Full Life Reflections

Striving for happiness, peace, and fulfillment in a chaotic world

This is the first blog post I’m writing in my new home. My husband and I moved two and a half weeks ago to a condo we purchased about fifteen minutes away from where we were previously renting an apartment. The past month has been a whirlwind… Not only is moving stressful and labor-intensive, but …

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As this is the holiday season, I gave some thought as to what might be an appropriate post for “The Healing Project.” While for many people, this is a joyous time of year, for countless others, it’s a time of stress and despair. As I am not a particularly religious person (I always call myself “spiritual but not religious”), I have had to give some consideration as to what this time of year represents to me. In this post, I share some of my personal insights on Christmas and the holiday season and what I consider to be the greatest lesson for this time of year.

As Christmas approaches, we start to see the holiday decorations in the stores and television and newspaper ads for gift suggestions and sales. We are told to show our love for those in our lives by buying them the “perfect gift,” often at a premium price. Since many people are already strapped for cash in the midst of the recession, the stress induced by the pressure to buy is higher than ever. We wrestle with questions of who to buy for, what to buy and how much to spend. We rush out to crowded shopping malls and comb the packed aisles and racks in search of a gift which will either serve to express our love or fulfill an obligation. Most of us don’t stop to wonder, “Is this what Christmas is all about?” Religious or not, we can probably all agree that Christmas has been distilled down to a shopping and buying related event in this country for many people. If we think about it, we may consider it a sad reality, but a reality nonetheless.

Do you have trouble making decisions? Is a decision as simple as what to eat for dinner or which movie to see enough to send your head spinning? Do you second-guess your decisions immediately after you make them and wish you could turn back the clock and do something different?

Indecisiveness is a common problem and one I’ve suffered from tremendously over the years. I have driven myself crazy when wrestling with all types of decisions, from the large to the seemingly insignificant. I have wasted countless hours in weighing pros and cons and wracking my brain to make the “right decision,” and I have lost out on things I’ve wanted by taking too long to make up my mind.

I recently listened to a broadcast of Dennis Prager’s Happiness Hour on the topic of indecision. Both Dennis and his callers presented some powerful points on this important topic which have made a difference in the way I approach decisions in my life. This post highlights some of these key points and I hope it will help you to combat the perils of indecision.

Have you ever heard of the term, “Debbie Downer”? This term, based upon a fictional “Saturday Night Live” character, refers to a person who is frequently negative and complaining, thus bringing down the mood of everyone around her. Sadly, I have to admit that I can be this person at times, and since my name is Debbie, that makes it even worse!

I don’t mean to complain a lot, but there are times when I catch myself spouting out all kinds of negativity. At least I catch myself more often these days, but I am still dismayed when I realize I am whining and complaining. My husband gets the worst of it, and this normally very tolerant man has been known to lose his patience with me on occasion. Yesterday was one of those times, which is what has prompted me to write this post. I will look at why we complain, when it’s okay, and how to reform our tendency to gripe and moan.

This message is a cautionary tale from a longtime “worrywart” (or as my father-in-law used to say, “worryhorse”). I have wasted many hours and sacrificed endless enjoyment by worrying about all sorts of things, most of which never came to pass. It is my hope that my insights today will help other worriers to reform their ways and in turn increase their happiness in life.

I recently listened to an episode of the Happiness Hour from radio talk show host, Dennis Prager. The focus of this hour was on worrying, so I knew I needed to listen carefully. Unlike many people who have “blind spots” in terms of their weaknesses, I knew full well how much of a detriment my habitual worrying was to my life and my happiness.

Dennis Prager stated that there are two powerful reasons to break the habit of worrying:

1. Most of what we worry about never comes to pass.
2. When one is worrying about what might happen, it is impossible for him to be happy in that moment.