Michelle (M): I have taken on several new responsibilities lately in addition to the ones that I already have. I realize that this will keep me busier but the opportunity to serve and to make a difference makes the challenges surmountable.

This calls to mind a quote I saw when I attended the Integrated Bar of the Philippines House of Delegates in Puerto Princesa a few weeks agp: “Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.”

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The daily grind can make our lives stressful. I read about some tools that may prove to be powerful steppingstones necessary for the greater achievement of absolute joyful living. The simplest tool is to sleep more soundly.

Sleep is absolutely essential to improve and maintain energy levels, immune system effectiveness, mental and emotional clarity and overall quality of life. When you feel good, you function better.

Darwin John (DJ): That’s right. If you feel good, you do good. Sleeping is more important than we think. It brings positive energy into our lives. Things do not always happen the way we want them to. And there really are times when even though we have given our all, the outcome is still not what is desired.

This doesn’t mean we all just have to keep on nodding or to be scared to make things right. We also can’t be just complacent on what can be done better. What can make the difference is in our attitude. And the best place to start is to look within. We all are blessed with strengths and some weaknesses to work on. No one also promised us a perfect world. But it’s usually when we have accepted who we are, when we are contented with the person that we are made of when the world also seems to shift to our favor.

M: Developing positive attitudes can help destress our lives. Sometimes we have to relearn to get back to basics. Money cannot buy happiness. It is the simplest things in life that often gives us the most pleasure. I received a forwarded mail about 12 ways to improve your relationship and your life.Among the 12 are:

"Choose to be happy rather than right in your relationships." It prevents a lot of arguing.

"Pay it forward." For every kind deed offered to you, do a kind deed for someone else.

"Refrain from making judgments, think of something positive instead.”

DJ: I agree. A few years ago, hate mail was circulated in the office where I used to work. Frustration is the usual default reaction especially if one is doing his or her best to make the most of how things are going.

The experience was profound, not to mention painful. But it also lifted up people. A circumstance can be careless, cruel and even downright evil. To exist in our crisis-ridden world, some of us have hardened and turned into the kind of people we wouldn’t wish upon our worst enemies.

It is good to remind ourself that in every difficulty, there is true grace and one need only to be open to receive it. We still can choose to take into ourselves some of the pain of the world and bring something new and good, too.

M: Because times are tough we sometimes find ourselves unforgiving, hard or unkind. I think more than ever we need to anchor ourselves on God.

Research has shown that those who have developed their spirituality through associating with other spiritual individuals or having their own personal and unique beliefs, live longer, more satisfying lives.

DJ: It also helps that we still find a lot of people of courage and integrity. They take a stand despite the odds and firmly believe that we still have what it takes if we only harness our inner strength.

Living is not a question of having things our way. It is choosing to see what can be, what can’t be and the difference we can make. If we look for imperfections, we will find a lot. If we also look for greatness, we also have plenty to grateful of. At the end, we find what we are looking for.

(E-mail us at ssinglestalk@yahoo.com)