Writing from Robyn's notebook

Solving Problems by Living In the Present Moment

The ThriveRU Workbook is a new resource from Student Affairs and was designed to increase life satisfaction, happiness, and resilience through weekly exercises. Last week I tested out the exercises from Week 3: Cultivating Optimism and had good results, so I’m continuing my journey through the workbook. I’m now in Week 4: Living in the Present Moment.

Stress from school, anxiety, imagining the worst, and comparing yourself to others are all things this week’s exercise tries to combat. Anxiety and stress is bound to kick in as we get closer to midterms. This week I used the workbook to help me sort out a few problems.

Week Four: It’s All About Perspective

In order to solve a problem:


  • Imagine what would happen in the worst case scenario (be creative, generate several worst case scenarios, and give yourself permission to imagine the worst possible outcomes.) Assign a percentage point to each of these options regarding how likely are they to happen.
  • Generate the best case scenarios – be optimistic and creative and generate the ideal outcomes to these scenarios. Assign percentage points to each of these best case scenarios.
  • Consider the most likely scenarios. Assign percentage points to each.
  • Develop an action plan based on the most likely scenarios.


If this is a problem you must solve – then solve it and learn the lessons this process has taught you along the way (patience, perseverance, compassion, courage, loyalty, etc.).

My Results

Take a situation like getting up to do a major class presentation, going to a social event alone, etc.

I am guilty of overthinking things or imagining the worst case scenario in an intimidating situation – which leads to unnecessary stress. So to be honest, writing down my biggest fears with creative freedom sounded like a task to induce anxiety. However, I found the whole exercise to be a bit eye-opening, especially after adding a percentage on the likelihood of best/worst case scenarios to come true. As you might expect, the chances of any of my wildest worst case fears coming true were very slim, so realistically I had to put low percentages. Even just writing out the worst scenario and reading it back to myself was reassuring. All I could think was “this is really unlikely to happen,” and that alone made me relax.

The next question was also reassuring. I’m sure this will differ depending on your problem, but in my case, the chances of a best-case scenario weren’t that far off. In fact, it was pretty attainable. Again, putting a percent on it boosted my confidence.

The action plan is where you start thinking logically about your anxiety. In my experience, anxiety comes from overthinking things, and that’s what we do in our minds. But living in the present means being able to live freely without stress or fear preventing us from being ourselves.

You can read or download the workbook at ryerson.ca/thriveru and test it out for yourself – or pickup a print copy in POD-60.