Stopping the “What if-s”: The Fear of Change

Big changes are generally frightening in my opinion. Yes, exciting and all the rest but still a little overwhelming. Particularly if you feel like you’re headed towards the unknown. I’m sure it’s caused by some sort of basic human survival instinct but nevertheless it’s fact that most of the time we anticipate change with a little (if not a lot) of fear.

I have a big change approaching. I’m moving out of home- to another country. At the moment I’m swaying between elated excitement and jittery nervousness, one day I’ll be nearly giddy with the thought of finally packing my bag and jetting off to start building a life almost from scratch and the next I’ll be occupied with worries of logistics and potential issues that might come up- “What if I end up in a terrible job? What if I can’t afford safe, comfortable accommodation? What if I’m more lonely than happy? What if, what if, what if….”. Unsurprisingly, they never do me any good.

My mum said something to me recently which really helped change my perception. She said something to the tune of “A train of thought is just that, a train, with only one destination unless you change its direction”. And she’s right, one bad thought always leads to another, and another and another until you’re in such a miserable or anxious state that you can barely think straight, never mind try to get back to a positive space. Likewise, good thoughts invite more good thoughts and good thoughts bring with them positivity, motivation and a calm focus. Since my lovely mum shared this with me I’ve been trying really hard to re-train (pun much intended) myself to redirect  my thoughts to a more positive destination. Instead of letting the rhetorical “what if-s”drag me along towards anxiety, I actually answer the questions”I’ll apply for another job and note what it is I dislike about the terrible one. I will be able to because I’ll work hard and make sensible choices. I won’t be lonely, I happen to know a wonderful man living close to the city and I’ll make friends there as I go, as well as visiting home every few months.”

I have found this to be very effective in redirecting the ‘train of thought’. As soon as you identify the pattern it becomes ten times easier to control the pattern. I don’t normally condone manipulation but in this case, it’s all about taking control and manipulating your thinking in a mindful way that re-trains the brain to a new reaction. By doing it consciously enough of times I believe the brain will eventually take over and do it subconsciously (or so I hope).

I hope you found this helpful!

Alv

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