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If worrying was a paying job, I’d be a rich woman. – M.J. Ryan

Here it is, Thanksgiving week, and the focus is on turkey, family, football, and oh yes, gratitude.

Like many people today, I’m aware of the benefits of a regular practice of gratitude. Increased immune strength, a boost in endorphins, a sense of satisfaction and contentment – these are all things I’ve experienced firsthand with my (not perfect) experiments with expressing gratitude.

One of the best effects of gratitude, however, I’ve overlooked until recently. In ‘The Gifts of Gratitude,‘ author M.J. Ryan writes:

“How swiftly a sense of gratefulness banishes the worry warts!”

Ryan explains that she’s restored many hours previously lost to the worry warts. How? By catching herself in the act of worrying and replacing it immediately with gratitude for the present moment.

I tried it, and it works. Eureka! When my mind wants to wander ahead into projection,  a swift mental kick back into the present with gratitude replaces the worry with a sense of calm.

So it seems banishing the worry warts is not a matter of just letting go; it’s replacing worry with the opposite emotion, which is gratitude. Simple? Yes. Easy? No. Worth it? Definitely yes.

Exercise: Write down one of your pet worries (if you don’t have one, borrow from a friend). Now write down one thing you are grateful for about that same situation, person, or event, right here and now.

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