters most, and you’ve cleared the clutter, what do you envision for yourself? Close your eyes and imagine the rest of today. Imagine the rest of this week. Imagine five years down the road. What do you see? Let it guide you to create the life you desire. Then, each morning, set your focus for the day by creating a daily mantra. Today, mine was, “May the Spirit fill my body, mind, and heart.” This helps me focus on what I want/need for today—peace and love for myself and my family. Your mantra could be anything, from a single word, to a favorite quote. (Read Create the Life You Desire)

13)  Create positive emotions. Don’t just wait to feel the good stuff. Seek it. Seek to put more feelings of love, gratitude, and joy into each and ever day. (Read Turn a Rainy Day Sunny: How to Overcome Feelings of Depression; 10 Ways to Practice Gratitude Today; 50 Ways to Love your Loved Ones; Beyond “Happiness”: 10 Ways to Increase Joy)

14) Create “quiet time” and solitude. We need time alone. Time to rest, relax, do what lights us up; time to think, feel, and process. Make space for some solitude in your life. Check in with how things are going. Get out a journal and write about it. Use your solitude to discover deeper understanding. Use it to replenish and refill you. (Read Mom Mental Health: The Importance of Alone Time)

15) Create connection and memories. In spring, the days are lighter, warmer, and longer, so use that extra timeSpring-Cleaning for the Soul: 18 Ways to be Healthy, Happy, & Sane; www.DrChristinaHIbbert.com wisely. Reconnect with loved ones. Focus on strengthening important relationships. Have fun. Play together. Laugh. Live and enjoy your life with those you love. (Read 9 Ways to Build Intimacy, Improve Communication=Improve Relationships=Improve YOU)

16) Beautify your external surroundings. Yes, keeping your home clean and orderly can significantly impact your soul for the better. And, be careful about who you let in to your newly renovated “internal” space, too. Keep all your spaces clean and beautiful. 

17) Use your creativity often. Being creative is a spiritual process, one that comes from something greater than yourself. How do you like to express your creativity? Painting, writing, dancing, crafting? Use your creativity often. It keeps the soul sparkly and bright.

18) Focus on the good as you continue to refine the “could-be-better’s.” Forget perfection; it’s impossible anyway. Instead, focus on the “good.” Sure, plenty of things could be better, and they will be if you keep working on them. For now, however, see the great people, experiences, and moments right in front of you. Focusing on the good leads to a continually sane, healthy, and happy soul.

 

Do any of these suggestions, above, stand out for you? What tips do you have for “soul spring-cleaning?”Leave a comment, below, and share! 

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
Be sure to check out Dr. Hibbert’s Amazon Bestseller, This is How We Grow
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“Perfect?” or “Fake?”: 8 Myths about Perfectionism & 8 Truths to Cure It

"Perfect?" or "Fake?': 8 Myths about Perfectionism, & 8 Truths to Cure It; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

"Perfect?" or "Fake?': 8 Myths about Perfectionism, & 8 Truths to Cure It; www.DrChristinaHibbert.comAre you a perfectionist? Not sure? Well, do you…

  • Set unrealistically high goals/standards for yourself and/or others?
  • Judge yourself based on what you do/don’t accomplish?
  • Have a hard time stopping a project until it’s exactly how you want it?
  • Have trouble relaxing in even a small mess at home?
  • Feel like a “failure” if you can’t do things just right?

If you answered “yes” to one or more of these, you probably struggle with perfectionism.

 

“Perfect?” or “Fake?”: The Problem of Perfectionism

As a women’s mental health expert, I’ve helped my fair share of perfectionists. They don’t usually come in for help with perfectionism, though—more like help with underlying depression, anxiety, relationship issues, or overwhelming stress. Yes, these are all consequences of perfectionism, along with other things like poorer health, mental well-being, and overall life satisfaction.

That’s the problem with perfectionism–it isn’t what it appears to be at all. Perfectionism is a false exterior that covers up other, deeper issues. It’s a mask.

 

8 Myths about Perfectionism & 8 Truths to Cure It

Only once we identify perfectionistic behaviors and personality traits can we begin to do something about it. Let’s look at some of the myths of perfectionism, therefore, and some of the truths. Hopefully, these will open our eyes, educate us, and begin the perfectionism recovery process:

 

1) Myth: “Perfect” means “without faults;” with hard work and dedication, it’s possible to achieve this state of being.

Truth: “The Greek translation of the word ‘perfect’ actually means, ‘complete,’ ‘so good that nothing of the kind could be better,’ and ‘that which has attained its purpose.’” (This is How We Grow, p. 270) This is a much different ideal than striving to be “without faults.” Perfection isn’t possible; it isn’t real, and this makes perfectionism a real problem for many people, especially women. None of us is or ever will be “perfect,” or “without faults.” “Seeking to do right, to be complete, to live authentically, is the opposite of perfection.” (Ibid, p. 271) And doesn’t that sound so much better, anyway?

 

2) Myth: Perfectionists simply strive to be their very best."Perfect?" or "Fake?": 8 Myths of Perfectionism, & 8 Truths to Cure It; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

Truth: Perfectionism is actually the opposite of healthy striving. We tell ourselves it’s good to be a perfectionist; “I just like things to be the best they can be,” we say. But this isn’t true. In fact, research shows there’s a distinct difference between perfectionism and healthy striving:

  • Perfectionism is trying to reach an unrealistically high goal or standard—one that can never be reached.
  • Healthy striving is setting high but achievable goals/standards.
  • Perfectionism is seeing mistakes as evidence of unworthiness.
  • Healthy striving is understanding mistakes are part of the process, and being able to more easily get back up after setbacks/mistakes.

 

3) Myth: Perfectionism leads to success.

Truth: Research tells us perfectionism actually “hampers success. In fact, it’s often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction, and life-paralysis.”[1]

 

4) Myth: It’s good to desire positive outcomes, and that’s what perfectionists do.

Truth: Perfectionism focuses only on the outcome, and it leaves no room to feel “positive” about it. Life isn’t about achieving a perfect outcome—whether it’s a dinner you’re making, keeping your house spotless, or the vision you have for how your life will turn out. It won’t turn out perfectly. Trust me. Life is about curves and twists and surprises. If we want to be healthy and happy, we must learn to recognize the beauty in the process of life, not the outcome.

 

5) Myth: Perfectionists are just natural leaders, and that’s why they like to be in “control” of things and people.

