Being a therapist and having trained doesn’t mean that I am somehow excluded from being human. Recently something happened and I had to deal with the consequences of that incident. I don’t know what they are yet, but there are always some consequences. For the last few days I have been thinking and at times worrying about what they might be, and what the implications for my life could be. It’s an easy and perhaps natural thing to do. Something happens and we react.
I noticed though that I was allowing myself to think about these possible consequences in a way that was more than unhelpful. I took them to bed and played back what had happened, what could have been done differently, and what might now happen. But I was caught in a trance.
You may have heard the term ‘catastrophising’, where we let our thoughts ‘run away’ and we imagine all the awful possibilities of a situation.
The first thing I did was to put on my running shoes and head alongside the river to Richmond and beyond. Running has been proven to help with mental health issues and you can read more about this here and here.
10k later I’m exhausted but also calmer. I also have the benefit of access to other professionals and it was through one of them that I was reminded that my feelings are just thoughts and in this case unhelpful ones. And thoughts come and go. So I recognise them for what they are – thoughts – and I let them pass. I don’t hold onto them, don’t let them become anything more than what they are. And it helps.
I don’t know what is going to happen and that’s alright. But more than that I’m now looking at what I can learn from this situation. What are the positives of what happened? What could I learn from it that will help me in the future? Is there a way of looking at this that would mean that it’s been a useful and positive thing?
What actually happened to me isn’t important; it could be anything in our lives. What’s important is how we think about it. Are you catastrophising? And what are you doing about it?