Posted by: 2thdocbob | 21 March 2016

That sun is gonna shine in my backdoor some day

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We seem to be surrounded by bad news lately. It is hard to avoid it. One of my dental colleagues, on a particularly down day, told me, “I can hardly afford to keep my office open anymore, but I can no longer afford to retire, so I’m stuck.” Economic troubles, wars, weather and bracket disasters all weigh heavily on us. The poet said:

My granddad, viewing earth’s worn cogs,
Said the world is going to the dogs.

His granddad, in his house of logs,
Said the world is going to the dogs.

His granddad, in the Flemish bogs,
Said the world is going to the dogs.

His granddad, in his old skin togs,
Said the world is going to the dogs.

There’s one thing I can safely state:
The dogs have had a good long wait!

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In times of adversity it is easy for us all to lose our sense of purpose. When trials come, it is imperative that we don’t lose our focus on the things that matter most. This provides the inner strength that we need to carry on.

Finding the positive when all around is gray is a difficult task. Gordon B. Hinckley advised us to “stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight.” He urged us: “as you walk your various paths, walk with faith. Speak affirmatively and cultivate an attitude of confidence. You have the capacity to do so. Your strength will give strength to others.”

Most of us are optimistic by nature, but the constant negativity of the media can erode our confidence and optimism. How can we shore up our attitudes and prevent negativity from trickling in?

Amanda Gore tells a story of a man who watched his neighbor come home every day and saw him do the same thing night after night. He walked up to a big tree in the front yard and acted as if he were hanging things on the tree. Then he shook himself off and walked in front door. This went on for several months, until finally his curiosity got the best of him, and he asked his neighbor what was going on. The neighbor said “Oh, that’s my trouble tree. Every day after work, I know my family needs ME not my troubles from work. So I hang them on the tree, and shake myself off and walk inside as a husband and father. On the way out in the morning, I come outside and pick them up again. And it’s funny, there never seems to be as many as the night before!”

There are other things I have found that are helpful in staying positive. A beloved Christian hymn urges us to “count your blessings, name them one by one.” Regardless of your beliefs, this is wise advice. The best weapon we have in difficult times is gratitude. When you actually make a list, you will be amazed. Refer to the list when you feel down, and your attitude will improve.

A similar strategy is to compile a “victory list,” a list of your successes in life. As you look back on your victories throughout your life, you will feel the excitement again. This is an important strategy, because it stimulates endorphin production.

If we can stimulate endorphin production without the use of chemicals, we can rise above almost any challenge. Many of you know this endorphin rush through physical activity. It can come from other sources as well. Good music will produce endorphins. When I need a lift, I usually turn to the blues, because the blues is all about hoping for a better day. Often classical music, hymns or a good rocker can do the job for me as well.

Another way to regain a positive focus is to serve others. It is in serving others that we forget our own needs while helping others to feel better as well. A wise man said that service is the rent we pay for the space we occupy on this earth.

So if the storms of life are giving you the blues, keep your head up and remember we’re all in this together.

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