Truth: Perfectionists actually feel out of control. That’s why they so desperately need to control everything around them. Deep down, perfectionists are terrified of being seen as they really are—as a real individual with strengths and weaknesses. Unfortunately, much of life is out of our control, and no matter how hard you try to control life, it’s never going to work. That’s why perfectionism leads to stress and unhealthy habits/conditions: it’s a never-ending pursuit of a false ideal.

 

6) Myth: Perfectionists are confident and secure, that’s why they work so hard and always look and act “perfectly.”"Perfect?" or "Fake?": 8 Myths about Perfectionism & 8 Truths to Cure It; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

Truth: Perfectionism, at its core, is all about insecurity. When working with perfectionists, I always end up working on self-esteem and self-worth. That’s the true cure for perfectionism—discovering your true, innate worth, getting in touch with and learning to love the real you.

 

7) Myth: Perfectionism is a strength.

Truth: Perfectionism is a weakness, and at its worst, an illness. That’s why I used the word, ‘cure,’ above. Though there are certainly some benefits to perfectionism–like the motivation and drive to, say, stick with an exercise plan or achieve a big goal–perfectionism is all about working to achieve an unrealistic standard. It usually involves holding others to that same standard, driving everyone crazy (yourself included) in the process. Perfectionism is a mask for the underlying problem—not feeling like “enough.” Those who struggle with perfectionism feel unworthy of love and attention, so they seek it through what they do. But this is a recipe for overwhelm, stress, poor health, and yes, failure. Thus, in the end, perfectionism acts more as a weakness than a strength.

 

8) Myth: If you’re a “perfectionist,” you’ll always be that way.

Truth: Perfectionism is a choice, and with education, hard work, and dedication, you can choose to cure your perfectionistic side. You can choose to let things go. You can choose to see beauty in the process. You can choose love—love of your life, your family, and yourself.

 

The Good News About Perfectionism

If you see yourself in any of these myths, please take heart in the truths. Let them open your eyes to another way of living–let them inspire you to begin today to kick the perfectionism habit. Take a searching look at how perfectionism treats you. Like a bad boyfriend, it tells you you’re never good enough, makes you work to receive love, and never lets you quit. “He’s no good for you,” I say. No darn good. Time to let him (or rather, it–perfectionism) go.

 

Check out my series on “How to Feel Self-Worth.” It’s a great place to begin to dump perfectionism and learn to love the real, beautiful, imperfect you.

Are you a perfectionist? Do you see yourself in any of these myths or facts? What stands out for you after reading this? Leave a question/comment, below, and let us know what you think!

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
Be sure to check out Dr. Hibbert’s Amazon Bestseller, This is How We Grow
available now on Amazon.com!

 

"Perfect?" or "Fake?': 8 Myths about Perfectionism, & 8 Truths to Cure It; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

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References:
Brown, B. (2010) The Gifts of Imperfection, p.56.

10 Ways to Let Love In

10 Ways to Let #Love In; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com  #ValentinesDay

10 Ways to Let #Love In; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com  #ValentinesDayLast week, I posted 5 things I know for sure about love. This week, in honor of Valentine’s Day, I want to focus on how we can increase love in our lives.

 

As I said in my last post, one thing I know for sure is that we all want to love and be loved in return–it’s a core human need. I also said I know for sure that it’s up to us to receive love. What happens when we fail to let love in? We suffer. We begin to believe we’re all alone. We begin to believe we’re not worthy of love, after all.

 

The truth is, sometimes love is there–all around us–but we aren’t willing or able to let it in. It’s in our neighbor, a stranger, flowers blooming, a child. Sometimes, it isn’t that nobody cares. Sometimes we just don’t believe others care. Sometimes we prevent ourselves from feeling that care. Letting love in is a huge part of practicing self-love and feeling our true worth. We must let love in, or, as I said above, we will suffer.

 

So, what are we to do?

First, take a searching look into your life. Are there any ways in which you block love or simply fail to receive it? Do you ever doubt love? Do you actively push it away? Do you feel selfish practicing self-love? If, in any way, you’re lacking love, it’s time to let love in. When we seek love, we find it. Then, it’s up to us to open the door and let it in.

 

10 Ways to Let Love In

Here are ten suggestions to get you started receiving more love today. Add to this list whatever ideas help you open your heart. You’ll feel so much more loved if you will choose to let love in.

 

1)   Smile and say a sincere, “Thank you,” when someone says something nice or loving about you. Take a moment and let their words sink in. Believe them.

 

2)   Accept every hug that comes your way, and make sure to really hug back. Oh, and look for opportunities to give a warm hug, too. Creating opportunities to give and receive love opens us up even more.

 

3)   Next time someone offers to do something thoughtful for you, let them. Say, “Thank you very much,” and mean it. Then, let yourself enjoy.

 

4)   If you suddenly find yourself with a “break” take advantage of it. Sometimes life seems to mysteriously be10 Ways to Let #Love In-www.DrChristinaHibbert.com  #ValentinesDay saying, “I love you.” It may be unexpected time off, a moment to relax, or a problem suddenly resolved; whatever it is happily accept it. Say a prayer of gratitude in your heart, and focus on making the best of this love-filled gift.

 

5)   If you’re in nature and feel struck with awe, savor it. Let it fill every part of your body. Receive the love God has put into this beautiful world for you.

 

6)   If you’re a parent, look for the loving moments your children offer (if you’re not a parent, let in the love of a child). Children can offer up some of the purest, most fulfilling love. As parents, it may feel tough sometimes to feel that love, especially if you’re in the middle of parenting challenges, like postpartum depression, feeling like your kids are driving you crazy, or parenting teens (trust me–I’ve been there–still am!). However, as we look for the loving moments with our children and families, we will feel greater love, and joy. Maybe your daughter cleans her room without even being asked, or your toddler stops his playtime to hop in your lap and show you some love, or your teenager actually says, “Nite, Mom, love you.” Savor these moments of love. Soak them up and do not take them for granted. Express your gratitude for these beautiful moments—to your kids, to yourself, and to your Higher Power.

 

7)   Cuddle. With your significant other, with your kids, with your pet—cuddle. Touch is an important way to receive love. It actually increases the chemicals in our body that make us happy, so cuddle away!

 

8)   Next time you think, “I’m going to do something nice for myself,” do it. It could be a bath, a walk, a nap, or time away with friends—whatever it is, do it. It’s good practice to let love in from yourself.

