Catastrophic thinking is when a person continuously thinks about irrational, worst-case outcomes. Irrational thoughts and emotions replace logical thinking. And life becomes a cycle of repetitive worry.
Catastrophic thinking causes:
● Difficulty concentrating
● Loss of sleep
● Added stress
● Increased anxiety
● Worsens existing mental health conditions
Pandemics, political upheaval, social unrest, and other crises can trigger people into catastrophic thinking.
How To Cope with Catastrophic Thinking
If you catch yourself slipping into catastrophic thinking, ask yourself, “What are the odds of what I’m worried about actually coming true?”
Does it make sense to worry about the worst-case outcome?
If there’s something, you can do about it, great! But many situations are beyond our control. Besides, many of the things we worry about rarely turn out the way we fear. So doesn’t it make sense to focus our thoughts and energy on things we can change or do something about?
Staying positive generates confidence, strength, and resourcefulness, qualities you need when facing a crisis. Choose to be optimistic even when tempted otherwise because it will create a better outcome in the end.
Your quality of life affects your thought and perspective. Getting enough rest and taking care of yourself boosts your ability to deal with difficult feelings and situations. Consider taking time to restore your soul with prayer and other faith practices.
Enhance Your Mental Environment
What we see and hear affects how we think. So consider taking a vacation from watching or listening to the news. Read an inspiring book. Visit a friend. Volunteer or help someone in need. Fill your mind with uplifting thoughts and activities.
Spending too much time “living” in the future causes worry and anxiety. Take life one day at a time. You create your future by how you live today. Everyone worries from time to time. So don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s wise to plan for the future; don’t live there.
Isolation amplifies catastrophic thinking. Connect with friends; socialize. Take a couple of hours to support a worthy cause. Choose to make the world a better place. If you struggle with catastrophic thinking, consider searching for a legitimate online support group where you can give and receive social interaction and support.
Take a Break
When life gets hard, it’s easy to worry about worst-case scenarios. Be kind to yourself when facing difficult situations that fill your heart with worry. Give yourself a much-needed break by taking a walk in the park; enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. Do something active that gets the blood flowing. Work out, enjoy a bike ride or take a hike. Do something you enjoy, whether it’s reading, getting your camera and taking pictures, cooking, or building something.
Do Something – Take Action
Taking charge of our lives makes things better. We tend to worry when we feel like life is in charge of us – when we feel out of control. Think about your life for a second. What’s an area that’s under your control? What do you have the power to do something about? Could you take action in your diet or exercise? Is there a relationship you could improve in some way? What about your relationship with yourself – could you choose to forgive yourself?
It’s Okay to Talk to a Counselor
For some people, catastrophic thinking consumes them. It affects their quality of life, work and harms their relationships. Seeing a counselor or therapist will help them break free from catastrophic thinking and start turning things around.
This article’s purpose isn’t for you to ignore the realities of daily life but to empower yourself by using these tips to take charge of your life and destiny starting right now. Don’t let anyone but you be in charge of your peace of mind.
Photo by christopher catbagan on Unsplash