I have a very active mind and that is perhaps an understatment. One of my mind’s favorite activities is to play the “what if” game with myself.
The dark side of this game is actually fairly severe as it invites in worry, doubt, anxiety and is expert at telling me all about catastrophies and worst case scenarios. This negative and doomsday creating may be the default setting but they’re not real and the only one actually impacted is me. It’s a brutal form of self torment that is a slippery slope.
In fact I’m often reminded by people close to me that I either am or might want to reconsider over-thinking and analyzing. As Brené Brown would call it “the story I’m making up”.
So what if instead of running on auto pilot, a sense of curious optimism was allowed in? What if shifting thoughts to even just slightly more curiously optimistic ones was the antidote to the negativity spiral?
Our thoughts do impact us and while they only exist within our own minds, there’s tremendous power in their influence. They absolutely impact how we feel and how we choose to behave. Thinking, feeling and action are all inextricably intertwined and thinking is the first link in that chain.
Curiosity is a favorite word of mine and it just feels expansive, full of possibility and compared to the rabbit hole of negativity it absolutely feels a whole lot lighter.
I’m far more aware of my own thoughts than ever before and I am better at noticing when I drift into imagining worst case scenarios. Curiously optimistic thoughts just feel better and I can choose to reach for them at anytime.
What if wonderful things are unfolding? What if I trust myself more than ever before? What if…..the possibilities really are infinite? What if there’s an opportunity I just haven’t noticed yet? What if they’re just having a really awful day? That last one I often find particularly helpful while driving.
Curious optimism just feels more fun and that’s one of the things I want more of in all areas of my life, even within the thoughts floating through my own mind. Maybe most especially there.
Mental attention is a resource and will expand whatever you choose to focus on whether that’s worry or curiosity. The choice in every moment on where to focus is always and only ours to make.
Sometimes the most meaningful shifts are simply a pivot in a slightly different direction.
Copyright©2019 by Diane McDermott, All Rights Reserved, “Curious Optimism in Response to “What If”?”
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