The Up Beat
By Amy Wong

A Positive Thinking Devotional

One of the nicest perks of my job is all the interesting and inspiring books that cross my desk. Those that have a possible story for the magazine, I try to look at right away. The others have to wait until I have a free moment.

Some books are particularly tempting, though, and it’s hard to resist paging through them, even if I have pressing deadlines. This week I gave in to temptation—I have my colleagues at Guideposts Books to blame/thank for this—and took a peek at the Norman Vincent Peale daily devotional Positive Living Day by Day.

Each time I finished editing a story or something else on my to-do list, I read a devotional or two. A good way to reward myself, I figured. And an even better way to keep myself positive and productive, it turned out, because Dr. Peale’s devotionals give simple yet effective positive thinking tips. Here’s a sampling (these aren’t in chronological order because I jumped around the book at random):

Act as if… (October 12) “You can bring about the ideal condition by persistently acting as though that ideal condition already existed,” Dr. Peale writes. Scared about doing something new? Act as though you’re fearless and give it a try. Plagued by negative thoughts? Act as if you’re a positive thinker and slowly you’ll find yourself becoming one.

Take some quiet time. (August 31) Dr. Peale quotes the Indian poet Tagore—“Every day wash your soul in silence”—and suggests that we all set aside a few minutes a day to close our eyes, sit still and be silent. Press pause on all the noise in your life—turn off your cell and computer if you have to—and savor the silence. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?

Be grateful. (April 22) Dr. Peale recalls a man named Jim who was going through terrible struggles and yet when he prayed, didn’t ask God for anything but instead thanked him. How come? Dr. Peale asked. “God knows what I need,” Jim replied. “Let me tell you all the wonderful things I have…” Next time you feel down, count your blessings. Don’t you feel better?

Amy Wong is the executive editor of Guideposts and was a founding editor of Positive Thinking. She lives in New York City with her adopted dog, Winky, a natural-born positive thinker who believes that everyone has a treat for her and every day is the best day of her life. Amy hopes to be that optimistic someday (she’s working on it!).

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The writings of Norman Vincent Peale have helped me through the darkest moments of my life. He was surely sent as a ministering angel to help millions like me who have struggled to fight the darkness within and the perils that plague us in our daily life. I admit that I am not yet spiritually mature enough and still cling to his writings to keep me going but I look forward to the time when I will be able to use them as a practical guide in my life and not as a crutch, although I am grateful to God that he has given me one.

Yes, what a blessing Dr. Peale's devotionals are! This morning, panic thoughts were rising with in me and I stumbled upon the positive thinking devotional. It just goes to prove the scripture that tells us "God knows our need before we ask"!

All of these suggestions are good, but I especially like the last one. Every morning I write at least five things about the previous day that I'm especially thankful for. Some people do this at night, but I like doing it in the morning because it reminds me of the day before and sets the stage for being more aware of the blessings that the current day is surely going to bring.