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Stop. Breathe. Appreciate.

Feeling a little negative or down?

Been there, done that, and still go back there every once in a while. But the difference now is that I don’t settle into those feelings for too long anymore.

Take last week for example. I had been swimming in the murky waters of Benadryl for days, battling allergies and a painful sinus infection (which also turned out to be a horrible tooth infection as well). Then my computer crashed, taking with it six months of work (even though the “cloud” was supposed to have my back). And then, well, other smaller annoying things invited themselves to the party and crawled across my field of vision.

But as I started to tumble and lose control, I remembered that I still had a choice.

Yes, even with the pain and frustration and technology rage, I still had a choice on what to focus on.

I reached for a journal and did an activity that always helps me to refocus: I started making a list of all the things I appreciated in the moment. I didn’t focus on trying to look at the bright side of an infected, swollen mouth/cheek/face, but instead turned away from that and found the good. I wrote slowly at first and then faster and faster. I put down the names of everyone I was grateful for, like my husband who was taking care of me and making my “soft” dinners and picking up all those prescriptions. And my oldest daughter who called from work wanting to know if I needed her to bring me some chocolate pudding. (I did.) And my youngest daughter who gave me a gigantic hug and wanted to come to the dentist office for moral support. And my son-in-law who struck up a conversation about Bitcoin because he knew that would really get my mind going away from the pain. And the two white giant family dogs who were always there, offering their fluffy fur to pet.

Before too long, I was on the right path again, so full of appreciation and gratitude for my life that I knew I could weather the dental storm. The pain was still there. But so was a lot of beauty.

So the next time you find yourself feeling frustrated (or any other negative emotion), do these three things as soon as you can:




And make a list. I promise that within the 10 minutes it takes to do this exercise, you’ll feel at least 10 times better.