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  • Tammy Arlene

Social media and a 24 hour noisy news cycle can cause both physical and emotional stress. We face many legitimate “unknowns” today. The Covid-19 pandemic, ongoing election turmoil, negative social media and news channels buzzing with nonstop controversy are hard to avoid.

Let’s take a deep breath together and decide what things we can control versus things we cannot. Something we can control is nonstop chiming from social media on our phones. Alerts from our “friends” on various platforms can interrupt focus and disturb our peace of mind. It can feel rewarding to know that people are talking about us, tagging us, and posting about their new hairstyle or lunch selection. They may also be posting things that can cause fear or stress. Don’t get me started on the outright ugly comments some people make! It is distracting and annoying. In times of stress, it’s best to keep in mind that these alerts do not need immediate attention, and much of the time, they don’t deserve our attention at all. The dinging can be easily disabled in settings. Perhaps scheduling an hour (or less) each day to scroll through social media will help ease tension if you feel the need to check in. It may help quiet negative chaos during the day and help you focus on what truly needs to get done. I am working on this myself. It’s so easy to pick up the phone the minute a notification comes in, I tap a quick response, and before long I am immersed in scrolling, commenting, and not getting important things done. This equals more stress!

With the current twenty-four hour news cycle, the same stories “break” all day long. This is good and bad. The bad is the alarms are designed to instantly catch our attention, promote fear, and startle us into a state of anxiety. The good part is that these same “urgent” stories cycle around all day, and sometimes for days on end so we aren’t missing much if we catch it later. Truth is, much of this stuff is not even urgent or important. Checking in on news headlines for five to ten minutes a day can relieve stress.


Take time for you. Let’s try it together.

God’s word assures us that we need not be afraid. Let’s read about this together:

Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV)

“Fear not, for I am with you;

Be not dismayed, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you,

Yes, I will help you,

I will uphold you with My righteous right hand”

We’ll face stressful situations, however, as believers, we are never alone.

This last phrase is repeated as confirmation in Isaiah 41:13 (NKJV)

“For I, the Lord your God, will hold our right hand.

Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’”

I don’t know about you, but it brings me comfort to know that God is holding my hand, especially in these trying times.


A question I've heard is: "What if I live with someone who has the news on all the time?"

May I suggest a set of noise canceling headphones? The ones I have are Bose and I've found them to be incredibly comfortable and helpful when there is background noise I can't control or avoid. There are plenty of other options in various price ranges.

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  • Tammy Arlene

When you think of clutter, does your mind go to the mess on the counter?


Your nightstand?


Or the hidden area under the sink?


Is your clutter tucked away neatly, or out in the open?


It’s true, when we think of clutter, we usually think of physical objects. Emotional clutter is just as prevalent. Today let’s talk about negative self-talk.


Do you think negatively about yourself? Does your mind automatically shift to critical mode when you make a mistake or forget something?


You may not even realize these thoughts when they occur. Sometimes our mind repeats things that we’ve heard about ourselves, and somehow, we believe these things to be true. I was talking with a friend recently, and we discussed how quickly we say, either in our minds or, worse, out loud, “I’m so stupid” or “I look terrible”! Unconsciously, we are affirming negative things, lies about ourselves that create mental clutter and emotional stress. We eventually believe these thoughts to be true. They are not. These thoughts are lies! Let’s break this habit together.

According to God’s word, Philippians 4:8 (NIV) “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Friend, once we recognize these untrue automatic thoughts, we can reframe them and begin to work on the physical clutter in our lives. Let’s focus on what is right, pure and lovely – and that is you.

Bonus:

I’ll share something I learned about this here as well as introduce you to a helpful book that I discovered along the way. Link to grab your copy of Renee Vidor’s book here:


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How we imagine ourselves directly affects how we present ourselves to others. Renee Vidor, in her book, Measuring Up, How to Win in a World of Comparison, teaches us that “[w]hen Comparison is in charge it causes emotional pain, tension, and adverse side effects” (p. 13). This pain can often result in negative self-image and toxic self-talk. This internal dialogue may be a result of how others have treated us, our own internal feelings of not measuring up to certain worldly standards, or, it could be a habit developed to protect us from life’s certain disappointments. Instead of using discouraging events as elements of growth, we may program our brains to believe we cannot succeed because we are not enough, don’t have enough, or are not worthy of success because of our past. Have you even felt sad or defeated for no apparent reason? Could it be that negative and untrue self-talk has invisibly taken over who you truly are designed to be? Let’s find out together with a simple exercise.

