Life ebbs and flows. Sometimes I feel like I’m on top of the world, other times like I can’t claw my way out of the chaos that’s burying me. Many times, when the latter happens, I realize after some time that the stressful circumstances have passed and it’s actually my mind that is keeping me from getting centered again.
When this realization hits, what do I do? My friends and family know that my answer to this situation is to do a challenge for myself. Many of them have been roped into doing my challenges with me, because I figure at any given time, I can’t be alone in this state of mind, and so I extend to others the invitation to join me.
A couple of months ago I was feeling this way and yearning for a more balanced body, mind, and spirit. I skimmed back through some of the challenges I’ve done in the past as well as self-development books I’ve read over the last couple of years. I was looking for the actions that had the most positive impact on me physically, mentally, and emotionally. I pondered, prayed, and organized the overlaps I saw in that study. I felt led by the Spirit as I came up with an acronym that is especially meaningful to me.
Perhaps you are in a space where doing these small and simple daily actions will help you anchor in Christ to level up or level out. If so, use them as small and simple, don’t let them overwhelm you. There is no time requirement. There is no perfection requirement. Nothing that says they cannot be combined. They are just small and simple ways we can center ourselves to make the most of the mind and body that God has given us. When we are connected to Him, and balanced in these areas, we just feel better.
G. et Organized
For me this means planning out my day. Thinking about 3 critical tasks that must be done and a handful of others that would be nice to finish. It could also include making your bed or straightening your room or your kitchen, whatever helps you feel a sense of order.
This can be done in as little as 10 minutes (a walk around the block) or it can be as intense as a sweat-dripping 45-minute cardio workout, whatever gets your body moving, clears your mind, and reminds you what a miracle it really is just to be alive.
For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.2 Corinthians 6:16
Visualization is a new concept to me and there are many different suggestions on how to do this. I love the idea of using 5 minutes or so to mentally create my day, of envisioning myself going through my necessary activities with energy and no stress. I follow this up by thinking about my long-term goals for myself and for my business. I imagine how I will feel when I accomplish them and this helps me have the motivation to invest time and energy in the things I need to do now, to get there in the future.
“Our present and our future will be happier if we are always conscious of the future. As we make current decisions, we should always be asking, “Where will this lead?”Dallin H. Oaks
Space of Silence
This space between words might be one of the most impactful practices we can learn. We live in a busy, noisy, and fast-paced world. We go, go, go until all we can feel is the chaos and a desire to just get off the dizzying carousel. We can really benefit from intentionally turning a few things down and a few things off. When we do this, we give our mind and spirit a chance to settle. We create a space for God to talk to us. In this silence, He can give us inspiration to better our lives and promptings for how He needs us to care for others. In this space, we can receive answers we have been seeking and hear the quiet direction we so desperately need.
“Each of us should be careful that the current flood of information does not occupy our time so completely that we cannot focus on and hear and heed the still small voice that is available to guide each of us with our own challenges today.”Dallin H. Oaks
We have unlimited potential inside of us, like an oak tree sprouting from a small acorn. Sometimes we get so caught up in the day-to-day grind that we forget we were created to be incredible, to have an impact on the world around us. This powerful practice helps us remember who we are and who God sees in us. If you don’t know how to do this or what to say, there are many ideas online. Just Google it or do a Pinterest search. Speak kindly to yourself. Remember that you were fearfully and wonderfully made.
“I am…two of the most powerful words; for what you put after them shapes your reality.”Bevan Lee
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.Jeremiah 29:11
This is another way I have found to appreciate the miracle of my body and show gratitude to my God for the way it helps me. I feel so much healthier when I choose to be conscientious of what I am putting in me. Questions that help me are:
- What am I putting in my mouth?
- How much am I eating? Is it more than I need?
- How will it help me and how will I feel after eating it?
- Why am I eating? Is it because I’m bored, emotional, indulgent, or truly hungry?
- Where am I eating? I find I make much healthier choices when I am not on the go, but taking time to sit at my table for a planned meal.
- When am I eating? Is it past the time of night that I need to fuel my body for energy?
C. onnect with God
Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.D&C 88:63
I love this idea that my brother-in-law shared with me. In order for our muscles to grow and bulk up, we must do daily reps. In order to bulk up our relationship with our Heavenly Father, we must do daily R.E.P.S.
