In my eBook on Amazon titled “Chronic Anxiety Unreality Symptoms”, I touch on the subject of taking catastrophic thoughts and converting them into humor. These thoughts are what some people refer to as “what if thinking” which can consist of terrible and disturbing thoughts and fear of catastrophic events taking place. Many anxiety sufferers experience this type of thinking and many times their thoughts come from the fear of losing control and committing violent acts. These thoughts are irrational and the fact that they are disturbing to the person experiencing them, means they will not act upon them. They are simply phobias with no true basis but they can of course still be greatly-concerning. This is especially true when they serve to trigger panic attacks or what we also call the “fight or flight response”.
So, how do you add humor to these types of thoughts or actually convert them into funny scenarios that take the threat out of them? Well, it’s certainly not always easy to do but something anxiety sufferers can work on that may yield them good success in diverting these phobic thoughts away from their original irrational direction. Some anxiety sufferers may simply replace these thoughts with different ones which can also be effective and they may not always use humor to do so (Whatever works!). I did want to give further description however of how humor can replace catastrophic thinking because this question was specifically asked by a reader of one of the chapters of my books on the catastrophic thinking subject. I add more suggestion in the following paragraphs but also want to remind that “what if” thoughts are common with anxiety disorders and they do not indicate that the one experiencing them is actually going to snap or lose touch with reality. You could say they are phantom thoughts that have no true basis and will not actually cause us harm.
What a great question it was that a reader recently asked and one I really appreciate them asking and that was his wanting to know specifically how to implement diversionary thinking into thoughts about snapping and becoming violent to others. A few years ago, I ordered a man’s eBook online that printed-out on my copy machine (his method for delivering it). I don’t remember the book or author’s name but gave it to my son who also suffers anxiety. I do remember the author talking about having the bizarre thought that he would suddenly pick up a knife and start stabbing people around him. He described the thought in such a way that actually made me laugh and I found appreciation in that. I don’t remember exactly what type humor he injected into this particular paragraph but it worked and made me realize that this was a great method for thought-diversion in turning catastrophic thoughts into something to laugh at, thereby rendering it powerless to increase anxiety states.
Some ideas I would suggest is to change the thought of a knife in your hand into a fish and how funny it would be to attack someone with a limp fish. If the thought that you’ll point a gun at someone enters your mind, picture shooting bubbles out of it rather than bullets. While someone without anxiety might see these as ridiculous suggestions, they are legitimate methods in my opinion for turning the tables on anxiety and beating it at its own game. It may sound like I’m placing anxiety into a category of being an enemy we have to defeat but actually we are simply working on mastering it, so that it works for us instead of against us. We do see anxiety as an enemy when it is “busting us” so-to-speak and causing us aguish. Our goal is rather to see anxiety provide us more energy and inspiration to accomplish things in our lives and that is when we become a partner to its true purpose and can then call anxiety a friend instead of a foe.