Recently, during a social conversation, someone was sharing with me how forthcoming changes in the political environment of their country could impact them as residents and citizens.
(No, this post is not about politics and we were not talking about a war-torn country; we were talking about a developed country in the West.)
Within 15 minutes of conversation, they went on to speculate how with the forthcoming suggestions in the policies, they would lose their job and so would their partner.
Surely, they could consider moving to another country but after living in this country for many years, who would give them a job in a new country anyways?
Living where they were was the only option they had.
If they both lose their jobs, they will not be able to afford the mortgage and will lose their beautiful house.
If they lose their house, they would become homeless.
They will also need to pull out their kids from school because they will have no money.
They will also not be able to afford any healthcare because they would have no insurance…which means that the safety and even the life of their kids could be at stake.
(Reminder for reality check: No changes in policies have happened so far; there is speculation that some changes may be proposed in their local parliament.)
As you can imagine, they were totally wound up by the time they finished saying all this and asked, “Can you NOT see how our lives would end?”
Not without reason though: A parent who foresees that the lives of their children can be at stake would be inconsolable.
From earning multiple six figures to being homeless, that sucks totally!
Too much charge in the equation.
Too much stress.
(II reality check: Amidst all this, I was expected to respond.
I did what I do best;
I responded honestly.
“Yes I see that your lives, as you know them, could end. Or they may not.”
A long weird silence.
“What do you mean?”
…The voice on the other side of the phone sounded cautious as well as confused.
“Well, at best, you have portrayed only 50% of the situation. The other 50% possibility is that none of this EVER happens. Even if policies in your country change as per your speculation, ALL aspects of your life may not be impacted.”
The next time they spoke, they sounded less stressed.
I reckon they also began to see how they had taken their imagination too far.
Why am I talking about this here?
Humour is definitely not the motivation behind writing this post.
I am writing this because most of us tend to do this: catastrophise.
Yes, we may not speculate that we would become homeless or our kids’ lives may be at stake but we tend to worry a lot about lots of things that may never happen.
I know that most of the things I’ve worried about have not happened.
(Thank Goodness! I hope it stays that way. 🙈)
How can we use this information in our daily lives to live more efficiently and happily?
(1) Know that most of the things we worry about do not happen. That is awesome, isn’t it?
(Yeah, I am damn worried about my performance appraisal rating at work or my relationship might get impacted after marriage or having a child, those extra few pounds on my tummy but maybe it wouldn’t!)
(2) Understand that our minds are powerful. If we can choose to create unhelpful pictures in our minds that stress us, worry us and make our lives miserable, we can also choose to watch what we are thinking and feeling, and live differently.
When we do the latter, we are not the victims.
We do not need to be rescued by others or ourselves.
We are empowered.
(3) It is great to think far ahead and be prepared for the worst case scenario. It is also great to know that when that worst case scenario hits you, you will be able to deal with it because you are a smart and capable person.
I know sh*t happens, but then, ain’t you and I awesome at dealing with all kinds of sh*t? If we aren’t yet, we can always learn.
Know that whatever happens, you will be able to deal with it and life will be okay.
There isn’t much point in not feeling alive while we are still breathing!
Ready to learn how to manage your stress and unhelpful thought patterns so that you can always be in your time – ALL the time?