Imagine being chosen for the second round of interviews after you’ve applied for your dream job. Do you congratulate yourself on your success and begin getting ready for the new challenge? Or do you already picture yourself being rejected?

If this scenario is familiar to you, you may be prone to catastrophizing, a mental habit in which you erroneously believe that unpleasant things are more likely to happen than they actually are. Although catastrophizing can happen at any time in our lives, it can seriously harm our mental health. Cognitive behavioral therapists claim that it is possible to stop negative thought cycles regardless of the cause of your catastrophizing. The first step is to become aware of your anxiety and take a brief mental break. Recognize that you can take proactive measures to increase your chances of succeeding and that failure is a possibility rather than a guarantee. For instance, you can attempt to remember that everyone has awful interviews every once in a while; this does not imply that they are all failures. Should you fail, you can use this experience as a learning opportunity to perform better in the future. Develop a balanced point of view by assessing the situation based on the available evidence you have instead of the negative possibilities forming in your mind.

This doesn’t require mindless optimism, but all of this may be accomplished with a simple understanding of all the potential outcomes. Disaster isn’t always lurking around the corner.