How do I stop thinking about the worst possible outcomes?
Last Updated: 05/29/2018 at 8:23pm
Jessica McDaniel, LPC, LCPC
Licensed Professional Counselor
I have been practicing cognitive behavioral psychotherapy since 2007 with a diverse group of adult clients with various diagnoses, all races, and socioeconomic classes.
Top Rated Answers
I do this all the time. I find myself creating scenarios in my head. It's got to the point I can't bare my children running, playing in the park etc. I just imagine they are going to seriously injure themselves all the time. Don't know what to do to stop feeling like this.
I've yet to find a definite answer myself. In all honesty, I think the best way to ease that anxiety would be to just focus on the very moment you are in. Worry about a future outcome does not help. We cannot predict how good the future will be, or how trying.
I find that it's a lot easier to stop thinking about the worst possible outcomes when you learn to recognize them as such. Anytime you feel like you might be exaggerating the consequences of something, practice taking a step back and seriously evaluating your thoughts. Ask yourself: are my thoughts logical? Am I assuming too much? Perhaps revisit the question later, after you've had some time to calm down.
It's not terrible to think of the worst possible outcomes, in fact, sometimes it's good to prepare for it. But you shouldn't always assume that's the case, that's when it becomes bad. Think about every single situation in your life. 99% of them probably ended in a scenario which wasn't worst case. You'll survive, I promise.
Try to be optimistic and try to believe in yourself - in your abilities and that of the other person's (if an other person is involved) I am not saying that all outcomes are good but there is no point in thinking about only bad outcomes - it just brings you down. So take a deep breath and do the best you can and trust yourself and think positively :)
You could try thinking of two or three good outcomes for every bad outcome that you think of. This will help you think in a more positive way about situations. Remind yourself that it will be okay :)
I think about all the good I have in my life. You can't see the rainbow without the dreaded storm...
Try and challenge your thoughts. Thinking about the bad outcomes is considered a distorted thought. Im not exactly sure which one it is though. A way that you can stop is to challenge yor thoughts by asking things like : what is the likelihood that it will happen? Is there evidence? You could also try and change the way you think. Heres an example "I only studied for an hour, I am going to fail this test" vs "I studied for a good SOLID hour, I can do this'
Just remember that it's not happening yet so you still have the power to alter those bad thoughts. I mean, you haven't know the outcome yet and since you're terrified because of it, why don't you try to prevent it from happening by doing your best so the outcome will be in your favor? ;)
by focusing on the best :) The only way out of this vicious cycle is by learning to embrace your feelings. This may seem scary at first because of negative beliefs you have about emotions. For example, you may believe that you should always be rational and in control, that your feelings should always make sense, or that you shouldn’t feel certain emotions, such as fear or anger. The truth is that emotions—like life—are messy. They don’t always make sense and they’re not always pleasant. But as long as you can accept your feelings as part of being human, you’ll be able to experience them without becoming overwhelmed and learn how to use them to your advantage.
Thinking about the worst possible outcomes and not having control over it is automatic thinking. Your mind responds to a situation and automatically unreasonable responds in a disastrous response. The best way to stop thinking about it is to not avoid it and face it. Be mindful and reasonable in the situation you are in, some good techniques that can help you is recording how you are feeling when youre thinking of the worst possible out come to a situation, next to that in the diary rationalise the thought, what is mostly likely to happen? what's the possibility of the worst happening? and then next to this replace the thoughts with the outcome and thinking you should of had to this situation. Doing this can get you into the routine of thinking more rationally and generally helping mental health issues such as anxiety.
you can never really stop thinking bout the worst things that can happen but you can start thinking bout happy thoughts
You remind yourself that it's not over, you choose the outcome, you can make it happen if you really try
We think about negative outcomes that will never happen, so don't worry! :) Try distracting yourself by doing your favorite activities/interests. Watching a movie/series, writing/reading books, going out for a walk, practicing arts or anything that you like :)
Sometimes thinking about the worst outcome is a way to deal with anxiety. If the worst is bearable than the anxiety can be lessened.
I would try think of a good memory, one that makes you happy, whether it's a trip to the cinema, a walk in the park with your boyfriend,family or best friend or something completely different and try to stay postive. Personally I love this quote "Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselfs up"
Have someone to listen to you. Like 7 cups or a therapist, counsellor at learners success at BVC or Psychatrist anyone thats willing to listen and understand the situation.
It can be very natural for our mind to jump to the worst possible scenario of a situation, mostly because we've grown used to it or it's the scarier of the two options available. But with effort we can remind ourselves to time and again stop, reassess, and think very purposefully of the best possible outcomes to a situation. Doing so will relieve stress, and start a positive habit that can help us in many ways to come.
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