Three Tips for a Healthy Thought-life

I think most of us have weaknesses when it comes to our thought-lives. Certain kinds of thoughts get us in trouble. For me, it happens when I allow myself to worry.

It always starts with one small worry, and it doesn’t even have to be rational. 

I knew better than to entertain this particular thought, but when it hit, I chose to hang on to it. Looking back, it’s almost funny.

A few days ago, I got choked on a piece of kale. No big deal, right? But a couple of hours later, I began running a low-grade fever.

The “what if” hit.


What if I have aspiration pneumonia? I bet that’s what’s wrong! 

I have no idea where the thought came from.

Only that it tempted me.

The next morning, my temperature was 101, and I was coughing. The doctor at Urgent Care ordered a chest x-ray, which was perfectly normal, and gave me an antibiotic. But right before I left the exam room, she instructed me to go to the ER if I got worse because I might need a lung specialist.

A lung specialist?  

More worry material.

Three days later my fever was gone, but my breathing sounded like Darth Vader’s. If you can’t see the video below, click here. 

What started with one worry brought an avalanche of fear.

Something’s wrong!

Nobody should sound this way! 

Six days after the kale incident, I didn’t go to the ER, but I went to see my regular doctor. She listened to my kale saga and my lungs. Then she gave me a new antibiotic and an inhaler.

“Rest. Drink plenty of fluids. You should be much better in a couple of days.”

“So…you don’t think I have aspiration pneumonia?”

“No.” She smiled. “Your fever’s gone. You have bronchitis.”

My primary care doctor was one-hundred percent correct.

By the next morning, I felt much better–so good I made a pot of homemade chicken soup–even added  fresh spinach. 🙂

Sitting by the fire with the dogs, I realized I’d wasted a lot of time worrying when I could’ve been praying. Or laughing. Or encouraging others. 

So, I’m sharing my kale tale to see if we can learn from it. 🙂

1. Healthy thoughts lead to healthy behavior. Click to tweet.

2. Guarding our minds brings joy and peace. Click to tweet

3. With God’s help we have the Power to change our thoughts. Click to tweet. 

“…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8 NIV


Do you have any Truths to add to the list?

What kinds of thoughts trip you up? It helps to identify them. 




  1. Anna Haney says:

    Oh, Julie. I can certainly relate to this post.
    Once you’ve had breast cancer, even when your first mammogram is clear, you still have a tendency, regardless of your faith, to think that any cough, ach, or pain could be indicative of a recurrence. Then when you discover you’ve got a respiratory virus or just slept funny (hence your stiff neck) you feel foolish and guilty.
    All the turmoil folks on social media are experiencing lately have made me more adamant that God didn’t spare me from breast cancer so that I could give into fear, angst, and panic. He came to give us life so that we may have it more abundantly.
    Glad you’re feeling better.
    Love you.

    • Anna, I SO wish you were here right now. I want to give you the biggest hug. I love how you said it…”God didn’t spare you from breast cancer so that I could give into fear, angst, and panic.” That’s just beautiful.

      We really only have two choices, don’t we?

      Faith or Fear.

  2. Carm Russell says:

    Love love love. It’s usually how I handle the stress filled situations in my life. Trying to change a thought process over 50 some yrs is not easy. With God one is not alone.


    • I know, Carm. It’s not easy. But we know it’s right–to work on our thought process. Daily.

      Julie ~~~~

  3. Patricia Martin says:

    Feel Better, Julie! I am sorry that you are under the weather. When we feel run down in our spiritual life, sometimes that means that we need to spend more time with God. (): Saying a prayer for your lungs right now!

    • Good words, Patricia! Yes! Yes!

      I’m praying for you. Hope all is well….

      Big hugs from Georgia this afternoon.

  4. sandy Coffey says:

    Oh Julie. I can understand your dilemma. Two weeks ago I thought it was allergies. Got worse wheezing and coughing so after a week I called the Dr. as it was getting hard to breath. She had me come right in and it was bronchitis. Should have known this as it is the 4th time since I was 12 years old. Steroids and antibiotic were given to me and just finished the steroids. Still have antibiotics. Am able to get up and around a bit now. No fever though. Then I twisted my good knee and had to limp on it. Just being thankful it is not any worse. I can deal with this and getting better each day with God’s mercy.

    • Ahhhhhh, all of this and this you hurt your good knee, Sandy!

      You’re absolutely right. God’s mercy helps us deal with anything, doesn’t it.

      Well, now I know what bronchitis feels like, and I won’t forget. I just took my last antibiotic. Was better in 24 hours after getting the right one. I’m so grateful~~~

      Hope your knee will improve quickly–and that you keep breathing easily.

  5. I have another truth to add to this:
    4. Never eat kale.
    haha. Kale is one of my least favorite foods in the whole world!
    But seriously, your post is so important because (as you know) I have this problem and it leads to so much anxiety. My imagination gets carried away with me, and the same “what if” thinking that is good for my writing can be very unhealthy when applied to real life.
    Thank you for a great post.
    And looks like Ellie stole Clyde’s bed!

    • So funny, Meg. That’s kind of what the first doctor said…”I knew there was a reason I don’t eat kale.” 🙂

      Maybe part of it is our writer’s imagination. But it’s really not an excuse though…to entertain unhealthy thoughts.

      Love you. And yes, Ellie stole Clyde’s bed. He’s not the kind of dog to take up for himself. He gives in…always.

  6. What Anna shared is precisely the kind of worry I have a hard time working through. My doctor is so patient with me- he has shown me scan pictures and gone through all the tests that are “normal”, and yet every time a new ache or pain emerges, I’m right back to thinking, “Is it cancer?” My very human head gets stuck in the thinking, while my spirit and heart know, He has this, no matter what we call it!