 

9)   When self-doubt faces you, choose instead to let love in. It may come through the words of another person, through a feeling or thought, or even through a message you see online or on TV, but when those little messages that whisper, “You’re more than you think you are. You are loved. You can do it,” come, pay attention. This is love from God. It’s the purest, most joyful love you can receive. Stop, listen, and take it in.

 

10)   Practice opening your heart, so you’re ready to receive whatever love comes your way. If our hearts are open, we won’t be able to block love. Sit silently today, breathe deeply, and imagine your heart growing wider and wider. Imagine it is opening like beautiful, loving doors, welcoming love in greater and greater capacities. Imagine warm arms encircling you, reminding you that you’re made of love, making you feel how loved you truly are. Repeat often.

 

 

Do you ever struggle to let love in? In what ways? What helps you receive (and therefore give) more love? Leave a comment, below!
#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
Be sure to check out Dr. Hibbert’s new book, Amazon Bestseller, This is How We Grow
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5 Things I Know For Sure About LOVE

5 Things I Know For Sure About LOVE; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

5 Things I Know For Sure About LOVE; www.DrChristinaHibbert.comI love that February is the month of love. I don’t particularly love Valentine’s Day—for many reasons—but I love the idea of focusing on love at the start of each new year. In January, we focus on how we want to grow, and in February, we focus on love. It’s perfect, really, since “choosing to grow is choosing love.” (This is How We Grow, p. 415) The two go hand in hand.

What is the nature of love, anyway?

There are all kinds of theories and songs and poems about it. Every human in history has probably pondered this question at one point or another. We have all experimented with love–in our relationships, in our quest for self-worth and personal growth, and even in our spiritual connections. But what is love? Where does it come from? How do we create a life that’s full of love?

 

 

5 Things I Know for Sure About Love

I may not know everything about love, but I do know a few things. And these few things may provide a few answers to these huge questions looming above…

 

1)   To love and be loved is a core human need. Without love, we die. The more people I’ve been able to work with over the years, in my own life and as a psychologist, the more it has become obvious—our deepest human need is to love and be loved in return.

 

2)   Love originates with God. The Bible says, “God is love.” It’s true–no matter your religious beliefs or the words you use. God is love, and pure love is God. Humans, since the dawn of time, have spoken of this “great love,” which comes from a divine source and fills their souls. This pure love is available for any and all of us to discover. It’s probably what fuels our human need for love–we crave that Great Love from and connection with our Creator. We need it, to be whole. As we let God’s love for us fill us, we experience true self-worth. We feel the oneness of all things, and have a deep desire to share that love with everyone. We see ourselves in others and know we are not alone. We know that no should ever have to feel alone.

 

3)   We are made of love. When you slow down, get still, and tune in to life, you will feel it: you’re made of love. Just like we each have an unending reservoir of joy deep within, so too are we each made of love. We may not always feel it because it gets covered up and tarnished by the struggles of life. But, every spiritual teacher and practice that has ever existed teaches the same thing: We are one, and we are love. “Love comes from God and nature and light, and fills us, if we let it, like a well that never runs dry. As we receive this love, we become so full of love it pours out of our eyes and mouth and arms, filling those around us, too.” (This is How We Grow, p. 415) It’s true.

 

4)   Love is a cycle.  The cycle includes: 1) giving love, and 2) receiving love. If we are made of love (and we are—trust 5 Things I Know for Sure about LOVE--#blog #post; www.DrChristinaHibbert.comme), and if our greatest human need is love, then it makes sense that the deeper we go, the more love we uncover. It also makes sense that the more love we uncover within ourselves, the more we want to share it with others. Giving love is one of the greatest experiences we can have. But, receiving love is just as important. For example, if we fail to receive love from others, our relationships suffer. If we fail to receive love from God, we lack a sense of how important we really are. If we fail to receive love from ourselves, we feel empty, with little love to share. That’s why receiving love is so important. As I write, “In order to give love, we must receive love; as we receive love, we learn to love ourselves; and as we love ourselves, we have so much more love to give.” This is the cycle of love. Like the waves of the ocean, it is made to ebb and flow. Completing this cycle is the key to a life full of love.

 

5)   It’s up to us to let love in. Yep. It’s up to us to uncover the love burning deep within, and it’s up to us to discover the love that comes from without. Love is everywhere, if we will simply seek it. It’s in the smile of a stranger and the hug of a friend. It’s in the warmth of the sun and the stillness of the snow. Love is in the trust of a family member; it’s in the words I’m writing now. Look for love. Seek it continually, and you will find it. Then, open up your heart and let love in.

 

(For more ways to receive love, stay tuned for my next post! Coming soon!)

What do you know for sure about love? Leave a comment, below, and share the love!

 

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
The #1 Bestselling Memoir, This is How We Grow
available now on Amazon.com!

 

 

 

5 Things I Know For Sure About LOVE; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

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Related Posts/Articles:

 

Couples & Romantic Love: 9 Ways to Build Intimacy in Relationships

10 Ways to Let Love In

Discovering Self-Worth: Why is it so hard to love ourselves?

50 Ways to Love Your Loved Ones

Improve Communication=Improve Relationships. Improve Yourself.

“The 5 Love Languages”: Improve Relationships & Feel the Love! (plus video)

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Personal Growth & Self-Actualization

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Learning Self-Love: 5 Tricks to Treat Yourself More Kindly

The 3 Layers of Self-Care: Build a Happier, Healthier YOU!

Beyond Happiness: 10 Ways to Increase Joy!

The Positive Psychology of Flourishing: What is it? And am I doing it?

Let Your Heart Desire

New Year’s Goal-Setting: 5 Steps for Personal Growth Success

What I’ve Learned about Personal Growth from a Decade of New Year’s Themes

Parenting Success: It’s More About the Parent Than the Child

10 Major Mistakes I’ve Made This Month, & Why It’s OK

Let’s Get Real: 10 Confessions from “The Psychologist, The Mom, & Me”

“Mommy Fails” and Mother’s Day: 3 Messages All Moms Need to Hear

The Skills of Overcoming…Depression, Grief, Parenting Struggles, etc. etc.

Parenting Teens: Am I doing a good enough job?

Learning Optimism

Joy is in the Moments

“This Is How We Grow” Book Giveaway, Book Club, & More!

This Is How We Grow Book Giveaway, Book Club, & More! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

This Is How We Grow Book Giveaway, Book Club, & More! www.DrChristinaHibbert.comWe have some exciting things happening with my recently released bestselling memoir, This is How We Grow, and I’d like to share them with you!

