If you tend to worry a lot—about your weight or money, what others think of you, going to a job you dislike, your life path,—you can use a simple trick proposed by the self-help author Shannon Kaiser.
In Joy Seeker (2019,) Kaiser suggests turning “what if” statements into “I wonder” statements. This reframing exercise helps quiet down your anxiety-filled thoughts and refocuses your mind on the best possible scenario rather than the worst:
Worry: What if I fail and it doesn’t work out?
Wonder: What if things go better than planned, and I am happier than I ever thought I could be?
Worry: What if people don’t understand or approve of what I do?
Wonder: What if people love it and my idea is well received?
Worry: What if I am rejected?
Wonder: What if I am accepted? My life will change for the better.
When you are too consumed with fear, your vision narrows, and your mind homes in on the threats you’re facing at the moment. You can’t focus on what you want. You can’t see the truth of the situation. Choosing wonder over worry helps you tap into the possibilities instead of getting sucked in by the limitations.
Idea for Impact: Approaching uncertainty with curiosity can help you fight hopelessness. Rather than admitting a terrible outcome as a foregone conclusion, you become open to possibility. You avoid sliding down into a pit of dread and despair. You’re far more likely to come up with effective ways for coping with the situation in question.