What’s the Worst Thing That Could Happen?

by Rosina Pzena, M.S.

After a job or internship interview, the most stressful part of applying for a position is over. I made it through without making a complete fool of myself, maybe even managed to express what makes me a good fit for the job. Why, then, do I feel even more stressed and anxious now than I did before? There is nothing more I can physically do to help myself get this internship; it is simply a waiting game.

Anticipatory anxiety, or anxiety leading up to a potentially negative event, is an extremely common form of anxiety. Often, we are more afraid of the uncertainty of what MIGHT happen, and don’t even want to think about it possibly happening. I know that I am thinking “I can’t think about not getting offered this internship because if I don’t get this position, that would be the worst thing in the world!”

If I stop and use my REBT training, I would force myself to think about the worst case scenario. Okay, let’s say I don’t get this internship, which is the outcome I fear most. I would have to apply to a few more places, which is additional work but manageable. Then maybe I would not get the ideal internship, but certainly I would get something, and even if I didn’t, I know that my program’s training coordinator would assist me in finding an internship. That would be inconvenient, but it all sounds like something I could live through. What was I so anxious about again?

If you have a tendency to worry, try asking yourself- “What’s the worst thing that could happen?”

Rosina Pzena


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