 

GoodReads Giveaway!

First, we’ve just started an exciting giveaway. I am giving away 10 Autographed copies of This is How We Grow through GoodReads.com! GoodReads does some amazing giveaways, and I’m thrilled to be part of it! If you’re already on GoodReads, I hope you’ll follow me, then click here or see the sidebar (right) for information on how to enter. If you’re not on GoodReads, check it out! Membership is free, and it’s a great way to learn about new books you will want to read. Entries will be accepted January 25-February 25, midnight, so go enter today! Good luck!

 

This is How We Grow Book Club

The reviews are in, and readers keep saying, “This is How We Grow is the perfect book club book!” To make help you in hosting a This is How "This is How We Grow" Book Giveaway, Book Club, & More! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.comWe Grow book club, I’ve added two new features to my This is How We Grow Book page: 1) a “Book Discussion Guide,” and 2) an “Interview with the Author.” Visit my book page for more information!

 

Book Club Visits & Skype!

I am also beginning my This is How We Grow book tour! I will be traveling each month to speak about This is How We Grow, and I hope to come to your area! (See my calendar of events for cities I’ve already booked.) I plan to attend as many book clubs as possible when I’m in different cities, starting with two book clubs in Phoenix, AZ, this week! If I can’t make it to your area or your club meeting, I’m also available to Skype in! Visit my book page for details, and I hope to see you soon!

 

Book Events & Live Webinars

As I mentioned, I will be speaking on the topics covered in This is How We Grow to as many audiences as I can manage over the next year. My events schedule is already taking shape, and if you have an event at which you’d like me to speak, please visit my speaking page, and contact me. Yes, my time is limited because yes, I’m still a mom of six kids. But, I hope to make as many visits as possible work!

 

For those who can’t attend an in-person event, I will also be hosting some live webinars on various This is How We Grow topics, including motherhood, dealing with grief, women’s emotions across the lifespan, personal growth, and many more! If you have a topic you’d like to see covered in a free webinar, please leave a comment, below, or email me. Otherwise, SUBSCRIBE, below, or follow my Dr. Hibbert Facebook Page and This is How We Grow Facebook page for updates on these exciting events!

 

This is How We Grow Personal Growth Group!

If you haven’t already, join us for my This is How We Grow Personal Growth Group! It’s free, online, and a wonderful way to learn the skills of overcoming, becoming, and flourishing! With monthly video lessons, an online support group on Facebook, and inspirational emails and posts, this group is one way to show your self some love. For more information, visit this post, and I hope to see you there!

 

More exciting news to come! Happy growing!

 

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com

Be sure to check out the #1 Amazon Bestseller, This is How We Grow! 

Available now on Amazon.com!

 

This Is How We Grow Book Giveaway, Book Club, & More! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com
 Don’t miss a thing!

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Beyond “Happiness”: 10 Ways to Increase Joy

Beyond Happiness-10 Ways to Increase Joy; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

Beyond Happiness-10 Ways to Increase Joy; www.DrChristinaHibbert.comWe all want to “be happy,” don’t we? We want to feel well, have good times, and enjoy life. Certainly, happiness is a good thing.

We may feel happy when things go our way, when we get an unexpected surprise, or experience a moment of beauty. But in the same instant, happiness can vanish, because happiness is an emotion, a transient state of feeling.

 

Beyond “Happiness”

Instead, don’t we really want joy? Joy is deeper and more lasting. It’s not simply an emotion. “Joy…unlike happiness, is a state of being. We can be faced with challenges, situations, and life stress and still be joyful. Even when we don’t feel happy, we can be full of joy. ” (This is How We Grow, p. 335)

 

We can wait around to feel happy, or we can try to feel happy. Again, it’s not a bad thing to try and feel happy. However, most of society focuses on how to be “happier” by looking outside–by chasing happiness through trying to be more successful, beautiful, talented, by finding the perfect relationship, or simply by trying to have more fun. While these things can certainly bring feelings of happiness, unfortunately, those feelings don’t always last. 

 

Joy, on the other hand, comes from within. That’s why, even when circumstances change, joy remains. It is lasting, or can be, if practiced and cultivated.

 

Discovering & Uncovering Joy

Joy is a natural part of each of us. It comes from deep within, from our very soul. Unlike happiness, which is often situational or emotionally-based, joy is part of who we really are. I know, I know, some of you won’t believe what I’m saying here, but it’s true: Joy is part of who you are. It’s there, inside each of us, always. It’s just that life covers it up, so we can’t feel it. Think of joy as the sun and life stressors as the clouds and storms. Joy, like the sun, is always there; the trick is to dig beneath the cloudiness and uncover it.

 

10 Ways to Increase Joy

How can we uncover and increase our joy? Here are a few ideas to get us started.

 

1) Take good care of your body. Sleep, nutrition, exercise, and down time are all important to increasing joy, for they keep your body physically healthy and strong. When you’re too tired, for instance, joy will definitely feel more clouded. If you want more joy in your life, you have to take care of your body first and foremost.

 

2) Practice mindfulness.  Mindfulness involves paying attention to life as it happens–paying attention to now. Breathe deeply and look around you. Use all your senses to take in your world. Look for and see the good. Feel and breathe through the not-so-good. As we focus on the present moment, on the beauty around us, the love that is ours for the taking, we experience an increase of joy. (Read this for more ideas: Daily Mindfulness: 5 Ways to Put More “Being” Into What You’re “Doing”)

 

3) Cultivate healthy relationships. We are social beings, and relationships are a huge part of living a life of joy. Sure, our relationships might make us feel “happy” (and hopefully they do), but even more importantly, healthy relationships increase joy. By “healthy” I mean relationships based on unconditional love, where each person is free to be him or herself. Relationships that are encouraging, accepting, and honest. Or, this definition of love is a good way to define a healthy relationship: “The ability and willingness to allow those that you care for to be what they choose for themselves, without any insistence that they satisfy you.” (Dr. Wayne Dyer, Your Erroneous Zones) That is a relationship that will increase joy. (More on creating healthy relationships: 50 Ways to Love Your Loved Ones; 17 Secrets for Making Marriage Work; The Reconsideration Exercise; The 5 Love Languages)

 

4) Serve. Getting out of our own “problems” and “feelings” is one of the surest ways to increase joy. Volunteer for a cause that’s important to you. Make dinner for a friend in need. Watch a young mother’s children so she can get a break. Or, lend a listening ear to someone in need. Even helping a stranger carry groceries or smiling to everyone throughout your day will help joy shine deep within you.

