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Life Lessons

Choose to be Happy!

Posted in Life Lessons

It seems like lately, I catch myself thinking “Oh, I’ll be happier when I am at college and out of high school.  or I will be a lot happier when I am married.  or I will be happier when I get this big project done.” You get the point. It is so easy to blame our happiness on our circumstances. But the truth is our circumstances don’t determine our happiness. And they never will. It’s easy to think they will but really our happiness is really dependent on one thing: YOU.

You make the choice to be happy or not. Your circumstances don’t decide whether or not you can be happy or not. YOU do. Choose to let your thoughts be uplifting and positive and watch your world change. When you make an effort to not dwell on negative thoughts you see the world in a new light.

Happiness doesn’t come in a place, person, or thing. It comes with a change of perspective and mindset. It comes when you realize that you have a choice. A choice to be happy or not to be happy. That’s it. Nothing determines your happiness except YOU. Yes, somethings things happen and it’s hard to be happy but with a determined faith-filled mindset you can be happy. Because with the gospel there is always hope and always something to be grateful for.

February 19, 2018
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My Word for 2018 + Why You Need a Word for the Year

(Also, I have this image as a computer screensaver and for an iPhone wallpaper. If you want them shoot me an email and I’ll email them to you!)

I don’t know if you remember but last year I choose a word to focus on throughout the year. I set some of my goals for the year around my word to help me focus on it and I can honestly say that it was a great idea. My word for last year was ENJOY. With so much of my life changing I wanted to be able to enjoy the journey more and fully embrace all the opportunities that God had placed in my path. Looking back I can see that because I took more time to enjoy the journey I was able to see God’s hand in my everyday life. He is real and He is involved in so much more of your life than you ever thought possible. But, I was only able to see this when I was enjoying the moment and not focusing so much on the future.

So this year I choose the word TRUST. I want to put my trust in the Lord and His plan for me even when it’s not what I want. I know that when I put my trust in Him this year I will be able to look back and see that He truly has a plan for me and that everything worked out the way it was supposed to.

I want you to take a few minutes and think about something you need to work on and a word that embodies that and then take a day or two and pray about it. I know that as we set goals and strive to be better the Lord will help us become the person He wants us to be.

Share your word of the year below!

January 23, 2018
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Why You Can Afford The Time To Journal (and why you can’t afford not to)

 

*GUEST POST*

Keeping a regular journal or other personal record is something that prophets and church
leaders have long encouraged us to do, but not an area that most of us have made significant
improvement in. Fortunately, we can enjoy and learn from the religious records of other
generations without being charged to keep a religious record that will someday become the
“keystone” of a future people’s religion, as they were commanded to.

That doesn’t mean, however, that we shouldn’t take the Lord’s advice to keep a personal
record seriously. In the scriptures, being written records themselves, we see that God’s concern
with the prophets keeping regular and accurate records was the ability to transmit gospel
teachings across generations of time as well as a people’s ability to connect with its past and with
God.

In our time, writing down personal spiritual experiences or things that will help us bring
them to memory when needed is one key benefit and reason that we are counseled to keep a
personal record. Another is being able to leave behind some kind of written testimony or witness,
for ourselves and especially for our posterity. Doing so certainly makes doing family history a lot
easier (and much more interesting!). I can definitely say that reading through the experiences of
my grandfather, an avid record keeper, and his family has made a positive impact on my life. It’s
possible, however, that the benefits of journal keeping and the blessings the Lord wants us to
enjoy for doing so are more immediate and personal than the ones we’ve become so familiar
with.

That would be nice, since the reasons we’re used to hearing have yet to motivate most of
us to begin keeping a regular personal record. In this post, I’ll discuss some of the more
immediate and helpful personal benefit of consistently (hopefully daily) writing in a journal and
going back to occasionally review what we have recorded.

Research has demonstrated repeatedly a large amount of psychological benefits to journal
writing and review, including increasing our ability to:

  • Manage anxiety
  • Reduce stress
  • Cope with depression
  • Gain clarity
  • Build empathy
  • Solve problems
  • Boost cognition
  • Track patterns

One common them with all of these benefits is that they can only be achieved by stepping
back and taking a time to reflect; each one takes time, intentional thought and analysis, and results in greater mental health and happiness. More than anything, journaling is such a powerful
tool because

  1. it provides the opportunity and time to do the tasks mentioned above and
  2. it reinforces our determination to improve or the conviction of what we have expressed by our
    putting it in writing.

