How to End the Catastrophizing

*** OUT OF THE SPIRAL ***

When you face the unknown, do you expect the worst outcome? Apparently, its pretty common (and yeah, I am a member of this club too! ?)… There is actually a name for this: ‘catastrophising’. And it can be a pretty unpleasant guest.

Studies have shown that up to 70 percent of our thoughts are negative! When ‘catastrophizing,

  • first, we predict the worst possible outcome
  • second, we assume that if this outcome happens, we won’t be able to cope and it will be a disaster.

This often leads to high levels of stress, anxiety, depression and even physical pain.

? The main issue with catastrophizing isn’t the thoughts themselves, but the fact that WE TEND TO BUY FOR THEM. We believe them and moreover, we live them as if the potential thread was already present. In other words, WE CREATE OUR OWN SUFFERING!

Of course some warnings from our mind are legitimate… but very often, the mind goes to a spiral and we are not able to recognize, what’s the actual reality.

? That’s why it is so useful to challenge these thoughts and ask for their VALIDITY.

Here are some practical tips on how you can effectively deal with catastrophizing thoughts:

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BE AWARE

Notice when your mind is choosing the worst possible outcome from all the potential consequences. Meditation can be really helpful because when being in stillness and anchored in the now, we notice our thoughts more clearly… so we’re able to begin challenging them.

I ACCEPT

Develop an understanding and acceptance that sometimes you will catastrophize, and it is ok. What is most important is your response.

DON’T FIGHT THE ANXIETY

Instead of trying to numb or run away from anxiety, try to sit with her, like with an old friend, and listen, like a loving patient parent. What does she have to say? What does she need?

WORRY TIME SET

Create a schedule and set an appointment for your ‘worry session’. Every day for 10 minutes? Once a week at a specific time? Out of your ‘worry session’ if some thoughts which should be addressed appear, just make a note and bring them to your session.

WRITE IT DOWN

Use journaling and write down the ‘worry list’. All of them. Notice, if any pattern appears.

CHALLENGE YOUR THOUGHTS

How likely is it that my worry will come true? Is my way of thinking about the outcome scenario based on facts or feelings? What is the evidence for this outcome? Against it? Am I exaggerating? Is there another way to see this situation? What is the worst that could happen? How bad is that? What good can come from it? How did I cope in the past? What worked?

WHAT WOULD YOU TELL TO A FRIEND?

Imagine you are talking to a good friend who is experiencing this situation. What would you tell him / her?

EXPLORE MORE POSSIBILITIES

The negative scenario is a potential outcome. Write down at least 3 more possible outcomes.

And remember: When the catastrophizing comes to ‘visit’ you next time, remember that these are just thoughts (blurred with emotions). What matters is your reaction on it.

➡️ Do you have some useful tip how to deal with catastrophic thoughts? Please, share in the comments! ?

With love,
True

#Catastrophizing

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