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And Then What?

Somewhere along the line someone shared a tactic with me that can stop the brain from going around in anxiety ridden circles. I have no idea who it was, but shoutout to them anyway. It's simply pausing the worried mind chatter and asking "and then what?" And then continuing to ask the question again and again until what you're worrying about seems a little less worrisome.

Often when we're worried about something it's because we feel powerless. We don't know what's going to happen, how something will turn out, how someone will react. Often that worrying is futile since the actioning already took place. But we worry anyway.

The next time you start going around and around about something, just pause and ask "and then what?" Let's say you feel like you said something to a friend that could have been taken the wrong way. Very concerning, at least to me. What would happen next? They probably misunderstood me, so they must be mad. And then what? Then they'd be mad so I would explain and apologize. And then what? Then they'd probably accept my explanation. Okay.

Or maybe you think they wouldn't forgive you so quickly despite your good intentions, and then you decide that maybe you need to take some space from the grudge holders in your life. Whatever it is, it just is.

Of course that's a relatively simply example, but when you really start breaking any worry down you get to the worst or best case scenario pretty quickly and then it takes away some of the power of the unknown. The point of this isn't to stay stuck obsessing about the potential outcomes. The point is to have awareness that nothing we say or do is static so our worries shouldn't be either.