I wanted to title this “Worry Is a Bad Fantasy” instead. Because what a person does in their mind when worrying is to imagine some future event or events not going well. It is a fantasy they indulge, and not a pleasant one.
Sometimes it is useful to understand the potential risks in a future event, and have a plan to deal with them if they do come to pass. And then let it go. That is different than worry.
I’d start to call it worry when the thoughts get repetitive. When it is not just a few minutes of thoughts about it, and then you let it go. When it is hours, days, or even weeks of having these negative thoughts.
I recently had some negative thoughts about the future as well. And then I used a tool to change it.
The first event was that I had received an unexpected property tax bill, and couldn’t for the life of me make heads or tails out of how to fill it out. But I did see an amount of money on there that was a big expense I wasn’t expecting.
So I decided to try to call the assessor’s office and see if they could explain it all to me and also to see if I could appeal the amount I owed.
The negative fantasy I started to make was one of ending up in an endless phone menu, then sitting on hold for hours, only to end up talking some unpleasant bureaucrat who would not be helpful.
After catching myself indulging in this line of thinking, I realized that I needed to change how I thought about it. So I did a simple visualization processes, which I will share with you below.
Think about some future situation that causes you worry
Now imagine seeing yourself in a movie going through it with whatever challenge you had been worrying about. Remember to see yourself from a movie-watcher’s perspective, so you are not imagining yourself in the situation anymore – you are watching yourself.
Think of a way to get through that situation in a better way. In other words, how could you influence it to go better? Would you feel more confident or relaxed going into it? Would you add some humor? Make it something that is within your control.
Now imagine seeing yourself in that movie, but this time you going through it situation in a better way. You now have added something to it, like confidence, relaxation, or playfulness, and it unfolds differently.
Now imagine stepping into that movie so you experience it through your own eyes, and again you are going through it situation in a better way.
After I did this, I set my intent to make the call with the Assessor go as well as it could. Setting intent is another tool you can use, which I will talk about in a future post.
With me now imagining the call would go well, and not poorly, I picked up the phone.
I dialed the number on the tax notice I held in my hand. An operator answered the call, and after a brief discussion of my issue, she transferred me to the assessor responsible for my property.
After one ring, a man answered, and in a 15 minute call, he explained everything I needed to know, and I finished the call satisfied.
Now a person could say I got lucky, and that is why the call went smoothly. Maybe there was some luck. But the fact that I called in a calm and hopeful state helped him help me. I’m sure it went better than if I had called in an angry mood, or if I just expected them to be rude.
My better state of mind helped influence their states of mind. And by using that tool that I gave you above, you can transform worry into expectancy. You can regain some control of the future, because you can influence what and who is under your control: you.
Try it out and let me know how it works.
I have many other tools to manage and reduce worry, anxiety, and stress. If you want to accelerate your results in reducing those emotions, email me for a consultation.