Anxiety can cause excessive and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations. It's the body's natural response to stress. Anxiety is a feeling of fear or apprehension about what we imagine is to come.
When struggling with anxiety, the brain has the incredible ability to think of the worst-case scenario, to predict the worst possible outcomes and explanations for things. It doesn’t know for certain what will occur, but nevertheless it imagines, predicts, and then feels certain of this awful explanation or outcome.
Because anxiety involves imagination, we can also intentionally choose to use our imagination to help ourselves. We can use the same skill that makes us anxious to make us less anxious. I'm not trying to minimize or make light of anxiety, however for basic anxiety we can serve ourselves by not letting our natural negativity bias and imagination run rampant.
Anxiety wants to imagine an awful, terrible outcome or explanation, but with intention we can use our imagination to consider other possibilities. By doing this, we can take what feels certain and make it less certain. We can open the door to new possibilities allowing our anxiety to settle ... creating the opportunity for a shift. This shift will help us to attract a more positive reality into our life.
Imagination involves creative thinking and problem solving, identifying new and different ideas, thinking outside of the box, stretching beyond our initial ideas and finding new ones.
We can start by letting ourselves to imagine the worst. But then challenge yourself to imagine as many other explanations and outcomes as you can. No matter how silly, small, or unlikely you might think it is, name it and imagine it as a possibility.
The act of imagination is a tool to counter anxiety. It’s how to cast doubt on negative outcomes that seem certain in our brain. It's how we begin to manifest a new and improved reality.
The next time anxiety starts to get the better of you, I invite you to use your imagination as a tool for good, not just for bad. Let it guide you toward possible options that are uplifting and squelch the tendency to allow it to only focus you only on the worst case scenario.