‘Be-attitudes’ for Keeping New Year’s Resolutions

‘Be-attitudes’ for Keeping New Year’s Resolutions

© GLOW IMAGES Model used for illustrative purposes

“‘Be-attitudes’ for keeping New Year’s resolutions” is a recent article originally published in mycentralnewjersey.com by Valerie Minard, a health and spirituality blogger.  You will want to read her spiritual approach to making resolutions that improve our lives, even here in Southern California.

After the Turkey, Christmas shopping, and family gatherings–focusing on everyone else–it’s natural to shift focus to one’s own well being. This is the time when most of us begin to take stock of our own inner space, and make those New Year’s resolutions that hopefully will improve our lives.  Some of the most popular resolutions made last year were lose weight; quit smoking; get fit; decrease alcohol consumption; learn something new; save money; get a new job.

Perhaps you’ve made one or more of these resolutions in the past.  Some you accomplished and others fell by the way side.  Regardless of what resolutions you might pick this year, I bet it can be boiled down to one thing–doing something that will make you happier.  Studies have shown that being happy is not only good for the soul but also good for our health.

But, if you’re one of those people who have tried and failed at making a resolution, perhaps this is the time to drill down deeper into making resolutions that will actually stick.  I’ve found that before I can change a behavior, I sometimes need to change my view of or attitude about myself or others.  In other words, adjust how I operate on a spiritual level in spite of stressful circumstances. To read Valerie’s whole article, click here.

 

New Year’s Resolution: Cultivate Health by Watching Thought

New Year's Resolution: Cultivate Health by Watching Thought

© GLOW IMAGES Models used for illustrative purposes

A guest post written by Diana Usrey from Escondido, California.

I love the Hallmark Hall of Fame specials on TV. They frequently feature stories of love overcoming adversity in one form or another. The last one I watched, “Christmas In Conway” was about a man who wanted to build a Ferris wheel in his backyard for his dying wife. I bet I was not the only one who cried and cheered at the end!

But the next morning instead of thinking about the story, I started thinking about how good the acting was in that movie. The man came across as gruff while handling his grief. The wife effectively showed her happiness with her weak smile as his arms wrapped around her at night. This acting portrayed a history between the two that could be readily understood. And yet I thought: “They really are an actor and actress portraying a loving husband and a dying wife. In real life they probably hadn’t even known each other before working together.”

How a two-hour immersion in a story can fool us!

As the New Year rolls in, I’m going to really watch my thoughts and determine their source and veracity. In the Bible, John admonishes us: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (I John 4:1) I think those false prophets are anyone or anything that speaks of an opposite of God and His good creation. In any well-written movie, it’s easy to get bogged down in the story and forget it is not real. In day-to-day life, this can also occur if we forget that “God saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31) In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, 19th-century health researcher and theologian, Mary Baker Eddy, puts it this way, “We must look deep into realism instead of accepting only the outward sense of things.”

Keeping an eye on the good and watching my thought daily is my goal this year, and certainly brings with it health benefits!

Kairos Time

Kairos Time

© GLOW IMAGES

We are in the midst of summer and I think half way though the year may be a good time to republish a great blog post that was posted on New Year’s Day! This is a guest post written by Tracy Clifton and originally published January 1, 2013.

For most of us, New Year’s Day isn’t just about parties or buying a new calendar – it’s also when we give a lot of thought towards the concept of time, whether to exclaim that it has flown by as another year has passed, or to make resolutions about how we’d like to spend our time in the upcoming year. Time is on everyone’s minds as we try to find more and more of it each year, storing up minutes and hours and trying to squeeze the most amount of time into each day, so that we feel like we’ve lived a life fulfilled.

Did you know, however, that the Greeks had two different definitions for time? One was Chronos – the sequential passing of time, from seconds to minutes to hours and so forth – but the second definition recognized a more spiritual passing of time: Kairos. Greek philosophers defined Kairos as “the appointed time in the purpose of God,” and Kairos was referenced in the New Testament when Jesus stated, “The time [Kairos] is fulfilled, and the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” When we measure our life in terms of Kairos time, we can see that it’s full of blessings that are constantly unfolding, regardless of the so-called limitations of chronological time.

Many of us have experienced this at some point in our lives: in the midst of busy daily activity we are suddenly offered a momentary glimpse of how blessed and beautiful and ordered our lives truly are, and time slows as we become fully aware of God’s presence in each and every aspect of our lives. Gratitude fills our hearts, and we take deeper breaths and surer steps before moving along with our day. We’ve experienced Kairos time – God’s time.

Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science and the author of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, also seemed to truly grasp the concept of Kairos time, noting that, “Mind measures time according to the good that is unfolded.” She showed us a clearer and more spiritual way for us to measure how fulfilled our lives really are, free of boundaries and the fear that time will pass us by. God is not limited by time, and neither are we as God’s children.

So this year, as I make my New Year’s Resolutions, I will be resolving to take better care of my spiritual health – by being more aware that time, like all things, belongs to God, and that I’m just as unable to “run out” of time as I am to run out of God’s infinite blessings. I hope you’ll join me in resolving to have a great deal many more Kairos moments in 2013.

Resolution – To Help Others With Mental Illness

Resolution - To Help Others With Mental Illness

© GLOW IMAGES
Models used for illustrative purposes

A guest post written by Katie S. Brown, a Christian Science practitioner and teacher and the media and legislative liaison for Christian Science in Indiana.

One good New Year’s resolution for all of us might be to do whatever we can to prevent tragedies such as happened just before Christmas in Newtown, Connecticut by reaching out to troubled individuals.

According to ABC Good Morning America, Adam Lanza “suffered from a condition where he could literally feel no pain…” He was “not connected with the other kids…and was obviously not well.”

Lanza was not alone in his suffering. According to the Archives of General Psychiatry “an estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older — about one in four adults — suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year.”

Depression is a form of mental illness that may lead to suicide. That is in an area we can help by being alert to the warning signs of suicide: significant mood swings or changes in diet or sleep patterns; talking about wanting to hurt themselves, and increased substance use. If we notice these in a friend, colleague or neighbor, we can start by reaching out with love. This might create an opportunity to connect them to supportive services and give them opportunities to strengthen their connections with people – a key deterrent to suicide. One additional important resource is places of worship where people gather for fellowship and prayer.

Evidence of the positive role prayer and spirituality can play in improving both physical and mental health is on the rise. Both are important, of course, because long-term pain or other physical distress can also lead to depression and mental stress. Add one of these to winter blues, loneliness or family pressures and the result can be overwhelming for some.

Examples of success with prayer in physical healing can be found in Healing Words by Larry Dossey, M.D.,and according to American Psychologist ,There is now a substantial literature that connects religion and spirituality to physical health…Koenig, McCullough, & Larson, 2001…and mental health (Larson et al., 1998; Plante & Sherman, 2001).”

Harold Koenig, M.D. in his Research on Religion, Spirituality, and Mental Health: A Review states “Religious and spiritual factors are increasingly being examined in psychiatric research. …Many people suffering from the pain of mental illness, emotional problems, or situational difficulties seek refuge in religion for comfort, hope, and meaning. …religious involvement is related to better coping with stress and less depression, suicide, anxiety, and substance abuse.”

Key to religiosity playing a positive role in mental health is a view of God as close, loving and forgiving not judging and condemning.  A God of compassion adds strength to those praying for the release from the fear and suffering that come with depression. The Bible tells us, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee… (Isaiah 41:10).”

Several years ago a college student, deeply depressed and feeling suicidal, called me to pray for and with her to lift her sense of sadness and isolation from others. I went to see her often and spent time with her, including going to church together. She began to feel happier, made new friends, and resumed her studies. To see the change in her made that winter one of my best!

The beginning of 2013 is an opportunity to give our love to others. Consider how much difference each of us, loving and helping someone who is suffering from depression, will add to the joy of the New Year!

6 Ways to Build a Healthy Resolve

 

6 Ways to Build a Healthy Resolve

© GLOW IMAGES

Resolving to make changes for the better is a good idea any time of the year…but each New Year helpfully reminds us of that fact! Tony Lobl’s Huffington Post UK blog “Keeping on Track With Those ‘New Year’ Resolutions – 6 Ways t0 Build a Healthy Resolve” was posted last year, but its message is still a good place to start.

Resolve is a key quality in character reform.

But taking it out of the airing cupboard one day a year isn’t necessarily a great recipe for success. In order to turn around an unwanted character trait it can help to develop our resolve through a more consistent spiritual practice.

Here are six things that can help that happen.

1. Watching for will-power. That is, watching out for it. Why? Well, think of those lemmings! Will-power says “If I want it, I can get it”. Spirituality takes a step back to examine whether the desired goal is a healthy one to be harbouring in the first place. Is it just for one’s own benefit or will it be of value to others too? Maintaining resolve is a whole lot easier when it is applied to something we intuitively feel will also serve a greater good.

2. Listening for “a still, small voice”. That is how the Bible beautifully articulates the idea of perceiving and embracing a broader, wiser perspective that is always whispering within. We hear it as we are willing to set aside our own plans and lean on the divine to point out a better direction. This builds a solid foundation for resolve, because when it works from the outset it gives us a basis for confidence we can stay the course, knowing at every step of the way we will have access to that same intuitive resource.