- Repent: This is such a joyful gift! This is an opportunity to shed the weight of past mistakes and move forward. This is our opportunity to daily put on our best self and become a little more the person we want to be.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.John 3:16-17
- Experience: Going through the motions and checking off the boxes is not the same thing as having an experience. I am trying to do better at actually feeling a connection, that little click when I know I have touched heaven, if only for the briefest moment, but in that moment my spirit remembers I am loved eternally and valued infinitely and I do not belong to this world of competition and comparison.
“Along with the peaceful direction we receive from the Holy Ghost, from time to time, God powerfully and very personally assures each of us that He knows us and loves us and that He is blessing us specifically and openly. Then, in our moments of difficulty, the Savior brings these experiences back into our mind.”Elder Neil L. Andersen
- Pray: What a gift this opportunity is! We have a God in heaven who loves us so much that He gave us a way to communicate with Him anytime, anywhere and about anything. There are no limits to the time we can talk and no boundaries on the things we are allowed to address. There are no appointments necessary and we will never be rescheduled for lack of time or interest. To think that the God of the universe wants to hear from me is thrilling! And that it isn’t just my praise or gratitude that He wants is so comforting. He wants me to tell Him about my hopes and dreams, my worries and my heartaches. He wants me to vent about my frustrations and then He even wants me to give them to Him and let go. He wants to heal me. He wants to help me. And so often He is kept back only because I do not invite Him in.
- Study: I have found that there are so many ways for me to study about Christ and grow closer to Him. I can read scriptures. I can listen to sermons given from the pulpit. I can read books written by others who have found Him. I can listen to music that praises Him. I can spend time in nature pondering on His goodness. The most important thing about study is making the time to do it.
“One cannot have adequate faith in a Christ whom he does not adequately know, who is a stranger… far from the thoughts and intents of his heart.”Neal A. Maxwell
H. appiness through Gratitude
Sometimes I do this by keeping a gratitude journal. Even writing down just three things I’m grateful for a day helps train my brain to look for the good and the positive in my life. I have also done this by having “gratitude only” prayers where I contemplate all the blessings I have to be grateful for. It can even be done by sharing those thoughts with your family at the dinner table or during a walk.
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.1 Thessalonians 5:18
When I am paying attention, I am amazed by the beauty of the earth! I am enthralled by all the incredible creations that bring me so much joy to look at, hear, smell, and taste. We were not sent to a boring and drab place to experience mortality, but to a beautiful place created in love to cause awe in us. Not only that but even the sun was designed to give us great health benefits. Being in the sun increases our melatonin, serotonin, and vitamin D. These hormones and vitamins decrease stress, anxiety, and depression. They increase our focus, calcium levels, and immune systems. They calm us, help us sleep better, and boost our mood. And it does all this when we take even just 10 minutes to be outside.
Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart; Yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul. And it pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man; for unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion.D&C 59:18-20
There are so many benefits to reading. We can learn about things we are interested in. We can grow and develop mentally and emotionally. We can improve ourselves through awareness. And even fiction books help us gain empathy for circumstances we may never find ourselves in, allowing us to be kinder to those around us. Only 10 pages a day adds up to 3,650 pages over the year. That is a lot of books and a lot of growth!
E. xperience Joy
I have noticed that sometimes I am doing things throughout my day that could be bringing me joy, but I forget to notice them. But if I choose to be intentional in my joy, both by planning things that will bring joy and by savoring the things I notice I am already doing, that is a game-changer.
“The joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives.”Russell M. Nelson
D. o Something Kind
When we are in the throes of parenting we are often serving naturally in the capacity of our calling. So maybe it isn’t planning some big act, but just paying attention to the attitude we have when serving our family that is the most important. Feeling the love we have for them as we do all those necessary things. And in other phases of life, this can be as simple as reaching out through text or a phone call to someone who could use a pick me up. Really this is just about being mindful during our day to notice the needs around us and fill them with a happy heart.
“Loving service to others guides us along the path to our heavenly home-the path of becoming like our Savior.”Jose A. Teixeira
If you feel intrigued by these practices and wonder how they might affect your mood and your enjoyment of life, join me for a 30-day challenge starting August 1st and see how you feel after taking a little bit of time to implement them. I have a file and some charts available in my Anchoring in Christ Facebook group. I will also be doing some Facebook lives throughout the challenge to reinforce these thoughts.
I Am Yours by Lauren Daigle
A Little Help for Little Friends:
Puzzles are a great way to teach that the best things in life come together piece by piece with patience. Check out this kit at my Etsy shop!