4 steps that defuse worry

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4 steps that defuse worry

There’s no doubt about it, we’re really good worriers. There’s something about how we lead our lives that makes us highly skilled at spotting everything that could go wrong. And then we endlessly chew it over, building all sorts of unlikely-but-possible nightmare scenarios. When you consider what I do for a living, it’s no surprise I keep talking to you about ways to defuse worry.

Here’s an interesting thought.

I was asked this in reply to a recent newsletter. I think it’s worth sharing.

“How come we never worry things might go really well?”

It’s a good question.

Once I thought it through, it occurred to me we do use a worry type of thinking for the good things. We do imagine pleasant futures in the same way we build anxiety mountains.

It’s a sort of anti-worry, if you like.

‘Worry’ chases unlikely outcomes down a scary path, ending up with no friends, terminal embarrassment, getting fired, losing our home, family and so on.

‘Anti-worry’ chases equally unlikely outcomes. It’s just they’re positive ones. You know, the ones where you’re living in a tropical paradise or you’re a rich entrepreneur or the fastest person on earth, (sorry Usain, someone’s got to do it, might as well be me…)

We even have a name for it. We call it ‘daydreaming’…

All very interesting, I know. But how does this help if you’ve got anxiety?

Well, it takes a little time and some practice but you can use your daydreaming skills to defuse those ‘anxiety mountains’.

4 steps to to defuse worry

When you realise you’re worrying or being anxious, follow these 4 steps:

  1. Remember, although the scary thing could happen – it’s pretty unlikely.
  2. Ask yourself this:
    “What positive outcome could there be instead?”
  3. And if that happened, what positive thing could happen then?
  4. Repeat step 3 until you’ve built an unlikely-but-possible fantasy outcome.

Now it’ll feel a bit weird doing this at first but that’s because you’re not used to deliberate positive thinking yet. The important thing is you’ve now got an opposite to the scary things you are used to.

So now you’ve got two scenarios, one negative and one positive. Both of them are equally possible-but-unlikely.

This means what actually happens is almost certainly somewhere in between.

Only time will tell.

Finding an unlikely balance

By taking your mind through this deliberate process, you’ve given it balance.

Your mind’s default position is to keep coming up with really worrying thoughts or imaginings.

So give it an antidote. Create anti-worry. Build deliberate daydreams to counter your auto-worry.

And in case you’re thinking it’s pointless ‘cos the fantasy outcome’s so unlikely, think about this.

Of all the times you’ve ever worried & got really anxious over something, how often has the nightmare outcome actually happened?

I asked several clients exactly that question this week.

You know what their answer was?


How about you?

What next

If you’d like to have a chat about how I can help free you from never ending worry, drop me a line here.

If you’d like to subscribe to my fortnightly newsletter, just click here to join in. I’ll write to you every couple of Sundays.

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