By Kellie Bach
Last week I shared with you definitive evidence that Gratitude is good for your mental and physical health. The thing is, it can be really hard to switch our minds from the old patterns of worrying and upset new patterns of gratitude and joy. In each moment of the day we must try to realize that we have control over our thoughts and not the other way around.
This week I have seen and heard about a lot of worry and concern from people due to the outcome of the presidential election. I completely understand these feelings. In fact, thinking back over my life, there have been many times when I have been extremely worried about what the future would bring. I have spent hours worrying about my health, my family, my children… the list is endless. Over time I have realized that the only thing I gained from that worry is lack of sleep, poor health, stress, a short temper… again another endless list. I realized I could not think of one positive thing that I gained from my worry!
Some of you may think when you read this you “must worry about these things,” and that you “cannot live in a dream world and pretend everything is great.” I understand where you are coming from but there is another way.
It is important to note that there is a difference between worrying about something and planning action steps to avoid bad outcomes. For example, I have multiple-sclerosis (MS) and so if I come in contact with a virus I can have an MS flare. Is there any point in worrying about this? No, but there is a point in thinking about how I can minimize the risk. In this example, I make sure to wash my hands and carry hand sanitizer as well as minimize my interactions in large groups of people. While those things decrease my risk, they by no means eliminate it. So, should I worry about getting sick anyway? Of course not. As I said above, worrying brings the opposite effect; it only decreases my health and increases my chances of getting sick!
So what do I do when I feel worried? I try to follow these steps and I’d like you to give them a try, too.
5 Steps to Transform Worry into Gratitude
Step 1 – Become aware in that moment that you are worrying.
Step 2 – Realize where you are in that moment. Are you in danger now?
Step 3 – Look for something in that moment that you can be grateful for. If you cannot think of anything, then be grateful that you woke up this morning and are alive and breathing.
Step 4 – Let the feeling of gratitude wash over your body and spend a couple full moments with the feeling.
Step 5 – Still worrying? Start at step 2 and repeat.
It is important for us all to realize that we are in control of our thoughts. Every time you can realize that you are worrying, stop and change the pattern. The more you do this, the more you will be improving your health and wellbeing. Also, you will find that once you are able to get out of the worry rut, you will be able to think much more clearly and determine if there is anything you can do to help change the situation you are worried about.
Do not get discouraged if you find that you keep discovering that you are worrying. The fact that you are realizing that you are worrying is the most important step in the process. This is because at the moment you realize you are worrying you have control over your thoughts instead of your thoughts having control over you. Every moment that you have control over your thoughts you can chose to think about something you are grateful for and improve your health and wellbeing.
Give this a try for a few days and let me know how you feel in the Comments section below. – Blessings, Kellie
Kellie Bach has been a statistician for over 20 years and for the past 12 years has been the owner and lead statistician at Analytic Solutions. Over a decade ago she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, which led to deep reflection and positive growth in her life. The diagnosis gave Kellie the motivation to become a certified health coach, substantially cleaning up her family’s diet, and allowing her to help many others manage various health conditions and emotional struggles. Through her own process of recovery, Kellie developed a much deeper spiritual practice which has had a huge impact on slowing the progression of MS while enriching her and her family’s lives in the process. Journaling about gratitude, she believes, is one of the cornerstones of her recovery and quality of life. She lives in suburban Philadelphia with her twin daughters and their pets.
“It is through gratitude for the present moment
that the spiritual dimension of life opens up.”