Anxious people (like me) are typically pessimistic. We imagine a potential disaster and within minutes, if not seconds, we convince ourselves that the disaster is inevitable.
Anxious people are also terrible prophets. A recent scientific study found that 85% of what we worry about will never happen. That means most of the time we're wrong, disaster is not imminent.
Now, of course, since we're anxious, we have to ask, "What about that other 15%?" Yea, my mind goes there too and that's part of the problem. Though we're glad to hear about that 85% we don't give thanks for it.
Before you wonder about that 15%, take a second to be thrilled! You were just relieved from 85% of your fears. 85% of the time you're going to be safe, at ease, just fine!
Pessimistic people may never be able to become optimistic, but we can become thankful.
David writes in Psalm 34, "Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together! I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears."
Instead of magnifying God we magnify the 15% of fears that will possibly come to fruition. That's why our minds are always on a treadmill.
To get off the treadmill, make a practice of thanksgiving. I once did an anxiety exercise where for 31 days I simply wrote down three things every morning I was thankful for. Back then, I was using a journaling app called Day One. You can use your notes app or just pen and paper.
First thing in the morning, even if you're still lying in bed, think of three things you can be thankful for. After you get through friends, food, and family, start noting that 85%. Start giving thanks in writing to God for delivering you from your fears. Then that 15% will seem much more manageable because you have 93 entries that inform your thinking. Like the Psalmist you can say, "The Lord delivered me from all my fears."
See, once you get thankful, you start to notice all of the coping skills and comforts God has given you to get through the 15%. Your tool box is actually full of relationships, strengths, places, answers, and experiences that will be there for you when you need them.
I know what you're thinking. "What if I come across a disaster I actually can't cope with?" Ok, then right now, trust Christ as your savior. That way, if that 15% does end up killing you, you go to heaven where 100% of your fears will never happen. I'm not taking the gospel lightly, I'm reminding you that it’s the ultimate coping skill and comfort you have available to you.
You want a break from the pessimism? Become the most thankful person you know.