 

5) Choose to grow. When hard times hit, instead of dwelling on how “bad” things are, see the opportunity for growth. Work on changing negative thoughts throughout the day, seeing each experience as a learning moment. Even if situations get particularly tough, if you can look at them through lenses of “growth,” you will still be able to tap into and feel moments of joy, and that will help you get through your hard times more smoothly and increase your joy in the long run. (For more, check out: 10 Ways I Choose to Grow Each Day; The Seasons of Personal Growth; This Is How We Grow Book; Join my “This is How We Grow” Personal Growth Group)

 

6) Play and enjoy life. We can take a lesson from kids, who not only are great at playing, but who still seem to feel and

A gorgeous view from my recent trip to Hawaii. Both relaxing and playing, I love to travel. Brings the joy right out of me!

A gorgeous view from my recent trip to Hawaii. Both relaxing and playing, I love to travel. Brings the joy right out of me!

thrive in their innate joy! Most adults could use a little more play and enjoyment in their lives. What lights you up? Makes you laugh? Helps you forget about “life” for a while? Those things are incredibly important in living a life of joy. When we’re playing, our joy is suddenly uncovered again; it reminds us of how much joy we truly have! Get out and do something fun today. Laugh. Roll on the floor in laughter. Play. And enjoy life while you’ve got it.

 

7) Let love in. Too often, we block the love we could otherwise receive–from our loved ones, from ourselves, and even from God. Feeling God’s love for us and the love of those around us is crucial to a life of joy. However, it’s hard to let others love us if we struggle to love ourselves. Do you block love? Do you know how to open up and receive it freely? Do you love yourself? If not, this is the area that needs your attention. (Here are some ideas to help you get started: Discovering Self-Worth: Why is it so Hard to Love Ourselves?; Self-Esteem & Self-Worth; Learning Self-Love; 5 Reasons Self-Esteem is a Myth; The Mind-Body-Spirit Connection; If Self-Esteem is a Myth, then What is the Truth? Understanding Self-Worth.)

 

8) Practice smiling on purpose. Putting your body in a state of joy helps bring the joy out of you. Smile. Even when you don’t feel like it–smile. Especially when you don’t feel like it. Focus on the good in your life. Remind yourself there is joy somewhere inside and try to let it show on your face. Try to say and do cheerful things. Trust me, practicing cheerfulness, on purpose, is a great way to increase joy each day.

 

9) Focus on joy. Make it your goal, or a yearly theme. Pay attention to how joy shows up in your life and to what covers up your joy. Practice strategies to bring the joy back out. Remind yourself often, “I am uncovering my joy. It’s in there, and I’m feeling it more each day.”

 

10) Get still. Often we miss our joy because we’re just too busy. Slowing down, listening, and getting in tune with our spiritual sides, with God, and with our true selves increases our capacity for feeling joy, and reminds us there is much more to life than tuning out and staying busy. It helps us reconnect with the things that matter most and discover our purpose and greater meaning in life. Some of the greatest moments of joy come only when we are quiet enough to feel them.

 

 

What are your thoughts on happiness and joy? What increases your experience of joy? Share your insights with us by leaving a comment, below!

For more on Discovering Joy, be sure to check out my bestselling book,

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.comThis is How We Grow:

A psychologist’s memoir of loss, motherhood, and discovering self-worth and joy, one season at a time.

Available now on Amazon.com!

Beyond Happiness-10 Ways to Increase Joy; www.DrChristinaHibbert.comJoin my “This is How We Grow” Personal Growth Group!

FREE. Online. Growth.

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Personal Growth & Self-Actualization

What I’ve Learned About Personal Growth from a Decade of New Year’s Themes

What I've Learned About Personal Growth from a Decade of New Year's Themes; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

What I've Learned About Personal Growth from a Decade of New Year's Themes; www.DrChristinaHibbert.comI know. I just posted yesterday. But one “resolution” I actually made for myself this New Year is to post when I feel like it and write about whatever is on my mind. It is my blog, after all, and I want  to use it a little more freely this year. Yes, I will still write articles and posts as “The Psychologist”–with tips and tools and research and facts. I just want to write more as “The Mom,” and plain old “Me,” too.

 

Today, I want to share something I just realized: I have completed a decade of personal yearly themes. A decade! If you’ve read my memoir, This is How We Grow, or have been following my blog for a while, you know I choose a “theme” each year and work on it for a full twelve months. I’ve actually always been one who enjoys the idea of the New Year. I love a clean start, a fresh look, the possibility of it all. Even as a teenager I used to set New Year’s resolutions–and I actually kept them (or at least most of them)! I can’t say what it is, but I’ve always had a strong drive to improve.

 

Then, one year, I wanted more. As I write in This Is How We Grow, “A few years before this life-altering event, on January 1st, I had been reflecting on the nature of change. What good is all this change, I asked myself, if it doesn’t change me? I craved positive growth. Tired of too-often forgotten New Year’s Resolutions, I came up with the idea of a yearly theme. This theme would serve as my one resolution for the entire year and give me focused, extended practice in mastering it. It would steer me in the direction of the person I wanted to become. It was time to choose to grow.” (p.4)

 

What I’ve Learned from a Decade of New Year’s Themes

Grow, I have. For ten years now. Want to know what my “themes” have been? Well, I hope so because I’m going to share them here anyway (even though I wrote a little about some and a lot about others in This is How We Grow):

2004: “Carpe Diem”

2005: Humility

2006: Charity

2007: Patience

2008: Gratitude

2009: Cheerfulness

2010: Joy

2011: Love

2012: Holiness

2013: Optimism

Now, I can’t say I’ve become perfect in any of these themes. Not at all. I still struggle, on and off, with pretty much all of them. I can, however, say with full confidence that I am more of each of these things now than I ever was before. Even if I haven’t completely changed into the person I want to be, I have learned incredible lessons about each of these traits, my own nature, and my true potential. I have seen and felt myself grow.

 

I could never have predicted how much I would grow nor how many opportunities would arise through practicing these virtues. Who could have guessed I would one day write and publish a bestselling book about these themes? How could I ever have known how I would be blessed with opportunities to teach these virtues and skills to others, to help them grow, too? I had no idea.

 

But now, I know. I know choosing to grow is not only a worthy venture; it is crucial to discovering who we really are, to feeling our true worth, and to becoming even better than we could have dreamed. It is crucial to helping those around us fulfill their purpose and reach their potential, too–especially our children, spouses, family, and friends.