It is common knowledge that writing things down greatly enhances their permanence, not
necessarily because the written record will always last (I can just as easily tear up or throw away
something I’ve written down as I can write it), but because it is written down and memorialized
in our mind. I whole heartedly believe that these mental health benefits are among the many
reasons our Heavenly Father wishes us to regularly keep a record. Seeing that we live in a time
in which science and medicine have improved enough to let us know about their existence, we’d
be foolish to forego these benefits – blessings from our Heavenly Father.

One other benefit of journaling, the one which also caught my attention the most, was so
surprising because it was the actually the solution to the biggest obstacle that keeps me from
journaling: not having enough time. Along with the benefits mentioned earlier, journaling
regularly, when accompanied by regular review of what is written, does incredible things for
your productivity – in every aspect of your life.

This was something I learned about in a class taught at my university (BYU) called “Personal
Development, which focuses on the improvement of one’s overall emotional and mental health.
Our instructor, a licensed and practicing therapist who spends virtually of all of his time working
with students, particularly with varying levels of anxiety, told us about the research put into this
idea and how clearly it demonstrates this practice’s ability to boost productivity. This was
somewhat surprising – many of us had figured that the top benefit would have something more
directly to do with mental health – something more psychological like the benefits discussed
earlier. Surprising as it may be, it is definitely true, for multiple reasons.

One reason I believe productivity can be so greatly impacted by journaling and review is
that it allows us the chance to go back to what we have written and see it in a different light –
with a fresh pair of eyes. One objection that some people have to journaling and one which I
myself shared is concern over recording things that are untrue, overly dramatic, biased or what
we might later consider to be unhelpful. Anyone who has journaled knows that this can very
naturally occur in the course of journaling, and since writing things down gives them the power
to permeate in our minds, as mentioned earlier, how could it possibly help us to write down
things that are over the top, over analyzed or that we interpret incorrectly? Couldn’t that, in some
cases, potentially do more harm than good?

The key to prevent this from happening is the follow up to journaling that occurs even
less often than journaling itself – the objective review of what we have written earlier. Just as
journaling promotes more coherent and critical thinking by forcing us to slow down and
articulate what we are feeling or experiencing, reviewing what we have written allows us the
chance to reconsider those recordings in a different context, state of mind and circumstance.
When we do so, we can more easily recognize and track trends of behaviors or states of minds
that negatively affect us, perhaps even without our knowledge of them.

Because the situation we’re in so greatly differs from the one we wrote it in, it’s almost as
if someone else were objectively examining our behavior in order to give us advice; it’s least the
next best thing, and something we can do ourselves, even when we don’t have outside. It can
also be more effective since we know more intimately what we really feel, share and choose to
obscure or avoid discussing. We can see clearly that we over interpret and over agonize the most
intense of experiences we go through, while finding relatively no meaning or insight in what we
live the rest of the time – the majority of our experiences. Or we can realize how often we
rationalize, excuse away or minimize certain behaviors or thought patterns over others,
depending on our preferences.

These are just a couple examples of the insights we gain through the rereading of our
written records and ones that I have seen in myself. Awareness of these tendencies – which
happen to be among the key contributors to anxiety — is the first step in overcoming them.
Indeed, we will never overcome them as long as we have so little concrete observational
information as to what and how intense they are.

Anxiety itself is essentially unrest; one way it can be described is the uneasiness that we
feel because of our limited grasp as to what our emotional or psychological state is, why it is that
way, and a feeling of powerlessness to alter it. For many of us, we most often prolong anxiety by
avoiding this kind of thoughtful, careful analysis of the things factoring into the state of our
mental health — or by not doing so frequently enough. I know we can enhance it by taking the
Lord’s counsel to keep a personal record seriously – both to enhance our ability to serve others
as well as our ability to care for ourselves. He makes time to care for us – He’d want us to do the
same.

*Guest blog post by Christian Bell, an intern of Lifey.

December 20, 2017
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15 Things I Learned in High School

Photo by Christy Wright Photography

Vest – Roolee

If you didn’t already know I love lists and so I couldn’t resist putting together a quick list of what I learned in high school…so here ya go!