This exercise, coupled with Renee’s book and coaching, can help you develop a more positive outlook! Taken seriously over the course of 5 consecutive days, it may be just the tool you need to help get you back on track if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed with negativity, depression, or feeling defeated. If used over a series of days, listing and considering what your internal thought process is may help recognize and replace the lies we unconsciously tell ourselves with the true gifts and talents that only you, my friend, possess.

Remember, this assignment is for you, and your eyes only (unless you decide to share). Honesty is key. It can be done at the end of each day or printed and filled in throughout the day as thoughts occur to you. Take a notebook and divide the page in half. Dump negative self-talk thoughts in the left column and think about them logically. In the right column, rewrite the thought in a positive way. At the end of the day, set a timer for 5 minutes and journal how you feel about the process.

I’ll be transparent and share an example from my list.

Self – Concept/First Thoughts Truth/Second Thoughts

(How we instantly perceive ourselves) (How we really are)


I never finish anything, that is why I By making time to create an

am such a failure at everything I do organized task list, I am becoming

more productive and finishing what

I start

What are your thoughts?

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  • Tammy Arlene

Are you discouraged? Facing a complicated task? Does a goal you set for yourself suddenly seem unattainable? Your current situation may feel overwhelming. Take heart, it isn't. Please be encouraged, you can handle what is in front of you. During my time in insurance sales, I was able attain or exceed the quota I was assigned by reminding myself that I could accomplish goals if I would “eat the elephant one small bite at a time.” When I focused on the big number, I became stressed and my progress stopped. My health suffered, too. This concept works for our personal issues too. Commit to making one small change, taking a step, even if it's a tiny one, toward your target. You will begin to see things move in the right direction if you are consistent and remain positive. Keep your focus on the "one thing" at hand, while acknowledging the end result you desire. Once each step is complete, focus on the next one.

Your tiny step can be something as simple as keeping a Bible verse or affirmation (3X5 card) in your pocket to help lift your spirits. Reading and journaling a Bible verse or chapter at the end of the day can be refreshing too. Bonus: this will also bring you closer to God. Perhaps your self-esteem is low. Remember, you are highly valued! How about taking a moment to pamper yourself with a two minute foot rub before bed? In sales, one more sales call added to the beginning or end of your day can make a huge difference. If you are a writer, set a timer and focus on journaling/scribbling for five minutes (even if you write "I am a highly skilled writer," over and over) before tackling writer’s block. This may be what is needed to get your creativity flowing. If you have a cleaning or organizing task you have procrastinated on, how about setting a timer for five minutes? Focus on one drawer (or a corner of one, if it seems too overwhelming). Celebrate your progress, then keep moving forward.


Speaking of clutter, sometimes the first step to take in cleaning an area of your home is clearing the clutter and negative noise from your mindset! If we are frazzled, the task before us may seem larger than it really is. I'll post more about this in the future.

Here is a good verse to ponder if you are feeling overwhelmed:

Ps 61:2 (NKJV)

From the end of the earth I will cry to You,

When my heart is overwhelmed;

Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

It often becomes necessary to remove a small obstacle from our paths. Let me explain.

You may think one small task/object can’t make a difference. Yes, it can. See the photo of the little rock in my hand? That tiny thing was in my shoe. I felt a small irritation near my ankle and kept walking. After all, I told myself, “I am busy.” I was in a hurry, with important places to get to. Since it felt like a small thing, I didn’t think it was a big deal and left it alone. Within a half hour of rushing around, this tiny rock shifted and became a big deal. What I thought was a tiny pebble quickly turned into what felt like a razor sharp boulder, I knew I had blister to deal with. It took me 30 seconds to remove my shoe and get the rock out! I felt instant relief, and also embarrassment because I knew I should have removed it before it caused discomfort. Later on, I had to take time to clean and put a bandage on two blisters because of the irritation. I put the pebble in my pocket and now have it on my desk as a reminder: Something small can become something “big” if it is not taken care of right away.


Question: Is there a pebble of negativity or a habit that you need to remove from your shoe? If so, can you replace it with a positive step and keep walking toward your goal?


If we take a small step in the right direction, we will see big results over time. These results will be multiplied if we remove negative thoughts and distractions in the process.

Sometimes we don’t do that one small thing we know would make us feel better. I know I am guilty of this. I make excuses—my most common one is thinking that I am too busy to take care of my emotional and physical health. I tell myself, “I don’t have time” to do whatever it is. In the long run, not making important yet tiny changes (adding or removing something) could end up costing more time and, and in the example above, pain.

All my best,

Tammy Arlene

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