 

How to Create Your Yearly Theme

If you’d like to try a New Year’s theme, allow me to give you a few suggestions. This is how I do it, and of course, something else might work better for you. The point isn’t to do it just like me; the point is simply to do it. To grow.

 

This is my new favorite picture I took on our trip to Mexico, last week. Love the beauty and solitude. I was definitely reflecting in this moment.

This is my new favorite picture I took on our trip to Mexico, last week. Love the beauty and solitude. I was definitely reflecting in this moment.

1) Start with reflection. You can’t know what you need until you understand where you’ve been. As insightful as any of us are, it’s tough to synthesize an entire year of experiences, to learn all the lessons, know what you need next, to have the foresight and awareness right away. So, look back and reflect. I do this every December 31st and January 1st (and sometimes even longer). It helps that I write in a journal all year, so if you haven’t started that habit, you might consider it. I pull out my journal and notebooks (yes, I have more than one. I’m a writer, though, so I’m crazy that way.) Then, I read through them. It’s like reading my year’s story–one step removed, it helps me see things more clearly. However you can, reflect on the past year. Feel what you’ve been through. Appreciate what you have survived. Glory in how you have grown. Then, look for what might come next.

 

2) Envision the year to come. This is my favorite part. As I wrote in my article on Goal-Setting: 5 Steps to Personal Growth Success, having a vision is crucial to achieving your vision. I look ahead at what I already have planned, at my commitments, expectations, hopes, and anticipated roadblocks for the coming year. I “dream myself to sleep,” letting pictures of all I wish and desire for the next year dance in my head. Then, I take time to ponder what I might need to get me through. For instance, as I write about in This is How We Grow, during one of my toughest years, I chose “Gratitude,” because, “It is in winter that we most need the companionship of a grateful heart… Practicing gratitude reminds us, no matter how dark or cold the skies may be, there is always sunshine within, if we will but look and gratefully see.” (p. 105) Discover what you need, and that will guide your theme selection and make it the perfect choice.

 

3) Give yourself as much time as you need. I don’t force myself to pick a theme right away, because it takes time to get it right. Some years, I don’t settle on a theme until weeks into January. I do not want to spend a whole year working on something I don’t really need. Give yourself time to reflect, ponder the future, and get it right.

 

4) Once your theme is selected, begin to set smaller goals. Work out the smaller goals that are going to take you where you want to go. There’s no rush. Just set goals as you feel the need to throughout the year. Good thing I wrote a post all about successful goal-setting yesterday.

 

5) As the year goes by, let the lessons simply come. Notice them. Write them down. I’ve done this many different ways: with a list in the back of my journal where I write the lesson I learned each month, or by reading books on my theme, or by trying to reflect on my theme each time I write in my journal. Whatever works for you is great. The point, as I said before, isn’t to become perfect. It is to learn and grow.

 

To close, I’d like to share a poem I just read last night, around midnight, as the New Year rang in. It inspired me, and I hope it will inspire you to “hear the truths inside of” you this new year, too. Happy New Year, everyone. Happy growing.

 

I want to travel as far as I can go,

I want to reach the joy that’s in my soul,

And change the limitations that I know,

And feel my mind and spirit grow.

I want to live, exist, “to be,”

And hear the truths inside of me.

~Doris Warshay, in Wayne Dyer, Your Erroneous Zones

Do you practice a yearly theme? Resolutions? Goals? How do you select what you need to work on each year? Share your insights with us by leaving a comment below!

 

 

Be sure to check out my bestselling memoir,

This is How We Grow, available now on Amazon.com!

 

What I've Learned About Personal Growth from a Decade of New Year's Themes; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

This year, give yourself the gift of Personal Growth by joining my

FREE, online This is How We Grow Personal Growth Group!

 

 

Don’t miss a thing! SUBSCRIBE, below, “like” my Facebook pages (Dr. Christina HibbertThis Is How We Grow) and follow me on Twitter,Pinterest, & Instagram!

You may manage your subscription options from your profile

 

 

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New Year’s Goal-Setting: 5 Steps to Personal Growth Success

New Year's Goal-Setting: 5 Steps to Personal Growth Success; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

New Year's Goal-Setting: 5 Steps to Personal Growth Success; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

New Year’s is one of the busiest times for goal-setting–for envisioning a new path, for choosing to grow. And if you’re choosing to grow, you’ve come to the right place; I literally wrote the book on it (haha!). One thing I learned through writing This is How We Grow is one of the hardest parts of personal growth is knowing HOW to do it. That’s why I’m here writing this today–to show YOU how to grow, how to set goals that will lead you to personal growth success.

 

3 Reasons New Year’s Goals & Personal Growth Fail

There are many ways to choose to grow (and of  course, growth doesn’t just have to start on January first). Whether you write New Year’s Resolutions, or set goals, or whether you instead use a yearly (or monthly or bi-annual) theme, like I do, there is one thing that can make or break your success: goal-setting skills. See, that’s one of the problems with Resolutions–too many of us write them down without any real plan of attack. In fact, resolutions, and even goals, tend to fail because:

 

1) We try to do too much at once. It’s great to set 10 resolutions, but you can’t really work on them all at once. You’re better off to try one or two and then add more as the year goes by.

 

2) We expect change to come quickly. We set a goal and say, “I’m starting tomorrow,” and then dive in. While that can sometimes work, more often we’re frustrated because we find ourselves slipping, by day three. Instead, we need to realize that change is a process that can take longer than we’d like. There is much more to making change that lasts than we think. (Read this–How to Make Lasting Change: 5 Lessons from the Transtheoretical Model of Change–and you’ll see what I mean.)

 

3) We quit if we “fail.” But the only true failure is quitting. Lasting change and growth usually takes several tries, and readjusting our goals as we make mistakes is part of success. (Again, read this article–it really will help! How to Make Lasting Change)

 

 

5 Steps to Goal-Setting Success

So, how can we set goals that will lead to success?

1) Create a vision of success. Stephen Covey said it best: “Begin with the end in mind.” (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) Too often, we set a goal without a clear vision of what a “successful” outcome might look like. We know

Want beauty and peace? Create the vision, then set the goal.

Want beauty and peace? Create the vision, then set the goal.

we need to lose weight, for instance, but does that mean we can fit in our jeans or does it mean we are shooting for an overall healthier lifestyle? Before you set a goal, get clear on your best-case end result. Close your eyes and envision what you would be like after your goal is reached. Write it down. Then, write down what “success” for each goal would look like to you. Once you know what you’re trying to achieve, it’s much easier to achieve it.

