Today I have another tremendous coping strategy to share with you. It’s deceptively simple but quite effective. Whenever you find yourself anxious about something that’s about to happen or might happen in the future, ask yourself: “What’s The Worst That Could Happen”?
I’m serious. It may seem too simple or even a little silly, but it works like a charm every time. When you start to worry or are getting too anxious about something, stop and start to imagine in great detail what the worst possible outcome could be. If everything that could go wrong, would go wrong, what would happen? The chances are that the worst that could happen isn’t all that bad.
Let’s say you’re anxious about getting up in front of a group of peers to make a speech. The worst that could happen is that you mess up and stumble over your words. You might not get a big round of applause and may end up with a red face. It’s not the end of the world, and since you’re no longer in middle school, you don’t have to worry about being teased about it.
Maybe you’re worried about talking to the cute girl or guy at work. Again, what’s the worst that could happen? You ask him or her out, and the answer is no. It’s not that big a deal and certainly not worth getting anxious about. You’ve tried, and you’re no worse off than if you’d done nothing.
Keep running through these little mental scenarios anytime you start to worry and get anxious. This simple little mental exercise puts you back in control. You decide what the worst possible outcome is and then take control of your actions.
By asking yourself what the worst possible outcome would be, you’re looking at the problem from a different angle. You’re facing your fear, and suddenly you’re not anxious about the unknown anymore. It becomes a known quantity, and it allows you to decide if this worst-case scenario is worth the risk of going for it. Nine times out of ten, the worst-case scenario is less frightening than the anxiety about the unknown. Most of the time, it will be something you can easily live with. Best of all, it’s a quick and easy way of reducing anxiety. Try it and see for yourself how well this works whenever you’re anxious about a future event.
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