The lesson I learned...
Assume negative outcomes in all situations. This will make dealing with any outcome easier. Thoroughly and repeatedly envision bad scenarios but hope and pray they do not happen. Take no action besides worry. Lastly, believe that this mental exercise is completely out of your control.
Maybe planning for the worst makes some sense, like the old saying, “prepare for the worst and hope for the best”?
I don't think so.
Worry and Anxiety
I spent too much of my life worrying about things that did not and were not ever going to happen. Worry robbed me of my peace of mind and replaced it with anxiety.
Where are my worriers?
Do you often feel anxious? Are you worried about the safety of your loved ones? Do you fear bad things happening? Can you feel your anxiety – pulse-quickening, chest tightening, upset stomach, body aches?
Worry and anxiety were a part of me. At best, they were a dull but constant sense in my mind and body and, at worst, a blind fit of panic. Nothing else existed when I was feeling overwhelming anxiety. The whole of me reacted – mind, body, and soul. I was on a constant high alert. If you experience anxiety, you know what I'm talking about.
The hardest part to acknowledge is that I put myself through it. I didn’t feel I was in control of it, but I was. I had trained my mind for anxiety.
I only ever prepared for not getting what I wanted instead of believing things could work. I'd plan my next steps based on defeat, or worse, I would never even try. I would eliminate the risk to avoid the discomfort of defeat. Anxiety and fear ruled.
I always wanted things to work out; I never realized that I stopped that from happening. I positioned myself to receive the negative outcome.
I don’t know if you believe in manifesting or the universe or similar concepts. Still, I think you can agree that there is a difference between preparing for a positive outcome and a negative one. When you believe a positive outcome is possible, you prepare for achieving the positive outcome. You do what it takes to get there. You take all the steps required to produce that outcome. When you prepare for the negative, you mentally shut down and ready yourself to move on before giving the opportunity a chance. What you expect ends up being what you get, in most cases (sometimes you don't get what you want at that time because there is something bigger in store for you down the road).
Overcoming the lesson...
When I was pregnant with my daughter, there was a complication. The possible outcomes ranged from her being 100% healthy to death. This was the first time in my life that I refused to go down the worst-case scenario path.
I didn't ignore the danger. I did everything I was supposed to, including weekly ultrasounds during my last trimester, BUT I stayed positive. I stayed calm. I refused to believe that anything bad was going to happen to my baby girl. I didn’t let it enter any realm of possibility. I enjoyed the pregnancy. I didn’t make myself or, as a result, the baby sick with my worry and anxiety. I'm happy to say the result was a healthy baby girl.
If I had prepared for the worst and my baby had died, would it have taken away any of the pain? Would it have made the grief any less?
The future is a prediction. Why not predict the best outcome? By predicting the best outcome, you prepare for the best outcome, and this preparation helps you achieve the best outcome.
Your attention fuels your focus. Where you put your focus, your energy and actions follow. Please don’t waste any of it focusing on the negative.
Ask yourself, has worrying ever done me a service?
When you observe yourself going down the negative spiral, please turn it on its head. Think positively. If you are worried that you won’t be prepared for a bad outcome, try it anyway. See how it makes you feel. What was the result? How was the journey? Did you save yourself stress and anxiety?
When you don’t feel in control of your thoughts, take back the control. Literally tell yourself, "I am in control, I choose what I think, and I choose to think positively."
One final thought…
Thinking ahead and putting measures in place to prepare for the future is entirely different from worrying. One is productive, and one is not. Every morning I jot down something that may not go the way I planned and how I will handle it to be thoughtful and deliberate, not reactionary. Worrying is thinking without preparation or action. Worrying is a thought process that robs you of your enjoyment of the current moment. Please, give yourself a gift, think positively & be optimistic!
Until next time…