As we plunge into a new year, many people note that time as a fresh start to make positive changes in their lives. Here are a few free and simple ways that can improve our lives, not only physically, but more importantly, spiritually and mentally, too!
TAKE TIME TO SLOW DOWN:
If you are like many of us, you hit the ground running as soon as your feet hit the floor in the morning. Your day instantly becomes filled to overflowing with obligations, amusements, problems, diversions, work and so on. Why not take a few minutes before the rush of the day hits to quiet your mind to pray, to meditate on pleasant things or simply to take some deep breaths. A little time spent in an internal conversation with your heavenly Father, through Christ Jesus our mediator, can get the day off to a much better and more serene start. You might be surprised to find yourself more focused and in tune with your day.
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” (Philippians 4:8 NKJV)
“Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.” (Colossians 4:2 NASB)
TAKE TIME TO BE GRATEFUL:Numerous studies have shown that people who feel and express gratitude on a daily basis are healthier both physically and emotionally. Gratitude can improve interpersonal relationships, increase your happiness and mental strength, aid in the ability to better overcome trauma, decrease stress levels and depression, and reduce feelings of aggression.  Take time to show your appreciation for those who make your daily life better. Don’t take things for granted.
Instead of complaining about all of the irritations in your life, consider the many things you have to be thankful for big and small. If you are like most of us, it’s likely that you don’t to look very far to find something or someone that you feel gratitude for. How about your very being, for example? That is something great! Our Almighty Father and His beloved Son have given us countless gifts for which to be grateful. Be aware of all of the good things that come your way. Offer thanks often.
“Praise the Lord, God our Savior, who helps us every day.” (Psalm 68:19 NCV)
“Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful singing. Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.” (Psalm 100:1-4 NASB)
“Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.” (Hebrews 13:15 NASB)
TAKE TIME TO BE AMAZED:People who often feel a sense of awe have healthier levels of certain infection fighting proteins a University of California/Berkeley study revealed.  This can help you stave off heart disease and more. So take time to admire a sunset, a sunrise, the stars, a towering tree, or the intricate details of a flower or leaf. We are surrounded by wonders everywhere if we just slow down long enough to take a look. Our Father and His Christ have created and designed the universe with absolute perfection and artistry to be enjoyed and amazed by. Take a lesson from Job.
“Listen to this, O Job, Stand and consider the wonders of God.” (Job 37:14 NASB)
“But as for me, I would seek God, and I would place my cause before God; Who does great and unsearchable things, wonders without number.” (Job 5:8-9 NASB)
TAKE TIME TO ENCOURAGE AND BE ENCOURAGED: If you need encouragement, there is no shortage of edifying scriptures to lift us up. We never have to feel like we are alone. Our heavenly Father can be accessed through prayer any time of the day or night. Ask him through his Son Jesus/Yeshua for the help that you need to get through a difficult time.
Do you know someone who could use encouragement in the form of a kind word or a helping hand? Sometimes even a small gesture can brighten someone’s day or ease their burden. We should be willing to help each other out. You may be doing just fine right now, but one never knows when the tables might be turned and you will be the one needing a boost. Help take care of each other, as our Father takes care of us.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NSAB)
“Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NASB)
“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.” (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 NSAB)
TAKE TIME TO LEARN:Taking the information in the scriptures to heart can make our lives more fulfilling all the way around, but most of all, the Bible holds the information that shows us the way to an unending life in a perfect set up. Along with the beginning of a new year, there may also be uncertainty about what the future holds in a world that tends to be more and more unstable. Researching the scriptures can provide answers, as well as comfort, about the time to come.
While the world’s situation won’t get better for a while, the main focus of the scriptures provides details about Jehovah God’s new kingdom (government); a kingdom which will far exceed our wildest imagination of what total peace and perfection feels like. It will be a place that sees no sorrow or death, inhabited by those who love righteousness and whose desire is to serve Almighty God and His Son. It is not hard to discover this information if one is willing to devote a little time into searching it out. (Psalm 37:9-11; Isaiah 32:17-18; Jeremiah 31:34; Revelation 21:4-5)
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29 NASB)
“Give instruction to a wise man and he will be still wiser, Teach a righteous man and he will increase his learning.” (Proverbs 9:9 NASB)
“Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us. The Scriptures give us patience and encouragement so that we can have hope.” (Romans 15:4 NCV)
It makes good sense to resolve to spend some time doing something that will not only help you live a more satisfying, productive and tranquil life in this frantic world, but which will make a difference for eternity. The best part is that you can begin the process at any time simply by opening your Bible and opening your mind to see what your Creator and His Son have in store for you.
“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:1-3 NASB)