Managing the ‘what ifs’
Because we all only have so much energy and it matters how we use it.
Some people are comfortable with uncertainty, others find uncertainty unsettling. Change when we know what is going to happen can be a challenge, however, when we are not sure what the future may hold, then our imagination can begin to run riot with 'what ifs''
This does not replace professional advice if you suffer an anxiety disorder, however, it may offer some ideas and points of reflection to consider, which may be helpful for your wellbeing.
Humans are kind of hard-wired to scope for threats, so we do think about the negative 'what if's happen as we try and keep ourselves and those, we love safe. Wouldn't it be great, if we also learned how to have nice 'what ifs' which were supportive of our dreams and aspirations? There are other pieces on the site around journalising and visualisation you may also find of interest. There is also a workbook on reprogramming our filters, you may find this video of interest.
It is natural in these times to be mindful of threats so we can find ways to overcome them, mitigate their impact or seek help where we need it. We are still dealing with everything that the pandemic caused, we are in a cost-of-living crisis, there has been a war in other parts of the world and of course, the impact of climate change.
Managing the 'what if's isn't pretending these challenges don't exist. It is finding a way not to be overwhelmed by worrying about what is next. We only have so much energy and worrying about 'what ifs' drains that energy, so we then don't have the energy we need to do something about the challenges we face or find a way where those challenges hurt less.
If you are ever so overwhelmed by 'what ifs' you think of suicide, please speak to someone and remember the Samaritans are there 24/7 365, you do matter. There are supports out there, often more than we realise, sometimes it takes time to find them, but they are there.
Sometimes a place to start is looking online e.g. in Glasgow there is for across Scotland or pop into your local community centre or another community venue to find out more about what is happening near you which can help manage the 'what ifs'
Take time out to pause also as this can help us when our minds feel overwhelmed by feelings of anxiety. There are many videos and materials on our site, please browse and see if there is something which you find helpful e.g. The tips at the bottom of this post may also be helpful.