Do you have a tendency to “bleed before you’re cut”? In other words, does the worry-er in you seem to have a life of her own? With simple problems, do you tend to jump right out of the realm of reality and into a world of worry? Like you might lose your hand from a rare infection after a simple paper-cut?
This tendency – which one of my favorite psychologists, Dr. Kathy Platzman, refers to as “Awfulizing” — isn’t very constructive. Not only does it create a sense of alarm and emergency that can trigger a stress-cycle, but it models that behavior for your kids.
So if this tendency to worry about how bad things are MIGHT get sounds familiar to you, here’s a two part tip that can help.
- Step 1: Check In. When you notice you’re “concerned,” “anxious,” or “worried” – or when you hear yourself using those words out loud (or some variation on them) — do a little check-in. Are you genuinely worried? Is there good reason? Or are you getting yourself worked up without any evidence?
- Step 2: Re-Direct. When you notice that you’re worrying about what “might” happen, ask yourself, “what is most likely to happen?” Rather than planning for the worst possible scenario, try to change your focus to what is actually happening in the moment.