I recently came across an article torn out of the magazine "Mature Outlook, April, 1995" and liked it so much I put it up on the refrigerator. It is titled "Be Your Own Best Friend" and this is the text.
"In a world packed full of financial dilemmas, deadlines, difficult people and negative attitudes, it's no wonder that living in  can be tough. But you don't have to let stress get the best of you. By taking care of yourself, you can turn stress into energy. "It's not the big things that make a difference in our lives, it's the little things," says Donna Watson, PH.D., a stress-management expert. "Sometimes we get so busy that we forget to notice what a beautiful world we live in. We don't notice the smile of a child, the leaves turning gold and red or a rainbow promising hope."
Good-for-you do's and don'ts
To help keep stress in check, try some of these tips from Watson's book, "101 Simple Ways to Be Good to Yourself (1993, Energy Press)"
*Carry an interesting book with you at all times.
When you're stuck in a traffic jam or in the checkout line at the store, start reading. (Right now I've got three books in my tote bag plus a crochet project. I take a paperback with me in my purse too.)
*Unclutter your life.
Get rid of the things you never use, whether it's clothes you never wear or books that never leave the shelf. (Great advice for Spring Cleaning!)
*Exercise your right to make choices.
Choose to stay in a situation or choose to walk away - but choose. The way to stay in control is to make choices. (I never thought of decision making in this way but it makes sense.)
*Create a "wish bank."
Make a list of things -big and little-that you would like to do. Write each wish on a card and place the cards in a special box or jar. Then, periodically draw a card and grant yourself that wish. (Maybe if I do this I'll get to bring a book and sit in front of the fire with a chocolate croissant at Panera next Winter!)
*Do something enjoyable with friends at least twice a month.
If you don't set time aside, one day the friendship will be gone. (Great advice for us "only" moms who often find it difficult to make time to go out for fun.)
*Send flowers to yourself.
Gifts like this help you recognize your own importance. (I'd add to the flowers an inexpensive lip gloss or makeup item - that always cheers me up!)
*Make time for yourself.
Give yourself 15 minutes each day that belong to no one but you. (Couldn't this be an hour? Maybe 30 minutes in the morning and 30 at night? 15 minutes just goes by in a blink!)
Anticipating the worst or exaggerating the dire consequences of some situations or action only makes things seem worse. (Amen! Why do we always seem to punish ourselves even more by worrying about what we can't control?)
*Know your priorities.
If you can't immediately list your top three priorities in life, it's time to sit down and consider the matter. Then, when things get out of hand, remember what's really important to you." (And remember that it is usually the little/simple things in life that are what matters - love, family, faith, friendship.)
Isn't this a great list? Written 16 years ago and still applicable (maybe even more so given the economic stress of 2009). None of the nine ideas of this list is costly. Everyone can do them. Simple solutions for big impact. I even feel better just reading the list again and thinking about how I can incorporate the suggestions to fit me personally. I would add to this list the plan to spend more time with nature by taking a walk or admiring a sunrise or sunset. Nature is all around us free for the taking and so often we take it for granted. I think that nature connects us to ourselves as well as the Universe and that leads to a better connection to our fellow man. Food for thought.
Today I am grateful:
1. For last night's rain shining from the sun in the greener grass.
2. For the rain that brings next month's flowers.
3. For the surprise in finding articles like this that sometimes pop up when least expected but most needed.