Day 1572: What’s the worst that could happen?

What’s the worst that could happen?

That’s something I ask my patients, to invite them to face their fears and to consider how likely it is that those fears will come true.

What’s the worst that could happen to you, here and now?

Is the worst that could happen to you related to

  • money?
  • harm coming to somebody you love?
  • work?
  • technology?
  • people in power?
  • illness?
  • legal issues?
  • family?
  • friends?
  • strangers?
  • time?
  • transportation?
  • the weather?
  • sports?
  • food?
  • expectations?
  • language?
  • the media?
  • the internet?
  • local politics?
  • national politics?
  • global politics?
  • natural disasters?
  • man-made disasters?
  • fire?
  • water?
  • change?
  • taking risks?
  • going outside?
  • staying inside?
  • accidents?
  • making mistakes?
  • misunderstandings?
  • malice?
  • something else?

What’s the worst that could happen, at this point, in this post? Would it  be my defining “catastrophizing” AGAIN?

This is a particularly extreme and painful form of fortune telling, where we project a situation into a disaster or the worst-case scenario. You might think catastrophizing helps you prepare and protect yourself, but it usually causes needless anxiety and worry.

Would the worst that could happen in this post be seemingly random pictures?













I hope that the worst that could happen to my son today will be his mother posting a picture of him on her blog.

Here’s  “The Worst that Could Happen” music from YouTube:


The worst that could happen, right now, would be my forgetting to thank all who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — YOU.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Post navigation

28 thoughts on “Day 1572: What’s the worst that could happen?

  1. Because of you I always face my fears Thank You!

  2. Death. Everything else is survivable!

  3. I too am happy to see that cartoon again — for me, death isn’t the worst thing that could happen. Not living my life passionately in the awe of each moment, not doing the things I dreamed of, not feeling love, knowing love, giving love — Death is just a part of this continuum called life, but to not have lived fully? oh my, that’s the walking breathing dead scenario I don’t want to live in. 🙂

  4. Great post Ann 🙂
    Worst case scenario would be to have many regrets before leaving for this time.

  5. Catastrophizing. I do this way too much. Now you have given me a way to name it and that makes me feel more equipped to reduce it. The worst thing that could happen would be for me not to be able to read your blog everyday. But I won’t be catastrophizing that scenario anytime soon. 🙂

  6. The sky is falling outside of Syracuse this morning, Ann. But it’s just a little water.

  7. For some reason I never worry about the worst happening in any situation. I blunder along convinced everything will turn out all right, and it usually does. I feel some envy for those who catastrophize because I think how much of a relief it must be when the worst doesn’t happen, but then I wonder if catastrophizing is constant. It must be terrible to never be able to escape the fear that the worst may yet happen.

  8. Love the Old Self/New Self poems. Happy weekend! ❤

  9. I kind of laughed when I saw your title, it reminded me of when my BFF and I were teenagers and would decide to try something crazy- we’d look at one another and say “what’s the worst that could happen?” Ahhhh youth. Nowadays I go straight to the worst case scenario and stay put. Safe, unadventurous, but somehow when you have seen the worst happen it can give one pause.

  10. I live in the here and now, I rarely worry about what might happen can’t see the point and I rarely stress over things hat have happened as it is done and can’t be change so what’s the point

  11. The worst thing? Maybe missing out on all there is, worrying about what isn’t.

  12. I need reminding of the definition of catastrophizing every day. At least this means that I laugh at myself every day.

  13. hello ann koplow its dennis the vizsla dog hay i always kerry arownd a list in my hed of all the wurst things wot cud happin becuz wun never nos!!! dada sez maybe that is why i need medikayshun that is not funny dada!!! ok bye

  14. Pingback: Day 2078: Preparing for the worst-case scenario | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: