December 7, 2021 Stacey Mendelson 0 Comments

If you find yourself spending the majority of your time in a heightened state of anxiety, you are probably indulging in “what if” thinking. This is not a fun way to spend your time. If your goal is to calm the f*ck down so you can breathe, enjoy your kids and show up as a functional person, this post is for you.

What if thinking will derail this goal. It is a time and energy suck that does nothing but provoke anxiety, and your anxiety is contagious to your kids.

What is “what if” thinking?

What if thinking is a state of hypervigilance that induces a lot of unnecessary anxiety. Your brain is actively conjuring up every iteration of a problem that could come your way. Often in this state, you don’t actually answer the “what if” question, instead you just swim in a pool of worry. Yuck.

Step 1: Actually answer the “what if” question

Most “what if” questions are about the worst-case scenario.

  • what if the GAL doesn’t get it?
  • what if the judge rules against me?
  • what if my kids like his new girlfriend?

Answer the question “then what?” What would you need to do to deal with that situation? How would you need to feel to take that action?

  • What if the GAL doesn’t get it? Then what?

I will create a synopsis/timeline using Stacey’s template to objectively demonstrate the facts and highlight the issues. I will schedule another meeting and follow up with my written synopsis.

  • What if the judge rules against me? Then what?

This is a marathon, not a race. Every time I go to court this is the possibility this can happen. I will take what happened, adapt and learn so I do better next time.

  • What if my kids like his new girlfriend? Then what?

I will remind myself that this is so much better than the converse. I will get coached and clean up my thoughts about this so I can show up as an amazing parent.

Managing the racing brain

The difference between people who navigate their divorce like a boss and those who are a trainwreck is the ability to stay on track. That means only taking the steps along the critical path to your goal and not getting off track. Nothing will take you off track like a racing brain.

Managing a racing brain is a skill. Just like learning to do a cartwheel. A gymnastics coach will teach you cartwheels way more quickly and efficiently than you can learn yourself. Same with a divorce coach and a racing brain. Lessons and practice.