This year, January arrives with a heavy dose of gravitas. Anxiety often accompanies a sense of solemnity, weighing us down during times of change. And we are certainly in the midst of big change. Here’s the thing — worry, a particular type of anxiety, represents the most useless of all human emotions. In fact, we humans are the only species with minds capable of imagining future outcomes, outcomes that rarely happen the way we imagine them. This allows us to be consciously aware of our fears, and to analyze them, leaving us to wonder, how to cope with them? Despite the challenges of this situation, I want to infuse my advice with a message of inspiration and optimism. In this spirit, I’m sharing with you what my clients often call a “Kate-ism:” Replace gravitas with gratitude.
Replace worry with gratitude
The best thing we can do when we are overcome by this sense of anxiety is to replace thoughts of what we are worried about with thoughts of what makes us thankful. Shift your focus to hope and positivity, and your whole mindset changes.
I use this practice often in my personal and professional life. Recently, gratitude helped me cope with serious news from a friend. He is having a malignant tumor removed soon, and asked for my support. When I heard, my heart sank, and my mind flooded with worst-case scenarios. I knew I had to focus on replacing my anxious thoughts with gratitude. I told him how grateful I was for his confidence in me, and that he could count on my support. I shared how grateful I was that he had a top surgeon, a strong prognosis, and an optimistic outlook.
As I felt and expressed my gratitude, my body relaxed, my breathing deepened. I connected more deeply with my friend. If the worry appears again, I will reiterate my gratitude again and again.
Gratitude is a Mindset
Gratitude is a mindset, an attitude that must be practiced. Gratitude is a way of being together — at home and in the workplace. What are you grateful for? How do you express your gratitude?
I invite you to fully embody and express your gratitude this week be it through a message, an acknowledgment of a coworker, spending time with your child, or a comment to a friend over dinner. Remember, if unwelcome gravitas enters the space, simply acknowledge it, and then give thanks for what really matters.