There are several things over which I have no control: I can’t control the fact that things are always busy and there will always be work and chores and meals to prepare. I can’t keep bad things from happening in the outside world. I can’t control the actions and thoughts of others.
I can, however, keep these things from infecting my home. Here are 3 ways I simplify my life by controlling my thoughts, moods and words.
1) I can reframe my thoughts.
Instead of being irritated when I see my husband’s shoes left in the living room, I can turn that moment into something different. I can think: “I’m grateful that my husband is in my life and that we share a home together. I’m grateful we can afford shoes. I’m grateful that we have an organized closet in which to put these shoes. And, really, how many other things does he do right all the time?” And then I just put the shoes away and am left with a feeling of love, rather than irritation.
2) I can decide I’m going to be in a good mood.
What’s that line? “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”? That’s a nugget of truth if I’ve ever heard one. I set the tone for the day for my family. Is it going to be a good day? Are we going to laugh? Are we going to have fun? Or, are we going to walk on egg shells all day because Stabby Mommy’s come to town. I choose. Period.
And I have the ability to choose to be in a good mood, even if it’s not always easy. I can remove myself for 15 minutes and talk to an encouraging friend or listen to 4 songs that really pump me up, or go for a walk or meditate or eat an “It’s It”. Whatever it takes for me to be responsible for your own mood.
Or, if removing myself isn’t possible, I can make a decision that I’m going to fake it ’til I make it. I can force myself to smile. Seriously. Study after study has shown that the physical act of smiling releases happy hormones that then make you feel happy. I can read a funny book to my kids, or do a silly dance from the late 80s just to embarrass them (which always puts me in a good mood). It’s not going to be immediate, but after a few minutes, my mood will start to match my intention.
3) I can keep my mouth shut.
One day, it occurred to me that I didn’t have to give voice to every single thought that crossed my mind. Wow! That’s life-changing! I can decide that I’m not going to litter my family’s ears by complaining all the time. If I don’t have anything nice to say, I can say nothing at all. Seems obvious, but it made a big difference to me, my mood and those around me.
I don’t always succeed in doing all these things as well as I’d like (in fact, I fail more than I succeed), but I’m convinced that the very act of trying is making my life simpler, and happier.
A Penelope Classic post brought to you as we prepare our new website, set to launch in September!