For most of us, our minds tend to drift to the battle of the “What If’s,” especially during the uncertain times of COVID-19. What if I lose my job? What if my kids aren’t back in school in September? What if I don’t make enough money for my family? We ride out the thought train of “what if’s” until our minds have completely spiraled out of control. So how can we win the “what if” battle and re-center, or change our thinking about them?
For starters, what if – no joke intended – we asked ourselves about the “what if’s” from the other side? Instead of going down the rabbit hole of gloom and doom, we can instead gain some balance in the “what if” game. For example: What if I lose my job? What if all of our clients decide that mental health is no longer important, and so I don’t have any clients? What if this brings in a whole new group of people that want to work on mental skills? What if there are a lot of other opportunities that present themselves because of this? What if I end up really enjoying it? By doing this, we not only play the “what if” game on purpose at times, but can have a more balanced approach to playing it. If we played the more positive side of the game, imagine how we could live.
Something we really enjoy saying at SportStrata is “zoom out.” “Zoom out” is perspective taking, which can be a form of mindfulness. When we start to really worry and get very anxious about certain things in life, we tend to get tunnel vision. It is not just the only thing we can see, but the only thing we can think about. Taking some perspective in these moments can be very helpful. It may feel like that worry is the only thing in the world, when in fact it is not. Part of “zooming out” is the element of self-compassion, which is a common trait of humanity. When you are very worried about something, like where you are going to live or finances, there are likely to be many people probably close to you and even not close to you that are suffering with the same thing. Especially with worries surrounding the uncertainty of COVID-19. As a global, national, and local unit, we are going through these “what if’s” together. Recognizing that you are not the only one experiencing what you are experiencing can be just enough to take perspective on the bigger picture and start to think about those “what if’s in a much more balanced way.