"What if - thinking " or "The nature of anxiety"

Do you ever find yourself thinking “what if…?”

It can either be future orientated “what if X happens…” or “what if I don’t pass the test / get the promotion / deliver that speech calmly, etc…”. It can also take the form of “I must pass that test / deliver that speech perfectly” (Because what would happen if you didn’t…?). 

And this kind of thinking can also be past - orientated “what if things had been different…” or “He / She / I should’ve…” (I’ll get into that in a bit more detail another time)

If you were to be totally honest with yourself, you’d probably admit to yourself that you do “what ifs” in one form or another. It’s normal. It’s part of what the brain wants to do. 

Future orientated “What ifs…” 

The idea behind all “What if” thinking is that it is trying to help. The key word here is “trying”.  It wants to think about all possible scenarios and tick off all the possible “what ifs…”.  “What if that happens….???” “Oh, okay, got it, then I can do that.” 

But what happens when you tick off one “what if”…? Do you have peace and quiet in your head as soon as you tick that one “what if” off your list?  

Nooooo, it’s not because as soon as you tick off one “what if…” your creative brain instantly comes up with the next one. And when you’re having a really good day you get three or five new ones for every single one you tick off. 

Very quickly your brain realises that there is an infinite amount of possible “what ifs”. You can’t possibly tick them all off your list. Because there is no end to that list. There will always be another “what if” around the corner. Your creative brain is designed to be a problem solving mechanism. So that’s what it does… 

But tell me, Firstname, what would you rather be thinking about…? What could you be doing with all that valuable time and energy? 

The secret to dealing wth anxiety

The reality is: you are reading this today because no matter what happened in your life, you have come out the other end. So obviously you have all the resources you need to deal with whatever may come your way. 

Your mind has been led to think you could prevent certain things from happening by worrying about them. But of course that is not true at all!  

Plus you are always evolving, learning and growing. Should that imagined thing happen, by then you will have different resources to the ones you have now anyway. 

And the truth is that (like it or not) you will work it out. So you might as well not spend your days worrying about it. And instead relax into that deep inner knowing that you have all the resources you need. Even if that is the resource to find the resources you need at that moment in time. 

You can’t control life. You can only ever control your response to life!