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Combat Catastrophic Thinking With Gratitude


bad things happen but it's never as bad as we think
❝Perspective is your own choice and the best way to shift that perspective is through gratitude. -Bronnie Ware

My wife and I are grateful for the shade the trees provide while we hike down the trail. We are in southeastern Tennessee in the summertime hiking to a waterfall, and I'm not used to this level of heat and humidity.


Luckily, we're walking through the shade, following a river upstream. The scenery is beautiful, and the fresh air feels great. The path we are on is pretty well-traveled. As a result, we have to watch our footing because many roots from the trees have been exposed. They are easy to trip over - I've already tripped, so as much as I would love to keep my head up and look at the scenery, I keep my head down to see where I'm putting my feet. There's a big root coming up, and luckily I spot it. With my current stride, I plan to just step on the root and keep moving.


Right as I'm about to step on the root, the root starts slithering, sliding, and coiling.


To understand what happens next, you have to picture a contortionist undulating in midair while attempting to avoid a swarm of bees while yelling, "HOLY $#!+, IT'S MOVING!!!". I'm not proud of my impromptu dance moves and R-rated language, but I am grateful that the tree root, which turned out to be a gigantic snake, did not unhinge its mouth and swallow me whole as they do on the Discovery channel.


Looking back, I don't have any idea if this was a harmless snake or if it was a very venomous snake. What I do know is that I didn't decide to dance like a one-legged clown; my body just did it whether I liked it or not!


We are hardwired to assume the worst in potentially dangerous situations. And while assuming the worst can sometimes help us in life and death situations, it rarely helps us when it comes to our money.


ASSUMING THE WORST


It's natural for us to assume the worst-case scenario. In fact, it's hardwired into us. Assuming the worst may have helped our ancestors survive, but it doesn't do much to help us today.


Assuming the worst could be believing that you'll never find a partner again after a breakup. It could be thinking that a fight will end in divorce. Worst-case scenario thinking could be imagining that you'll lose your house because you lost your job.


Examples are numerous, but they have one thing in common: highly pessimistic forecasts about all the bad things that will happen. Assuming the worst is a dark place where we've lost hope.

anxiety cycle, where we stress out, have negative thoughts and assume the worst