Fast Wednesdays: Week of January 13, 2016 – Choose Happiness — “Whatever” that Means

Greetings Beloved!

Today’s Fast Wednesday topic is on one of my favorite subjects or should I say “state of being” – “Happiness.”

Happiness, in my opinion, is a key component of good mental health. As I mentioned last week, lets work on making this our best year: Mind, Body, and Soul. This means “everyday make sure you meet your needs for safety, love, power, fun and freedom. Be sure you meet these needs in respectful and responsible ways. Be sure that your relationships are not based on you attempting to control the other person. Instead work toward managing your differences with other people in a loving, respectful and mutually satisfying way.” This statement comes from this url link on Mental Health and Happiness, if you care to read further: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/peaceful-parenting/201308/mental-health-and-happiness-2

Now, let’s start with happiness. Actually, I usually walk to jazz, gospel and some other music genres that tend to be slower paced. I decided to get stepping to some faster music so I now have a Pandora channel called “Happy Radio.” And, for me, its loaded with clean, wholesome happy songs so I’m enjoying and walking faster I must say. The following song makes me happy.

SONG:
Andy Grammer: Keep Your Head Up
https://www.google.com/search?q=andy+grammer+keep+your+head+up+youtube&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

Here’s some scriptures on the subject of happiness and you will see positive traits such as wisdom associated with it:

Scripture:
Proverbs 3:13 HCSB – Wisdom Brings Happiness 13 Happy is a man who finds wisdom and acquires understanding.

Psalm 112 (GNT) – The Happiness of a Good Person – 112 Praise the Lord! Happy is the person who honors the Lord, who takes pleasure in obeying his commands.The good man’s children will be powerful in the land; his descendants will be blessed.His family will be wealthy and rich, and he will be prosperous forever.Light shines in the darkness for good people, for those who are merciful, kind, and just.Happy is the person who is generous with his loans, who runs his business honestly.A good person will never fail; he will always be remembered.He is not afraid of receiving bad news; his faith is strong, and he trusts in the Lord.He is not worried or afraid; he is certain to see his enemies defeated.He gives generously to the needy, and his kindness never fails; he will be powerful and respected. 10 The wicked see this and are angry;    they glare in hate and disappear; their hopes are gone forever.
Ecc 3:13 CEV 13 because God’s gift to us is the happiness we get from our food and drink and from the work we do.
Luke 15:7 –Jesus said, “In the same way there is more happiness in heaven because of one sinner who turns to God than over ninety-nine good people who don’t need to.”

Romans 14:17 – God’s kingdom isn’t about eating and drinking. It is about pleasing God, about living in peace, and about true happiness. All this comes from the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13 – I pray that God, who gives hope, will bless you with complete happiness and peace because of your faith. And may the power of the Holy Spirit fill you with hope.

1 Thessalonians 3:9 –How can we possibly thank God enough for all the happiness you have brought us?

Did you know the following? (…who knew):

International Day of Happiness – In 2012, the United Nations (UN) declared March 20 to be observed as the International Day of Happiness – March 20, 2016

Do you, like me, know some unhappy people? I know a few and I actually get on some of their nerves with “my happy self.” I am not happy all the time, I am human, but what I have learned in the long haul is, its more productive for me to be happy than otherwise so I try to quickly get over unpleasant situations. One of my “pet peeves” is when someone is unhappy and says you made me do this??? While I would give some credit to someone getting on your nerves and you losing control, people do not have control over you. If you are unhappy, chronically, I believe its because you have made a decision to be just that. At the end of the day, we each have control over our actions. And, STOP giving power to the people believing you don’t. Some of those chronically unhappy people I know are very difficult to be around and you try to avoid them. They seem to steal the oxygen from the room … I found the following article and I’m sharing just as a little food for thought.

