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Tonight I laughed more than I have in a long time and it felt great!  My boys were asked to play in a charity Mascot basketball game.  They dressed up like “Patriots” – the mascot from their school, and played with the BYU and UofU mascot, as well as other high school mascots from our area.

They wore clothes like Patriots in the Revolutionary War time – pants, a vest and wool overcoat with tails.  And they played basketball in those clothes!  They were covered in sweat when they were done, and appreciated that they don’t wear wool very often anymore!  But they weren’t complaining…all of the other mascots wore hoods (think cougar head for the BYU mascot).

Who’s on the Court?

There was a Grizzly bear, a Cougar, an Eagle, a Charger (horse), a Knight, a bird of some sort, and a Bruin (another bear).  They played in these hoods, and they couldn’t see much!  They would pass the ball, and the mascot that was supposed to catch it couldn’t see the ball.  They would miss it and just keep running.  They would run over people and into people.  They were all excellent athletes so they had a good showing, but it was one belly laugh after another!

Thankfully the scorekeeper was generous with points (they would give them 6 points for a 3 pointer!), and the game ended up tied.  I realized it was the first basketball game I’ve been to in a long time that I wasn’t stressed out about.  What a nice feeling.

Burned out?

I was talking with a family member tonight and she was saying how she was burned out.  I quickly told her to figure it out because everyone in our world is burned out.  Not too sympathetic I know!  But it’s true.  We all seem to be dragging from place to place, just barely getting things done.  I laughed in the middle of the day today when I realized how much I still had to do and how little time I had to do it in.  At the ball game I was even annoyed that the half time went so long because my list was still very long for the night.  What a miserable life we’ve created for ourselves!

So today’s blog is about being happy.  Why and how…

Step #1 – Reduce Stress

Now, I’m not saying throw a bunch of things out of your life…I’m saying reduce stress.  You see, stress is our reaction to things in our lives.  And it’s incredibly destructive – more so than a bunch of fast food meals.  The cool part is that you can control it.

  1. Plan your Stress.  This is my favorite!  If I have to speak at a conference on Saturday, I start stressing about it on Thursday (this actually happened a week ago!)  I didn’t have time to start working on it until then, so why stress about it before then?  It wouldn’t have gained me anything except another hole in my stomach.  See how this works?

  2. Notice the amazing in your life.  Did that blueberry you just ate taste incredible?  Did it taste like the sun and sugar all wrapped in a little package?  Enjoy that moment.  Live there for a minute.  Feel the stress float away.

  3. Change your thinking.  I had a friend tell me her son just hurt his wrist tonight, and it may be broken.  I told her it was a good thing her husband had worked for a company that specialized in wrapping injuries – he can wrap it until they can see a doctor. She said I was doing a good job steering my ship with positivity.  Isn’t that a great way to say it.  Steer your ship with positivity.  We all have things that don’t go as we would like, and we all have problems and down days.  Are you steering the ship or is it steering you?  In other words, are you being proactive or reactive.  Choose to steer, and if you’re steering, might as well find something good to steer it towards.

  4. Connect.  I am an admitted introvert – I don’t mind being by myself, and actually prefer it when I’m stressed.  But it’s been proven that friends boost our confidence, positivity and willingness to try new things.  So look outside yourself and connect with someone.  Just smile when you walk around in your day.  It will reduce your stress and bring more happiness into your life.

Step #2  – Be Grateful for your Life

I know, you’ve heard this before.  Blah, blah…  Why don’t I come up with something a little more original?  Because, quite frankly, it works.

  1. Appreciate what you have.  Most of us live our lives wishing we could get to the next thing.  More money, bigger house, happier relationship, bigger kids, littler kids, more responsibility, less responsibility.  It doesn’t matter your stage in life, we tend to wish for something else.  So stop it!  Appreciate where you are, right now.  Even if you need to say 3 things every morning that are amazing about your life, do it.

  2. Find someone that has less.  Have you seen that article about how many people in the world don’t have the simple necessities in life?  Even hands or feet. Didn’t think of those did you?  It’s not hard to find someone that has less than you.  If you reach out and connect with them, it will help you appreciate more fully what you have.  And appreciation brings happiness and contentment.

  3. Give.  There is nothing like giving to help you feel better.  Stress and worry and sadness…they all have a common denominator.  They are all selfish.  I know that sounds harsh, but it’s true.  If I’m stressed out, I’m fixated on me.  Poor me, woe is me, my life is so hard, wah wah wah.  Give a little and you will get alot.

We have an opportunity to help a very worthy cause the next three months.  It’s called Smiles for Life.  We will whiten your teeth for a donation, and 100% of the money goes to charity.  You can even donate without getting your teeth whitened if you would like.  Our charity is Smiles for Hope – an organization that provides dental care for needy children.  Any amount helps a child.

This week, I want you to work on being happy!  Think of those silly mascots missing baskets, missing balls and having a blast doing it.  I know that will keep me smiling for awhile!

Dr. Michelle Jorgensen

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