Recently I had a conversation with a friend/colleague about feeling safe. We did a little experiment: I asked him, “Do you feel safe right now?”. At first he answered, “Yes, of course!”, but after a few moments he noticed that he had thoughts that bubbled up that definitely countered his original answer. Thoughts like, “What if my housemate didn’t lock the front door, what if the person who vandalized the neighbor’s car returns and vandalizes my car?”.
Imagination has a powerful influence, doesn’t it? These were not real, not current, and just in his imagination. He already noticed stress arise at these imagined events. Many of us do this unconsciously. We imagine perceived threats. This is not good for our minds or bodies.
When you notice a thought that triggers stress, anxiety, fear…ask yourself if it’s true. Even ask what the worst case scenario could be. Using my friend’s example, he traced his thoughts like this: if my car gets vandalized my insurance rate will increase if I report it, how will I get to work, I might lose my job, then I won’t be able to pay my mortgage.
You can see where this is going, can’t you?
So, become aware of how your thoughts can make you feel unsafe and change your perspective.
I do want to say that sometimes there are real situations that are unsafe…an abusive relationship, for example…it is important to seek help and safety. This blog is about perceived, imaginary threats.
Let us know how you do with identifying and countering imaginary threats, and then how you created a feeling of safety instead.