What Is Catastrophic Thinking?
Catastrophic thinking is a way of thinking where a person sees a negative and unfavourable outcome to an event. And if it happens that way, then life will be a total disaster for them. You may have heard it offered to as cognitive distortion – a term used to describe extreme worrying which can lead to a cycle of repetitive worry. Irrational thoughts can be stressful and consuming. The emotion of the moment often replaces logical thinking.
Catastrophic thinking can cause:
- Added stress
- Increased anxiety
- Exacerbation of existing mental health conditions
- Loss of sleep
- Difficulty concentrating
Catastrophic thinking can be a problem anytime, but especially during these hard times, when there is a pandemic political unrest and thousands of people are anxious and depressed.
Ask yourself in moments of catastrophic thinking if the thoughts you are having are logical or real. What are the odds of the thing you are worrying about actually coming true? Can this thing happen?
Is it practical to be concerned about this? The reality is, there are some situations which are beyond your control. No matter how much you worry about them, and no matter what you do, you cannot change the situation or the outcome. Instead focus on using your energy on aspects that you can change.
Keep A Positive Mindset
Keep it positive when confronting catastrophic thinking. Staying positive facilitates feelings of inner strength, optimism, and resilience because you believe you are strong and can handle anything. Positive thoughts affect all areas of life. Make a conscious choice to look at the positive in all things. Even when you don’t feel like it. Even when it’s hard.
Practicing self-care ensures that you are healthy and set up to deal with difficult feelings and emotions in life. Remember to make time for some healthy and enjoyable activities that enrich your body and soul.
Change Your Environment
Your environment has a lot to do with what you think and how you feel. Change things up, begin a new routine, reach out to positive people. Read a self-help book to put your mindset towards something positive and self-supportive.
Be in the moment. Instead of hyper focused on the future. Being mindful puts you in the right space to take a step back and observe what your feelings and thoughts are in a situation. Just become aware of your feelings without condemning or judging yourself. This can help you stop the cycle of catastrophic thinking.
Sleep On It
Make sure you are getting enough sleep and have a routine sleep schedule. Being rested ensures you will be level headed when confronted with moments of catastrophic thinking.
Share your experience and struggles with like-minded individuals. This can be supportive family, friends or possibly even online groups where you feel safe and comfortable doing so. Share the highs and the lows as well as your successes and failures. This is a great way to gain insight and comradery on your journey of life.
Give Yourself A Break
Cut yourself some slack when dealing with difficult feelings. Take a walk through the park, breathe in fresh air, take a yoga class, read a good book. Go easy on yourself when life is hard.
Making a change to thought patterns and habits is not a quick fix. Whether it’s changing your diet, creating better self-care practices, talking to a professional or reaching out for support, remember that making changes to catastrophic thinking takes time.
If you deliberately work on these things you will find peace and change will come. Don’t despair if it takes time to change old thought patterns.
Talk To A Doctor Or Therapist
If catastrophic thinking is a big problem that you just cannot get a handle on, or it is affecting your quality of life, or ability to get things done talk to your doctor or mental health professional.
Now that you have these tools in your life skill toolbox, use them. The more you use these skills and techniques the more likely you will automatically handle catastrophic thoughts better should they arise. Empower yourself.
If you would like some help at overcoming catastrophic thinking, I would love to help:) Send me a message so we can make a time to talk.