One of the easiest and fun things we can do to improve our mood and health is to breathe. Have you ever found yourself breathing so shallowly that you were almost unconsciously holding your breath, especially in moments of concentration or stress? Breath equals life.
“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” —Genesis 2:7
“Fear less, hope more, eat less, chew more, whine less, breathe more, talk less, say more, hate less, love more, and all good things will be yours.” —Swedish proverb
As you may have heard or read, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine,” and while doing deep breathing exercises can help us feel better, there are fun ways to get more oxygen into our bodies.
“Singing lightens sorrows.” —Spanish proverb
Play a wind instrument or just whistle!
“Breath is the music of life.” —Indian proverb
Bubbles are like wet kisses floating in the air, waiting to pop and tickle the one who touches them.
Although all these things may not equal deep breathing exercises, they do encourage a greater intake of oxygen and can create a positive mood and improved health. Blowing bubbles is also whimsical, relaxing, and can produce fun and entertainment when children leap and run to pop them. So the next time you feel stressed, take a moment to breathe.
Although God does have a very serious side, it’s good to be reminded that part of reflecting His image means reflecting His winsome, loving, creative side, too! My daughter shared an excellent article with me yesterday called Lighten Up, Christians: God Loves a Good Time.
Have you ever felt really low and then felt better after being around someone winsome and positive? Or have you ever been brought down low by someone negative? You’ve probably heard the saying, “Laughter is the best medicine.” It is synonymous with the first part of Proverbs 17:22, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.” An Irish proverb says, “A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything.” Sandra Galati, a fellow blogger wrote, “A troubled mind begs the attention of a hopeful heart.” We can be the medicine that someone else needs. Heard any good jokes lately?
Andrew Carnegie said, “There is little success where there is little laughter.” I’m sure you’ve experienced working with people who were always too serious and rarely laughed, made working a drudgery and brought everyone down. But people who are responsible and have fun and laugh together make work more enjoyable and successful. So if you tend to be too serious, lighten up!
Is it true that “the family that prays together, stays together”? I’ve witnessed families who pray together split apart, and families who don’t pray or even go to church together stay together. Why? Well, have you ever heard the family who plays together, stays together? It occurred to me that those who play together are more likely to stay together.
If a family’s prayer life is primarily motivated by religious duty and pride, then the family is merely going through the motions and will most likely not develop deep relationships with each other or with God. What is a family without relationship? And I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Well, I’m sure all prayer and no play is the same, and who wants to be around a dull boy?
While not all families who play together play nice, most families who play together generally learn and tend to practice things like patience, teamwork, yielding to one another by taking turns, mercy, kindness, forgiveness, and love. Families who play together usually have fun and enjoy one another. When parents play with their children and with each other, they are saying, “I love spending time with you. I enjoy being with you. You’re fun to hang out with. You’re worth my time.”
So am I saying praying together isn’t important? Oh no! Not at all! Families who pray together out of a genuine love and concern for each other, as well as those outside of family, are more likely to build relationships, not to mention reap spiritual benefits. And I believe they are more likely to play together, enjoy each other, and stay together, too!
Proverbs 17:22 says, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”
So get out there, make merry, heal a broken spirit, and build richer relationships! Go play!
Do you ever wonder why you seem to keep ‘dropping the ball’? A couple of nights ago I was playing catch with my little friend, Isabella, who is almost three years old. She is wonderful at catching, especially for her age, but at one point she kept becoming momentarily distracted by the other children and would drop the ball. She wanted to continue playing catch, so I finally said, “Isabella, you gotta keep your eye on the ball.”
Her response was so adorably humorous. She took me literally, and as she tried to focus one eye on the ball, she blinked and winked with the other. Her focused eye was intensely focused, but when I gently tossed the ball to her, she missed it, picked it up, and put the ball on her eye. While being humble enough to take my advice and try to apply it, she’d forgotten she already knew how to catch. I guess I should have simply encouraged her to pay attention instead.
Anyway, it got me thinking how the concept applies to life and how we can sometimes become so focused on one part of the process, one group of people, or one element that we forget about the others which are equally important. Even though “Keep your eye on the ball” is an oft-used expression when teaching others to catch a ball, hit a baseball, or kick a soccer ball, our mind’s eye still sees our arms, hands, and feet participating in the action as well. It takes focusing and coordinating all the parts in order to be successful and stop dropping the ball.
I think my granddaughter makes an excellent inspirational speaker and motivational coach at the wise age of 2. She was visiting a few days ago, and we were playing fetch with my daughter’s dog, Sally. Sally has a yellow squeaky ball, and Gracie was throwing it from the living room into the kitchen and giggling as Sally retrieved it. When Sally seemed more interested in squeaking the ball than fetching it, Gracie picked up a toy dog for me and one for herself, and we began to play together.
Gracie has a pink squeaky ball, and I pretended to have my toy dog play with the ball and squeak it just like Sally. Gracie loved it! At first, she threw the ball within arms length, so I could easily pretend to have my dog get it, but then she began to throw it into the next room! So being the playful Mimi that I am, I got up and had my dog scurry along the floor and fetch the ball. Gracie became even more animated, jumping up and down with delight, and shouting, “Go get it, Puppy, go get it!”
When I became a bit winded and my back began to ache from running while bent over, I finally said, “Puppy is tired. Puppy needs a break.”
“You can do it, Puppy! You can do it!” was Gracie’s exuberant response.
“But Puppy is tired.”
“No, you can do it! I know you can! You can do it!” she continued to cheer.