These words of mine may give you some guidance on dealing with anxiety thoughts.

The most common form of anxiety thought is the "What if...?" thought. "What if the train is cancelled?" "What if the plane crashes?" "What if I lose my job?" "What if I lose my love?" And each such thought makes you feel more anxious. And the more anxious you feel the more you seem to think of "What if..?" questions. Remember your "What if..?" thinking.

It can be very helpful to name the "What if...?" centre of your mind. It can be useful to give it a face. One name that some people find helpful is The Health & Safety Department of the mind. One face is that of a very worried and fussy Health and Safety Executive. This person's full time job is to look for things that MIGHT go wrong. A machine that just MIGHT be in dangerous condition. Food storage that just MIGHT allow contamination. Their job is to spend all day looking for disasters that have not happened and may never happen. Just in case. Perhaps you can picture such a person? They do not DO anything about the problems. They just spend all their time thinking up problems for others to fix. Perhaps you know someone like that?

I would like you to to daydream back to perhaps a year ago. I would like you to remember some of the things that your Health and Safety mind was asking, "What if..?" about. I would like you to hear and see, if possible, the "What if"s coming from the Safety Mind. Perhaps you will also see that nearly all the "What If..?" things you were worried by never happened.

Here are two pictures. In one the Health and Safety Officer goes around a building saying to everyone things like, "That wiring could kill you!" "You could fall down those stairs to your deaths!" "The canteen is a danger to health!" and everyone, naturally, panics. In the other picture the Officer is simply making a report to an Executive. "There is one piece of wiring will need to be replaced within two years." The Executive says, "Thank you," and quietly notes the point in a book, adding a note to himself, "Tell maintenance do start in June." The Safety officer adds, "The stairs are getting worn and regulations require a resurface soon." "How soon?" asks the Executive. "They'll probably be within the regulations for another six months." "Thank you," the Executive calmly replies and again makes a note of the point, adding a note to, get maintenance to start work as soon as possible.

In this mild trance state I want you to get a feeling for how your Safety Mind should relate to the rest of you. It should NOT be spreading wild rumours. I want to put some distance between the Safety Mind and your feelings. Your feelings can get easily panicked by the safety messages. But your rational mind can sit down calmly from time to time and listen to it. It should listen like the Executive, with pen in hand and with the aim of noting any necessary action. Don't think your Safety mind is trying to frighten you. It really only wants to help. Don't let its warnings frighten you. It is not a prophet telling you what will happen.

If I knew your mind better then I would be better able to guide your mind in these ways. It might be that your "What if.." mind is more like an anxious little child who just needs reassurance. Or it might be more like a journalist who knows that a good strong "national emergency" story sells papers, gets attention, and will write one on the flimsiest evidence. But these pictures I have given you show a path to follow. I hope that your heart will come to see that there is all the difference in the world between a message from the head saying, "I am in the middle of a disaster." and a message saying, "WHAT IF I WERE in the middle of a disaster." I hope that your heart will listen carefully for the "what if" and then smile to itself and relax, leaving the rational mind to decide what to be done. Those two little words "what if" make all the difference. It is the difference between reality and fiction. Between what you see in a movie and what you see in real life. Let your heart notice those little words and feel the difference, and turn away to better things.

You might consider listening to the track on Anxiety Feelings to help your heart to recover from the pounding it may have had as a result of far too many "What if.." alarms.