    Prayers for healing and recovery, Julie! So great to hear from you! Love and blessings to you!

    • Julie Garmon says:

      Vicky, this just thrills me to see you and Anna connecting about how you’re feeling. Sounds like it’s perfectly natural to have this “uh-oh” kinds of feelings during and after cancer treatment.

      Our spirits our so wise, aren’t they? It’s beautiful when they outshine our thinking.

      P.S. Went for a lung CT scan today. My rheumatologist heard a wheeze. 🙂

  7. Leigh Ann says:

    Dad told me about this and I’ve been thinking about you! (And remembering why it’s best to only eat things like ice cream that can’t get you choked up. I think the lesson here is to avoid leafy greens and eat more ice cream!) XOXO

    • Julie Garmon says:

      Love it, Leigh Ann! Your sweet daddy….he seemed so concerned. We saw them for a few minutes on Sunday. I just love your parents.

      Thanks, Leigh Ann, for being you, and for giving me such wise counsel on ice cream instead of kale!

  8. marci says:

    Oh Julie, what good timing. Yes, the What ifs can really get us. They do get me at times. Maybe there is something in each of us that we tend to worry about?? Just a thought. And how it can snowball. I have to reallly watch out for that. Since my husband and I have been dealing with something we thought was settled last year, there have been times I have thought of all the what ifs. .. There are 2 things actually, as I am still dealing with my father’s house since his death. Sometimes the Lord has just given me to the message, be still and let him handle things. I even have a cup that says, “Hi, this is God, and I will be handling all your problems today.” That verse, Phil 4:8 is a good one to think on. Do the best we can, and leave all the rest in God’s hands. I like to think, when the burden gets heavy, when the worry runs away with itself, the Lord understands, and is gentle with us, as He unravels all the knots. Trust, and believe. I need those remindsrs sometimes.

    What good timing – this message. As I have been under the weather, I do understand, and hope you are feeling much better soon. How good that you found out what the problem was and could put your mind at ease. I have been keeping you in my prayers. always, and will be praying for you to feel much better soon.

    Blessings and much Love,

    • Julie Garmon says:

      Hey Marci’a.

      Yes, I’ve been thinking about you and praying for you….praying all the loose ends will be tied up soon. So sorry to find out you’ve not been feeling well. Maybe it’s because it’s winter time.

      I love how you said the Lord unravels the knots and He’s gentle with us. Yes, yes, so true.

      Love your Scripture and your thoughts and your precious heart!

  9. Julie Gilleand says:

    First of all I thought sure you were going to say you made your soup with kale instead of spinach! I’ve never had kale in my life so have no idea about it.

    I do know what it is like, though, to become paralyzed with fear while entertaining all the what ifs. Once, it was a financial worry. What if we lose our home? Will I lose my kids? That was the very worst case scenario which we never even came close to! Another time it was a family crisis. I immediately became distraught with imagining the worst that could happen. It didn’t. The crisis passed. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not all bound up with fears and anxieties all the time. Not even very often. But there have been times it’s gotten the better of me. One thing I’ve learned is — sleep on it. You can always see things more clearly after the shock has passed and after you’ve rested your mind and body and I think every time, for me, things have looked much more encouraging from that place then in the moment. When you are in panic mode, you aren’t judging anything right. It is all emotion-based. One thing I hope to learn better is to turn to God as my knee-jerk reaction to something instead of an after-thought.

    Sometimes I think too much and my own thoughts mixed with fear or some other negative feeling can really bring me down and burrow me deeper. I don’t always find the ability to fight it this way but sometimes I combat it with dousing myself in positive things, to drive out the bad thoughts. I like to think of Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music singing about a few of her favorite things. “I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don’t feel so bad”. Some of my favorite things are music, owls, taking walks, crocheting, writing, watching old movies, etc. In other words, I distract myself from the things pulling me down. I’m not always good at it, but I try.

    Thanks for the reminder to try again 🙂


    • Julie Garmon says:


      I’m sitting here singing, “I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don’t feel……so……..bad!” Thank you. I always love your thoughts.

      And such good advice to remind us to sleep on it. You’re right. When we’re tired (and/or sick) everything seems to hit so much harder.

      I’ve heard the quote before…something like 99 percent of things we worry about never happen. And the crazy thing is, we (I, me) have let situations consume me, wasting great days all because of something that NEVER HAPPENED.

      We’ll just keep reminding each other! Onward and upward!


  10. Norma says:

    Great thoughts to think about. Thank you!!!!!. I needed that.Please do not give up on kale. It is one of the most nutritious green vegetables.

    • Julie Garmon says:

      I absolutely LOVE kale, Norma. I love all veggies–even all the green ones.

      Thank you so much for letting me know you’re reading, and for your encouraging words. I’ll never stop eating my green. 🙂

  11. Julie … yes! I do this all the time. My mind … wow, it will go far. Into the ditch. Lol. With my husband being sick … I made myself sick with worry and fear … I’d wake up in the night with my heart going crazy. All anxiety. But I was sure something was now wrong with my heart. I even had hub’s heart dr listen to my heart. Lol. Melatonin has helped me tremendously. 🙂 And I have a new WordPress blog. Yahoo!!!

    • Julie Garmon says:

      Hey Shelli!

      We’re twinsies–that’s all there is to it. I know what you mean–middle of the night heart-clutching fear is the worst. Hope your husband’s getting better.

      I’ll go check out your blog! Can’t wait. Did you do it yourself, I mean, the WordPress part?


  12. Feeling sick is the worse. Soup always makes things better, doesn’t it?
    These tips are wonderful, Julie. Very helpful, especially for people like me who always gets sick.

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