#1 Move

This morning I was writing in my journal and I realized that I have gotten out of my routine. My typical morning routine involves working out early in the morning, among other things. It seems like ever since taking Thanksgiving week off, I have struggled to get back into my “normal”.

You may be saying, “Why is this important to me?” Well, let me finish and maybe it will make more sense. I have struggled during the last week with my own mental health. I have struggled with getting the work done that I need to be doing. I have felt like @#$%. I have been in a bad mood, not feeling like doing anything.

Have you ever felt like that? I believe most of you have. It hit me today that I am feeling this way because I am not doing the things that promote my own wellbeing and this is not only impacting me but the ones that I love and the work that I need to be doing.

What many know is that working out promotes positive health, extends life and helps with energy. What many of you may not know is that it helps with our mental health as well. According to the experts,

” Exercise improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative mood and by improving self-esteem and cognitive function.2¬†Exercise has also been found to alleviate symptoms such as low self-esteem and social withdrawal.” Dr. Sharma, Maddenn and Petty, Journal of Clinical Psychology August 2006

Others tell us that exercise also creates mental clarity and increased capacity for focus. In my experience, I can agree with all of this. When I am disciplined in this area of my life, I see how it makes everything else a little better as well. But it can be tough to get up and get going – you want to sleep or there are other demands on you, like kids or work. While I am a little older and do not have kids at home anymore, I can certainly relate. But I will tell you that when you make this part of your daily priorities – must do’s – you can make the time. It is critical to living the best life and for that matter – even having a life.

In addition to this, Positive Psychologists tell us that it not only relieves poor mental health, it promotes positive mental health – actually making you a happier person. Now who doesn’t want that?

#2 Read

The next area doesn’t require as much sweat but it is just a critical – Reading or Listening to a book/devotional that is enriching and inspiring. This has been part of morning routine, if I am honest “off and on” for almost a decade. When I do it, I am better. When I do not, I feel a bit lost… adrift, if you know what I mean. I end up spending more time on social media and less time tuned into the things that make life better.

I typically read from two morning devotionals – My Daily Bread (which is free) and A Word For You Today (which is not free but worth it $9.00 per year). They open God’s Word to me in a practical way and I have to tell you that there are times when it is exactly what I need to hear in that moment. Then when I am driving or walking/running, I will be listening to a book in some area that I want to improve on, like writing or leadership.

You might want to try to do what I do or find your own things to read. But I will tell you that Positive Psychologists also agree that reading from sacred literature helps improve our wellbeing. Reading or listening to books that are meant to help improve the person will do exactly that – improve your life. You need to apply the lessons learned from those books that make the most sense.

#3 Help Someone Else

The final area that I believe matter most is doing something for someone else. When we do something for others it makes a difference to the person we help and it improves how we feel about ourselves. Positive Psychologists tell us that when we do for others that cannot pay us back, it is like giving ourselves a $50,000 a year raise. This works every time. I have written about this before and one of my podcasts on Your Life Matters tells that story about the pots of flowers from Wal Mart. Go back and listen when you get a chance (look up the YourLifeMatters Podcast).

Final Thoughts

As I sit here today, I can tell you that I am recommitting to making these things part of my NNDD’s – Non-Negotiable Daily Disciplines. There will be more about these as I post here in the future but I want you to commit to doing these things that matter most as well. Many want to make their lives matter even more than they already do. When you believe that by doing these things, your life will be a happier place to be and you will see your world become better because you are in a better place, it will happen.

May God Richly Bless You This Day!

Dr Cliff