We have to be able to predict the future to some degree. For instance, predicting that if we drink the expired, foul-smelling milk, we will probably be sick. That is a way of predicting the future. To function as an adult, we make these sorts of predictions constantly, and in this way our ability to predict the future is a necessary skill.
But with fortune telling thoughts, you are always predicting the worst possible outcome for yourself. It is like owning a crystal ball that predicts only misery. You predict that things will turn out badly, even if you have absolutely no proof that this will be the case.
Of course, some events do have the potential for danger, and we need to be able to assess the risk in those situations. However, fortune telling is not an accurate assessment based on evidence, it is a global assumption we make without considering the real odds.
Fortune Telling can take many forms,sometimes it starts with a “What if” – thesetypes of thoughts relate to feelings of somehow not being able to cope ormanage in the future.
Examples can include:
- “I’ll never get the job anyway. What’s the point?”
- Before a concert or movie, you might hear him or her say, “I just know that all the tickets will be sold out when we get there.”
- What if they don’t like me?
- What if I am going to fail?
- What if I never meet the person of my dreams?
This type of thinking will lead to real problems, because if you think things are going to turn out wrong, then you may act in a way that allows them to go wrong. Automatic thoughts, if left unchecked, may lead to concerns like anxietyand/or depression. Fortune telling is often connected to anxiety, particularly anticipatory anxiety – worrying aboutsomething that hasn’t happened yet, but might happen…in a second, or a minute,or a day, or a month from now.
What should I do?
- First understand that, with fortunetelling, you’re torturing yourself based on assumptions that your negative mind made up. It has nothing to do with reality,at least until you gather all the facts and get proper feedback. And in 90 % of the situations, things that you worry about have nothing to do with reality.
- Check the facts. Does reality match your negative perception? Could there be any other explanation or result be possible? What about all the times that you were lucky? Although you have been rejected, what about all the other people that enjoys your company?
- Don’t assume negative outcomes, if in reality you have no idea what will happen. Instead just do a small manageable step, gather the feedback and adjust if necessary.
- PRACTICE THOUGHT STOPPING. Every time your mind tries to take you to a dark place with a negative conclusion, stop it. Simply say “No!” straight back to your negative mind. Just say, “we don’t know that yet”.In the beginning, you might have to do it hundreds of times daily. Do it again and again and again.
- Remind yourself of past positive outcomes. Find proof of how your mind was wrong in your past, where you got a positive response, even though you anticipated a negative outcome
- Practice trusting yourself and life. You must believe deep down that you’re going to be okay, no matter what happens.A global replacement thought might be: “I don’t know what the future will bring but II am managing right now.”
· From time to time, bad things do happen. There are always some obstacles on the path of life. But much like there are obstacles on the road, so there are lucky breaks, progress and positive responses. Having realistic expectations and focusing on the positive, without jumping to any conclusions when you don’t have the facts, is the optimal way of thinking.
This post is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered therapy.This blog is only for informational and educational purposes and should not be considered therapy or any form of treatment. We are not able to respond to specific questions or comments about personal situations, appropriate diagnosis or treatment, or otherwise provide any clinical opinions. If you think you need immediate assistance, call your local doctor/psychologist or psychiatrist or the SADAG Mental Health Line on 011 234 4837. If necessary, please phone the Suicide Crisis Line on 0800 567 567 or sms 31393.