You’re telling yourself stories — so why not tell yourself a happy one?

You’re telling yourself stories — so why not tell yourself a happy one?

via by Deborah Grayson Riegel

After you email an expensive proposal to your price-sensitive client, or leave a message for your boss request for vacation time during the busy season, or ask for a raise or promotion (or both) after your last performance review, you have to wait patiently to hear back. And if you’re anything like I am, waiting for information patiently is a challenge.

No news is nothing–nothing other than time and space for us to make up a story. And those stories tend to make us feel anxious. 

What kinds of stories?

A story about how the client to whom we sent the proposal is deciding to hire someone else. A story about how our boss is getting ready to deny our vacation request.A story about how we’re never going to get the raise or promotion we want.

Not happy stories — that’s for sure. So why do we do this to ourselves?

According to neurologist Robert Burton, MD, author of Where Science and Story Meet, “because we are compelled to make stories, we are often compelled to take incomplete stories and run with them. With a half-story from science in our minds, we earn a dopamine “reward” every time it helps us understand something in our world–even if that explanation is incomplete or wrong.”

In other words, filling in the blanks makes us feel good, even if the story we’re creating isn’t a good one. 

But since creating stories is entirely within our control, we could just as easily decide to make up one that has a happy ending as one with a devastating outcome, right? What if we became less paranoid and more pronoid–believing that people who may be conspiring could actually make good things happen? 

In my book, Overcoming Overthinking, I suggest the following three steps to help stop you (and me) stop spiraling in the face of incomplete information…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE