Keys to Change: Remember the Good When It Feels Like Life Stinks
Life can be tough sometimes. You may feel like you’re stuck in a rut, and nothing seems to go your way. But here’s the thing: even when it feels like life is against you, there are still good times to remember.
In this week’s article, let’s explore how to keep those positive memories alive and use them as a source of strength during challenging times. So sit back, relax, and get ready to learn some powerful techniques that will help you look on the bright side no matter what! Not for the sake of a pollyanna perspective, but rather with a helpful, powerful way to reimagine your reality.
We all have positive memories from the past that make us happy. These could be moments spent with loved ones or trips you’ve taken in the past. Whatever it is, these memories can often provide comfort and stability when life seems to be going against you. To ensure you stay focused on the good times, it’s essential to take time to reflect on them regularly.
When you read about the life of King David, that dude had some really stinking days. He knew the good, the bad, and the ugly. He knew victory, defeat, adoring fans, and the sting of ego run amuck. But David also wrote in Psalm 103.2, “Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me.”
David is fired up about the remembrances of all God has done for him in his recent and distant past. Unfortunately, when I feel confident that my life is in the drainage ditch, I do not remember all God has done for me; I can turn into a victim, a whiner, and a not-very-fun human to be around.
Remembering God’s grace in, through, and on my life allows me to worship and feel freedom, peace, and happiness. Remembering that he cares about me daily reminds me that he is so good and we will be okay, especially when we choose to rest in Him.
When I choose to remember God’s grace, I keep myself from falling into victim mindsets that do nothing good for me and certainly do not bring Him glory. Remembering that He is my portion, strength, and power allows me to see past the petty things of life and focus on what matters most. I desperately need to be reminded when life feels like it stinks of all God’s benefits.
I must remember to choose to remember!
I can let my negative bias run away with my head and my heart if I am not careful.
One way to stay on top of remembering good is through journaling. Writing down your fondest memories can help bring them back to life and remind you of the good times despite challenging times. Capture the big and small things that God has done for you. The power of writing is significant. Maybe you think more linear than narrative? Then capture your thoughts with bullets, not paragraphs. Bullets are better for me.
Another powerful tool for keeping good times alive is music. Creating a playlist of fun or encouraging songs from your past will allow you to revisit those moments each time you listen to them. Music has been used throughout history as a way to evoke emotion and reconnect with fond memories, so why not use it to your advantage? I have four playlists that are my go-to when I start getting bogged down in believing life stinks. 1) classic rock 2) funky southern rock 3) Christian power praise 4) worshipful anthems.
It’s easy to forget the good times when life stinks. But it’s important to remember the good times, even when things are tough. Why? Because remembering the good times can help you see that things aren’t always bad. And, when you see that things aren’t always bad, it can give you hope that things will get better. David says, “man, life can stink, but look at all God has delivered me through already – let’s do this!”
So, how do you remember the good times when it feels like life stinks? Here are some tips:
- Keep a journal. Add this habit to reading scripture.
- Pray out loud. I can’t explain it, but it’s powerful.
- Talk about your happy memories with friends and family. When you share your memories with others, they become even more special. Especially the spiritual tracks that you’ve shared with friends.
- Write about your happy memories on social media. Sharing positive experiences with others can help brighten their day—and yours!
- Create a playlist of songs that remind you of happy times. Music can be a powerful way to evoke memories and emotions.
What Causes Us to Focus on the Negative?
We all have experienced moments where it feels like life is against us. Times when we focus on the negative and can’t seem to remember the good times. What causes us to focus on the negative?
There are several factors that can contribute to this negativity bias, including:
-Human Evolution: Our ancestors who were able to focus on potential threats and danger survived while those who didn’t, well, didn’t. So, we’ve grown more attuned to potential threats and dangers. And yet, we cannot seem to concur with this one truth. We should never believe everything our brain thinks.
-The media: The news is filled with stories of tragedy and disaster because that’s what sells. We are bombarded with images and stories of violence, crime, natural disasters, etc. This constant stream of negativity can influence our own thinking and make us more likely to focus on the negative in our own lives. Take a news fast starting right now!
