Resilience – One way to stop fearful thinking
I wonder if you’re anything like me?
It’s been mentioned to me quite a few times how I come across as being very confident. I graciously say thank you and wonder how it’s possible to give that impression as it seems to be so untrue. After all, I know exactly what goes on in my head.
I have my moments (I say moments, there are more moments than I’d care to admit to) of anxiousness, feeling down and self-doubt and what goes on in my head seems to be so very different to what I seem to portray to the world.
Are you the same?
I was thinking about it recently when I realised I often use a very helpful tool which helps me put things in to perspective and get clarity. This ‘little’ way of thinking even helps me find options and solutions to the challenge I’m facing.
By the way, I know why I do it. Why, when faced with a tough decision or a scary enormous task or situation or even experience change, I have the anxiousness, self-doubt and fear in the pit of my belly.
We’re all the same, we just experience it in different intensities depending on the importance we attach to the event or challenge we’re facing especially if we think we don’t have the resources to cope.
Without getting in too deep with the neuroscience, basically we’re all hard wired for self-preservation and our wonderful survival instinct is kicking in to protect us. But often it’s trying to protect us from something that isn’t really going to do us any harm. Or at least not as much harm as we think.
So what is this tool I use to determine the risk of what I’m facing and also helps me find various options and solutions?
I ask myself a simple question… ‘what’s the worst that can happen?’
I then let my imagination loose and think of all the things that can possibly go wrong. I don’t dwell on them I just think of as many as I can.
Then I ask myself, ‘what are the chances of those things actually happening?’ And, ‘what would I do if they did happen?’
Then I realise how unlikely it is those things will actually happen and more importantly that there are not only a lot of positive scenarios but also ways I can handle them.
I also get clarity on what’s important to me and what isn’t.
It makes facing the unknown less frightening as I realise things are never as bad as I imagine and I am far better equipped to handle them than I thought.
For me avoiding worse case scenarios just increases the ‘horror, shock, uncertainty’ factors because I’ve put the situation beyond my ability to cope. You could say, I’m focussing on the problem and not the solution which is never helpful.
Don’t get me wrong, I still worry and get scared occasionally, I’m human and who doesn’t? But, the worry and fear are phenomenally reduced to an absolute minimum and I become focussed and calm.
If it’s a really big challenge or change I might dip back in to anxiousness, self-doubt and fear again and again but each time I use just the tool again and I revert back to focus and calm.
Each time my visit to anxiousness becomes shorter and I remain at focus and calm longer.
How do you face uncertainty and give yourself the confidence to do what you need to do?
If you haven’t got a mental strategy to manage a scary enormous task, situation, challenge or change then consider asking yourself ‘what’s the worst that can happen?’
After all… ‘What’s the worst that can happen?’ 😉