Gary's Guidance: Curbing Your Fear by Taming Your Projections

August 2015

This is the sequel to When There is Uncertainty…What’s to Fear?  That article addressed how uncertainty can cause projective thinking that generates fear and stress.  Most inner thoughts are tied to observations of our environment through sensory input and especially from what we see and hear. Our other senses involving touch (tactile), smell (olfactory), and taste also contribute to our daily experiences.  We make interpretations from these daily experiences which can trigger a cognitive function known as self-talk.

Uncertainty can lead one to project catastrophic outcomes, and that negative thinking causes stress within a person.  The person projecting catastrophic thoughts can also infect stress upon others around them.

For example, an adult child worries about their parent’s safety by their being involved in an auto accident. He/she worries (projecting) that their mother will be in a car accident while driving from Pennsylvania to Florida.  In the end, there is no car accident and she safely arrives for vacation.  This stress was unnecessarily self-inflicted by projecting catastrophic thoughts.  To reduce negative self-talk and to curb catastrophic projections this is what you can do:

  1. Develop positive self-talk by therapeutically confronting the inner voice that projects catastrophic outcomes. Restructure the negative self-talk into positive self-talk which may sound like this:

“I don’t project awful outcomes anymore.”

“I choose to only think about positive outcomes.”

“My projections are highly inaccurate so stop projecting.”

“I am generating my own stress by how I am thinking so stop projecting”

  1. Redirect your thinking towards pleasant topics and then behaviorally engage in a diversionary activity that you enjoy.

Be aware of the inner voice in your head that you listen to every day.  Practice confronting negative and projective thinking by using positive self-talk.

Gary Kozick, LCSW