During this time, it’s likely that you are experiencing thoughts and feelings that revolve around your concerns and fears about the future. Even the most optimistic person could succumb to negative thoughts these days.
But negative thoughts can blindside you, hindering your productivity for the rest of the day. These same thoughts can also build on one another and lead to even more extreme thoughts that promote anxiety, stress, and eventually lead to making bad choices.
If you are someone who gets caught up in worst-case scenarios, there are ways to combat these feelings and stay secure in your recovery.
Stop Going There
Thinking that things will always turn bad, or feeling skeptical when something has not gone wrong yet, is no way to live. It can also be very damaging to your mental and physical health. These notions you have are pre-conceived — in most cases, they haven’t even happened yet! Yet they continue to get the best of you. As a result, everything in the future begins to look like a potential catastrophe.
This sort of attitude often leaves people feeling less motivated to focus on their goals. Over time, these beliefs will begin to control how you make all of your choices. Thankfully, there are many practices that you can do to stop expecting the worst-case scenario.
Broaden Your Outlook
When you experience the moments of fear created from thinking the worst, your body responds in a fight-or-flight matter. While the scenarios are imagined, the bodily symptoms are real. This is because your nervous system is trying to protect you from something bad happening. This type of anxiety can last for hours or even days.
However, you do not have to leave your feelings up to fate. While it might be difficult to shift your mind into a more positive place, doing so will begin to build resiliency in your brain to defend against these worst-case scenario thoughts. By focusing your mind on the present, you can help eliminate fear of the future.
Follow the Scent
Believe it or not, a powerful scent can help to derail a mind trapped in the imagined scenario. This is because scent titillates your limbic system, the portion of the brain that is attached to emotions and memory. The scent will cause this system to respond and in turn, help change your behavior. The right smells can also promote peace of mind and transition your thoughts away from the negative.
Some good aromas to keep around the house include cinnamon, mint, and lavender. The next time you are experiencing a crisis in your mind, try using aromatherapy to calm your thoughts. If you do not have any good scents handy, deep breathing may engage the same response.
Label Your Thoughts
It’s easy to express when you are angry, sad, scared, or happy. But when you begin to label your emotions, you are likely to look at them more closely. This technique can help you identify the specific emotion and what is causing it. For example, is your anger a result of disappointment? Do you really feel helpless or just stuck? This kind of labeling can give you a new perspective on how you are truly feeling, allowing you to transform these emotions into something positive.
Take our current situation in lockdown. Are you nervous about needing to transform your normal routine, or are you excited to take the opportunity to try new things during this time? These little shifts in thinking will allow you to see what you truly care about and what you do not care about. Once you determine why you care, you can begin to face these fears with logical and rational practices.
You have an endless supply of choices, so don’t get caught up in the “what if” scenarios of life. If anything, the what-ifs should be used as a way to motivate you to think about how you can defeat whatever is bothering you. For example, you may visualize a scenario where you are drinking or using drugs again.
This kind of thinking does nothing for your recovery. Instead, visualize what you want, perhaps having a good time with family or friends, or succeeding at work. Work toward and manifest this outcome, which will help turn pessimism into optimism. Focus on what you can control and build on taking the steps needed to maintain focus and accomplish your goals.
Negative thoughts can be defeating, loud, and unavoidable. They can also lead to strong impulses to return to drinking or doing drugs. If you find yourself imagining the worst or fearing the future, it’s time to get help. True Recovery offers 24/7 care that can get you through these trying times. Nothing is more important than your recovery. To learn more, call us today at (866) 399-6528.