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We humans are time travelers

Although a hotly debated subject, it seems that we are the only species on earth that can cognitively project ourselves either into the past with our memories or into the future with our anticipations. It’s important to understand that our brains are hardwired to anticipate future events, not to worry about them.

 No question that anticipation, whether its preparing for an interview, planning a strategy for dealing with a hostile neighbor or deciding what clothes to bring on a vacation, serves us in our everyday lives. Where anticipation gets a bad rap is when it’s instigated by insecurity. Then, for example, instead of preparing for an interview, you worry about screwing up. As anyone who has ever been caught up in a ruminative struggle knows, worry begets worry, and it won’t be long before you’re feeling anxious.

Anticipatory thinking combined with insecurity (worry) is the quintessential downfall of anyone suffering from anxiety. This type of thinking is most often preceded by two words, “What if.” “What if she laughs at me?” “What if I don’t get the job?” What-if, worrisome thinking is clearly a form of anticipation that allows insecurity to get its foot in the door filling your head with thoughts of things going wrong (you don’t worry about things going right).

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