Worried about 2023? It might all be in your head - New study delves into the psychological basis of a fear of the future

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No one knows what 2023 might hold, but don’t ask your friendly neighborhood Chicken Little for an opinion. A study conducted by PsychTests.com indicates that what the doom negativists proclaim might not necessarily stem from the state of the outside world but rather, from their own inner troubles.

Worried about 2023? You’re not the only one. Just don’t let the fear get to you.

What do doomsayers and fatalists have in common? A pessimistic attitude for certain, but also a lack of purpose, and issues with self-doubt and stress management.

“Rather than feeling fearful of the future and wallowing in a sense of helplessness, focus your energy on creating the type of future that you want.”

The state of the economy, resurging COVID cases, military conflicts, and the deteriorating health of the planet has many people feeling rather despondent these days and perhaps even a little fatalistic about what the new year might bring. But what lies at the root of this doom and gloom mindset? It likely wouldn’t surprise most people that extreme doomsayers are more likely to be pessimists, but according to a study by PsychTests.com, they also have a propensity for stubbornness and tend to lack effective coping skills.

Analyzing data collected from 12,259 people who took the Emotional Intelligence Test, PsychTests’ researchers compared two groups: people who are terrified of what the future holds (categorized as “Foreboders”) and those are not afraid (categorized as “Level-headers”).

> Not surprisingly, 61% of Foreboders are extreme pessimists (compared to 17% of Level-headers).
> 41% see life as being just one problem after another (compared to 9% of Level-headers).
> 55% ruminate excessively and keep themselves up at night thinking about problems (compared to 12% of Level-headers).
> 53% find it difficult to forget about their worries and just have fun (compared to 13% of Level-headers).
> 43% feel directionless and lack a sense of purpose (compared to 11% of Level-headers).
> 51% can’t figure out what they want out of life (compared to 14% of Level-headers).
> 58% are afraid that if they get their hopes up, they will be heartbreakingly disappointed (compared to 17% of Level-headers).
> 46% struggle to bounce back from disappointments, setbacks, and failures (compared to 10% of Level-headers).
> 36% feel like they don’t have any control over their lives (compared to 5% of Level-headers).
> 44% get angry, sad, or discouraged when even the smallest thing goes wrong in their lives (compared to 6% of Level-headers).
> 58% are plagued by constant self-doubt (compared to 10% of Level-headers).
> 42% are uncomfortable making decisions and will not move forward until their choice is approved by others (compared to 8% of Level-headers).
> 51% dislike change and will try to avoid it (compared to 13% of Level-headers).
> 65% admit that they are very stubborn (compared to 41% of Level-headers).
> 23% have control issues and want all things done their way (compared to 9% of Level-headers).
> 72% tend to obsessively dissect and over-analyze situations, creating problems where there are none (compared to 24% of Level-headers).
> Ironically, fewer Foreboders than Level-headers actually plan for the future (52% vs. 61% respectively).

“Being concerned about the future is normal, especially given the economic crisis we are currently going through and the general sense of global unrest,” explains Dr. Ilona Jerabek, president of PsychTests. “This pushes us to prepare and plan, just in case. For example, many people are curbing their spending, striving to be more eco-conscious, and trying to appreciate the good in their lives rather than only focusing on the bad. However, don’t let a fear of the future nestle in too deep. Making decisions and taking actions from a state of fear generally doesn’t end well.”

“What we have seen in our study is that a fear of the future, or a tendency towards defeatist thinking, stems not just from fear, but also a lack of purpose and goals, self-doubt, and poor coping skills. So rather than feeling fearful of the future and wallowing in a sense of helplessness, focus your energy on creating the type of future that you want. Start a bucket list. Work on your confidence and stress management. Find the good in negative situations and look for things in your life to appreciate. Pay it forward or volunteer. If you fixate on all the bad that is going on, you will never be able to recognize the good. Remember, the future is unwritten, so no one can accurately predict what will happen. Prepare for the worst if you wish, but hope for the best too.”

What’s your EQ? Find out by taking the Emotional Intelligence Test at: https://testyourself.psychtests.com/testid/3979

Professional users, such as HR managers, coaches, and therapists, can request a free demo for this or other assessments from ARCH Profile’s extensive battery: http://hrtests.archprofile.com/testdrive_gen_1

To learn more about psychological testing, download this free eBook: http://hrtests.archprofile.com/personality-tests-in-hr

About PsychTests AIM Inc.
PsychTests AIM Inc. originally appeared on the internet scene in 1996. Since its inception, it has become a pre-eminent provider of psychological assessment products and services to human resource personnel, therapists and coaches, academics, researchers and a host of other professionals around the world. PsychTests AIM Inc. staff is comprised of a dedicated team of psychologists, test developers, researchers, statisticians, writers, and artificial intelligence experts (see ARCHProfile.com).

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Ilona Jerabek
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