The Right Balance to Turn Worry into Gratitude

 In Better Life, Focusing on the positive

Last night, my husband and I were sitting at the dining room table after finishing our dinner. As we sat there in silence, I finally said,” Isn’t it funny how quiet the house feels?” Our 15-year-old daughter was staying overnight at a friend’s. Just to be clear, she is not a noisy kid. She’s usually reading, playing a game, or “chatting” with friends on her phone. But the energy in the house felt different.

Then my husband commented, “I wonder if this is what it will feel like when she goes off to college. What did we do in the evenings before she was born?” I try not to think too long about how it will feel, because I will start to cry. I know I will miss her and worry about her and feel sad despite the fact that I’m excited to have her pursue her dreams. In fact, I’m getting choked up just writing this.

I think of how I want to use these feelings for something good. I don’t want to dwell on them and put myself into a downward spiral of dread and anxiety. But I want to experience them long enough to remind myself how much I want to appreciate and savor the time we still have with her at home.

There are so many things in life we can worry about. We can worry about the health and safety of ourselves and our loved ones. We can worry about losing our job or our financial security. We can worry about our kids’ future. But instead of letting this worry make us feel anxious, discouraged, or fearful, what if we could use it to appreciate what we have, right now.

What if we allowed ourselves a brief moment to consider what it would be like to lose our health so we could appreciate it more now. As I age, this is something I think about. I think about this as my husband ages, as our parents age. What if we allowed ourselves a moment to feel what it would be like to lose our job, our home, etc.?

Gratitude can be a powerful benefit to our wellbeing but it’s not something to think about, it’s something we need to feel. I’ve found that the right balance between worry and appreciation can help me feel gratitude at a deeper level. Give it a try. I would love to hear how it works for you.

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