It’s only human to think of the worst-case scenario. What if you didn’t fight that instinct? What if you could use your pessimism as a form of gratitude journaling?

Instead of pressuring yourself to complete a butterflies-and-rainbows gratitude journal, make use of your catastrophic thinking. As The School Of Life suggests in The Emotionally Intelligent Office: “Start each day with a short but thorough meditation on the many humiliations and insults you might be subjected to in the coming hours.

“At the end of the day, be grateful when none of those worst case scenarios actually took place.”

We recommend completing this worksheet daily for three weeks in a row. That’s the time it takes for your brain to start forming a new habit. However, even completing this exercise just once or twice can shift your perspective and produce a new sense of gratitude.

Who can this worksheet help?

This “worst case scenario” exercise (called “premeditatio malorum” by philosophers who have used it for centuries) is an effortless alternative to gratitude journaling. It’s good for people who have experienced:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Catastrophizing
  • Pessimism
  • Trauma
  • Work stress
  • Insomnia
  • Panic
  • Social anxiety
  • Dread
  • Procrastination
  • Avoidance

Need motivation to try a different version of gratitude journaling?

“Premeditatio malorum (‘the pre-meditation of evils’) is a Stoic exercise of imagining things that could go wrong or be taken away from us. It helps us prepare for life’s inevitable setbacks and develop resilience in the face of uncertainty.” – The Daily Stoic

“This is strange, but stay with me. I sometimes intentionally think about the bad things that COULD happen during the day. Not in an anxious way, but in an on-purpose, healthy kind of way.” – Jordan Brown

“The Stoics practiced premeditatio malorum: meditation on the worst thing that could possibly happen, including the inevitability of death What would things look like if everything went wrong tomorrow? How would I cope with that situation? Should this change the way I live today?” – The Mindful Stoic

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