Friday, July 19, 2013

The Power of Positive Thinking

So, how to get from controlling anxiety to actually enjoying life? Good question.

Well, I've been thinking about what happens when I have anxiety. Usually what I'm doing is trying to come up with reasons to feel anxious, so I invent dangerous scenarios that would explain my being fearful.  What if instead of inventing the reasons to feel afraid I were to start with the fear-inducing situations and change them to safe situations? It's all in my brain anyway, so why not invent different scenarios?

How would that work though? Well, I think it would be akin to changing a tragedy to a comedy.  Take the scary situation and make everything come out alright instead of all wrong. For instance, the comedy As You Like It has the makings of a tragedy. The daughter's father tells her she must marry the man of his choice or be sent to a nunnery or die. She's in love with someone else and so tries to run away with him to avoid the fate the father has planned for her. Now in some societies of today, the girl would suffer that fate mentioned in the play.  Everything works out okay in the play because of the intervention of fairies, who make the father's choice uninterested in Hermia and fix instead on her friend.

So, I fix on any terrible scenario and change it in my mind to one where everything comes out alright. Will that work to make the bad feelings go away?  Will it help me to experience joy instead of anxiety?  I guess you could call it the glass-half-full solution. There's been a version of that in existence for some time. Think back to The Power of Positive Thinking. All you have to do is think positively instead of negatively, right?  To count your blessings instead of your misfortunes.

Yes, yes, yes, but easier said than done, no? Especially when your brain chemistry wants you to do the opposite.

Maybe if it gets to be a habit, it will work. I start out thinking negatively, then turn the scenario, almost as if I were writing a play. Take the elements of the tragedy and create a comedy from them.  Ah, but then I start to feel anxious about writing.  That won't work.  Okay, don't think of it as writing then.  I'll have to work on that.

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