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30 Aug 2020 , by Caroline

What if thinking was an exam?

I feel so sorry for my son at the moment. He will be starting his exam year and already he is revising for a maths test. I am totally, completely useless at maths. My help and knowledge will be, well to be honest, no help what so ever. But, I will still be here to support him, and google any advice that he needs and that his unmathmatical mum cannot provide.

Now, if there was an exam in “What if’s” I would be getting an A* for sure. This is something I excel at and I really wish I didn’t! My mind can take the most lovely scenario into a soggy mess in seconds. It’s like a dementor from Harry Potter, literally sucking the joy out of anything nice.

A few examples being – “oh what a beautiful sunny day it’s going to be lovely”. Enter stage left – “what if it rains? Best not go too far”.
Or “takeaway tonight! Cannot wait and no cooking!” Here it comes – “what if the takeaway turns up late and is cold?”
And one more (because I could go on all day) “I can’t wait to go shopping and see the new seasons collections in the shops” and like a bolt from the blue “what if you can’t afford it? What if you are wasting your money?”

Can you relate? Isn’t it draining? I really want to stop this habit.

I believe in a way the mind here is trying to protect me from any worst case scenario and really believes it’s doing a great job. But in reality it’s just another form of overthinking and it’s just taking away all joy and hope.

This made me think I need to see this mindset for what it is and why it is behaving this way.

So, I cannot just switch off the what if’s, but I will now not leave that mindset there as if the what if is the deciding part of the scenario. I’m going to challenge it. Every time a what if is thought, I am going to argue the case with the feeling.

“What if it rains?” “What if it doesn’t? Say it does, so what?’
“What if the takeaway is late and cold?” “What if it is on time? So what it’s cold? Stick it in the oven to heat up”
“What if you can’t afford it and are wasting money?” “ self care is never wasting money. We all deserve to be happy. Check the bank balance first, and if right now money is tight, save up for it but go for it! Go for what makes you happy”.

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