  1. DO NOT compare yourself to others. I can’t empathize this enough. The only person you should be comparing yourself to is the person you were yesterday. Seriously, once I learned this my life changed.
  2. Stay far farrrr away from the drama. It is not worth it. Find people that are doing more with their lives then stirring up trouble and hating on others.
  3. Stop hating your classmates. If you come from a small school like me you probably understand how easy it is to really dislike some people that you have every. single. class. with. But, stop hating and start loving. Get to know them, be their friend. Again, stay away from the drama but learn to have fun with your classmates. It makes school more enjoyable ya know.
  4. Your grades ARE important! Do your homework, care about what you are doing.
  5. Be good to everyone! Teachers, staff, classmates, EVERYONE. The way you treat people is noticed. Be kind and respectful.
  6. Wear what makes YOU happy. If that means dressing up everyday then do it. Be you.
  7. Be soooo grateful for your free textbooks. (and free classes) Seriously.
  8. Put God 1st. Put God 1st. That means go to seminary!! Learn to study the scriptures and your life will be oh so blessed. The best thing you can do is spend time with God. Put Him first and the rest will fall into place!
  9. Put down your phone. Seriously. High School only happens once. Enjoy it.
  10. Be the light. Be an example for good. People notice.
  11. Don’t worry what people are thinking of you. People are so worried about that themselves. BE YOU.
  12. Be involved! Participate!
  13. Study for the ACT. I never studied, and although I got into the college I wanted if I would have studied I would have probably been eligible for more scholarships. STUDY!
  14. Take college classes if you can. I graduated with 29 hours from my local college. I didn’t like the idea of a bunch of blow off classes so I took college classes that counted. So if your able, do it! Because it was the best thing I ever did.
  15. BE KIND.

xo,

Halee

May 25, 2017
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Four Thoughts

(photo credit: Christy Wright Photography)

  1. We can not judge people. It’s not our place and we do not understand what is really going on. Love people. Treat them with the kindness and respect that they deserve. It might be cool to talk about why so and so sucks but it’s really not! Love everyone and leave the judging up to Christ.
  2. People matter. Things don’t matter if you don’t have people there. Stop casing money and things and enjoy the people around you! We all look back at certain times & wish we would have spend more time with some certain people so be there now. Enjoy them now before it is too late. You’ll never regret spending time with those you love.
  3. Social media is not real life. What one person might see as the “perfect photo” is the same photo that took 100 times to get just right.  Only the person that posted the picture knows the true feeling and meaning behind it. People often only post their best on social media…. so remember don’t judge your worst with someones best.
  4. The days are long and years are short. I can’t tell you how true this has become in the last few years, especially this year being my last year in high school. Embrace now! Love where you at in life right now because it really does fly by.

love you all and I can’t wait to get caught back up on the blog!

halee

April 12, 2017
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Two Thoughts

Hi friends! I keep trying to remember that only the things I make a priority are going to get done because of my crazy schedule. (Aka, I am going to reevaluate my priorities again and get back blogging!) But, here I am checking in to let you know that life is great and I am getting ready to graduate and begin a new chapter in my life which I am incredible excited about!

I got accepted to BYU and will begin summer semester. I am unsure of what I will be studying right now but hopefully after a little while I will have a general direction that I want to head into.

But anyway I just wanted to write 2 little messages of you all.

1. I just wanted to remind you all that although we may be scared of the unknown or fearful of change we don’t need to be. The Lord is right there with us. One of my favorite scriptures- Jeremiah 1:9 says,

Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

How great of a promise is that? He will be with us where ever we go! Change can be hard and scary sometimes but embrace it and go knowing the the Lord is with you. You will never be alone!

2.One thing that gets me through any day and helps remind me that I am never alone or forgotten is to find the tender mercies that our kind Heavenly Father has blessed me with. T h e y  a r e  t h e r e. Usually it’s the tiniest things like getting a letter in the mail, having a little bit of extra time to watch my favorite show on Netflix, or even seeing someone I know. I always write down the tender mercies of the Lord each night just like President Eyring does. And by the end of the night it can be hard to think back but seriously include in your morning prayers that you will be able to notice the tender mercies throughout your day because they really make my day better. I can honestly say that after I have started taking the time to notice and thank Him for blessing me I have a better day.

I know my thoughts are all jumbled and random but I really felt the need to share those two thoughts with you today!

xoxo

halee

March 16, 2017
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