3. Embrace change. What if change is like a patient visitor repeatedly knocking on the door of our thought, waiting to be welcomed in? Did Michelangelo catch a glimpse of this when he said of the stone he sculpted: “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free”? Couldn’t the very desire to change suggest we each have an inner “sculpture” just waiting to be seen – an individuality including all life’s best qualities, such as love, joy, intelligence, creativity, freedom and kindness. Having that in mind as a model demanding to take form reinforces the conviction we are empowered to reach our goal – one that is not so much a New Year’s resolution as a “new you” resolution at any time of the year.

4. Go easy on yourself. I’ve found self-forgiveness is a powerful ally of resolve, and often opens the way to achieving our aims. I once overslept through an important appointment and was mentally condemning myself until I glimpsed a need to be less self-critical. I felt inspired to take a walk in Kew Gardens, which I hadn’t visited for years, and promptly bumped into the very person I was meant to have met that morning. We conducted and concluded our business then and there. What if we are tempted to feel we’ve “slept through” countless opportunities to improve our lot? Rather than thinking we are prisoners of the past we can acknowledge our freedom to see the unwavering possibilities of the present.

5. Patience is more than just a virtue. It is actually a force for good when the going gets tough, as it probably will. Our unwanted character traits sometimes seem to have a voice of their own, persistently arguing their corner. We have to be as patient with ourselves as a parent would be in encouraging a child to reach its full potential. It is love that drives the patience in both cases. We value ourselves enough to stick with the process until we are free.

6. A “new you” is a healthier you. Character reform and health reform go hand in hand. In many ways this is taken for granted. For instance, it is accepted that moderating a drinking habit is going to improve health. But the links between character and well-being go much deeper than just effecting a change in our actions. Changing thought can be pivotal. Researchers have found traits like bitterness, bad temper and resentment can undermine health, while their opposites promote it. So becoming more forgiving, patient and persistent to bring about change doesn’t just remove a single undesirable characteristic at the end of a process of transformation. It also exercises a wealth of prescription-free, health-giving qualities throughout the process. And by evidencing a link between our thoughts and our well-being we might just be probing whether “healthy and free” is what we are divinely “sculpted” to be.

Change for change’s sake is not desirable. But change which is desirable for the sake of our own happiness and that of others is attainable.

Whether it is something in our characters or something about our health that needs improving, we don’t have to pay homage to the status quo. We are equipped with the resolve we need to ring in the changes.

Follow Tony Lobl on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@tonylobl

Kairos Time

Kairos Time

© GLOW IMAGES

A guest post written by Tracy Clifton

For most of us, New Year’s Day isn’t just about parties or buying a new calendar – it’s also when we give a lot of thought towards the concept of time, whether to exclaim that it has flown by as another year has passed, or to make resolutions about how we’d like to spend our time in the upcoming year. Time is on everyone’s minds as we try to find more and more of it each year, storing up minutes and hours and trying to squeeze the most amount of time into each day, so that we feel like we’ve lived a life fulfilled.

Did you know, however, that the Greeks had two different definitions for time? One was Chronos – the sequential passing of time, from seconds to minutes to hours and so forth – but the second definition recognized a more spiritual passing of time: Kairos. Greek philosophers defined Kairos as “the appointed time in the purpose of God,” and Kairos was referenced in the New Testament when Jesus stated, “The time [Kairos] is fulfilled, and the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” When we measure our life in terms of Kairos time, we can see that it’s full of blessings that are constantly unfolding, regardless of the so-called limitations of chronological time.

Many of us have experienced this at some point in our lives: in the midst of busy daily activity we are suddenly offered a momentary glimpse of how blessed and beautiful and ordered our lives truly are, and time slows as we become fully aware of God’s presence in each and every aspect of our lives. Gratitude fills our hearts, and we take deeper breaths and surer steps before moving along with our day. We’ve experienced Kairos time – God’s time.

Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science and the author of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, also seemed to truly grasp the concept of Kairos time, noting that, “Mind measures time according to the good that is unfolded.” She showed us a clearer and more spiritual way for us to measure how fulfilled our lives really are, free of boundaries and the fear that time will pass us by. God is not limited by time, and neither are we as God’s children.

So this year, as I make my New Year’s Resolutions, I will be resolving to take better care of my spiritual health – by being more aware that time, like all things, belongs to God, and that I’m just as unable to “run out” of time as I am to run out of God’s infinite blessings. I hope you’ll join me in resolving to have a great deal many more Kairos moments in 2013.