Updated: Oct 5, 2020
So, the other day I was walking our dog and for absolutely no reason, out of the clear blue, I had this intense worry about something bad happening to my husband. It was one of those darts of anxiety that make you picture accidents and loved ones -- the type of thing that is not at all preventable. (I know that I am not the only one who gets these little worry darts.) The funny thing is, I feel like these feelings happen more when things are actually going well. Does anybody know why that is?
Anyway, there I was with a beautiful day and a happy pup, and a perfectly healthy husband at home and a dart of worry struck me. So, I went into my arsenal of positivity and came out with the most potent weapon I have -- Gratitude.
Seriously, I cannot emphasize this enough--
Gratitude is the answer to so many problematic questions.
I started listing all of the things that I feel gratitude for -- starting with the target of my little worry dart -- my husband. I went through all the great things about him, us, especially funny things. Then I went on to the other people in my life who have made my life richer -- my siblings, my parents, my nieces and nephews, my friends. (Honestly, once you start to feel gratitude for all of the people in your life the worry dissolves into nothing, but I kept going anyway.) Then I said some "thank yous" for my pets and their quirks. Then I went to things about life here where I am --- ease and convenience, beautiful mountains, trees, birds, the smell of coffee, the feeling of a breeze, etc. (and since I was on a walk outside I could look at things that I felt gratitude for right in front of me). My feeling of worry and unease switched to a feeling of lightness and buoyancy as I went through my gratitude list.
It is like a magic trick. "Watch the worry disappear before your very eyes!!!!'
Since one sweep over my FB feed shows me how many people are feeling frequent worry and anxiety, I'm going to suggest a specific gratitude practice for you to win your battle with worry and anxiety:
1. Spot it immediately:
Anxiety or Worry: You know where you start to feel it. Is it in your stomach? Does your chest get tight? Do you tense your shoulders? You know where it is for you.
2. Actively pull your attention to the blessings in your life:
The moment you start feeling this early sign of worry or anxiety start to say thank you for the good things in your life.
Begin with the people and end with silly things.
3. Keep it up until you feel your physical anxiety spot relax.
Keep going until you feel light and the tension in your stomach/chest/shoulders or wherever you feel it begins to release.
4. Put it in the most powerful format for you:
If you are religious you do this in the form of prayer.
If you are spiritual but not particularly religious, direct your gratitude list toward the universe.
If you are an atheist or agnostic, just list the things you are grateful for to yourself.
The more detail you give the faster and more thoroughly your worry will dissipate.
The more often you do this the more worry-free you'll be overall. (Habit is powerful.)
In the fight between gratitude and anxiety gratitude will win.
PS. The impact of Gratitude is actually what inspired me to write my first book. It is called LUCY CATE AND HER GRATITUDE ATTITUDE. I wrote a book about it because I wished that I had been practicing it habitually my whole life. (For Lucy Cate fans you'll notice that my illustrated world was in its early stages -- still cute, but more visually simplistic than the later Lucy Cate books.)
(*the following are paid affiliate links)
Another resource that I recommend is the Five Minute Journal -- It starts your day with a gratitude practice. Click Below to check it out. It really only takes five minutes in the morning and five minutes in the evening.
LoA planner and Passion Planner also have a place for gratitude if you prefer your journaling/planning to happen in a calendar format. Click below to check those out.
** If you'd like to check out my other children's books or my daily practice journal for dancers click below: