Inner Renovations

Get Up to Get Over the Blahs

run to improve mood

I’m no cardio freak.  But there is something about going for a run (especially when I’m experiencing a depressed mood) that lifts my spirits.  I’ve decided that it’s the deep breathing and focus that comes along with it.  It’s therapeutic.  Aside from it now being evidenced-based that exercise and physical activity reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression, I’d noticed early in life that I just feel better when I get up and get going.

Life is a beautiful place to be, but sometimes circumstances can be overwhelming, responsibilities can be intense, and people can be demanding.  I won’t even get into the pressure we put on OURSELVES – that’s a whole other story.  Even the toughest of minds and strongest of spirits go through periods that involve:

  • FATIGUE AND BLAHNESS
  • LOSS OF MOTIVATION
  • LACK OF CONFIDENCE
  • DECREASED INTEREST
  • JADEDNESS AND CYNICISM
  • AIMLESSNESS
  • [enter miscellaneous frustrating experience here]

It really is a challenge getting back on track once we find ourselves in that sort of space. But the show must go on, and find our way we must.  In my opinion, there is no better pick-me-up than to get more oxygen to the brain, get the blood flowing, get a boost of adrenaline and endorphins, and other fantastic features of getting a good workout on.  Yes, health and wellness, physical fitness, optimum body weight and all that.  But this is about feeling better.

Regardless of how much weight we lose (or don’t lose), or how many trophies we win (or not), it just feels good to get going.  Before we know it, we remember that we are blessed to be able to move our bodies.  And if there are parts of your body that don’t move so well, do what you can.  The goal is to overcome a momentary slump and working through inertia by working ourselves out.  It works our confidence out.  It works our go-get-it-ness out.  It works our mind, body and spirit out.

Dancing in the living room, going for a walk in the neighborhood, actually using that gym membership we pay for, running around with the kids, are all great ways to get ourselves into a better mood by getting up and going.

Heart & Spiritual Wellness, Inner Renovations

Don’t Tell Me to BREATHE

Breathe

My life was so busy, that I was forgetting to breathe. I was doing more of a low-grade hyperventilation as my stress and anxiety were propelling my legs and flailing my arms in whatever direction it seemed would alleviate the moment’s tension. That’s not living. Unless you’re a chicken with her head cut off. And then, I guess that chicken isn’t really living either.

Something had to change. If I didn’t want to age 20 years in the next 20 minutes, then I would have to find a way to connect with the moment in a healthy and meaningful way. I would have to learn how to stop and feel the sun, experience the rain, accept the love, and truly live. I wanted to do more than just exist.

And so, I did the opposite of what it means to die. In death, there is the absence of breath – and so I invited in that which must be life. I started to BREATHE.


Are you too complex and sophisticated to accept an instruction that is so simple? BREATHE.

Does it seem too elementary to truly be an answer to the collegiate-level problems in your life? BREATHE.

Is it insulting to think that you have invested so much time, money, and energy into finding solutions and it is being suggested that said solution starts when you simply BREATHE?

I only ask because I thought myself to be too complex (and my issues too advanced) to trifle with such diminutive suggestions as “BREATHE.” It was insulting, and in fact nothing would get me more enraged than when I was already at the edge of panic (if not in full-blown) and someone dared make such a barbarous suggestion to me as BREATHE!


Fast forward to NOW. Find us in the moment. Here, in the present I have the deepest appreciation for the healing qualities of a DEEP BREATH. See, we’re not just talking about that shallow breathing that happens as we’re flying through our day, sometimes not even noticing that we’re holding our breath waiting for the next ball to drop. BREATHE is an invitation to engage in slower, deeper, more life giving, breathing. It is the entrance to clarity in the mind, to interrupt the run-on sentences in your mind that disguise themselves as meaningful thoughts – when really they’re just run-on sentences. To BREATHE, in a conscious and purposeful way is to become a part of the process to connect your heart, with your spirit, with your mind and to literally gather yourself – get yourself together, to start moving towards the hottest commodity of all… PEACE.

Isn’t that what we all want: PEACE? And what if someone told you that the first step towards experiencing peace starts with something so simple: BREATHE. Would you keep hyperventilating your way through life? Or perhaps you would seek to experience the essence of life in a more spirit-led way, allowing yourself to take in a certain healing elixir that can only enter your being as you slow down, become present in the moment, aware of the Great I Am Presence: as you BREATHE.

~ CCB

Christ-Centered Cognitions, Inner Renovations

Holding the Keys to Your Own Happiness

HappinessWaiting for someone else to make you happy is like waiting for someone to feed you. As an adult, there are just some things we have to take responsibility for ourselves. It is a myth that someone outside of us has the ability to meet our every needs, create joy for us, and keep us inspired. Even if that person existed, why would we want to put that sort of responsibility on someone else anyway?

It’s challenging enough keeping ourselves happy, it’s pretty selfish to put the burden on another to do it for us.  But that is often what our expectations are. That’s what mine were anyway. To have the people around me cater to my needs, tend to my feelings, and figure out what to do to keep me in a happy place. And when they didn’t, I acted like they failed me – as if they owed me something.

No one owes us anything. In fact, we only owe it to ourselves and to God to make the most of the life that we’ve been given. We owe it to ourselves to be happy with who we are and what we’ve got.

Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 says,

“I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil – this is God’s gift to man.”

The key concepts that jump out at me are:

*BE JOYFUL*

*DO GOOD*

*EAT, DRINK, & TAKE PLEASURE EVEN IN TOIL*

*APPRECIATE GOD’S GIFT TO MAN/WOMAN*

Is it possible that within that verse we are given keys to how to maintain our own happiness?

Being joyful is something that comes from within us – whether or not other people are involved. We can experience joy by being appreciative of the things we normally don’t think about, like how good it feels to be able to breathe on our own and that we woke up this morning and that we can see the beautiful sky and feel the sun against our skin – and a million other things to be joyful about.

Doing good is self-explanatory. Anytime we get caught in the quicksand of our own emotions and start feeling like the world isn’t giving us enough, we can pick ourselves up and get a burst of hope and inspiration by doing something good for someone else. Volunteer at a shelter, donate some clothes and resources to people who need it, call somebody and share some encouraging words, show a stranger some love – do some good in the world. And if you don’t feel like doing something good for someone else, do something good for yourself. Go for a run, take a relaxing bath, do some stretches, set some new goals, join a Bible study or meditation group. Participate in activities that will improve yours or others’ lives.

Eat, drink, and take pleasure in life even when it’s hard. Maybe we have it all wrong – we pull away when times get hard and maybe we should lean in. I know my tendency when things aren’t going well is to isolate myself – I don’t want to be bothered and I don’t want to bother anyone else. I don’t want to go out, my eating habits nosedive, and having a good time is nowhere on my agenda. Good times and depression usually aren’t found in the same room. But Scripture instructs us that even as we toil – while we work hard and face challenges – to eat, drink, and be merry!

Appreciating God’s gifts to us is a key to our personal happiness. If we would just look at what we’ve already been blessed with instead of looking for others to do more for us, we would realize our own ability to experience a self-perpetuating joy, a self-sustaining happiness. The beautiful thing about being happy within yourself is that it gives you something to share with someone else. When you connect with others, no longer will you be the needy one looking to be filled; you’ll be the one with the wellspring of joy that can refresh others.

When we realize we hold our own keys to happiness, we won’t try to borrow someone else’s.

~ CCB.