Faith Spilling Over… Into Everyday Life

How to Cultivate a Happy Heart? 3 Habits

42 Comments

When life sends trials our way, happy heart habits won’t make difficulties disappear. But they do help us cultivate a more positive attitude.

I really need to keep my glory glasses on tight. Rose colored shades help me see more clearly the beauty of God’s work around me.  All too often, I let gloom glasses blind me to God’s blessings.

You’ve probably worn gloom glasses before too. You know how those gray shades can cloud your vision.  One bad day makes you think your whole life is one crash and burn. You had a spat with your spouse, you’re out of dish washer detergent, and suddenly life looks terrible.

In a recent conversation, my 16 year old daughter suggested 6 habits for cultivating a happier heart. (The girl’s got a future as a life coach.) You can catch the first 3 in last week’s post, but now we’ll cover habits 4-6.

First, let’s look at Proverbs 17:22

When life sends trials. A Cheerful heart Proverb

Check out this version:

When life sends trials. A Cheerful heart Proverbs MSG

Sometimes we experience hardship that goes beyond just one bad day. Gloom and doom creep up on us. We can’t exactly read this verse and say, “Okay, got that. Need a cheerful heart. Presto, change-o. I’m happy!” Don’t you wish it worked that way?

When life sends us trials, happy heart habits won’t make difficulties disappear, but they can help us feel better, just like medicine does when we’re sick. Over time, they help us cultivate a more positive attitude.

4. Acknowledge Negative Feelings

We all experience occasional sadness, depression, or anxiety. It sounds counter-intuitive, but when life gets hard, maybe the first step to working through our negative feelings is to acknowledge and express them.

Haven’t we all experienced the relief that comes when we open our hearts to others? Talking to God invites Him into our struggles and changes our perspective. Talking with our mate, a trusted friend, or a counsellor can help us on the road to a more positive outlook.

5. Grow Some Gratitude

A little bit of gratitude goes a long way in making life’s tough experiences more bearable. Last fall my husband had a medical emergency and spent two days in the hospital. We couldn’t help but notice the kindness of the medical staff. Gratefulness made a bitter experience just a bit sweeter.

Even on ordinary days, nothing robs your joy like discontent. Your neighbor drives a fancier car then you do. Your best friend’s husband took her to Hawaii to celebrate their anniversary, and yours took you out for pizza. You can either bemoan what you don’t have, or give thanks for your blessings. When I keep my eyes peeled for the good things God has done for me, my heart gets a bit happier.

6. Do Something You Love

Some of us are fortunate to have jobs we love, but even if we don’t, taking time for things we enjoy makes life a bit brighter. At age 40, Winston Churchill took up painting as an antidote to depression. Can you imagine the job stress he faced as England’s prime minister during World War II? His beloved hobby gave Churchill a way to find a measure of joy during dark days.

What do you enjoy doing? How about setting aside some time each week to take care of yourself by doing something fun?

When life sends trials our way, happy heart habits won’t make difficulties disappear. But they can help us cultivate a more positive attitude.

Happy heart habits don’t work like magic, but they do help us take some control over our attitudes. When we put our glory glasses on, our problems look a wee bit smaller and our joys look larger. And who doesn’t want a little more joy?

Now it’s your turn: What are you grateful for today? What do you love doing?

Did you enjoy this post? You can subscribe to get fresh servings of Faith Spilling Over delivered to your inbox. Enter your e-mail address in the box at the top of this page.

I’m linking up with Holly Barrett’s Testimony Tuesday, Kelly Balarie’s #RaRaLinkup, Tuesday Talk with Ruthie Gray,  Jennifer Dukes Lee’s #TellHisStory, Holley Gerth’s Coffee for Your HeartLyli Dunbar’s Thought-Provoking Thursday,  Arabah Joy’s Grace & Truth., and Susan B. Mead’s Dance with Jesus. Check out these communities for more encouragement.

Photo Credit: Melika

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Author: betsydecruz

I want to enjoy the everyday life God is giving me as best I can, even when the road gets bumpy. I love having fun with my teenagers, learning almost anything, and drinking dark roast coffee with my friends.

42 thoughts on “How to Cultivate a Happy Heart? 3 Habits

  1. I love this, Betsy! What a wise daughter you have 🙂 I don’t always keep my heart in such a state, but I always say it takes way more energy to be angry/sad/upset than it does to be happy – and that’s not how I want to expend my energy. Love the Message version that says “doom and gloom leave you bone-tired”. Great reminder to set our hearts on joy, even when the day looks gloomy.

    • Yes, I love that Message version too! Isn’t it the truth? I’ve missed you lately! Just visited your blog too. 🙂

      • I’ve missed being out here, too! Had to allow myself to take a few weeks off from writing to prepare for a women’s conference I helped produce last weekend – and now trying to catch up on a new adult education class I’m co-creating / co-teaching. Hoping to get focused again and back to writing in the next week or so. It’s just been a really busy season – lots of great stuff, but feeling stretched thin. Always good to stop here!