-Negative experiences: Unfortunately, bad experiences often impact us more than good ones. A single negative experience can color our perception of a situation or person. And once we’ve formed a negative opinion, it’s hard to change it. When I have 200 compliments about a talk, and one negative statement, I remember the negative to the power of about 300, and nothing else matters. That’s when, like David, I must be reminded of how much negativity God has already carried me through.
-Spiritual Warfare: It’s pretty real, friends. Satan would love to have you thinking life stinks and distract you from all your Creator has in store for you. God has good in store for you, and this world is rigged to rob it from you if you stay in the mope-a-dopes about your days. Don’t give Satan an easy win.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to counterbalance this negativity bias and remember the good times even when life is tough. Some tips include:
-Make a conscious effort to pay attention to the positive things in your life, no matter how small they may be. Acknowledge them and give yourself credit for them. See God at work in everything from a rainbow to a parking spot.
-Spend time with positive people who lift you and help you focus on the good things in life—especially the things of God and God’s narrative. I am convinced that when we openly speak about the good things of God, good things follow.
-Take a break from the news and media if it’s becoming too overwhelming. If you want to replace it with something great, watch The Chosen.
-Practice mindfulness to stay in the present moment and appreciate what is happening now. Allow your prayer life to intersect with the rest of your life. Intentionally look for God to do good things in you and for you.
It can be tough to remember the good times when it feels like life is against you. But thankfully, there are some strategies you can use to help you out. Here are four methods to remember good moments:
- Write them down – JOURNAL!!!
One of the best ways to remember specific good moments is to write them down as soon as they happen. This way, you that you can refer to it later. Not only that but writing about your positive experiences can help boost your mood in the present moment.
- Take photos or videos.
Another great way to capture and remember good moments is to take photos or videos of them. This way, you can revisit the experience any time you want by looking at the visual record you created. And, just like with writing things down, taking photos or videos of happy moments can also help boost your mood in the present moment. Finally, share with people, so they can share and encourage you, especially outside of social media.
3. Reflect on them regularly.
One of the best things you can do to ensure that you remember good moments is to reflect on them regularly. This could mean setting aside some time each day to recall positive memories, or simply taking a few moments throughout the day to appreciate those happy experiences. Doing this will help you stay connected to the good in your life, no matter what else is going on. Build a spiritual habit to capture a few things that you are grateful for, and write them down! Reviewing them will give you a attitude of gratitude.
Building Healthy Habits to Celebrate the Good Times
When you’re feeling down, it can be hard to remember the good times. But it’s important to focus on the positive moments in your life, even when things seem tough. Here are some tips for building healthy habits to celebrate the good times:
- Make time for yourself. It’s important to schedule time into your day or week just for yourself. Whether it’s taking a gym class, going for a walk, or reading your favorite book for 15 minutes, make sure you’re carving out time to do things that make you happy.
- Spend time with folks that are significant to you. Surround yourself with people who make you feel good and who support you. This could be family, friends, or even a pet. Laughter is known to boost your mood, so try to spend time laughing with loved ones as often as possible. Don’t let yourself think too seriously about every moment of every day.
- Get moving. Exercise releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects. So get your body moving however you can – go for a run, dance around your living room, or take a fitness class at the gym. My preferred exercise is headphones on, classic rock blaring and walking my dogs.
- Be mindful of what you eat and drink. Eating slightly healthier foods and staying hydrated can help improve your mood and energy levels. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day!
- Practice gratitude. When you start feeling down, take a moment to think about all the things and ways God is caring for you.
It can be easy to focus on the negative aspects of life when it feels like everything is going wrong. However, it is essential to remember the good times as well. Good memories can help you overcome tough times and remind you that there are still good things in your life worth fighting for.
Don’t choose to believe life stinks, not when there is so much to be excited about, including you are alive right now! Remember David’s Psalm, “Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me.”
Go in Peace, Chuck