The Power of Positive Worry
In 2003, my first true girlfriend, dumped me.
Heart broken and confused, I didn’t quite know what to make of the situation. I spent the next couple of weeks or heck, even months, wondering: ‘What if’.
Then, a guy at the gym told me to take my ‘what ifs’ and throw them out the window.
Your brain, like mine, doesn’t like open ends. This is known in neuroscience as the closed loop theory. Your brain will do its best to close the loose end so it can rest easily.
And that makes sense when you consider that your brain is nothing more than a pattern recognition machine.
The human brain needs prediction and response and as long as there is an open end, prediction can’t fully be formed.
I kind of stumbled upon this in later relationships when I would just start telling myself that A-She either doesn’t like me or B-There is another guy.
Brutal as that may sound, it finally gave me finality and a response patter of ‘let’s move on’. The
Your brain will come up with an answer to anything that you ask of it. If you continue to ask it what if questions, it will continue to ponder the answers to those questions and formulate emotional responses that keep the hope alive, even when it shouldn’t be kept alive.
I am assuming that my relationship example has given you clarity into how the brain works with open loops, and closed loops.
Let us now transfer that over to the idea of worrying. Worrying is based in fear and all fear is based in future thought. The future doesn’t exist, literally. It is nothing more than a concept because once that point on the timeline arrives, it is the here and now.
All of this stuff you have to worry about and fear is a fiction of your imagination. Yet, that doesn’t stop it from happening. You are going to worry because you are human and its part of the human condition to have logical, linear, forward thought.
This is where the power of reframing or as I called it here, positive worry, comes into play. You are going to have a situation this week in which something isn’t going your way. You can either let the emotion of that situation snowball until it reaches completely illogical thought (remember that emotion and logic don’t mix, they are different parts of the brain); or you can deal with it.
There are certain ways to reframe but what I am going to share is the super simple and effective way. Simply ask yourself: ‘What’s great about this problem?’ You brain, being that it doesn’t like open ends, will find an answer to that question and it will lead you down the road of turning the situation in your mind on its head.
It doesn’t have be done exactly word for word, see it here in this example:
‘What if I don’t get the job?’
‘What if I do get the job and advance so quickly that I need to buy a bigger house because I’ll have more money than I ever dreamt possible?’
Wow, that’s taking a situation and looking at it from two totally different angles, just by using the power of positive worry.
Reframing is the best skill I know and the one thing that gives me my superhuman power (j/kJ). Seriously, if you are going to rise up and become the person you want to be, then you have to start with positive worry, your whole mindset will shift.