Dealing with Inner Demons - Catastrophic Thinking

catastrophizing fear personal growth Oct 14, 2021

Do you ever feel like the world is out to get you? That everything that goes wrong is because of your fault and bad luck? If so, then the chances are good that you suffer from catastrophizing. Catastrophizing can be a self-destructive mindset that limits what we can achieve in life and holds us back from overcoming our inner demons. This blog post will discuss overcoming catastrophic thinking and live more fully with less anxiety, fear, and worry.

What is catastrophizing?

A catastrophe means a terrible disaster, usually in the form of a destructive natural event such as storms, earthquakes, floods, or forest fires. However, it can also be in the form of a manufactured accident that affects many people. A catastrophe affects many people and things on a large scale and can leave lasting and devastating effects.

Now, imagine having a mindset that makes you think that every single bad thing that happens to you is a catastrophe. Things get blown out of proportion, and it's the worst-case scenario that often comes to your mind. This way of thinking is referred to as catastrophizing. A person who catastrophizes will often see things in the worst possible light, and if bad things do happen, it will be a total disaster for them, no matter how small the unfavorable thing is in the first place.

Causes and related conditions

There are several reasons why a person tends to have catastrophic thoughts. First, situations that are vague or uncertain can trigger catastrophizing in a person. An excellent example of this is the uncertainty that the recent pandemic has brought to people. In addition, the economic impacts and closure of facilities have led people to become more anxious and stressed due to not knowing what they will do next in their lives.

Fear is a big trigger for catastrophic thinking, especially if it's at the irrational level. Phobias come into mind. When a person is scared of something, it can make them feel worried and think about all sorts of nasty things in their mind. There's also the fear of losing things of high value to a person, making it difficult for such a person to deal with losses.

It's normal to be afraid sometimes. All of us can experience catastrophizing from time to time. It becomes a problem when catastrophizing becomes a habit, and we only think of the worst-case scenarios. Anxiety disorder might be linked, and there could be depression association. It's best to call for help from a mental health professional when catastrophic thinking reaches dangerous levels so that you can get treatment. Before catastrophizing becomes a detriment to us, we can do some things to deal with it and address it on a personal level.

How to deal with catastrophic thinking

The following are some tips on how you can stop catastrophizing and deal with your inner demon.

1. Engage in something positive

A catastrophic thought belongs to the realm of negativity. So what better way to counter it than by engaging yourself in something positive. Try reading some stuff from blogs or websites that focus on positivity, like MorningCoach. Listen to podcasts that talk about motivation and positivity. Don't watch too much TV, read news, or browse social media sites that tell negative things. Surrounding yourself with the right people can also help create a positive atmosphere around you. You may affirm yourself by saying something positive like, "I can get through this," or "This too shall pass," thus reinforcing your mind against catastrophizing. Start your day right, and your whole day will fill with more positivity.

2. Learn to quiet your mind

It's easy to get caught up nowadays with many things going on in the world that might not be necessarily important to us. There are a lot of distractions and media that can create unnecessary stress. We already have our problems and battles to deal with, so why add even more fire by worrying about others' issues that we might not do anything about them? It's essential to take a break every day, even if for just a few minutes, to give some respite to our minds and better sort our feelings. Learn to practice quieting your mind and doing some meditation.

3. Accept the fact that bad things happen

Nobody leads a perfect life, and unfortunate events will occur at different points in our life. The earlier you can set in your mind this reality, the better you will be able to handle things when such unpleasant situations happen. We have to acknowledge our fears and see if they are irrational to respond better when negative thoughts occur. Get in touch with the voice of your inner critic and say "stop" in your mind once you begin to have irrational beliefs about bad things that can happen in the future.

4. Stay in the present moment

Pay attention to catastrophizing, and you will notice that all the worrying and fear are about bad things that may happen in the future. There's no guarantee that a disaster will occur. Even if something unfortunate happens to you, who knows what can happen next? So an excellent way to control catastrophic thinking is by staying in the moment, where you are currently at, and what you are doing in the present. Focus on what you can do at the moment so you can prevent a future disaster from happening. Also, learn to enjoy what you are currently doing to savor life and not fall into the predicament of constantly worrying about what can happen in the future.

5. Take care of yourself

Having a weak body and mind can make us feel more down often and have negative thoughts in our brains. A good idea to combat catastrophizing is to take care of our bodies and mind by engaging in healthy habits like exercising regularly, eating healthy foods, and doing mindfulness activities like journaling and meditation. When you feel tired or stressed, take a break. A healthy body and mind give us more confidence and energy to tackle things, so there's less room for catastrophizing.

Away with catastrophizing

Learning how to deal with catastrophic thinking takes a great deal of energy, time, and effort. Catastrophic thinking doesn't go away in one day, especially if it has become a way of life for you. Self-sabotage and poor decisions are some things that catastrophizing can bring. We can not progress in life if we always think that something worse or scary can happen. The good news is that we can deal with catastrophizing, and you do not have to deal with it alone. Ask for some help from a friend, family member, or trusted colleague. Don't be shy to seek assistance from a mental health professional if your life is getting derailed by your catastrophic thinking. The truth is that the future is not there yet, and we can still do many things in the present to better prepare for whatever is coming ahead.

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