Editor’s Note: In a nod to our Presbyterian heritage, we regularly feature a column from a PMMA® chaplain in our newsletter. This month’s column comes from Robert “Bob” Griffin, chaplain at Topeka Presbyterian Manor®.
Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow on Groundhog Day. For those who gauge the future by a groundhog, that was supposed to mean we were going to have six more weeks of winter. For some, that might be a welcomed forecast. For others, the winter has dragged on long enough!
So, as we turn the calendar to a new month in March, what are we to do? Glad you asked!
The Apostle Paul has wise advice for us:“…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” (Philippians 4:8, NIV). Sometime later, a man of much influence, Buddha, made this observation: “We are shaped by our thoughts, we become what we think.”
What we think and how we think matters. Our thoughts influence our emotional, physical, and spiritual health. You’ve probably heard of “the winter blues.” The winter blues is a real thing!
In an article published on February 2nd “Verywellhealth.com” Nurse Carrie Madormo writes: “If you’ve ever found yourself feeling rather blah during the winter months, you have likely experienced the winter blues. This very common condition affects just about every one of us at some point when we notice a shift in our moods during the colder, darker days of winter. It’s normal to feel down, sluggish, or not quite yourself during this time.” The winter blues are real but we need not let them rob us of our joy and vitality in life.
One of the ways for us to cope with the winter blues, or a longer winter, is to control our thoughts. We can do that! We may not be able to control the temperature, snowfall, freezing rain, or groundhog, but we CAN control our thoughts.
Take your thoughts to a place, a person, or a thing that rings true of all that is good. Focus your thoughts on the pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy things of life. For me, it’s seeing a picture of my purely innocent two-year-old grandson with a bowl of spaghetti turned upside down on his head. Or, the sight of a lovely bright red cardinal sitting on a tree limb (perhaps trying to be inconspicuous but he’s too beautiful to go unnoticed!). Or a friend who sent me a note saying they were thinking of me – excellent! Whatever those things are for you, think about such things. You’ll smile more, enjoy life more, “…and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:9, NIV).