I’m looking to make a big change – the details of which I’m not going to share right now as I’m still in the planning stages.
Basically, this is a very large and risky change. Although I believe I’m preparing myself very well for it, I can’t help but feel as if something is going to go terribly wrong. I play these crisis situations in my head, no matter how ridiculous and unlikely they may be, so I know how to react and respond if and when they do happen.
This is where my problems begin. These crisis situations often leave me figuratively paralyzed and unable to move in fear of bad things actually happening. What’s more is that I sometimes feel like these horrible situations are already happening – leaving me in an awful mood and poor state of mind. I pride myself in being able to look at things from several different perspectives. Usually, it’s a gift, but sometimes it can feel like a curse.
I’ve been trying out Tranqool while on my journey to better mental health. Tranqool is a Toronto-based startup that allows you to video chat with licensed therapists and counsellors from the comfort of your own home [not sponsored]. I’ve been speaking to my therapist about this big change and the challenges I create in my own mind.
I mention how I’m always thinking ahead, but this ends up hindering me from moving forward.
Apparently, this is very common. Our ancestors developed the ability to envision all the things that could go wrong in order to keep themselves out of danger. Now that we no longer need to be afraid of tigers coming out of nowhere to maul us to death, this survival instinct that has been passed down through the centuries has less of a place in our psyches.
She gave me an exercise that I’m sure many of you can use: switch channels.
The crisis situation in your head is like a horror movie playing on the TV. It’s not even a good horror movie; more Final Destination than The Conjuring. The movie (just like your made up situation) is ridiculous but scary nonetheless because it feels all too real.
How do you overcome this scary movie playing in your head? You simply switch channels! Pick up your “remote” and change the channel to something better. It could be a romantic comedy where you’re the lead making all the right moves, an action-thriller where you’re kicking ass at everything you do, or a musical where you’re singing your spectacular solo that’s probably going to win you an Oscar. When you’re focusing more on the good things that could happen, you’ll feel so much more confident to pursue the things you want to do.
Of course, switching channels doesn’t mean being blissfully ignorant of bad things that could happen. Let’s face it – bad things do happen.
Switching channels is an exercise to use when you’re having trouble differentiating fantasy from reality. Some bad things in your head are very likely to happen, but other bad things in your head are also very unlikely to happen. Although switching channels is just trading one scary fantasy for a happy one, you’re at least staying optimistic.
It’s easier to act when you know the reward than when all you think about is the risk.
P.S. This marks my second post written on an airplane. Check out the first one here.