by Dean Whittaker

Richard Carlson, in his 2005 book Easier Than You Think, describes how making small changes in our lives can lead to major improvements in our well-being. We live in stressful, chaotic times. Carlson says that our thoughts are the most powerful tools we have. We can use them to create jobs, excitement, happiness and peace. But we can also use our thoughts as self-destructive weapons. We can wake up in the morning with a list of complaints or be grateful for another day within which to create joy and passion.

Following the herd can cause us to fall into living lives that aren’t entirely our own. We develop habits that prevent us from existing in the moment.  Stressing about some offense from the past or worrying about the possible outcome of an event in the future can become a way of life.

Taking care of ourselves is too often one of our last priorities.  We serve our organizations, family and friends, but we often leave our needs until last, when we have little energy or time left.  Carlson says that we should make ourselves a priority. We need to realize that life is all about change, and life can change at the drop of a hat. We should not be shocked by sudden change, but rather accept that change is all there is.  How we choose to respond to the changes in our lives will determine the outcome of those changes. If we live our lives with the awareness that things are going to change, we will be prepared for the unavoidable.

Try an experiment of watching your thoughts for a day.  Are your thoughts empowering, uplifting and inspiring to yourself and others? Or do your thoughts rob you of the joy that this day can be? It is up to each of us to choose, for our thoughts are truly our own.