Before we go there though, I recall one Saturday morning, when I lived in Stamford, CT, in a condo, I woke up so HAPPY, I was blasting my gospel music, cleaning the house, just me and the Holy Spirit, until a disgruntled neighbor rang my doorbell furiously and asked me to turn my music down. It was not a normal habit for me to blast my music first of all. And, in comparison to others, it probably wasn’t blasting. This neighbor actually only came home on the weekends and not every weekend at that. However, I was still trying to “respect” her and give her the benefit of the doubt when I opened the door: when I did open the door, she glared at me, and I guess she really did not like how HAPPY I was, she immediately proceeds to tell me she was on the BOARD of the condo assoication, and that if I didn’t turn it down immediately, she would write me up, and I would get a fine! She actually wrote me up, and I received a letter from the association asking me to remember not to blast my music, etc. No Fine, thank goodness…and, at that very time, I thought about how I could have let this woman steal my JOY that morning, however, I made a decision to resist and my reward was maintaining my joy! I actually see her sometimes when I am up in Connecticut, she speaks and smiles and walks her dog, its almost as though the situation NEVER HAPPENED … this is the song (Oleta Adams: I will Love You) : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhbnvcVEWUQ

Now for the article …
Troubling Habits of Chronically Unhappy People:

Happiness comes in so many different forms that it can be hard to define. Unhappiness, on the other hand, is easy to identify; you know it when you see it, and you definitely know when it’s taken ahold of you.

Unhappiness is lethal to everyone around you, just like second-hand smoke. The famous Terman Study from Stanford followed subjects for eight decades and found that being around unhappy people is linked to poorer health and a shorter life span.

Happiness has much less to do with life circumstances than you might think. A University of Illinois study found that people who earn the most (more than $10 million annually) are only a smidge happier than the average Joes and Janes who work for them.

Life circumstances have little to do with happiness because much happiness is under your control—the product of your habits and your outlook on life. Psychologists from the University of California who study happiness found that genetics and life circumstances only account for about 50% of a person’s happiness. The rest is up to you.

“The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.” – Benjamin Franklin

Unhappy Habits

When people are unhappy, it’s much more difficult to be around them, let alone work with them. Unhappiness drives people away, creating a vicious cycle that holds you back from achieving everything that you’re capable of.

Unhappiness can catch you by surprise. So much of your happiness is determined by your habits (in thought and deed) that you have to monitor them closely to make certain that they don’t drag you down into the abyss.

Some habits lead to unhappiness more than others do. You should be especially wary of the ten habits that follow as they are the worst offenders. Watch yourself carefully to make certain that these habits are not your own.

Waiting for the future. Telling yourself, “I’ll be happy when …” is one of the easiest unhappy habits to fall into. How you end the statement doesn’t really matter (it might be a promotion, more pay, or a new relationship) because it puts too much emphasis on circumstances, and improved circumstances don’t lead to happiness. Don’t spend your time waiting for something that’s proven to have no effect on your mood. Instead focus on being happy right now, in the present moment, because there’s no guarantee of the future.

Spending too much time and effort acquiring “things.” People living in extreme poverty experience a significant increase in happiness when their financial circumstances improve, but it drops off quickly above $20,000 in annual income. There’s an ocean of research that shows that material things don’t make you happy. When you make a habit of chasing things, you are likely to become unhappy because, beyond the disappointment you experience once you get them, you discover that you’ve gained them at the expense of the real things that can make you happy, such as friends, family, and hobbies.

Staying home. When you feel unhappy, it’s tempting to avoid other people. This is a huge mistake as socializing, even when you don’t enjoy it, is great for your mood. We all have those days when we just want to pull the covers over our heads and refuse to talk to anybody, but understand that the moment this becomes a tendency, it destroys your mood. Recognize when unhappiness is making you antisocial, force yourself to get out there and mingle, and you’ll notice the difference right away.

Seeing yourself as a victim. Unhappy people tend to operate from the default position that life is both hard and out of their control. In other words, “Life is out to get me, and there’s nothing I can do about it.” The problem with that philosophy is that it fosters a feeling of helplessness, and people who feel helpless aren’t likely to take action to make things better. While everyone is certainly entitled to feel down every once in a while, it’s important to recognize when you’re letting this affect your outlook on life. You’re not the only person that bad things happen to, and you do have control over your future as long as you’re willing to take action.

