How do I stop assuming the worst about everything?

Written by michelle blessing
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How do I stop assuming the worst about everything?
Worrying and assuming can take over your life. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 18 per cent of the adult population in the United States suffered from some form of anxiety disorder in 2009. Almost 23 per cent of these cases were classified as severe anxiety. Unchecked anxiety can lead to frustration and excessive worry. You might begin to suffer from paranoia and assume the worst in every situation. This can overtake your life, causing problems in your social and professional life. Following some simple tips can help you curb your anxiety; and help you stop assuming the worst in every situation.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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  1. 1

    Practice deep breathing exercises whenever you begin to feel anxiety or worry excessively. Deep breathing will centre your mind and body, and it will take the focus off the situation or person you are making assumptions or worrying about. Take deep breaths in, filling your lungs completely, hold them for about five seconds and exhale. Do this several times per day, or whenever anxiety and worry strikes.

  2. 2

    Brainstorm all possible outcomes, both positive and negative, for the situation you are making assumptions about. Write down each outcome on a piece of paper or in a "worry" journal. Think of the likelihood that each scenario will come true. For example, if you are worried about travelling by plane, write down each scenario you can picture. You could write down the plane would crash, the plane would be hijacked or the plane will make it safely to its destination. Give each scenario a percentage of likelihood, for example, 10 per cent, 5 per cent and 85 per cent, adding up to 100 per cent.

  3. 3

    Ask a trusted family member or friend for an objective opinion, whenever anxiety starts to take over. A trusted friend or family member can provide some perspective on what you are making assumptions about. You will probably find that you are thinking out of context; This person can help you see how to view the situation logically and without worry.

  4. 4

    Distract yourself with music, exercise or a good book and cup of tea. Taking a break from thinking, then going back when your mind is clear and focused, can help you stop assuming the worst-case scenario.

  5. 5

    Train yourself to think positively. Try to find at least one good situation or thing every day. Do this for at least one week. Try to find at least two good situations or things the second week. Write down the positive things you find in life, positive sayings to keep you motivated and positive people to surround yourself with. The more positively you train yourself to think, the less likely you will assume the worst about everything.

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