I’ve spent the past 24 hours worrying about something that was not real. I didn’t even try to shift my thinking to trusting in a different outcome, even though I recognized that I didn’t have all the information. I just “knew” my fear of what was happening was real. This is an example of how easy it is to slip into making up a story about the future that creates an ineffective present.

Yesterday my second cataract was removed. Last night, as I used that eye for the first time, my vision was foggy instead of clear. This was different than my experience with my first cataract surgery, so I couldn’t shake the thought that something was wrong. At the same time, I knew that my reaction to the blurriness was way premature – it was less than 12 hours after the surgery and before my 24-hour follow-up appointment with the doctor!

Disaster cloak hides reality

However, I was so wrapped up in my disaster cloak, I couldn’t shift my focus to trusting the process. Intellectually, I knew I would get the doctor’s opinion the next day. Intellectually, I knew that it takes time for the eye to settle down after surgery. Intellectually, I knew I was making stuff up and needed to relax and wait for the process to be completed.

However, my brain wasn’t listening. I focused on a comment the doctor made that I misinterpreted (partly from being super relaxed after anesthesia). I revamped this comment, amped up its meaning and fed my hysterical feeling that it would take months to fix it.

At the doctor’s office, I mentioned my concern. “You should have called because everything is totally normal.” I felt instant relief and then chagrin that I had let myself spend so much time in ineffective moping.

This afternoon, just after being embarrassed into remembering that I have the tools to shift these thoughts, I met with a client who has spent several months in a job that totally drains her energy and self-confidence. She has allowed a toxic work environment to prevent her mind from seeing any vision for the future. Her phrase was “I feel like I’m in prison.”

She is incredibly experienced and valued in her industry. She and her husband have financial stability so she doesn’t need to stay in the job. However, her mind has shut down from the negative input – both external and internal. This constant negative focus keeps her from seeing all the possibilities she has to change her situation. Her prison is self-made and she has the total power to open the cage door.

We both needed to remember, believe and practice consciously seeing our situations from an effective, enlightening, positive viewpoint. It’s this view that allows us to see expansive possibilities and strategies for any situation. One little mantra said with belief could have helped us – if we had just used it.

Think positive thoughts

Shift negative thoughts

Choose above-the-line

 Focusing only on best case scenarios,