Catastrophizing (Catastrophising): what it is, how it happens and what you can do about it.


CatastrophizingBasically catastrophizing is the process of believing things are far worse than they actually are and exaggerating the negative in a situation or fearing the worst. It is usually accompanied by a lack of self-confidence and a feeling that you have no control over your situation.

Usually what happens is we get into a negative state of mind and then start interpreting what we see and hear as being wholly negative. In effect we start filtering for evidence to support our negative point of view and in extreme cases an individual can actually start to make up negative stories or beliefs about the situation.
Some people can get into a habit of catastrophizing and every thing they see, thumbthumb trochetroche hear and talk about is negative. They can even see the negative in a positive situation.

Examples include the boss asks to see you and you automatically assume there is a problem, onlineonline discount viagradiscount viagra or someone is late and you assume there has been an accident, prostateprostate or you get some negative feedback and you assume everything you do is bad.

Most people catastrophize at some time in their life, the problem occurs when it becomes a habit.

Catastrophizing as a habit can create anxiety and fear states quite easily and can drive depressive moods, in fact there is a strong connection with depression and catastrophizing. For this reason it is really important to catch it and start to see things in a more balanced way.


Some things you can do to help:

  1. The first thing to realise is that our thoughts and attitudes have a huge impact on how we feel. Change the way you think and you will change how you feel.
  2. Pay attention to how you are talking. Watch out for negative talk and make it more balanced.
  3. Don't just look for evidence of the bad things. Look also for evidence to the contrary and ask other people what they think. Just make sure you listen to them and don't discount their positive answers.
  4. Sit down and think things out on paper, not just in your mind. Putting things on paper often helps. It really helps to make a pro's and cons list.
  5. Make a list of other possibilities. Ask someone to help if you can. Seeing other possibilities in writing usually helps to see you are not as stuck as you think.
  6. Think about other times you have felt like this. How often has the worst actually happened? Usually rarely.
  7. Do something you can achieve, a small project or a task for example. Achieving things often makes us feel better and helps to rebalance things.
  8. Force yourself to worry about the issue for 30 minutes without a break. See what happens!
  9. Go for a walk. Usually walking, especially in the country really helps or a park really helps. Certainly get out of a building and go somewhere where you can see the horizon or for a distance.
  10. Learn to take control better with the Fear Course. Try the Online Fear Course or a live course. You can learn to take control at will, when and where you want.

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