Thoughts are powerful. If you don’t believe me, think about a time when you were sad, feeling unloved or unlovable, and on the verge of tears. Remember your energy level, chest heaviness, and breathing rate. Discouraged, depressed, or hopeless could be words to describe how you felt.
Now, imagine scraping your scratch-off ticket and winning $220. Suddenly life isn’t so bad and you call a friend to make plans for the evening. Despair lifted and options returned. Life went from zero to seven, and what changed? Your thoughts. What triggered your doldrums still existed.
Imagine worrying about your health. Your stomach cramped, a rash showed up on your face, and you couldn’t fall or stay asleep. A Google search discovered terminal diseases to explain your symptoms. After tests, the doctor gave you a clean bill of health and recommended
relaxation exercises and less computer time. You felt stronger, happier, and more grateful. What changed? Not your symptoms, but your thoughts.
In the first scenario, you could have continued gloom and doom, and in the second, you could have looked for another doctor to confirm your worries. But you didn’t. You allowed your thoughts to shift. Therefore, your mental health, daily optimism, and future outlook improved. You exchanged worry and stress for hope, possibilities, and a touch of reality.
Last week I had a stomach bug, felt miserable, and spent three days in a poor me state-of-mind. What helped shift my thoughts and relieve my fears was a heart to heart conversation with a trusted friend. Nothing impacts like painful truth.
When in a funk, I also know to get out of the house, talk to people, help someone, walk, ride my bike, vacuum, write, turn on an audiobook, scrounge through a thrift store, bake, and clean the garage. My goal is to jar or juggle negative thoughts—to count blessings instead of hoard darkness. Staying home and feeding unhealthy (and usually untrue) thoughts is not a prescription for mental wellness.
Deep dark thoughts happen when hanging out in the wrong neighborhood, one where voices and actions lead down the wrong path. Changed thoughts can help one climb out of the hole.
Sometimes, we feel downhearted because life picks on us. Nobody is exempt from life’s low- blows, events where worry and stress are warranted. During those times, heavy emotion is necessary and reasonable, but temporary is the key. We need to give ourself time to be mad, sad, and afraid, let’s say three to four days, but not sign a 30-year mortgage. We validate pain, and then find truthful thoughts that serve us better.
Closing with an anonymous quote: “Worrying does not take away tomorrow’s troubles; it takes away today’s peace.”
Allow YOUR thoughts to shift.
Until the next time: Live while you live.
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