  2. Betsy, what a great reminder to cultivate habits with our attitude! I needed this today! I hope you have a great Tuesday!

  3. Betsy, this is such wisdom! I especially appreciate your insight that gloom leads to a tired heart. I see this in myself. Shifting my spectacles in the direction of gratitude makes everything seem lighter.

  4. Yes your daughter does have a future as a life coach. I especially relate to “grow some gratitude” today. The challenges we face can become very consuming and I have experienced this firsthand. When we instead look at the blessings in the middle of the struggles we find God and it is a beautiful thing to see. I am learning how to look for the happy more and more. Life is too short for doom and gloom. Happy week my friend!

    • Me too on the “Grow some gratitude.” I find that after I write something, I’m often challenged in the very area I’ve written about! Time to live it out now! 🙂 May the Lord give you grace for each day, Mary, may He give you eyes to see the happy. Happy week to you too, friend!

  5. You are so right Betsy, that is some great life coaching! Those tips are solid and doable. Love you friend!

  6. I love this Betsy! I love the visual of glory glasses vs gloom glasses! What a SUPER visual! Thank you so much for sharing!

  7. “Glory glasses” ~ oh, I love that phrase, Betsy! Yes, yes, and yes! And your daughter is so wise for her 16 yrs. She’s ready to set the world on Holy Spirit fire. These are helpful suggestions.

  8. This is just what I needed after I had my gloom glasses on yesterday! I sure love this post! Today, the glasses are off and I can see clearly the true blessings all around me. Thank you for this encouragement!

  9. I’m grateful to read your post! What a wise daughter you have. I’ll have to go back and get the other three habits!
    Blessings my friend!
    xoxo

  10. Hi, friend! It’s good to have some time to stop over and visit you tonight. Great post today! I especially like #6 Do Something You Love. I’m writing tonight, and it just makes my heart happy. I love your words and I love your heart. Much love to you!

  11. Betsy, Your daughter would indeed be a good life-coach. These words are encouraging as I focus on my one word of persevere.

  12. Thanks for sharing these words of wisdom. Stopping by from Holley’s.

  13. Betsy…a wonderful post! I think the most wonderful thing is when our children become our sister’s and brother’s in Christ. They advise us and can even guide us! Such joy to know our children are walking in the ways of the Lord and making a difference in the world for Christ!!

  14. Hey Betsy … thanks for sharing Proverbs! Talk about wisdom and common sense! Each verse is a nugget of gold …

  15. Betsy,

    What a wise daughter you have, like her mom 🙂 I’ve learned it is good to allow myself some fun reading, like a novel, and not feel guilty about it not being “productive”….all is gift 🙂 Blessings to you 🙂

  16. I agree with that whole step of “Do something you love” I find that when I’m irritable and out of sorts it’s usually because I’m drained and I need to refocus, reenergize and fill my tank again. I do this many times by getting away from people and doing something I love like knitting. It gives me something to do with my hands, my mind is cleared out and I am quiet and in a place to hear what God is saying. It’s a good thing! Thanks for these words! (Stopping by from Holley’s place)

  17. Joy is a choice – yes? I’ve had to change thought-patterns to choose joy. When you wrote about acknowledging negative feelings, I understood. I used to think that if I acknowledged negative feelings to God – well, that I wasn’t “Christian” enough – strong enough in my faith, a child-of-God failure. Then one day, I did understand that he did want to hear how I felt – that I needed to express them and own them in order to be able to give them fully to him and for him to fully help me. It was liberating – and I am still a work in process! Your daughter would, indeed, make an insightful life coach! Shalom!
    ~Maryleigh

    • Wow, you have a lot of wisdom and insight gained from experience, Maryleigh. So true that we think we’re not “Christian” enough if we express those negative feelings. He already knows anyway, we’re the ones who stand to benefit by gaining freedom to work through, as you say. Thank you.

  18. Great advice, Betsy! I acknowledge where my feelings of gloom are actually coming from. Yes, sometimes there are real problems causing my emotions to plummet, but there are other times when I’m hormonal (yep…I went there! LOL) or tired and susceptible to attacks of our enemy. When I acknowledge that out loud, before God, the punch seems to leave my negative feelings. Another thing I do, is to get outside! Just yesterday I started to feel sort of “eh”. As I sensed the feeling coming, I put on my gardening clothes and headed outside! The result of the fresh air, sunshine, and a huge gardening project coming to completion was a happy heart.

    Great post!

    Blessings, Joan

    • Yes! Joan, I agree. Getting outside works wonders for me too, especially in sunny weather, but even in winter, something about being outdoors lifts my spirit. (And yes, those hormones can give us a lot of grief!)

  19. Great post, Betsy! I find that gratitude, speaking (and thinking) truth, and doing things that are life-giving are so important for our souls. Hope you’re having a great week! Determined to keep my rose-colored glasses on with you!

  20. More great encouragement here. I love the idea of stopping to do something you love. It’s true – we get bogged down by all the “other stuff,” and we can forget to treasure our greatest loves. More kudos to your wise daughter, too – I know just where she gets that talent. 😉

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