Imagine if you could fast forward to the end of your life right now, and see that all the things, the millions of trivial, significant, silly or scary things that you endlessly agonised over, never actually happened. What if all the stuff that kept you awake at night and caused low moods and nervous biting of the fingers or your hitting the bottle, or arguments, self-destruction and self-sabotage…never actually came to fruition?
What if American President Franklin D. Roosevelt was correct in his inaugural address of March 1933, when he stated that “The only thing to fear is fear itself”?
In my younger years, I was a constant worrier. I have suffered with anxiety A LOT in my lifetime, not least when I was routinely sinking several bottles of wine every week. I’ve taken antidepressants and Valium, smoked like a chimney, attempted to shut the worrying down through excessive alcohol usage, and had numerous therapy sessions with a variety of counsellors.
And in the end, the things that have worked for me the most in terms of resolving my anxiety, have been really simple: living in the moment as much as possible, becoming more attuned to my ‘observing mind’ as opposed to allowing my ‘thinking mind’ to rule the roost, and finally, spending focused time imagining the unimaginable… what if there really is nothing to worry about? What if the future is all good?
Of course, we cannot pretend that we won’t meet any challenges along the way, as our futures unfold, but it’s true to say that we can strive to handle them to the best of our abilities when they arise, seek out the learning opportunities in those challenges as they come our way, and bring our attention back to the present every time we catch our attention wandering, to ensure we are not wasting our lives fretting about made up scenarios that will probably never, ever happen.
When this concept first popped into my head, it brought about a huge grin on my face. My step was instantly lightened, and I was aware of a sense of freedom and joy that I honestly could not remember experiencing since childhood.
The idea that we are safe, capable and will be ok feels radical when you stop to consider and absorb it. It may seem fanciful but so too is the idea that everything will be terrible, that all the bad stuff is just waiting to ‘get us’ and we are doomed for inevitable disaster… we are simply imagining a future, one way or the other, so why not pick a good one?
When we focus our minds and choose to believe that things will turn out well, we change our behaviour accordingly. This Law of Attraction-style thinking has proved itself to me, time and time again.
Think about it; you start a new relationship and are convinced it’s all going to end badly, your new partner will cheat on you and your heart will ultimately be torn to tatters. You begin to act in a way that’s closed, suspicious, angry or resentful. Your partner finds your behaviour exhausting and the relationship eventually fizzles out. But how about instead, you dream amazing, big, happy thoughts right from the start? You see yourself as being strong and loving and your partner reciprocating. Your partner responds to your behaviour in a positive way, feeling relaxed and warmed by your love and positivity. Everything works out well, you grow closer and more trusting and the beautiful relationship you always dreamed of is yours...
When we imagine the worst, we close our emotional selves down, and the vision we have dreaded so much turns into a reality. It’s not that we are able to predict or determine the future in an abstract way, but rather we are amending our behaviour to fit accordingly with an outcome we really would like – and because of how we are acting, that reality naturally comes about.
Like any mindset shift, this Law of Attraction philosophy requires commitment and time; for it to work, you have to apply yourself to feeling and believing it fully. So write about your desired future, create a vision board, conjure up a mantra that sums it all up and say it repeatedly, day after day. Make a choice to think the good stuff is coming your way, and each time a negative, catastrophising thought crops up, bat it away and see it as nothing more than a bad movie; simply a dreamed up reality that is nothing more than a collection of thoughts and images in your head.
I hope this helps anyone who is struggling with anxiety and excessive worrying… it really helps keep a smile on my face...🤗