Many people come to me complaining of overwhelming anxiety. They complain of worry, fear, a sense of overwhelming dread. They describe how their mind spins like a hamster in it’s wheel…living and reliving the possible negative outcomes of their worry.
I’ve noticed that they are able to describe their fears in vivid detail. This is usually because they have spent so much time dwelling on it. And here in lies the problem. The more time we spend relishing our fears the bigger they become.
A nice technique that I give these clients begins with a question: What if? What if you DIDNT feel like this? What would that be like?
Imagining a different way of thinking breaks the cycle. It allows the mind to create something different. In therapy, I work with my clients to see what life would be like without the anxiety and fear – and it is this imagined reality that we work to make more vivid and real. We make that image very clear, and the more clear it becomes the more we can begin to embrace it and perhaps allow it to become an option.
I often say imagination is our strongest asset. We must begin to use it to our advantage or our natural tendency will be to use it for our destruction.
Try it today. What have you got to lose? You may have spent hours and hours making your anxieties and fears and worries as large and vivid as possible. Try using the mind’s wonderful tool of imagination for the opposite effect.
Now clearly, I’m not saying that just by doing this your problems will be solved. That would wishful thinking. But it does allow balance – and that is what good mental health is all about.