Fear is natural and normal. It allows us to survive and think on our feet in all sorts of situations. From being put on the spot in a high-pressure situation to making the right long-term decisions for your loved ones, anyone who assesses any important situation from every single angle may find a little fear.
Often, the fears are small and we can cope with them. They may be so small that we ignore them completely unless we go looking for things to fear. Fears may be irrational, or may simply be not as loud as the voice inside shouting “go for it!”
But something that most of us have in common is the tendency to not only ask “what if?” – but to fixate on that question.
From ‘What if it rains?’ To ‘what if nobody cares?’ To ‘what if it’s a huge waste of money?’, these sneaky little questions can drive us mad. They tend to snowball, as most anxious thoughts do – so we may begin with one ‘what if’ and three hours later, we may have 50.
Here’s how to stop it in it’s tracks: instead of focusing on the question, sit down somewhere quiet and talk yourself through two possible answers to your ‘what if’ – the best case scenario, and the worst case scenario.
Why two answers? Why not one? Well, ‘what ifs’ can often feed into quite a rigid thought pattern, and by providing yourself with two completely different answers, you’re forcing your brain to think in a flexible, creative manner. You’re fully engaged in the fact that your world is created by the way your thoughts change second by second – and how this change influences who and how you are in your world.
By thinking about the best and the worst case scenarios, we engage in black and white thinking. When this combines with the critical process of ‘what if’ thinking, then we will instinctively begin to see the shades of grey as well, without even meaning to.
This can lead you to a different perspective or to have different realisations. Your fear will reduce or turn into another feeling, and you’ll learn about yourself and your true desires and needs.