 

2) Take the time to create a solid plan. Don’t jump in to the “action” phase of a goal before you’ve taken the time to contemplate and prepare properly. As I explain in my article on the “Spiral of Change,” there are actually six stages of change, and skipping steps won’t help you get to where you want to be any sooner. Instead, think about your vision and the steps it will take to get there. What might get in your way or prevent success? What challenges do you anticipate and how might you overcome them? What time frame is best for this goal, and how will you know when you’ve achieved it? Write all of this down, creating a plan you can follow to achieve your goal.

 

3) Write goals in the positive and use the active present tense. Instead of saying, “I am not going to be negative,” say, “Today, I am acting cheerfully.” Instead of, “I will not eat junk food,” write, “I am eating whole foods because I am a healthy person.” Instead of telling yourself what NOT to do, tell yourself what TO do. It helps you feel more empowered and focused on how to achieve your goal. And speaking in the present helps your mind act as if you have already achieved your goal. It helps you believe in yourself, reminding you of what you are capable.

 

4) Create a way to measure your goal and evaluate your progress. Most goals fail because there is no system of measurement and evaluation. Some are easier than others–losing 5 pounds is pretty specific, while “being kinder” is harder to measure. Instead, create a way to tell how much progress you are making. You might check in with yourself each day to evaluate your progress–”How kind have I been today, from 1-10?” Or you might evaluate once a week by writing about your ups and downs in a journal. Whatever works for you is great, as long as it helps you measure and evaluate where you are. Only in knowing where you are can you get to where you are headed.

 

5) Make yourself accountable and stick with it. Another key to successful goal-setting is accountability. If we have no accountability, it’s going to be hard to stay the course when things get tough. Some of us are great with holding ourselves accountable–checking in, reevaluating, encouraging, and sticking with it on your own–but many are not. According to research, most people do best by having a “partner” to help achieve goals. Consider setting up a “buddy system” with a friend or family member, where you check in and encourage each other regularly. Or, involve your partner or even the whole family by helping everyone set one or two goals and then working to achieve them together. Or, post a goal on Facebook and encourage friends to ask about it. Or, join my This is How We Grow Personal Growth Group for a built in support system. However you do it, make yourself accountable–to yourself and/or to someone else–and you’re more likely to stick with and eventually achieve your goals.

 

Here’s to a year of goal-setting success and personal growth! Happy New Year, everyone!

 

 

What are your New Year’s Resolutions or Personal Growth Goals? What helps you achieve your goals? What stands in your way? Leave a comment, below!

 

 

Be sure to check out my bestselling memoir,

This is How We Grow, available now on Amazon.com!

New Year's Goal-Setting: 5 Steps to Personal Growth Success; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

This year, give yourself the gift of Personal Growth by joining my

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Give the Gift of Hope

Give the Gift of HOPE; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

Give the Gift of HOPE; www.DrChristinaHibbert.comIf there is one thing we all need during the holidays and all year long it is hope. Hope in today. Hope in tomorrow. Hope in days to come.

 

Don’t Lose Hope

Too many of us are losing hope. We fear our emotions. We fear failure. We fear the future will not bring us what we need. In fact, hopelessness is a core component of depression and other mental illness, leaving those afflicted feeling lost and alone. I know. I’ve experienced times of hopelessness. I have felt that darkness, that doubt. I have wondered if the sun would ever shine again–if I would ever be healed. I write about many of these times in my memoir, This is How We Grow. To quote, “Hopelessness is, in my mind, one of the worst emotions we can feel, because it leads to giving up, to quitting, to saying, ‘It’s too hard. I can’t do it.’” (p. 202)

Knowing many people are feeling hopeless right now drives me to want to give the gift of hope–hope that hope is possible. Hope that hope is the light that leads us out of despair. Hope that there is a spark of hope in each of us, and if we can just find it and fan it, our hope will grow.

 

The Gift of Hope

Hope is what gets us up each morning and moves our feet through each day. Hope is the courage to dream and the wisdomGive the Gift of Hope; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com that helps us heal. “Hope is the light that shines in the darkest winter, the one we take for granted until we find ourselves desperate in the cold. ‘Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark,’ and in choosing to grasp that hand, we choose to live, for hope keeps us going, reminding us there is something to keep going for.” (This Is How We Grow, p. 202)

 

Give the Gift of Hope

Is your heart filled with hope?

If so, do you have enough to share? Can you give others in need the gift of your hope? Can you smile, reach out a hand, lend a shoulder to cry upon? Can you write a note, say the words, “You matter to me,” show your love to your family, friends, and even strangers?

If you can’t feel hope, what is blocking it? Do you have a heartache, pain, or hurt from the recent past that is still fresh? Do you have an old hurt that needs attention and care? Can you take one hopeful step to reach out for help? Can you, for a moment, look up and see the beauty around you, let love in, and dare to hope?

Whether you feel hopeful or not, you can choose to give the gift of hope this holiday season, and all year long–to your loved ones, to those you’ve just met, and especially to yourself. How?

  • First, open your heart and dare to let that spark of hope appear.
  • Then, flame your hope by seeking connection, serving others, seeing the good in the world, discovering meaning and purpose.
  • Share your spark of hope by telling others what you see in them, by showing them how you feel.
  • Create a moment of joy for someone, and that will bring hope.
  • Create a memory for someone, and hope will be strengthened.
  • Fan your hope like a fire, then share it with others through laughter, singing, hugs, kisses, charity, and faith.

 

Give the gift of hope. Then, open and receive the gifts of hope you’ve been given, too. Hope is the seed of all good things, the starting place of dreams coming true.

 

What gives you hope? How do you “give” hope to others? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so share a comment, below!

Be sure to check out my new bestselling memoir,

This is How We Grow, available now on Amazon.com!

Give the Gift of HOPE; www.DrChristinaHibbert.comDon’t miss a thing!

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“Be of Good Cheer”: 12 Ways to Become More Cheerful

"Be of Good Cheer": 12 Ways to Become More Cheerful; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

"Be of Good Cheer": 12 Ways to Become More Cheerful; www.DrChristinaHibbert.comAre you a naturally cheerful person? Sadly, I am not. If I don’t work on it, I can be grumpy, complaining, critical, and downright negative. But, for all who are cheer-challenged, like I am, good news: Cheerfulness can be learned and developed. Yes, with practice, you can become a cheerful person.

