When you find yourself feeling stressed and anxious, do you start focusing on the situation’s potential negative outcomes? Does your mind jump to the worst case scenario? If so, you are not alone.
It seems as if this is the mind’s default way of thinking when we’re feeling anxious. While this can help us keep track of important challenges we want to overcome, it can also impair the way we confront such challenges. Why is that? It may be part of a self-fulfilling prophecy.
A self-fulfilling prophecy happens when we have a belief that something will happen, and because we believe in it, our resulting behaviors end up making it a reality. For example, you might believe that you are not very good at learning languages and that you will never be able to speak a new language. As a result, you may never put in the practice to make it happen. Without practicing, you will not learn the language – fulfilling the prophecy you set for yourself. Self-fulfilling prophecies can arise when we feel stressed and question our own ability to confront the challenges we face. Negative expectations will undoubtedly lead to more negative outcomes, causing more stress and anxiety. However, there is a way to reverse our expectations and create positive self-fulfilling prophecies. Rather than indulging in our negative thoughts, we can cultivate beneficial, optimistic expectations.
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