Stop being afraid of what could go wrong, and focus on what could go right.

— Unknown

For the month of July, I am focusing on mental wellbeing and depression and anxiety in particular. One of the changes that I have seen in my 25 years of practice as a chiropractor is an increase in the number of people struggling with depression and anxiety. They are difficult conditions and even though we say they are mental illnesses, they impact every part of our health and wellbeing.

An unknown author counsels: “Stop being afraid of what could go wrong, and focus on what could go right.”

When I begin to feel an increase of anxiety, I notice that my thoughts are focused on what might happen tomorrow or next week or with my next project. I am worrying about future events that I don’t have a lot of control over. I am worrying about what could go wrong.

Have you noticed that as humans we can get really focused on all the things that could go wrong? If we’re planning a trip, we go from worrying about forgetting our toothbrush, to worrying about missing the flight, to worrying about the plane falling out of the sky. If you think that escalated quickly, start paying attention to how your thoughts spiral when you are worrying.

While we focus on what could go wrong, most of us never think about the things that could go right. When you get ready for that trip, you pack everything you need and it easily fits into a carry-on suitcase. At the airport, you easily stroll through security without any hassle, you have time to get coffee and read a magazine, and there’s plenty of space in the overhead bins for your suitcase.

It’s a perfect trip! Does it feel a little far-fetched? It is actually just as probable as the worrying version, and way more likely than the plane falling out of the sky.

But the point is that we don’t spend time thinking about the positive options. There are so many wonderful things in our lives that could go really well, but we aren’t thinking at all about those options.

It takes conscious effort, but focusing on what could go right can help ease our worry and anxiety. When you feel your anxiety increasing, pause to notice what is happening in your thoughts. If you are worrying about the future, work on replacing those worries with the possible positive outcomes.

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