What if…?

Our internal dialogue can dramatically influence our mood and mental health. Yet it happens so subtly we often fail to recognise what is happening and before we know it we are experiencing anxiety over something that isn’t actually real.

An example to illustrate my point would be the following scenario. One September, pre Covid, we booked a family holiday to Spain for the New Year. After the initial excitement I started to think “what if we experience terrible turbulence through the flight?” this progressed to “what if the plane loses cabin pressure and we have to drop to 10000 feet in seconds? I will be so scared.”

These “what if” thoughts continued so that by December I was dreading the holiday. On Boxing Day I packed with a feeling of dread and was counting down the hours thinking “tomorrow at this point I will be on that plane.” Not really the way to start a holiday but my “what ifs” had become so real to me they were consuming my thoughts and affecting how I viewed the holiday. The biggest factor that I was conveniently forgetting was that none of it was real.

The actual reality was that the day we were due to fly my daughter needed an emergency appointment at the doctors where she was not deemed fit to fly because of a severe ear infection. Just like that the flight I had been dreading for months didn’t even happen. I never did get on that flight and so none of the above happened.

None of it was real, just like any question you ask yourself that starts with “what if” isn’t real either. Next time you catch yourself thinking through a negative scenario immediately counteract if with a positive “what if” question.

When I was starting my business I was thinking “what if I give up my job and nobody books in for treatments”, “what if I don’t get any returning clients”. It was enough to stop me before I had even started. Luckily I had learnt from the holiday experience and for every negative I had a positive. “What if every client rebooks”, “what if I have clients everyday”. Doing this helped me realise that nobody knows what will happen. So rather than holding ourselves back and letting the fear control us, at the very least we can look at the positive “what ifs” as well. It will help keep our apprehension in check and allow us to have a more balanced perspective on life.

In reality I have had rebookings, not from every client but from many and I have clients most days. Am I pleased I ignored my negative dialogue and took the plunge? Yes of course.

How could changing your dialogue change your outlook on life?

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