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3 Tips for Dealing with Worst-Case-Scenario Thinking

Do worst-case scenarios constantly run through your mind like polluted streams of consciousness?

You’re not alone.

Imagining how things can go wrong is actually self-protective. Thank goodness we have the ability to foresee potential problems. We couldn’t exist very well without it.

What happens, however, when our self-protective instinct goes haywire?

We end up forecasting failure and disaster, worrying constantly about things breaking bad. If this is the case with you, here are some tips to help you through worst-case-scenario thinking.

1. Realize the value. In our positivity-obsessed culture, we don’t always realize that considering the worst-case scenario – and preparing for it – is smart. In fact, some ancient philosophies, such as Stoic teachings, insist that accepting the worst-case scenario prior to any new endeavor is a necessary step. At that point, any small success can be thoroughly appreciated.

2. Consciously observe your worst case scenario thoughts. Don’t be the victim of your thoughts. Just observe them with interest. Say to yourself, “My mind wants to show me the worst-case scenario and I am going to observe the results until I understand.” Notice what happens when you stop fretting over what your mind is doing and start observing with interest.

3. Once you’ve observed the worst-case scenario, imagine the best-case scenario. After all, we should give fair and balanced time to both sides of any story:) Imagine in detail how well things might go to balance out the worst-case scenario thinking.

Truth is, life most often delivers somewhere in between the best- and worst-case scenarios. If you’ve already understood and accepted the worst possible outcome, you’re prepared for anything – and will probably be grateful for the results you get.

These tips can be used when considering new activities, or in freeing yourself from the past.

3 Tips for Dealing with Worst-Case-Scenario Thinking

Mike Bundrant

Mike Bundrant is the author of Your Achilles Eel: Discover and Overcome the Hidden Cause of Negative Emotions, Bad Decisions and Self-Sabotage and co-founder at The iNLP Center which offers online certification in Neuro-Linguistic Programming and life coaching.

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APA Reference
Bundrant, M. (2016). 3 Tips for Dealing with Worst-Case-Scenario Thinking. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 4, 2020, from


Last updated: 24 Aug 2016
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