How to cope with the unknown future
Many of us struggle with the balance between future-focused and present-focused thinking. On one hand, becoming a parent necessitates planning, anticipating what you might need in both the short-term future and long-term. On the other hand, we know that present-focused thinking helps us remain grounded in the current reality and improves our ability to be grateful.
Cognitive Behavioral Theory (CBT) is a useful tool for every human that has a brain. CBT focuses on identifying thoughts, understanding emotions related to the thoughts, challenging thoughts that are flawed or irrational, and incorporating behaviors that reinforce positive thinking and positive mood.
Simply put, we want to change our thinking in order to change our emotions and overall mood. We want our behaviors to support relaxation and our ability to interrupt repetitive negative thinking. Although we use CBT in psychotherapy, the ideas behind it are for everyone. There are lots of useful CBT self-help books and workbooks will help improve skills to identify, interrupt, and challenge the thoughts that keep nagging at you.
One of the most common cognitive biases for parents is “fortune-telling” or a tendency to predict the future (for the worst). In order to challenge these “fortune-telling” thoughts, we must loosen our hold on them. Unfortunately, we can get very attached to our thoughts.
What thoughts can you identify that aren’t helping you cope right now? How can you look at them with some distance? Can you share them with someone you trust to get further perspective and support?