Focus On What You Know

An anxious brain is a busy brain. It can’t sit still and be quiet. Instead, it scurries around picking up any tiny thing it can find and starts picking it apart, looking for something to worry about. 

The anxious brain makes mountains out of molehills by telling you lie after lie.

So, here’s today’s suggestion: FOCUS ON WHAT YOU KNOW (rather than on what you suppose).

I’ll use COVID19 to illustrate. 

At this moment, I know:
1. I am alive.
2. I feel fine.
3. I have enough food in the house to satisfy my appetite.
4. My wife, my children, and my grandchildren are alive.
5. I have toilet paper!

But my anxious brain wants to take me by the hand and drag me around in search of trouble by saying:
1. What if something happens to you? What will happen to everyone who depends on you? Who will take care of them? How will the funeral be handled? Can everyone come who wants to? Will they have to cremate my body to destroy the virus?
2. You feel fine right now, but that virus takes days before it shows symptoms. What if you have the virus right now and are infecting everyone in the house? What if you get sick and have to go to the hospital? Will you need a ventilator? Will there be a ventilator available? Will there even be a bed available in the hospital?
3. What if the food in the house runs out? Will there be food available at the store? Will someone read this post and decide to break in your house and steal your food? What if you catch them? Will you shoot them? Will they shoot you? Will they kidnap your wife? What will they do to her? Will you ever see her again?
4. I heard your wife cough during the night. Does that mean she’s getting sick with the virus? Is she going to die? How will you survive without her? Will you ever marry again? Would she be upset with you if you did? What would your children and grandchildren think of you if you remarried? And what if the new marriage doesn’t work out and they divorce you? What will people think about you?
5. What if you run out of toilet paper? What if whatever you use in it’s place is too rough and it creates an abrasion you-know-where? What if that sore gets infected? What if the infection spreads into your colon? Will your colon have to be removed? Will you have to wear a colostomy bag? How will that change your life? How will your wife feel differently about you? What if she can’t tolerate it, and she divorces you. What if nobody else will have anything to do with you?

WHEW! That was exhausting, anxiety producing, and hilarious to write! 

Look at the difference in volume between what I KNOW and WHAT I SUPPOSE. It’s amazing, isn’t it?

That’s why I say, take a breath, slow down, and FOCUS ON WHAT YOU KNOW.

2 thoughts on “Focus On What You Know

  1. Hi David. Those “hilarious to write” questions were actually anxiety-producing for me. Before I read them I had never even considered such depressing and/or scary situations. I just don’t think that way. I’m still waiting for my heartbeat to return to normal.

  2. Instead of focusing on the “what if’s”, clearly we have to think mostly about “what is”! I enjoy reading your books immensely and relate to so much! Your line of thinking is so aligned with mine; we have to focus on the here and now and be thankful for what we have, the inconveniences and challenges that may need resolution, and not be afraid of what’s around the corner as our main thoughts. Thanks for you!

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