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Don’t Fret and Fume: Create your own happiness.

This is the fifth post in a series reflecting on the book The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. This summary and reflection cover chapters 5 & 6. Please leave a comment and share how the concepts from these chapters connect to your personal life.

In chapters 5 & 6 of The Power of Positive Thinking, Norman Vincent Peal drives home the point that we spend way too much of our time fretting and fuming in life and manufacturing our own unhappiness.

The reality is we have two choices: either be happy or be unhappy.

That is some serious truth but if it were that simple wouldn’t everyone just choose happiness?

Our lives move at a crazy pace and the constant over stimulation produces toxic poisons in the body and creates emotional illness. We are moving through our days with nervous tension and there is constant noise and excitement around us. Work, TV, radio, the internet, social media, conversations, billboards, and text messages transmit tension-filled information all day long. It is difficult for anyone to find peace among the noise. All of this excitement impacts our ability to control our personal reactions and make excuses for why we can’t accomplish things. The stressful pace of life can change our mindset and think that everything is going to turn out badly, we are not getting what we deserve, and ill will, hate, and resentment toward others. We already struggle with so much in life, why be foolish and create further unhappiness in your own mind over things you have little or no control over.

There is tremendous activity in nature, yet a vibrant and bustling forest seems so peaceful. That is because everything in nature is working together in harmony. In order to find peace and harmony among the noise in our lives, we need to stop fuming and fretting, practice being peaceful and take control of ourselves emotionally.

What does your inner dialogue sound like?

Does it sound like...

  • I am so busy I can’t get all my work done.

  • I can’t stand all the cars parked in my neighborhood it looks like a parking lot.

  • My kids are slobs and never clean their rooms.

  • I can’t believe that person sent me that horrible email.

  • I don’t have enough time to cook dinner, help with homework, and clean the house and still find time to hang with my husband.

  • The woman won’t stop talking and she is annoying me so much.

  • I’m so tired.

  • I don’t feel well, there is no way I can go to work and get through my day.

Or does it sound like…

  • I can’t wait to check things off my list and feel productive.

  • The cars are slightly bothersome, but I am grateful they are not parked in front of my house.

  • I love that I can close the door to my kid's room right now so I don’t have to look at the mess.

  • I think I will reread that email in a few hours and see if I still feel upset.

  • I know it is going to be a busy day, but I will get as much done as possible.

  • I am going to enjoy my coffee, take a short walk and do some jumping jacks and I bet I won’t feel tired anymore.

  • I love my kids and my husband.

  • I will power through my cold as long as I am able to and if I can’t get through my day I will go home and rest.

  • This is going to be a great day and I got this.

3 Steps to take control of ourselves emotionally.

Step one: Admit and face the fact that your verbal or inner dialogue is negative and it makes you and others miserable.

Step two: Commit to change. Push past the excuses that it is going to be hard to change your mindset. Simply determine to do it.

Step three: Make it a daily habit to be happy and peaceful.

Need some inspiration? Check out my sister blog There are many posts about habits, determination, commitment, drive, and perseverance.

10 Practical Strategies for choosing happiness

  1. How you start your day will directly impact the results. Say out loud, “I believe it is going to be a wonderful day.”

  2. Try getting up earlier so you can start your day peacefully and not rushed.

  3. Make a mental list of happy thoughts and pass them through your mind several times every day. Don’t affirm that things will not go well that day. If you visualize an unhappy outcome, you will create that condition.

  4. Pick any positive/motivational quote or bible verse that speaks to you and try to live it for at least one week. There is usually nothing new in what that quote or bible verse says but there is something new in it if you have never tried it before.

  5. Write out some happiness producing thoughts in a pocket-size booklet and then drop a thought in your mind every day for forty days. Don’t like carrying something? Try using an online service to send you a positive text message every day for 40 days. Find an app that you can visit daily. Write positive post-it notes and place them around your house, in your car, and at work.

  6. Ditch your negative or destructive habits and get your spirit and vitality from some other source, such as a best friend or God. Eliminate toxic relationships and surround yourself with happy people.

  7. Find a peaceful place you can practice meditation. The act of keeping physically still for a moment will give you an opportunity to think calm thoughts.

  8. Delegate tasks and ask for help so you can reduce the pace of your life.

  9. Practice Mindfulness. Learn the art of letting go of all nervous excitement. As often as possible throughout the day, stop at intervals and affirm, “I now relinquish nervous excitement” and practice serenity. Take a walk, close your eyes for a moment, read a few favorite quotes, watch a meditation minute video on Youtube. Listen to a song.

  10. Discipline your physical reactions- deliberately extend your fingers, lower your voice.

“People were just about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” -Abraham Lincoln

Stop manufacturing your own unhappiness and make it a habit to be happy.

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