Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Worst that can happen

Someone yesterday asked me how to deal with a new task at her job. This particular thing was filling her with anxiety and stress.

My response was to think of the worst possible long term scenario with that thing, and then realize that she won't reach that bad a state. Basically, this is thinking what is the worst that can happen?

My friend appreciated this thought. But come to think of this, there are many fields where this is normal. For example, in the construction business, the strength etc. of structures is usually measured in terms of loads of up to ten times the normal load they are expected to handle. In computer programming, the complexity for doing something is mostly discussed in terms of the worst-case complexity.

Another friend once told me that when under stress, he just tries to think of the benefit of stressing, which turns out to zero. He then goes on with the task at hand as if it was not stressful at all. I tried it, and it turned out to be harder than what my friend promised. An alternate explanation is that this friend might be more mature or intelligent, but I seriously would not like to entertain that train of thought :-)

Other than the worst-case, what are some of coping mechanisms/thoughts that you employ when under stress or anxiety?


  1. Always, "divide and conquer" breaking the big problem into smaller sections.
    If that should fail I do a full retreat, leaving the problem on its own. Take a break and come back with new strength and a different vision. Seems to work for me!

    1. Are you a computer programmer or philosopher? If not, I must say that you will make a great one! Either one, I mean.

  2. I always go with the it could be worse and move on at my sea

  3. Make an effort to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. In other words, maintain a positive attitude.

  4. 'The difference between an optimist and a pessimist is that the pessimist WORRIES whilst waiting for the inevitable'. Luckily, I am an eternal optimist.

  5. Diversion. Worst case scenario. And about how things could actually have gone worse.

  6. Enthusiasm and optimism is all what needed.

  7. Stop thinking and keep going forward :P No more time to think again :D