Reframing for Resilience, Training for the Worrier and the Negative!

21 Feb

Do you know someone who always sees the worst case?  Are YOU someone who tends to see hassles, destruction or headaches around every corner?  Do you over think things to death (according to family members and friends)?  Are most projects and plans a breeding ground for potential disaster?  “You’ve just won the lottery!!!”  “Oh great, people will be hounding us, our lives won’t be our own, the kids will become greedy and undisciplined…”  And don’t even get started on the new changes at work! That new system, boss, employee, office, project…Do you know what I’m talking about?

Now, in all fairness, there are a few personality types that tend towards feelings of anxiety and worrying a bit more than others.  And, research indicates about 50% of the population is naturally optimistic and resilient while the other 50% tend towards pessimism and find it hard to rebound – so we might need to cut them a little slack.  However, learning to manage excessive worry and negativism is very possible – it is a choice!

Here is a relatively simple exercise that anyone can do when they are feeling pessimistic, anxious, or are becoming a buzz-kill.  Take a piece of paper and make three columns.  On top of the first column write “Worst Case Scenario” (may as well get the negative over with!)  Above the third column write “Best Case Scenario” (now we’re talking – positive is a choice!)  Go a little crazy with column three!  You might want to be somewhere in the universe of realistic, but let yourself explore those positive thoughts!  Above the middle column write “Most Likely to Happen.”  It isn’t hard to see where this is going.

Few things in life truly fall into either column one or three; it’s usually a blend of the two.  However, you get what you look for.  If you’re looking for the positive you are much more likely to find it.  If you’re looking for the negative, you will also find that.  Please, I’m begging you – for your own well-being as well as the people around you – play in the “Best Case” column once in a while!  At the very least reel-in the crazy dark side!

 

2 Responses to “Reframing for Resilience, Training for the Worrier and the Negative!”

  1. christy.pettit@odscore.com February 28, 2012 at 7:43 am #

    Good re-framing exercise Sue! I am re-reading… well reading and for the first time actually understanding a book by David Whyte called The Heart Aroused: Poetry and Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America, and have just gotten to a chapter that discusses “the familiar edge between nourishment and terror.” He speaks about how when we are focusing on the negative there is part of us looking for someone (external) to come and save us. Thoughts?

    • Sue February 28, 2012 at 9:58 pm #

      Hey Christy – typically when we focus on the negative fight or flight system kicks in. I’m guessing looking for a savior is a flight response – I’d be interested to know what happens when ‘fight’ kicks in as our response to terror in the workplace. Well, maybe not so curious – I think I’ve seen it – ha.

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