Jan 6 2015

Tracey Jackson



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Action, Clarity, Goals, Living Fully




I was talking to a friend the other day who is deep into their personal transformation. We were discussing what to do when you don’t want to fall back on the old ways.

We are so much about replacing the old with the new. Substituting new healthy patterns for the old, worn out negative ones.

What makes you happy that isn’t destructive, fattening, expensive or defeats your goals

People handle stress in so many ways. Are you a muncher? You know how you amble through your days and it’s all going OK, nothing to get you off track crops up and the all of a sudden bing bang boom Captain Stress flies in the room. He could be there for many reasons, something happens at work, one of your kids does something that sends you reeling, someone pushes your buttons and the next thing you know your attacking the frozen cookie dough you have been successfully ignoring for a week.

Maybe anxiety sends you to the mall. Some people get upset and self soothe by shutting themselves off. There are so many ways we use our feeling down time unconstructively. We do things we think will make us feel better, when in fact they might for a few minutes, but in the long run they make us feel much worse.

Admittedly anxiety can send me to the stores or if they aren’t open an online shopping site. I can get really anxious and focus on the “Two Ifs and a Maybe” we talk about in the book.

The thing where you find the two ifs that have to take place and the one maybe before Armageddon strikes.

We also now tend to turn to our devices the second we feel pressure or the need for a bit of validation. Often it has the reverse effect. “What do you mean they didn’t like my photo of a leaf?” Ellen hasn’t gotten back to me, I emailed her twelve minutes ago!” That only causes us to start spinning and I don’t mean the aerobic kind.

So I sat down and made a list of things I can do to keep myself more centered just on general principle. And then what simple things make me happy and keep me sane when I feel I’m tilting in the other direction.


  • Meditation – I say it over and over. The days I meditate are the best days I have. I find I glide through the day instead of often stumbling. I find I have a centered place to return to when I have spent as little as ten minutes sitting and focusing on my breath. And then if I find myself in a spot where I want to reach for the quick fix, just sitting down and breathing calmly for a few minutes – settles me down. I have clarity in which I can make a much better choice. I respond to a situation calmly. I don’t react or worse over react. I can be a real over reactor.
  • Journaling – I have been keeping a journal since I was 15. I have found that with all my blogging I have tended to get lazy about it. But journaling and blogging are two different things. If I sit down and write what I’m feeling it gives me a perspective I don’t have if I am just sitting in the middle of the feeling. It also separates me from the feeling, which is often needed in order to get centered.
  • Gratitude Journaling – Writing in your Gratitude Book is a different experience than journaling. Many people think they are the same. But journaling is writing down what you are feeling, events that have occurred, things that may or may not be pleasant. Gratitude Journaling is simply writing down what you are grateful for. It’s proven to make people happier and emotionally healthier. I have a journal for my feelings and a notebook that is my Gratitude Journal. Keeping my Gratitude Journal daily is a goal for the New Year. It needs to be a habit, not just when you have something to be grateful for. It helps you find something to be grateful for when gratitude seems harder to find.
  • Listening to music. Music is such a relaxer. It has the ability to put you in a good mood so quickly. It transports you. I have taken to listening to music in the morning when I get dressed and not the news. The news tends to get me worked up, music makes me happy.
  • Spending quiet time with my family and dogs. I don’t mean just being in the room. I mean really shutting everything down and just being and taking it all in and listening. Listening to my daughter where I give her my full attention and not a portion of it that is not going online or to another task. Just petting my dog. Lighting candles and sitting quietly with my husband and just being with him. These are things that make me happy.


What makes you happy? Take out your journal or your Gratitude Journal – find a blank page and write them down. Next time you need a happy fix you have the list of what works.

And try and keep yourself in a good mood by making those things a part of your daily life. It works.

And feel free to share your list here with us on comments. Maybe one of yours will be something that works for someone else too!

Tracey Jackson

Tracey Jackson is a screenwriter and blogger at traceyjacksononline.com. Her book Gratitude and Trust is now available.