How to kick your habit of assuming the worst

How to kick your habit of assuming the worst

Does your mind go fast and frequently to all that’s wrong? Or all that could go wrong?

Do you often think the worst?

If so, firstly, you’re not alone. This is very common.

And also, surprisingly, it’s not always a negative. Thinking of what can go wrong can help protect against negative life events and motivate preparation that builds resilience.

That being said, it will come as no surprise to many of you to read that too much thinking the worst, too much of what we call “catastrophising”, can undermine happiness and confidence and create excessive stress and anxiety.

So, if you’d like to learn how to think differently then …

via Fast Company by Stephanie Vozza

You’ve probably heard the saying about what happens when you assume. (You make an ass out of u and me.) That likely doesn’t stop you from doing it, though. Our brains love certainty, and when faced with a situation that doesn’t make sense, most of us jump to a conclusion to satisfy our urge to know.

“In every conversation or interaction that we have, our brain is busy trying to make sense of what the incoming signals are,” says Chuck Wisner, author of The Art of Conscious Conversations: Transforming How We Talk, Listen, and Interact. “It takes in stuff from our senses, and our background—our emotional and physical history—and delivers a story that tells us, ‘Here’s what’s happening. Here’s how you should think. And here’s what’s going on.’ We live in stories about ourselves or other people, which then turn into judgments and opinions.”

In some cases, assumptions are good, helping us navigate the world.

“We couldn’t live without them, because we wouldn’t be able to navigate this very complex world and the intense amount of incoming signals that we get from the environment,” says Wisner. “If there’s a truck coming, the quick assumption that [you] need to move out of the way serves you.”

On the flip side, assumptions can be a trap if they don’t align with reality. Negative assumptions can be especially problematic and hard to navigate if our ego and identity get involved. We can become attached to the negative assumption without investigation. For example, someone who prides themselves on being a dedicated employee might assume that a coworker who is taking another personal day off is a slacker. In reality, the colleague may be caring for an aging parent and has to juggle personal and work commitments.


Entering a conversation with a negative judgment or assumption is like going in with a closed fist, says Wisner. “Whether we’re talking about abortion or gun control, having a an opposing opinion is going to make that conversation pretty stressful pretty quickly,” he says. “Our identities are attached to it, and we’re pretty convinced we’re right. There’s no open space in our mind to consider more information or other perspectives.”

… keep reading the full & original article HERE