 

My “Year of Cheerfulness”

I know this firsthand after spending an entire year practicing cheerfulness. It was during one of my hardest years, during a time when I desperately wanted to feel joyful, yet knew I couldn’t. At least, not yet. So, instead, I figured I could act cheerfully, hoping perhaps it would bring me a little more joy.

And it did. My year of cheerfulness was one of my favorite years, not because life was easy or fun–it wasn’t–but because no matter what, I told myself, all I had to do was put on a smile and try to “be of good cheer.” The bible tells us to “be of good cheer” more than a dozen times, and what excellent advice it is. Cheerfulness calms us, strengthens our relationships, and can actually create more joy—in us and those around us.

As I wrote in Part 3: Year of Cheerfulness, of my memoir, This Is How We Grow, “I can act cheerfully even if I feel unhappy, stressed, or overwhelmed. I don’t have to feel joyful to be cheerful.” (p. 224) Again, that’s the great news—we don’t have to feel joyful to act cheerfully or even become a cheerful person. And don’t we all want to be a little more cheerful?

 

12 Ways to Act Cheerfully & Become a Cheerful Person

Here are 12 ways you can begin to practice acting cheerfully. And if you stick with it, eventually, these things just might help you become a more cheerful person, too.

 

1) Smile on purpose. Even when things are tough–especially when things are tough–smile. As I wrote about my year of cheerfulness, “this is my goal: to smile when I want to scream, hold my tongue when I want to complain, to laugh when I want to escape.” (p. 224)

 

2) Hold your tongue. When you feel the urge to complain, bite your tongue (and literally, if you need to). If you want to criticize something or someone else, refrain. Staying silent is a wonderful way to get us through stressful moments without saying or doing something we will later regret. If you still feel something needs to be said after thinking it through, then formulate a kind response. Cheerfulness can help us through tough confrontations.

 

3) Fake it ’til you make it. I’ve written about this before, because it really is a helpful tool. When you’re not sure what to do, fake it. When you feel your stress levels rise and you’re about to lay into someone you love, fake it! I fake laugh when I’m particularly stressed, or pretend I know what I’m doing when faced with a tough new task. Sometimes, it just takes a little “faking” to help us “make it” cheerfully through.

 

4) Change your brain each morning. Our brains are naturally wired to focus on the negative throughout the day. Instead, wake up and tell your brain, “Your job today is to find all the good stuff.” Giving your brain a specific task helps calm the mind chatter and stress that can stand in the way of a cheerful outlook and attitude.

 

5) Focus on creation. We feel “cheerful” when we are creating something good. Shift your focus from “overcoming a problem” to “creating a solution” or “creating a memory” or “creating a new you.” This creative shift can uplift and inspire us to behave more cheerfully. (For more on creation, read this.)

 

6) Admit the truth. Acting cheerfully doesn’t mean we ignore our true feelings. It simply means we don’t want our feelings to control how we are in the world. In fact, ignoring our true feelings can destroy cheerfulness. It’s important to check in with ourselves–to FEEL and grieve and process what’s really going on. We may not need to do it all day, with everyone we meet, but in safe places, with people we trust, we must get real and admit the truth. Say, “I don’t like this. I wish this weren’t happening. I wish I did not have to do this.” Let yourself feel the pain or discomfort. Then, when it’s time, get up and say, “I’m going to do it anyway, and doggone it, I’m doing it with a cheerful attitude.”

 

7) Focus on Making Memories. When you’re creating a memory, it’s hard to want to be anything but cheerful. Memories are all we"Focus on Making Memories," from 12 Ways to Become More Cheerful; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com take with us through life—they matter most. If you’re a parent it’s especially important to make memories with your children. Focus on how to turn this boring, uninspired, or tense moment into a memory, and you just might feel the cheer naturally pouring out of you.

 

8) Take a Time-Out. Just like kids need a break once in a while, to regroup, so do adults. When cheerfulness feels like an impossibility, put yourself in a quiet place where you can breathe, lie down for a while, or just calm down. Then, put your smile back on and practice cheerfulness again.

 

9) Practice Gratitude. Gratitude is at the heart of cheerfulness, for when you are conscious of your gifts and blessings, it’s hard not to feel cheerful about them. For more on practicing gratitude, read 10 Benefits of Practicing Gratitude, 10 Ways to Practice Gratitude Today, & How to NOT Be UN-Grateful.

 

10) Practice Patience. Like gratitude, patience and cheerfulness go hand-in-hand. Cheerfulness helps you practice patience, and practicing patience leads to greater cheerfulness. For more ideas, read 20 Ways to Practice Patience Today.

 

11) Get in the “now”: pray, ponder, meditate, breathe. Take 5-30 minutes each day to slow down, breathe deeply, and pray, meditate, and simply ponder the goodness of life. This will help you focus on “the now.” Countless studies show the benefits of mindfulness, meditation, and prayer. So, when you need more cheerfulness, take a deep breath, relax, and pray. Using all your senses, focus on what’s all around you. Tapping into spiritual power and the present moment is essential to living a cheerful life.

 

12) Let go. One of the biggest barriers to cheerfulness is holding on to the past, worrying about the future, and letting negativity rule your mind. I know it’s not as easy as it sounds, but you must let it go. Work to get worry under control (read The Key to Worry-Free: The Worry Tree), forgive, focus on the here and now, let the past go. “Our past, once examined and processed, must be let go.” (This is How We Grow, p. 314) Choose cheerfulness right now, and let the rest go.

 

 

Are you a naturally cheerful person? What have you done to “be of good cheer?” How does cheerfulness improve your life? Share with us by leaving a comment, below!

 

"Be of Good Cheer": 12 Ways to Become More Cheerful; www.DrChristinaHibbert.comBe sure to check out my new bestselling memoir, 

This is How We Grow, available now on Amazon.com!

 

 

Don’t miss a thing!

SUBSCRIBE, below, and please “like” my Facebook pages (Dr. Christina HibbertThis Is How We Grow) and follow me on Twitter,Pinterest, & Instagram!

 

And be sure to check out my Amazon Author Central Page! Join the discussion!

You may manage your subscription options from your profile

 

 

 

Related Posts:

 

Join my “This is How We Grow” Personal Growth Group! FREE. Online. Growth.

The Art of Living Gratefully

 

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“This Is How We Grow” Blog Hop: 10 Ways I Choose to Grow Each Day

 

10 Benefits of Practicing Gratitude

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