Last week I wrote about how worrying arouses anxiety and anxiety triggers stress. When stress persists over a period of time, it becomes chronic and detrimental to our physical and mental well-being.

One of the main ways in which we worry is by repeatedly asking “What If….?” questions. People generally don’t “what if” about good stuff. It’s all about negative, terrible, dreadful things that could possibly happen in the future. That’s why “What if ….” thinking arouses anxiety.

There are a number of options available to us to help tackle our repetitive “What if?” thinking. The option I want to look at today is – developing the habit of focusing on what is good about the present and the future.

By regular practice, focusing on positive expectations we can create a new habit to replace our “What if ….?’ thinking habit.  And that means that instead of focusing on the negative we start to have a more positive dialogue with ourselves. In fact, a study on proactive coping done by Stony Brook University showed that “aspiring for a positive future rather than preventing a negative one is distinctly predictive of well-being.”

Here are some exercises to help you begin to develop/enhance the habit of focusing on positive expectations.

Developing the habit of focusing on what is good about the present and the future

These exercises come from the field of Positive Psychology.

1. Three good things: All you need to do is, in the evening, write down three things that went well for you that day and give an explanation as to what you did to make them happen. Initially you might struggle to find anything, but start small. As you get better at paying attention to the good things it’ll get easier.

2. Three funny things: Write down the three funniest things that you experienced or participated in each day; also write about why the funny thing happened (e.g., was it something you created, something you observed, something spontaneous?)

3. Three things you are grateful for: All you need to do is, in the evening, write down three things that you are grateful for. They don’t have to be big things and you don't have to stop at just three things!

3 good things

I encourage you to start practicing these simple techniques today and to begin building your positive expectation thinking habit. And what’s more, answering the questions is a wonderful way to end your day and to create the mind-set that supports a quality sleep.


What Next?

Call me now on 021 056 8389 or email me at to find out how I can help you can gain freedom from worry, and reduce anxiety and stress.

Have a positive week.
Go well


Tony helps individuals to harness the power of personal change to achieve success and well-being in life, work and business. Tony's particular area of expertise is in helping people perform under pressure and gain freedom from worry, anxiety and stress. Tony’s solution focused approach to coaching uses a range of techniques drawn from the fields of co-active coaching, hypnosis, positive psychology and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP).

Contact Tony today to discuss how he can help you, or if you think Tony could help someone you know, you might like to encourage them to get in touch with him.