I am sure you can relate: You think about someone or a situation and your mind plays the multiple scenarios in which things can go really well or really wrong. Better yet you practice the argument/fight in your head before it ever happens. Sound familiar? Here is a way to get out of that mental loop that does not serve you.
Step 1: Stay Present
We do this all the time and think its OK because its our brain on automatic. It’s actually not OK. Stay present and pay attention to your thoughts. That way you know what thoughts are triggering what emotions (yes, even the fake fights in your head create anxiety). If you are present and aware then you can also feel those emotions coming on and you can do something about it.
Staying present does something else. It lets you evaluate if your reaction is based on what is happening right now or based on past experience (even past experience that may be completely unrelated to your current situation). For example: I have a great relationship with a friend now. It did not use to be this way. We used to be pretty contentious. My issue was that I knew someone that was “like her.” And assumed I would get the same treatment from my friend as I did from the frenemy I used to have. Had I not stayed present and observed my current friend’s behavior I would have missed out on a great relationship strictly because I “just knew” how things were going to go.
Step 2: Self Dialogue
Yes I am back to this- talk to yourself and ask: These thoughts, is it my reality right now? Why am I preparing for a fight? Is the fight right now or am I guessing its going to happen? What is really happening right now?
These questions are important because they will challenge your thinking. You will lean to “I am sure this is the way its going to go.” I encourage you to challenge that thought to. How do you know for certain? If its not happening right at that moment then really, why are you wasting energy planning for something that may in fact never occur? Also, think of it this way, if your thoughts are preparing for something that may happen then you approach the person, situation with a closed mind because “you already know” then it goes like your mental prep- is that not a self fulfilling prophecy? I would challenge you to set your fight aside, go into any situation with an open mind, be quiet, listen and see what happens. You might be surprised at what you see and hear that is different from your expectations.
Step 3: Get over it
If you followed step 1 and step 2 then this is the easy part. Let the thoughts go. Get over it and move on. Let the moment happen on its own without trying to influence or force it. Remember, you want to stay in the flow of things. Planning it out in your head as a protective mechanism is not being in the flow, its fighting the current.
So- What thoughts are you battling today? Can you let go and see what really happens?