We experience many things in our lives and we classify those experiences as either ‘good’ or ‘bad’ depending on how they make us feel at the time.
Our brain is hardwired for survival, so our instincts have us paying a lot of attention to threats or negative experiences. This is why it’s the ‘bad’ experiences that we often remember the most and it’s what makes it easy for us to replay the ‘bad’ memories over and over in our minds. The good news is we’re able to re-wire our brain by creating new neural connections so that we can switch our focus away from the ‘bad’ and onto the ‘good’.
Continuing on from those ‘bad’ experiences, our mind can have us creating additional parts to those stories that never actually happened. These are the ‘what-if’ stories. I remember when my daughter got momentarily trapped in an inflatable floatation ring in our swimming pool. Her head was held under the water and she wasn’t able to free herself without assistance or make any noise to attract attention. If I hadn’t been watching her right at that moment the outcome could have been very different.
I could spend time wondering WHAT IF I hadn’t been looking? WHAT IF I had popped inside at that moment? WHAT IF I had been texting or the phone had rung and I had become engrossed in a conversation? I could easily get myself quite stressed inventing all the WHAT IFs but what would be the point? It happened the way it did, end of story. We both learnt some valuable lessons and we counted our blessings.
I’m sure we’ve all experienced situations where, had circumstances been different, things could have gone wrong. If we thought about all the WHAT IFs we could come up with some pretty creative scenarios. Save yourself the stress. Your energy will be much better spent being grateful for the here and now and looking towards your dreams for the future.