Pessimism. Nothing fuels unhappiness quite like pessimism. The problem with a pessimistic attitude, beyond it being hard on your mood, is that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: if you expect bad things, you’re more likely to get bad things. Pessimistic thoughts are hard to shake off until you recognize how illogical they are. Force yourself to look at the facts, and you’ll see that things are not nearly as bad as they seem.

Complaining. Complaining itself is troubling as well as the attitude that precedes it. Complaining is a self-reinforcing behavior. By constantly talking—and therefore thinking—about how bad things are, you reaffirm your negative beliefs. While talking about what bothers you can help you feel better, there’s a fine line between complaining being therapeutic and it fueling unhappiness. Beyond making you unhappy, complaining drives other people away.

Blowing things out of proportion. Bad things happen to everybody. The difference is that happy people see them for what they are—a temporary bummer—whereas unhappy people see anything negative as further evidence that life is out to get them. A happy person is upset if they have a fender bender on the way to work, but they keep things in perspective: “What a hassle, but at least it wasn’t more serious.” An unhappy person, on the other hand, uses it as proof that the day, the week, the month, maybe even their whole life, is doomed.

Sweeping problems under the rug. Happy people are accountable for their actions. When they make a mistake, they own it. Unhappy people, on the other hand, find problems and mistakes to be threatening, so they try to hide them. Problems tend to get bigger when they’re ignored. The more you don’t do anything about a problem, the more it starts to feel as though you can’t do anything about it, and then you’re right back to feeling like a victim.

Not improving. Because unhappy people are pessimists and feel a lack of control over their lives, they tend to sit back and wait for life to happen to them. Instead of setting goals, learning, and improving themselves, they just keep plodding along, and then they wonder why things never change.

Trying to keep up with the Joneses. Jealousy and envy are incompatible with happiness, so if you’re constantly comparing yourself with others, it’s time to stop. In one study, most subjects said that they’d be okay with making less money, but only if everybody else did too. Be wary of this kind of thinking as it won’t make you happy and, more often than not, has the opposite effect.

Bringing It All Together

Changing your habits in the name of greater happiness is one of the best things that you can do for yourself. But it’s also important for another reason—taking control of your happiness makes everyone around you happier too.

What do you do to make yourself happy? Lets stop being JOY Stealers! Let’s CHOOSE HAPPINESS…

Please share your thoughts…

Prayer:  Dear Lord, we thank you for being the author and finisher of our faith. We ask that you would continue to fill our cup with joy overflowing. Help us to be kinder and nicer because someone needs that warm thought or touch. Help us learn how to be happy.  Remind us “Matthew 6:33King James Version (KJV)” 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Amen!

Love, Joy and Peace, 
Debra J. Ellis

Reminder AND/OR for those of you just joining us: The purpose of Fast Wednesdays is to draw near to God on this specific day of the week fasting and praying in whatever manner the Holy Spirit is leading you as sisters (and some brothers) in Christ…some have fasted from social media, coffee, or observed a traditional fast with no eating from sunrise to sunset with only liquids for the day, no deserts, etc. I know many of us, for various reasons, participate every week but in different manners. This has still been beneficial and the blog continues to grow!

The key ingredient is that we are doing this together as sisters, of all ages, in the Lord, both chronologically and spiritually in accordance to: A God-Filled Life Titus 2:3-5 “Guide older women into lives of reverence so they end up as neither gossips nor drunks, but models of goodness. By looking at them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. We don’t want anyone looking down on God’s Message because of their behavior.”  Note: Please share Fast Wednesdays with your friends and/or send me names to add to the distribution list. For now, I will post in three places: email (djf52055@gmail.com), Facebook (Debra Fuller Ellis) and blog in Word Press: https://fastwednesdays.wordpress.com/

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