Day 7, Think of the (Happier) Possibilities: Self.com’s 14 Days to a Happier, Healthier You!

One of the Operation Beautiful notes that I posted this year. To learn more about this project, go here: http://bit.ly/wOjWn7 , Photo Credit: © Anita George 2012

I’m a worrier. Hell, I’m even worrying right now about when I’m going to finish this post.

I can worry about pretty much anything. My imagination can create some pretty silly and complex situations once it gets going. Which is great for storytelling. But not so great when I’m trying to motivate myself to do something different or necessary but uncomfortable.

And once it gets going, my brain is like the queen of the tangential monologue. Well, actually Ellen DeGeneres is the queen: I mean have you seen her  “Cheese” monologue ? Classic. But I think my brain can hold its own. What goes on in my brain is actually pretty similar to her monologue: it’s like this epic soap opera of possibilities, with dramatic characters and like a million different sub-plots.

And sometimes, when I worry, the fears in my head get so ridiculous I can’t help but laugh and shrug it off. But other times, the not-so-fun ones, those worries don’t go away until I’ve completely exhausted myself with anxiety. It depends on what I’m worrying about.

Today,  I’m going to focus on one of the not-so-fun fears for Day 7’s task.  

Day 7 is all about confronting your worries with thoughts of how good things will turn out to be instead of letting your self endlessly stress out about worst-case scenarios. According to the article, today’s task has three parts:

  1. Think of an upcoming event that makes you anxious and worry about all the worst possible outcomes for that event that you can think of for two minutes. 
  2. Now think about all the good things that could possibly happen for that event for two minutes. 
  3. Now decide: “Which life do I want to lead?”

The crux of today’s task? Bad things happen. But you get to decide how you react to it.

I guess the point is you can’t just walk into a situation already defeated. It’ll just make things worse for you. Things aren’t going to get better just because you worried an extra ten minutes the night before that job interview. If you walk in feeling negative, it’ll probably turn out that way. If you walk in with a better outlook, at least you’ll be more relaxed. If you’re more relaxed, at least then you’ve got a decent shot at a good day. And a decent shot is better than no chance and a head full of anxiety.

So today I’m focusing on an upcoming doctor’s appointment. It’s my yearly physical and I’m a total hypochondriac. I worry about all sorts of things at the doctor’s office. That I’ll get horrifyingly bad news that I have some terrible disease. That I’ll catch one of those diseases at the doctor’s office, while I’m getting tested for it. If I have such a disease, how am I going to pay for treatment? Are there treatments? (It could go on, but I’ll spare you the dramatics.)

I did the two minutes of worrying. It was not pretty. I went from cancer to lupus to almost every communicable disease ever. I did notice once thing though about my worries. I worried about death, sure. And what would happen to my body.  But I also worried about my social connections: Would everyone bail on me if I were sick? That was the worst one of the bunch. I never realized that before.

I did the two minutes of coming up with positive possibilities. It was harder to come up with as many positive possibilities and I don’t think I came up with many but it was freeing. My brain has had more practice thinking negatively but I definitely enjoyed thinking about the good things that could happen: I could get good news about my health. All the tests could come up negative. I might be able to find solutions to health issues that have been bugging me for awhile. I can ask all the awkward questions I want about about certain diseases, thus relieving other anxieties I might have. I can get more tips on how to reduce stress.

I do feel a bit better about my upcoming physical and I think if I keep applying this way of thinking about it up until the day of the visit, I’ll be more relaxed about it by then. If anything, it’ll at least be one less thing keeping me up at night.

As always, I hope you enjoyed this post. Don’t hesitate to let me know what you think. I’d love to hear your opinions, questions and stories! How do you deal with stressful upcoming events?

I’d also like to thank SELF Magazine for posting the article, “14 Days to a Happier, Healthier You!” which inspired this blog post.

Thanks for reading and I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

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2 thoughts on “Day 7, Think of the (Happier) Possibilities: Self.com’s 14 Days to a Happier, Healthier You!

  1. I always love coming across self-help related articles in magazines; helps to get you on, or back, on track! Glad you’re doing well with the 14 day challenge:))

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