I’m not sure about you but I am one of those “what if” kind of people. You know, the type who analyses things a bit too much. The type who somehow ends up at the worst possible outcome (in my head) because I asked what if a few too many times. My ‘what if’s’ lead into a negative thinking cycle…
“What if I’ve got the wrong clothes on and I get really hot?”
“What if living in NZ is too cold and rainy and I get depressed?”
“What if something happens to Ryan when he rides his scooter around the corner to the dairy?”
“What if Matt has an accident while he is away?”
“What if we end up living somewhere far away from home?”
Actually, I think I say ‘imagine if’ just as much as ‘what if.’
“Imagine if the house alarm went off randomly!”
“Imagine if I fell off the stage when I was making a presentation!”
“Imagine if I didn’t pass that exam (how embarrassing)!”
“Imagine if I said that out loud!”
The thing that follows the what if and imagine can be even worse. What if Matt had an accident while he was away? What would I do without him? I’d be a solo Mum and I’m not sure I could cope (Cue the tears, this is depressing to even write!) OR, imagine if I didn’t pass this exam, that would be a big deal, I am supposed to be teaching soon, I’d look like a fool and who wants a teacher who flunked the exam?!
Although, I must admit, being a ‘what if’er’ is sometimes really handy when you are married to a ‘it will be fine’er.’ Like that time we took a local ‘short cut’ in outback Australia and nearly ran out of petrol (what if’er should have spoken up louder THAT time!)
Mostly though, it is just negative. It’s me going down all the rabbit holes of imaginary negative outcomes and the result is pretty much always the same. Worry. Don’t get me wrong, doing the what ifs is pretty normal I think. A lot of us do it. Is it healthy? Mostly no. I’ve been thinking about this a bit lately as I have been observing my thoughts. I’ve noticed that the what ifs can often lead to a downward spiral into negative thinking. Sometimes the worry creeps in so much that I realise my body is responding and I am going into flight or fight mode. Maybe this sounds a bit dramatic. I do have a tendency to anxiety so maybe its worse for me. Do you ever find yourself over-stressed, worrying a little bit too much and getting snappy with co-workers or family members?
This is a bit of a funny thing to say, but…what if?!
What if, when we heard ourselves saying that, we decided to end it with something positive?
What if we chose our reaction intentionally instead of letting our nervous system take over and respond to a perceived threat?
What if saying what if was fun and full of possibilities instead of negative thinking patterns that bring us down and make us feel grouchy?
What if the world really was our oyster?
What if we could appreciate the beauty right where we are?
What if we paused to take a deep breath and soak in the now?
What if, heaven forbid, we dared to dream? What if our dreams were so big they sounded crazy? What if we dreamed them for so long that they grew wings and flew?
What if we remembered that there is good in this world?
What if, instead of getting stuck in our negative thinking spaces, we took the dog for a walk, ran in the rain, listened to some music or spoke to a friend instead?
What if we chose to trust in a higher power and allowed ourselves to relax a little bit?
Imagine if we did! Imagine how our head-space would be different just by that small change in thinking! It’s exciting because it’s not rocket science. Its not hard. We can all do it, one little what if at a time. We can. You can…and I can.
We don’t have to stop asking what if and we don’t have to stop imagining. Lets just commit to making the endings of those statements positive. Right now, after you step away from reading this blog, you CAN make a choice to be positive and so CAN I!