Ask Dr G change
Written by Doctor G

How to banish the creeping dread


Are you having a hard time being optimistic? 

The new year can offer a sense of new opportunities and good change. A lot of people who are reaching out to me tell me that they can’t find any excitement or sense of possibility in the turning of the year. That instead, the uncertainty around so many things – related to COVID and not – is draining them faster than any amount of self-care or routine can fill them up. 

They are describing a sense of dread. A feeling that it doesn’t really matter how ok thing might be now, it won’t last even if it’s currently manageable and understandable because things can and probably will get worse. 

First of all – that is a hard way to feel! I’m sorry if you are experiencing that.

Second of all – if you aren’t that is great – but you may notice it in someone close to you. Is there a child in your life who is feeling less hopeful than circumstances might indicate? A team member? A person in your family or a friend?

Lastly, a solution. 

Don’t ignore the creeping dread, or will it away by telling yourself or this other person how they shoudl feel instead. That never works, and it undermines resilience. 

What you can do is this: Take out that dread and look at it under a bright light. Name the fear or worry or discomfort as specifically as you can ad then ask a very powerful question. “OK, so what if that does happen?” 

This is not a sarcastic or a rhetorical question. This is a problem solving question. This strategy allows you to identify how this change could harm you and to find some options to manage it. If it never happens, great! If it does happen you’re more prepared and more resilient. 

For anyone who thinks I’m cracked, or just isn’t seeing what I’m suggesting, here is an example

So… what are you dreading? Hit reply and tell me. Just saying it out loud or writing it down is a great first step. 

All my best,

Dr. G

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A widely recognized media personality, Dr. G is your go-to expert on resilience. Countless broadcast outlets rely on her contagious humor and illuminating stories to tackle tough topics. She is regularly seen on TV, as well as interviewed for print and digital outlets. Here, she’s answering your questions. Search for the answers you need, or ask her your question now!
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