Good morning friends. I mentioned a week or so ago that I was going to try to write something on a regular basis. Your responses were so encouraging that I felt obligated to follow through. So, here we go.

My plan is to publish something of interest—and hopefully of value—occasionally humorous perhaps—each Friday. I realize, as the saying goes, “When people make plans, the gods laugh.” We’ll see if I can keep my promise.

Basically, I have the temerity to believe that having lived 90 years I’ve learned something that would be useful to pass along.

My first topic is simply stress management, very timely in today’s world wouldn’t you agree? I’ll follow that with other thoughts on how to make your life more enjoyable. I’ll slice it into individual topics, one per week. I don’t want to overtax your brain (couldn’t resist that).

Take Control

There are an unlimited number of suggestions, advisories and demands offered regarding how to improve and extend our lives. In some situations one wonders why a person would want to extend such as being in prison for life, suffering from an incurable and painful malady, or having lost a great love. It’s easy to see no relief from such pains.

On the other hand, for most people—thank God—there is a good reason to want to improve and extend one’s life. I assume you are one of those fortunates.

There was a time in my life when everything for Laura and me was somewhere between distressing and horrible. This went on for over five years. We were stuck. We couldn’t just walk away; yes, of course it was in part due to the behavior of some of our extended family, exacerbated by the flooding of our house. Each day I woke up with the question, “Who do I have to fight today?”

There were individuals and organizations that were making life miserable for us. There seemed to be no end to adversity. Then, a psychologist friend of mine took me in hand and asked if I was spending a lot of time thinking about the individuals and companies who were attacking us. “Of course”, I answered.

Then he said, “You told me they have stolen physical things from you. So, why you are letting them steal your thoughts as well?”

At that moment the darkness parted. Today, the thieves are still on the fringe of our life, not affecting us as much anymore, controllable, but still out there. So, from that day to this, any time one of their images invades my consciousness, I block them out —IMMEDIATELY.

I will deal with them whenever I have to, but I simply will not give them another thought.

This isn’t as difficult as I expected.

If one of them tries to walk through the door of my conscious thought, I slam it and go another direction, one that is positive, rewarding and pleasurable. I shift my thoughts to activities that give me pleasure, such as writing and golf. (I was a very good player at one time—even shooting my age at 75). Obviously, writing is my life (18 books and nearly 400 articles). I’m very serious about both. It doesn’t take much effort to go in their direction. After breaking out I’ve learned to relax, reassess our general situation and get on to improving it.

That is the message. If you have someone attacking you, don’t give them your idle time thoughts. They don’t deserve you. I’ll say it again. Start Now: Don’t give the negative people your thoughts as well as anything else of value. Focus your mind on the problems and opportunities in your life, situations where your positive effort will make your life better. Sooner or later you will drive out the invaders and have peace of mind again.