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    Living Right-Side Up in an Upside-Down World

    Do you sometimes feel that you must manage it all, feel it all, be responsible for it all, and out-perform others as you do it all? Let’s look at five ways you can fortify your life, create greater opportunities for emotional balance, and put yourself on track to stay right-side up in an upside-down world.

    #1 Create and maintain healthy relationships.

    The most effective way of establishing a healthy relationship with others is to become emotionally healthy yourself. It may involve some serious challenges as you move through the process, but you must not forget the importance of your own emotional well-being.

    The following questions can help you recognize if you are creating and maintaining healthy relationships:

    – Am I able to slow down? Can I get rid of my dysfunctional attitudes about time that tmake me think I need to do everything now, in a hurry, at all costs, to the detriment of the relationships I say are important to me?

    – Am I looking at the bigger picture? Is what I do really what I want to do and be? Am I engaging in the kinds of activities that encourage or inhibit my relationships?

    – Am I equating work with my worth? It’s been said that we’ve become walking resumes, meaning that we are what we do — no more, no less.

    – Am I able to do something like walk on a secluded beach and enjoy a sunset with my spouse or a friend (without my cell phone or pager) and still feel I have value?

    – Do I take breaks during the day to do something besides work?

    – Do I take the time to call a friend, take a 5-minute vacation, write a love note or postcard to a son or daughter in college, or pick up some flowers for a loved on on my lunch break?

    If your answers to these questions are generally no, it may be wise to share your concerns and observations with a friend, your pastor, or a professional counselor.

    #2 Learn to Become Pride and “Big” Ego Free

    The more strongly attached we remain to outward appearances of success, the more difficult it will be to move away from feeling emotionally exhausted. To determine whether this is a problem for you, ask yourself these questions:

    – Am I overly attached to something because it puffs my ego and makes me look good others, liek a new car or a fashionable wardrobe?

    – Am I wiling to take a small risk by looking at one area in my life where pride reigns supreme and begin to see it as a gift to share with others rather than a trophy about which to brag?

    – Am I willing to play armchair archaeologist and dig beneath my surface through the debris of hurt feelings and pain to discover who I really am?

    #3 Share Freely the Loves of Your Life

    What are the loves of your life? I’m not talking about people here but rather about the things you truly love to do — your hobbies and interests. I’m confident there is something you may have put aside — a real love of your life — that you may now be ready to revisit, bring to the surface, and share with others.

    #4 Nothing is Etched in Stone

    Within the framework of God’s laws and love, we are free to choose our options and to be creative. Past mistakes or abuse do not determine our future. We can choose to improve damanged relationships, change our appearance, expand our mind, or overcome past abuse.

    #5 God Prevails

    Whatever we do for good or ill, God prevails. After our best laid plans have been organized and implemented, God prevails. When we’ve done our homework, paid our dues, and sit back to wait for things to go our way because we deserve a break today, God prevails.

    Prayer of Hope

    Lord, I need only one thing in this world: To know myself, and to love You. Give me, heavenly Father, your love and your peace. Help me do more than just survive this world of turmoil and fears. Make me strong. Keep me balanced. With these I am rich enough and desire nothing more. Dear Father in heaven, make my heart like yours. Amen.

    The above is excerpted from chapter 9 in How To De-Stress Your Life by Dr. Gregory Jantz.

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