“In a perfect world:” an observation often made to acknowledge the deficiencies and challenges of a difficult present situation. Eh, forget that it’s frequently offered in a snarky manner. The concept’s a great fit here because it’s going to tell you a lot about you and open the door to coping strategies and techniques. So let’s get busy…

But you know what’s even better? She was able to put together a marvelous visualization, featuring her flight buddies, that she practiced and put to use when the time came. And it helped…

Last week, in “You just found out your life is ending in a year. Yikes, what now?”, we talked about using ultimate extremes to confront and overcome our cognitive distortions. And since tapping into the power of extremes is a wonderfully effective strategy, we’re going to use it again this go-round.

I think you’re going to like this…

Enter the Genie

Imagine, a genie (“jinni” in Arabic) comes out of nowhere and parks itself right in front of you. The spirit in human form enthusiastically tells you can have anything you’d like that would improve your emotional and mental health. And the cool thing is it doesn’t have to be just one thing. No, the genie says you have five minutes to compose and express your list.

But there’s a catch. You can’t ask for a cure and you can’t ask that specific symptoms be removed.

A Little Clarification, Bill?

Okay, just what do I mean, and why am I going there?

A number of years ago I worked with a woman whose life was dominated by a variety of anxieties. And I think it’s safe to say that intrusive thoughts, and torment over the possibility of acting upon them, was tops on her misery list.

Well, she had a trip coming-up that would require flying and she was overwrought with anxiety about it. But she clarified that she wasn’t afraid of flying, rather she was afraid she’d make a run for the door during the flight and open it. At a level of reason she knew she wouldn’t do it in a million years, still the fear and anxiety were paralyzing.

So I asked her, to any extreme, what it would take to quell her anxiety. Her answer was fantastic and, in my mind, made perfect sense. She said if she had a very physically fit individual, who was aware of her situation and would stop her if she made a run to the door, sitting on both sides of her during the flight she’d be incredibly more comfortable.


I believe her very creative response was, yes, beautiful. And I believe that addressing her dilemma within the context of such an ultimate extreme – her “perfect world” – provided her with powerful self-insight.

But you know what’s even better? She was able to put together a marvelous visualization, featuring her flight buddies, that she practiced and put to use when the time came. And it helped, not only during the flight, but with her anticipatory anxiety.

What About Your “Perfect World?

creative ways to treat depression

Now let’s talk about you, and how, within the context of ultimate extremes, your perfect world might look. And then you’ll want to determine what it reveals about you and how it can lead you to the creation of some effective coping strategies and techniques.

To get your creative juices flowing, I’ll give you a scenario. And, heck, it may well apply to you. Let’s say you have major health anxiety issues and you’re interoceptive as heck. I mean, throughout any given day that self-monitor on your back, which you’ve set to high, is picking-up on all sorts of physical signs of trouble involving your blood sugar fluctuations, hypertension, palpitations, headaches, and IBS.

In the midst of all of this, and to the ultimate extreme, would having a medical doctor at your side 24/7 allow you to feel more comfortable? The same would apply to the emotional and mental symptoms you battle. Would it calm you to have a psychiatrist or doctoral level psychologist with you around the clock?

I’m betting the answer to both is “yes.” If that’s the case, what self-revelations does it provide? What does it tell you about you in terms of your deepest needs and desires? Even more important, bringing the extreme back to reality, if you can’t afford to have 24/7 monitoring, how else can you get what you need? Perhaps through visualization like our flying woman? Maybe coming up with another creative technique to confront the cognitive distortion that you’re constantly in a state of immediate peril and haven’t the resources within to get you over the hump.

Light’s Out

“In a perfect world.” So often said tongue-in-cheek, but when we apply it to our emotionally and mentally disordered lives, within the context of ultimate extremes, it holds great meaning and potential.

I’m encouraging you to consider what you just read as a challenge. Take the time to come up with some extreme “perfect world” scenarios and reflect upon what they reveal about you – your needs and desires.

But if you don’t take the time to use what you come up with to create some custom-tailored coping strategies and techniques, you’ll be wasting your time.

Try it, okay?

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