On NPR, the news report said that there had been a suicide bomber in Afghanistan. I realized I was already in a cranky mood this morning and wisely changed the channel.

But later, I looked up the story on the internet, almost as if I wanted to add to my own irritation.

Right on cue, I was agitated after skimming the article.  A guy in a uniform worked his way into a heavily fortified compound in Kabul and killed several police officers.  That angered me. The Taliban claimed responsibility, saying they wanted to disrupt an upcoming election. That really ticked me off.  The government spokesman, Sediq Sediqqi, said the death toll stood at six and an investigation was underway. That irked me too.  Who would name a person Sediq when the family’s last name is Seddiqi?!?  Criminy.

Soon I was hip to my own jive.  I realized I was now just looking for things to confirm my sense that there was always a reason to be in a bad mood!

The thing is, there’s always a way to change the channel in your mind, and put yourself into a good mood.

Listen to your soul’s early warning system.  You’ll get clear signals, such as feeling tight or tense for apparently no reason; being snappish with those around you; a feeling of being out of control or disconnected.

If you find yourself feeling this way, stop focusing on the thing that’s riling you up and leave the room.  Clear your head.  Take deep breaths. Life is never all or nothing, although it may seem like it when you’re really worked up. You always do this!  Or, Life never works out for me!

But you know that’s just pessimistic propaganda.

You can change how you feel by remembering that you are blessed.  God knows you by name.  In fact, he knows everything about you and still loves you.  That alone is an awesome game-changer.

Reel in your thoughts like you would a fishing line.  Don’t let your mind get too far off course, and don’t pull in what you don’t want.  So you hooked an old shoe or a tin can?  Throw it back into the lake.  Don’t get hung up on the stuff you should just let float by.

Get into the habit of seeing the good in people, no matter what attitude they bring into the room with them.

Remember that a good mood is as contagious as a bad one, and you control what you put out into the world. Be a light spirit, even when the world around you seems heavy. It makes life so much better when you look for the good in people – or, should I say:  when you look for the God in people.

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