The purpose of the exercise was to dispel stress. I was to write down everything that was bothering me, tell why it was bothering me, and explain how I planned to deal with each situation. By the time I was finished, I didn't feel stress-free. I felt depressed. For the rest of the day, my mind was completely focused on my problems. "That's the last time I'll do that exercise," I complained.
Funny enough, the next morning I received an e-mail from a well-known fitness expert. In her newsletter, she was discussing positive habits she has adopted over the years. The very first one on her list was to begin each day with a list of things she was thankful for. Thinking about my discouragement the day before, I decided to give this exercise a try. I grabbed a pen and paper and started making a list. Several minutes later, I had a smile on my face and joy in my heart. In fact, that joy was with me throughout the day because each time I felt disheartened, I took another look at my list.
My challenge to you today is to begin each day with a list of thankfulness. Sure, the list may look exactly the same some days, but that's not the point. The point is to start your day with a focus on the positive. Then, when Satan comes to bring you down, you can refer to your list and say, "I refuse to be discouraged because. . . " It really works, and it's much less stressful than focusing on your problems.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. - Philippians 4:8