Have you been using your two “P”s? Or are your thoughts getting away from you, pulling you into a spiral of worry and doubt? It is so easy to let our brain take the reins and just run wild, the only problem there is that when it starts running there is no telling where your brain will drop you. Rarely do your thoughts bring you down the nice garden path to leave you surrounded by sunshine next to a babbling brook. That just doesn’t happen. No, our thoughts leave us locked out of our car in an abandoned parking garage in the middle of the night. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to end up in that garage. I would rather lead my thoughts to take me to the garden – after all it’s my brain and the thoughts are coming from me!
So that is when you pull out the POSITIVE and PRODUCTIVE thoughts. These are your two “P”s. When we struggle with worry or anxious thoughts it is easy for them to pull us into a dread spiral where everything gets ten times worse that it actually is. As soon as you notice yourself spiraling – or better yet, when you know a situation usually causes you to worry, stop those thoughts and replace them with something positive and/or productive.
If you know that you can pay your bills this month as long as nothing unexpected happens you may be the type that will worry about everything under the sun that might happen to you. You could get into a fender bender on the way to work, you could catch that flu that’s been going around and have to go to the doctor, your kids might have a surprise field trip or class expense they swear they told you about weeks ago. Ruminating about these hypothetical situations does not serve you. At least not well anyway. Have a list for yourself of positive things you can be thinking about, things you enjoy or that make you happy, and a list of productive things you can do, either activities or making a mental check list. If this scenario sounds like you, positive thought replacement would be thinking about the last vacation you took, how relaxed and happy you were or thinking about one of your kid’s milestones like the first day of school. Productive thought replacement would be making a list of groceries you need for dinner or actually writing down that list of groceries.
Positive and productive thoughts are basically a distraction. This is the way you can reclaim the direction of your thoughts and take charge of your mental destination by thinking about something that serves you well. So be proactive! Make a list of positive thoughts that are meaningful, happy, and relaxing to you; then make a list of productive thoughts that can occupy your mind and potentially save you some time down the road. And finally enjoy the moment where you can reclaim the direction your thoughts are traveling to reduce your worry and control your anxiety.1
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