Posted in How-To Guides

3 Tips You Can Use to Avoid Being Unhappy

I have taken it upon myself to conduct an experiment—unofficially, of course, but an experiment, nonetheless. For the past week, I have avoided news sites in an effort to determine how it affects my view of things. Surprisingly, I have found the results quite startling.

Before revealing my findings, I would like to talk a bit about how to avoid being unhappy. I can write about this now because a few years ago I went through days when I had allowed dark clouds to dictate how I felt. It was not after several attempts at learning key coping skills, however, that I am now fully aware of what triggers the moodiness.

With that in mind, here are three tips to help you avoid being unhappy.

1. Stay Clear of Self-Absorbed People

You know the ones of whom I am referring. These folks have nothing but drama in their lives. They cannot seem to look beyond themselves to acknowledge others are living on this planet, too.

I am not talking about people who look to do good in spite of common challenges. I am pointing my finger at narcissists, whose only world is their own. They expect others to worship their every grand accomplishment regardless of their rather ordinary existence.

Avoid these people like used serving bowls, which appear clean on the outside, but are filthy from within. They want you to feel sorry for them because their self-esteem is shattered. They want you to be their strength because they cannot muster enough of it themselves.

And if you do not supply them with their needs, they will move on to those who can.

Run away. You will be happier without them in your life.

2. Be Thankful for at Least One Positive Thing Today

Something incredible happens when you become aware of your surroundings. You learn to see the good, and you change for the better.

Since early February, I have resolved to be thankful for at least one positive thing daily.

As silly as it sounds, when I think about how eating a piece of cheese could brighten my day, I appreciate the experience more than anything I could ever imagine doing in this entire world.

Catching the train on time, listening to a favorite song, the weather cooperating during an event, traffic being light during the journey home, and other things, could mean the difference between unhappiness and being grateful to be alive.

Find that one thing to be thankful for today and cherish the moment. It is another step toward remaining in that positive mindset you so desire.

3. Give God the Glory

I was sick for several days this winter, but you would not have known it had I not told you. That is because throughout the entire ordeal I was giving God the glory.

Why is it we cry out to God whenever we need him? Why can we not pray and thank him every day simply for the very breath that flows in our lungs?

I have grown to include God in every aspect of my life—not because I have to, but because I want to. I realize he has made me, and he has sent his only son, Jesus, as a sacrifice for all the evil things I have done on this earth since the first drop of blood coursed through my veins.

Once I came to the realization God is the only one who will lead me out of illness and into unbound prosperity and health, it is easy to give him the glory for everything that happens in my life.

And if I should so find myself suffering for something he deems me worthy to suffer, then I will not hold back my praise for his awesome kindness toward me. He always has a reason why I should go through the things he puts me through—either to make me better in this life or the next.

God always has a reason.

The Results

Getting back to my little experiment of late—you know, the one about my avoiding news sites this past week?

As strange as it may sound, the longer I lingered on a news site, the more I felt my mood shift from bright and cheery to sullen and downcast.

That is correct. Today’s news is a drag.

Conversely, I also found that when I read about how people had achieved a milestone in their lives—a birth, a graduation, a wedding—my view remained sunny and filled with hope.

Coincidence? Perhaps. But certainly, my experience is something I would not dismiss as trivial. As unscientific as it is, this experiment has taught me to be extra careful with what I feed this puny brain of mine. This pinkish mass in my skull has to last me a lifetime. I cannot play with it in such a way that it would affect my mood, which in turn would affect others who come in contact with me.

Therefore, although this is something I am learning now, I will list this point separately.

Feed your mind with good things and watch your day transform for the better.

Posted in Freedom Friday

Jodi Arias Murder Trial

Jodi Arias. To some, the name brings shivers. I was in a coma for the past seven years until last month when I heard she’d been given a life sentence without parole. Two different juries couldn’t decide if she should receive the death penalty. However, life without parole—it might as well have been a death sentence. She will die in prison.

Jodi Arias
Jodi Arias

ADC 281129. That’s Jodi’s inmate number in the Arizona Department of Corrections. Arizona State Prison Complex – Perryville is now her home. She spends twenty-three hours a day in a 12×7 cell. She can enjoy one hour a day of fresh air—caged. Her bed is hard. Her windows are small. Her toilet is cold and made of metal. Contact with other prisoners is non-existent.

Travis Alexander’s friends found him behind a locked bedroom door rotting in a shower stall, stabbed 27 times, his throat cut from ear to ear, and shot in the face. In court testimony, Mesa Detective Esteban Flores later described the murder as one of the most brutal scenes he has had to investigate in his career.

According to trial prosecutor Juan Martinez, in order to deflect suspicion, Arias not only took meticulous care to stage the scene, wiping the blood from the floor with bathroom towels, but she also attempted to destroy evidence by throwing a digital camera in the washing machine and running it through a cycle.

When questioned by Det. Flores, Arias initially stated she wasn’t at Alexander’s house June 4, 2008, the day of the murder, but had spun a wild tale of being lost in the desert. The next day, after having spent the night in jail, she said two assailants, a man and a woman, killed Alexander. She said she managed to escape with her life.

In 2011, in preparation of her own defense, Arias introduced letters from Alexander depicting him as a pedophile, an accusation the court quickly dismissed after having analyzed the letters as forgeries.

During the trial, she had also accused Alexander of domestic violence, which prosecutor Martinez later disproved with photographic evidence to the contrary.

Other than matching her DNA to the crime scene, including hair follicle and blood sample matches,  the bombshell to the prosecution’s case against Arias was the digital camera she thought she had destroyed in the washing machine. Using EnCase software, Forensics was able to retrieve the SD card and restore deleted photos of Arias dragging Alexander’s bloody body down the hall into the shower.

Arias claimed to have killed Alexander in self-defense because she had dropped his camera on the floor. She said he had lunged at her.

Self-defense. Twenty-seven stab wounds. A slit throat. A shot to the face.

Travis Alexander
Travis Alexander [Photo credit: myspace]
On April 13, 2015, Judge Sherry K. Stephens asked the defendant, Jodi Ann Arias, if she had anything else she wanted to say before sentencing.

“I do remember the moment the knife went into Travis’ throat and he was still conscious. He was still trying to attack me.” Arias said.

To the very end, Arias did not admit to killing Alexander in a jealous rage as the prosecution had proven with the evidence presented. Instead, she used her moment in front of the judge to attack Alexander’s family one last time.

The last word, however, belonged to the state of Arizona. Judge Stephens sentenced Jodi Arias to natural life in prison without the possibility of parole.

At age 34, Jodi Arias is a prisoner of the state. She no longer can sleep in on a Sunday morning as the birds sing their mating calls outside her window, take a walk in the middle of the woods just when it is about to rain, lay on a hill on a cool spring day to watch the clouds change shapes, curl her toes in the sand on the beach as the tide rolls in, sit by the fire with her favorite drink, enjoy a breath of fresh mountain air, celebrate holidays with family, play catch with her siblings, cook a meal for guests, take a plane ride, shop for clothes, go to the movies, cut the grass, drive a car or feel the tender touch of another human being.

Neither can Travis Alexander.