A big part of fear is the unknown. We are afraid of public speaking because we don’t know what others will think of our presentation. We are too scared to ask someone out on a date because we don’t know if they will say yes or no. We fear colossal squid because, well, because they can rip us to pieces. I guess that third one doesn’t quite fit, but it is still scary.
I am all for positive thinking, but when it comes to combating fear it may be beneficial to ask “what’s the worst that can happen?”
Oddly enough, there is some freedom in figuring out what really could go wrong. Neuroscience research suggests that considering the worst possible scenario can make us feel more in control. When we are nervous, the unknown is actually scarier than something negative. By painting an image of the worst case, we lessen the unknown and begin to feel in charge. This allows us to turn worries and doubts into positive emotions.
So, the next time we are afraid of something we should ask ourselves, “what is the worst that can happen?” By giving it a face, we will likely find that even the worst possible outcome isn’t as spooky as we thought.