Mental Health

6 Tips for Real Joy From Country Star Sara Evans

Keeping a positive mindset is key.

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Country music star Sara Evans’ life might seem like a stream of hit records and sold-out concerts, but her new book, Born to Fly (Buy on Amazon, $18.19), named after her beloved song, sets the record straight about what a roller-coaster life she’s lived.

From a near-drowning experience and being hit by a car in her youth to surviving a terrifying incident on a plane seven years ago, Sara’s life hasn’t been as carefree as many would expect of an award-winning singer.

“I don’t know why God keeps scaring me and saving me!” she shares with Woman’s World. “But it’s always for a reason. Even when we were tumbling through the sky those years ago, I had peace because I knew I was going to Heaven to meet Jesus.”

That faith, coupled with a strong sense of resilience, has helped Sara not only to survive but thrive through life’s ups and downs, including a painful divorce, raising three kids, then finding new love with former NFL quarterback Jay Barker. “I’ve always been a fighter,” Sara shares. “I think it comes from growing up working my tail off on a Missouri farm every day. But the trials I’ve been through have made me strong and assured me that God has a plan.”

Part of that plan includes inspiring legions of fans through her heartfelt music. This spring, Sara even released a new album titled Copy That (Buy on Amazon, $10.99), featuring covers of classic hits from several genres, including “My Sharona,” “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” and “Come On Eileen.”

Today, the 49-year-old Nashville transplant has a busy career, an active blended family life and gratitude in her heart. “I’ve been through so much, but I’ve also had so many blessings. Just to be given the gift to sing — how lucky am I?” she says with a smile. “Life is great, and I’m looking forward to the future!” Here, Sara shares her tips for living your best life — now!

Do things for you.

“Being onstage my whole life, watching myself age and go up and down in weight, I’ve had feelings of insecurity,” Sara admits. “But anytime I can do something good for myself, it increases my self-esteem. If I can stay away from sugar or get my hair colored, it gives me a little perk and makes me feel better. Self-esteem isn’t something that you automatically get — you have to work for it! The only way you can do that is get up in the morning and decide to focus on you. And when you do, it feels great!”

Look to tomorrow.

“There’s always tomorrow for dreams to come true!” Sara says, citing the opening line to the Christmas classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. “There’s so much darkness in the world right now that we need to try to do anything we can — whether that’s taking a drive in the country or something that takes us out of the news and all of that — to find silver linings. Just remember that there is always tomorrow and so much peace in store.”

Do it all in love.

“In marriage and every other relationship, you have to have trust and mutual respect,” says Sara. “It’s important to give everybody the freedom to think how they want, be who they are and love them for that. I think that’s why marriages break up and problems arise — one person wants to control the other, and you can’t do that. You have to respect each other in everything you do. The Bible tells us, ‘Everything you do, do it in love.’ When you live by that, it makes it so much easier to find happiness!”

Schedule gal time.

“Whenever I’m in need of a pick-me-up, I love to go to dinner with friends,” Sara shares. “A month ago, I went down to Birmingham, Alabama, and we went out, had some wine and laughed…it made my heart so happy! I also love to go to my brother and sister-in-law’s house, or have them over. I’m big on family get-togethers — they do the heart so much good!”

Beat worry like this.

“Whenever I’m feeling anxious, I’ll talk to someone on the phone, watch a feel-good show or go outside,” Sara confides. “Walking outside grounds me to the earth and reminds me that God is in control. I try to remind myself that anxiety is just a feeling: It’s not reality. Your reality has not changed at all. I’ll go through my mind and figure out why I’m anxious, and once I do, I pray until I feel at peace again.”

Kick back with TV.

“I love television — it’s such a fun distraction!” Sara beams. “I love dramas like Ozark and British shows like Downton Abbey. It depends on what mood I’m in! If I’m feeling anxious, then I’ll watch something feel-good, but other times, I’m in the mood for The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, just to watch all the drama unfold. I get a lot of inspiration from great television and writing — it helps me unwind and indulge!”

This article originally appeared in our print magazine.

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