It took me a long time to learn how to worry less and be happier. Many years.

I now see that I worried so much because I was just thinking with my brain. The brain is designed to be protective and be on the look-out for danger. Only using your brain to think makes everything – even the good stuff – look like a source for concern.

So when you get a promotion, instead of being happy that your hard work paid off, brain thinks – can you really do this job? A positive report from your doctor has brain worrying that she must have missed something that’s probably life threatening.

Brain throws up more things to worry about and lacks a program for happiness. We think the brain is the house of reason, but sometimes brain helps us believe in that which is untrue.

It was time to give my brain a rest, and to start thinking with my heart instead. I needed to think like my daughter Emily, who naturally lives Heart-first because that’s the only way she knows how to live.

I quickly learned that Heart helps the brain. 

Heart is by nature thankful, truthful, loving, curious, and playful. Heart is designed to expand your thinking into seeing the goodness and glory, instead of just the doom and gloom. And I don’t mean your anatomical heart. I’m talking about Heart the way I’ve come to understand the collection of longings and abilities that don’t come from your brain.

But don’t think that Heart is a pushover or weak just because negativity isn’t its default setting. Heart is your source of resilience, purpose, courage and hope—not brain.

So how do you make the switch from brain thinking to heart thinking? I start by using words that Heart relates to, because words have power over how we think. Heart words are positive and about abundance, “I have everything I need.” Brain words lean towards lack, “I don’t have enough.”

I learned these words by listening to Emily.

At first you might feel skeptical and silly saying these words and using these strategies. Will doing this really help me worry less and be happier? I was skeptical too.

But I started slowly and saw that things began to change when I thought with my heart. I started to feel lighter, calmer, and just better. It was easier to breathe. I felt happier. I worried less.

If you want to make the switch from brain thinking to Heart thinking, try adding these words and phrases to your vocabulary.


Heart sees beauty everywhere, so say “wow” when you find it. When you’re driving home from work and notice the leaves on the trees turning red and yellow, that’s a “wow” moment. Acknowledge that moment – it feels good.

“So this is brand new.”

The next time you think this is the worst thing that could ever happen, try saying “so this is brand new.” When you think with Heart, you start seeing things as they are: completely NEW, with many possible outcomes.

Brain is a learning machine and relates all new situations to what’s already happened. If what happened in the past was bad, then brain slaps that same outcome onto the present. If you were a poor student as a kid, according to brain you’ll certainly be one now.

Heart, on the other hand, has a lousy memory. Heart sees everything as a fresh start and full of possibility. Heart knows that this moment is brand new and it’s about time you give NOW a try. Go to school and be a student now if that’s want you want. Because right now is brand new.

“I’m liking it.”

You have a choice about what you pay attention to throughout your day. So when you notice something good, say “I’m liking it.”


Heart gets very playful about catching brain churn. If you’re stuck in old re-plays of upsetting conversations or situations, let your heart call it out.

“Gotcha” is mindfulness made ridiculously simple. If you’re re-hashing the same old story again, remember to make that little shift into Heart, where old re-runs are just for falling asleep.

“In my heart I know…”

When you feel yourself starting to worry, stop thinking with brain, and say, “In my heart I know __________” and see where your heart takes you.

In my heart, I know that things will be okay. In my heart, I know that this is just a party, and I can handle being here. In my heart, I know this is a difficult time but I’m strong enough to get through it.

“Don’t worry, I’ll be with you.”

Emily says this one a lot, and it makes whoever she says it to feel loved. I say it to myself too, as a reminder that for right now, I’m allowing Heart ideas to dissolve brain ideas. That I’m letting my heart help my brain think. And that I’m not defaulting into old habits like immediately worrying.

I’ve learned that living in Heart provides you with specific capabilities you don’t get with brain alone. If you want to find out if you’re living Heart-first, take this short quiz.

Heartfelt wishes,

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