I have already written a couple of posts about positive thinking and with Thanksgiving just having passed I find it appropriate to write another.
I can not stress enough the power of positive thinking. It may sound cliché, but it is so important to grasp this concept when dealing with anxiety. For years I kicked and screamed fighting this very idea. Positive thinking my ass, I would think. Like that would change how I felt. Well let me tell you something, when I finally understood the power of my thoughts my recovery from anxiety took off.
With that, I of course want to share a story.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of my readers. I hope that everyone had a beautiful day filled with the company and love of your family and friends. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays of the year. I am thankful everyday, but on this one very special day it encourages everyone to stop what they are doing, cook up some delicious food and spend an entire day being thankful….together. I love that. I love walking into my mother in laws house as I am greeted by the most delicious smells. I love sitting around a jam packed table as everyone shares what they are most thankful for. I love rushing off to my parents to meet my sisters and their families for dessert. I love picking at the leftovers or even making myself a second plate of dinner. I love going to bed so filled with not food, but gratitude.
This Thanksgiving went a little differently. It all started with my 8 month old getting the stomach virus this past Sunday. The dreaded stomach virus! Talk about anxiety, as soon as one of my kids throw up, my first reaction is, “We’re all going to get it, it’s going to be terrible, we’re all going to die!!!!” Maybe not that last one, but it sure does feel that way. I’m sure that’s most people’s reaction though.
We fortunately made it through my middle daughter’s birthday unscathed, until that night. After all of my precious little babies were tucked into bed a knot planted in my stomach and I knew what was about to happen in my house. I spent the next 24 hours with my face way too close to the toilet. By the time I was feeling better the next night my husband had just enough time to pass the baby off to me before he spent the next 24 hours (all of Thanksgiving) with that very same toilet. It was awful.
There was no Thanksgiving spent with family. There was no lounging around the table while the kids played and the guys watched football. There were no fancy dresses or excited little faces as we piled into the car to nana’s and then grandma’s. Instead there was just me and my three little beauties having a regular day while daddy recovered in bed as we quarantined our family. Not what I had pictured.
Now today, the day after Thanksgiving my husband is outside with my three year old putting up Christmas lights. Just yesterday he could barely keep his head up and here he is determined to get our lights up. As I opened the door to give him hot chocolate he says to me, “You know I kind of think it’s a blessing that we all got sick. It forced us to slow down.” Pow! Just like that everything is okay. He just spent two of his days off from work sick and taking care of his sick wife, missing Thanksgiving, and this is his conclusion of the situation. What a beautiful thought and he is right.
That one simple moment is exactly what I am talking about. Life is what you make it and for years I made myself anxious because of my thoughts. At the end of this crazy holiday we ended up having a different, but very special Thanksgiving. It was a day spent on the floor playing games with my daughters and watching movies. It was a day for getting dressed up with no where to go, having amazing food delivered right to our door from my in-laws. It was a day for after dinner shows performed by the cutest 3 and 4 year olds around. It was a day for homemade pretzels and finding out that the baby LOVES stuffing and cranberry sauce. It was a day for really slowing down and appreciating life.
Our day could have gone so much differently, but it went the way we ended up wanting it to be. You can not always control life, but you can always control how you react to it. Make your reaction a positive one.