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“Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere.”

~Erma Bombeck

Humans are notorious for being worriers, and sometimes negativity can have a crippling impact on your life. But it doesn’t have to. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide whether you want to view things in a positive or negative light. Here are three practical steps to help you stay positive.

1. Is it likely something will go wrong?

First, ask yourself what the legitimate likelihood is that something will, in fact, go wrong. Worry is often unfounded, and you’re only wasting mental energy worrying about it in the first place. Try to determine what the percentage is that whatever it is you’re dreading will ever come to be. This will put perspective on things and will often quell negativity from taking hold of you. If there is a 95 percent chance of everything working out, believe in that percentage!

2. Will the bad thing that’s going to happen really matter or are you making something out of nothing?

Next, consider what the impact would be if the bad thing actually did happen. Would it really have any catastrophic consequences? Or would the impact only be minor?

If you know for a fact that the bad thing will only have a minimal effect, there’s just no reason to get yourself worked up about it. Even if it does come to be, you should be able to dig yourself out of the situation and get things back on track. So there’s no reason to let negativity cloud your mind.

3. Have a plan in place and execute!

Now let’s consider a worst-case scenario. Say that there will be an issue and that it’s going to create complications in your life. In this case, you should have an alternate plan or scenario ready. Author and self-improvement specialist, Tim Ferriss suggests asking the following question in this type of situation.

“What steps could you take to repair the damage or get things back on the upswing, even if temporarily?”

When you know that you can rectify the situation and get things back on track even in a worst-case scenario, it’s an empowering feeling. Try your best to have an escape route and staying positive is much more realistic.

While it’s challenging to be positive 100 percent of the time, following this formula should help you become a more optimistic thinker. You’ll be less likely to succumb to worry and will have an action strategy no matter what happens.

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