Catastrophizing

I think that we may have shamelessly invented this word, but it’s definitely a very real thing that a lot of people do. It’s when something relatively small goes wrong and suddenly you’re thinking of catastrophes and worst-case scenarios. For example, you wake up 10 minutes late one weekday morning, and suddenly you start thinking about how you will probably burn your breakfast, traffic will be heavy, you will of course be late for work, your boss will definitely find out, his bad mood will cause him to fire you on the spot, and you will eventually be homeless because you can no longer pay your bills.

It’s an extreme example, but we tend to do this type of thing inside our head. You would be surprised at how consistently people say something like, “Yeah, that’s definitely me,” when I explain this concept to them. I think the trick is starting to be aware of when you’re playing this game with yourself and then stopping yourself when you realize it. If you can do that then you’ve probably won most of the battle.

From this point there are a lot of things that you can do, which may depend on your personality, abilities, circumstances, and just what works, bottom line. That’s probably the subject of a whole other post. But whichever direction you choose to take, for starters just try to be aware of the fact that you’re catastrophizing and then just try to do something differently than the way you’ve done it before.

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