Do you find it hard to make decisions? Do you find a constant roll of ‘what ifs’ going around and round your mind? How can you tame your mind and the ‘what ifs’ to help you spend your energy more positively?
Accept you are not in control
Many ‘what ifs’ are caused by situations that we cannot predict the outcome. But let’s face it, who can? None of us have that magic crystal ball that allows us to see into the future. All we can do is make the best decisions we can based on the information we have in front of us. If your ‘what ifs’ are stopping you from making decisions and you are stuck in a limbo not being able to move forward, this needs to be addressed. Remind yourself that you cannot predict the future and think of times when you have made a decision and things have worked out just fine.
Conserve your energy
The energy we use worrying about things that we cannot change is wasted. We will never get that energy back; and worrying about things we have not control over will not change the outcome. Use your energy in more positive ways.
Does your mind leap straight from one initial concern to the worst possible outcome? Help yourself to stop catastrophising by challenging those thoughts and looking for evidence. How realistic is it that your worst-case scenario is going to happen? What is the evidence? What is the worst that can happen?
Find something else to do, whether it is a physical job or challenge that needs doing around the house, exercise, throwing yourself into a work project. When you are in flow in another activity, you will find you can’t concentrate on your what ifs.
I read about a woman who has fear of flying and ensures she wears really uncomfortable clothes whenever she flies. This means she spends her flight worrying about how uncomfortable she feels and doesn’t think about worrying what may happen on the flight. Extreme possibly, but a good example of distraction!
What if it doesn’t?
It seems that all ‘what ifs’ are part of a negative cycle. I think the most powerful question you can ask yourself is ‘What if it doesn’t happen?’. What if whatever you are worrying about doesn’t happen, in fact there is a positive outcome. Worrying has merely wasted time, energy and stressed you.
All new behaviours need to be practiced to before they become habits. So, firstly be aware of when you are falling into the ‘what-if’ trap. Challenge your thoughts, distract yourself, whatever works best for you to stop the cycle of escalating thoughts.
I'm a Personal Coach who loves finding out about what makes people tick and helping them to make the changes necessary to get to where they want to go.