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5 Steps to Lighten Up When Things are Tough

One Sunday morning, the day after Halloween, I walked into church behind a three-year-old girl in an angel costume. Her mother was just pinning a sign on her back that said, “This was not my idea.” The little angel twirled in a perfect pirouette as she walked down the aisle. She was obviously enjoying the moment. Her mother trailed behind her, hiding her embarrassment under a fashionable broad-brimmed hat. I put my arm around the mother and said, “Your charming daughter has lightened everyone’s day. Thanks for bringing your angel to church.”

She laughed and rolled her eyes.

I smiled and added this memory to my lighten-up list.

What’s a lighten-up list? When I find myself reacting to the day with an intensity that makes life difficult and no fun at all, I:

Say ‘stop’ in my head.

Take a deep breath.

Assess my world at the moment.

Take a timeout if necessary.

Substitute a thought or activity from my lighten-up list. This lighten-up list includes:

Laughter

My favorite music

A wonderful memory like a great vacation

A trip to the beach—smell the salty air, feel the sand between your toes

A hike in the woods—listen to the birds, smell the pines

A funny incident, like the little angel

You get the idea. Tailor the list to fit your needs and your interests. Enjoy the process of creating!
“I would not exchange the laughter of my heart for the fortunes of the multitudes.” —Kahlil Gibran

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Christy Monson established a successful counseling practice in Las Vegas, Nevada, as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Her books, Love, Hugs, and Hope: When Scary Things Happen, and Becoming Free: A Woman’s Guide To Internal Strength are publ… Read More

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