Catastrophizing is one of the most common cognitive distortions with which many people are struggling. Today I will present you … some tools which will help you to cope with this challenge.
“Thoughts are the shadows of our feelings – always darker, emptier and simpler.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
What Is Catastrophizing
Catastrophizing essentially involves imagining and dwelling on the worst possible outcome of something. It’s basically overreacting and letting your thoughts run away to dire and highly unlikely scenarios. It’s the kind of thing that happens when you’re lying awake at three in the morning worried sick about the future and what’s going to happen to you.
Catastrophizing is typical fo worries and starts with “What if…” question. Think how many times, while feeling frightened or helpless, you generated worries by “what if..”. Today you will be able to use easy techniques to stop this destructive chain.
How To Deal With Catastrophizing
There are many methods which help to stop catastrophizing. I have chosen three of them which you can apply instantly. In the long run, you can use subconsciousness reprogramming, but the first step is to solve the problem when it occurs.
1. Ask Questions
Questions are very important because they set the focus of your life. By asking the right questions, you can see the problem differently and will try to solve it. Here are the examples of questions which you can ask in case of catastrophizing:
How probable is that it will happen?
What is the evidence it will not happen?
What would your best friend say in this situation?
What can I do right now to solve the problem?
2. Postpone the Worry
As I wrote above, catastrophizing is typical for worrying. One of the best techniques to overcome worries is to postpone them. How to do it? decide that you will worry about the problem later, and it’s even better, for a limited period of time.
You can write down what bothers you, but later start thinking positive until you reach the time during which you will worry. usually, when you postpone catastrophizing, it will not be necessary to worry at the time you have set because your focus will be on something more positive.
3. Take Control Over Your Life
In other words, take responsibility. If you are afraid that your partner is cheating you, do your best to improve the quality of your relationship. And if he does, take a critical look at your relationship and work on your feelings.
There are cases that are beyond your control. However, you can always be in charge of your reactions and minimize the consequences of the negative events.
How Tina Stopped Catastrophizing
Do you remember Tina who has changed her beliefs? Today she will demonstrate you how to change cognitive distortions, catastrophizing in particular. The woman was struggling with worrying about her relationship.
Her boyfriend called her less often than a month ago and she started to think that he didn’t love her anymore. Moreover, she started to find faults in herself. This is another cognitive distortion, called jumping to the conclusion, which I will describe in one of my next posts.
Let’s see what she was thinking, worrying about the relationship: “What if he will stop seeing me at all?” “What if he doesn’t love me anymore?” let’s take these two “what ifs” and use the tools which I have described above.
Tina started asking questions. So how probable is it that he has stopped loving her? Unless she asks directly, she can worry and never be sure what the truth is. But it is even better when she watches his actions. Does he call her less often? there might be thousands of reasons and she might be the last of them. Again, without asking Tina will not know the answer.
How probable is that he has stopped loving her? If he meets Tina, they spent a great quality time, even if it happens less often, there shouldn’t be the reason for worrying.
What would her best friend say? Sometimes our friends see more than we see ourselves while involved in a new relationship. This truth applies to both good the good and the bad truths. so your friend may notice how your boyfriend or girlfriend treats you, some nuances which are important but unnoticed by you, because of your limerence.
Then Tina decided that she would not worry about her relationship until she asked why he called her less often. She also paid attention to her reactions. Her catastrophizing might be the result of a low self-esteem and the fear of losing him.
The next time you start worrying, stop for a while and decide to postpone catastrophizing. Instead, ask the questions listed in this article to challenge the truth of your worries. And finally, plan what to do to fix the problem. Then take the first step. Good luck.
In a Nutshell
To stop catastrophizing you need to calm down your mind. Ask the questions posted here and postpone worry. Remember that it is you who is responsible for the quality of your life.