One night, a few minutes after saying good night to my girls, I walked back into apologize to the oldest. “I’m sorry I was out of patience at bedtime, and I’m sorry if it felt like I was out of patience with you. I’m not. I was cranky because I’m thinking about some stuff that frustrated me and I’m out of patience with all of that. I love you.”

“It’s ok. Just don’t think about that. Find your happy thought, Mama. Think about good things.”

Gosh I love this kid. And I’m so grateful that God uses even our kids to remind us to live what we believe.

I’m a thinker (perhaps an over-thinker) and so I’ve learned that my biggest battles are often in my head. And because I want my girls to know how to win those battles in their head, I’ve taught them from an early age to “find your happy thought” whenever they’re upset, anxious, or sad.

There’s a lot of emotions and a lot of thoughts in even the littlest mind. We can all learn healthy habits to “take captive every thought” and choose to think on things that are true, noble, pure, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy.

Ultimately, what we think about manifests in our life – in our attitudes, our actions and our emotions. Rehearsing negative thoughts bleeds out in my behavior – irritability, short temper, impatience – because rehearsing the negative magnifies the negative.

But we get to choose what we think about.

Changing how I feel begins with changing how I think.

It’s exactly that simple.

Try it. Next time you, or a kiddo, are feeling …anxious…frustrated… or sad find a happy thought.

Take captive the negative thought train barreling through your head – shut it down.

Look for the good, the excellent, lovely, whatever is true, admirable, praiseworthy – those are happy thoughts.

Your happy place.
Your favorite people.
Your favorite song.
Remember who loves you
Remember who’s on your side.
Remember who’s cheering for you.
Your success today.
Your good deed yesterday.
The smile on her face.
Her contagious laughter.
His huge hug.

Build a train of happy thoughts and let that guide your thoughts as if you literally switched trains in your head.

As you do, see what happens to your emotions, your attitude, and your behavior.