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Bringing Sparkle Back, First Floor, Wizu Workspace, The Leeming Building, Ludgate Hill, Leeds LS2 7HZ

© 2019 Bringing Sparkle Back. 

The 2 words that feed your anxiety...

What if?


How often are these two words part of your every day thinking or vocabulary?


Together, these two words get our minds thinking about the consequences of something happening, especially something undesirable, before its even happened.


They are like soul food to your anxiety. They take you out of the present and into a future that hasn't even happened yet.



I hear these words A LOT, partly because I treat more and more women and young adults who suffer from various anxiety disorders. 


If you are a 'what if' worrier, you probably think that worrying helps you to prepare for every possible outcome, but actually, in reality, all it really does is it interferes with your problem solving. 


Worrying about the 'what ifs' in life gets your mind busy worrying about the negative and undesirable potential consequences that 99.9% of the time are never going to happen. 


Just imagine what positive things you could do with all that wasted worry time if you didn't worry about things that haven't even happened? 


Here are my 3 top tips that will help you when the 'what if' worry takes it hold on your thoughts...


1. Work through the consequences

It's often the case that the 'what ifs' aren't entirely well thought through 'what ifs'. Think about it for a second and follow your 'what if' through. 


What if no-one talks to me at this party I've been invited to? 

I'll be on my own 

Then what...

I'll want to leave 

Then what...

People will think I'm really ignorant and boring for leaving early 

Then what....

I'll never get invited to another party 

Then what....

I'll never want to go to another party ever again on my own

Then what...

I'll have no social life

Then what...

I'll die a lonely, unhappy, old woman. 


Ask yourself how likely is it that the consequence of your 'what if' will actually come true? When you follow your 'what ifs' through they seem highly unlikely and highly irrational. 


2. Use your problem solving skills

Next time you have a 'what if' thought try a more problem solving approach. Think objectively and rationally about your worry and come up with some potential solutions to your problem.


The Problem

What if no-one talks to me at this party I've been invited to? 


The Solutions

I could take someone with me

There will be people there I know

I'll speak to the person who's party it is and see if she can introduce me to people

I'm an interesting person, people like talking to me.

I'll make sure I talk to people.


3. Always see the positives

When we worry, we always focus on the negative, undesirable consequences. Next time you have a 'what if' moment, switch the negatives to positives. 


The negatives

What if no-one talks to me at this party I've been invited to?


The positives

I might meet some really interesting people

The man of my dreams could be at this party

I've been invited because I'm fun 

No-one has ever not talked to me before at a party so it's highly unlikely it will happen now. 




Start changing your negative 'what ifs' with a more positive 'but what if?' and see how your worries become less.





Catherine Asta Labbett, is an award winning Female Focused Psychotherapist. She works with women all over the world offering skype and in person therapy from her Yorkshire clinic base.


Catherine works with women at all stages of their life and has also has a celebrity client base. The resident expert on the BBC Radio Leeds award winning Stephanie Hirst show and a regular contributor in the media - as heard and seen on BBC Radio 5 LIVE, Grazia, Marie Claire, Women's Health Magazine and more. 


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