Never Would I Ever
One of the benefits of being an over-worrier is that when something truly anxiety-inducing happens, for instance, a pandemic, you’re already mentally trained for it. Worst case scenarios are already a default mental exercise.
One of the ways over-worrying shows up for me is the mind game “if I lose my job tomorrow.” This has been a mind game for me for as long as I can recall being employable. I remember being happily and steadily employed as a social worker, many years ago, and regularly checking job listings online… “just in case.” So it comes as no surprise that I found myself recently playing the “if I lose my job tomorrow” game, pandemic edition.
It goes something like this: tomorrow, if all the yoga studio is closed, if all the people decided to stop moving their bodies, if all the people decided to stop examining their thoughts/actions/life choices, if all possible opportunities for providing yoga and life coaching ended, then what? Now, logically, I realize that scenario is highly unlikely, perhaps impossible, to actually happen. For the rest of always, people will need to move their bodies, and people will need to sort out their thoughts and fears and make choices that are aligned with what they actually want, and people will need to take care of themselves…and I have a unique skill set to meet that need.
However, since logic does not apply when worrying causes our minds to play tricks on us, logic goes out the window. So instead, I say to myself, “ok, then what?” I utilize an exercise that I sometimes share with coaching clients. I ask myself: What would I be willing to do if I absolutely have to? And what would I never, ever, under any circumstances, be willing to do? Then I make a list. I find that the list of things I’d be willing to do is looooong. The list of things I’d never, ever consider is extremely short. And even then, if I’m being realllllly honest with myself, I know that if all other options were taken away, I’d do what I needed to do to get by.
What I find is that this exercise causes me to get creative, and notice that perhaps there are more possibilities and options than I realize. Narrate books for Audible…learn how to mix a killer cocktail…rent out my house and live with someone else…sell plasma…donate eggs (oh wait, there isn’t a market for 40 year old eggs)…. I find that at the end of the day, there are options. For me, this exercise allows my worry to settle down so that I can go back to what I actually want to be doing: feeling and expressing gratitude. Taking a peaceful walk. Serving my clients well.
I hope you find this technique helpful. Please share, if you’d like: what is on your Never Would You Ever list?