Don't Worry, Be Happy
What a motto this saying became back in the 80's when the song "Don't Worry, Be Happy" came out. At that time, I worried about very little. As my health deteriorated though, I took on the role of the proverbial "worrywart". It kind of snuck up on me and it was something I was good at.
Something bad could happen
I tended to worry most about things that "could" happen. Worrying became second nature for me. But what I noticed from keeping a journal is that on the days that I let worry overcome me, I also struggled to breathe. It was a cycle. The sicker my lungs felt, the more my mind took to worrying.
Look for some joy
Worry is not a positive force in my life. Knowing and accepting this fact has now begun to change my focus. It has made me concentrate more on the things that bring me joy and less on my concerns about things that might happen someday.
Interestingly, the thing that brings me the most joy is gratitude. When I allow myself to recognize the things that I am grateful for, I become happier. I also begin to breathe easier. And, when I am feeling gratitude, I forget to worry.
What does it have to do with COPD?
All of this may seem trivial and not really related to COPD. Yes, happiness and gratitude are emotions, while COPD is a physical ailment. But what I now realize is that the simple act of considering things that make me grateful impacts my overall health.
I start each morning by quietly making a mental note of a few things that I am grateful for. After I pour my cup of coffee, I get my journal out and write those thoughts down. I have discovered that much to my surprise, I have so many things that I am grateful for.
On a good day, I keep a running list of all the happy thoughts that come to mind. On a hard day, I will cling to the few things that I have thought of that morning and look for satisfaction in just those few things.
Try it, you might like it
I would like to challenge anyone that is reading this to begin an exercise in gratitude. What's the worst that could happen? I can't answer that for you. But, I will tell you the best thing that could come from it is that you have a breathe easy day.
Do you have a COPD exacerbation tool kit?