Do you want to know how to stop catastrophizing? This can be a really helpful skill, but first of all, let’s see what catastrophizing is.
There are a lot of things that can affect your mood. From day-to-day stress to important events that happen in your life or in the world, all of them can have an impact on you. But remember that you should balance your reaction and never let yourself be completely controlled by these events.
When you begin to think only about the worst that can happen, we can say that you have begun catastrophizing. If you usually see only the empty half of the glass and expect the worst, then you have catastrophic thinking.
Hopefully, there are many strategies out there that can help you deal with this. It may seem impossible at first, but through exercise, you will be able to stop letting your negative thoughts control you and your life.
1. Access your thoughts
When you worry too much about everything, it is incredibly important to try to see things from an objective point of view. Doing this can give you the ability to see things more clearly, and as a result, you will be more prepared to make a decision or make it clear if this is something worth worrying about or not.
When you feel like negative thoughts are everywhere and you can’t stop thinking about the worst-case scenario, take a deep breath and find a quiet place nearby. Then, take an empty piece of paper or a notebook and write down everything that you feel and think.
You can start writing down your thoughts and then associate them with the emotions you feel. For example, if you feel worried about your next doctor appointment, describe the situation and then describe how it makes you feel: sad, anxious, disturbed, and so on.
We believe that keeping a journal like this can help because you can see things from a different perspective. It might make you take some distance from all of these problems that you have and give you the chance to look at them from afar.
So, if you want to know how to stop catastrophizing, try this exercise. Write everything down, and then, after a few hours, take your time and read what you just wrote. See if this makes any difference.
2. Challenge your thoughts and fears
If you want to know how to stop catastrophizing, this can be a detrimental step. You can’t live in fear forever, and if you want to get rid of this fear, you have no other way than to challenge it.
So, let’s say that it is one of those mornings. You wake up late, you spill the coffee on your shirt, and your car refuses to start. And on top of all of this, you are running late for an important job meeting.
If you are one of the people who catastrophize, your first thought might be that since you are not arriving on time at work, it is clear that you will be fired. And this is when things get more interesting. This is when the stream of bad thoughts begins.
Since you will have no job, this means you won’t have money anymore. And if you don’t have money, you will not be able to pay bills, and in the end, you will end up homeless.
When this happens, pause everything that you are doing and try to say to yourself, “And what if nothing of this will ever happen? What if I arrive at work, excuse myself, and then everything will be okay because people will understand me?”
This is just an example of a situation in which you can try to challenge your thoughts. You can apply this type of thinking to anything that worries you. This is a really good strategy you can use when you are learning about how to stop catastrophizing.
3. How to stop catastrophizing: Sleep more
Yes, sleeping is a big part of our lives, and because of this, we need to be aware of how important it is. Try to remember the last time you were sleep-deprived. How were you feeling? Did it make you feel more irritable and maybe more unable to think clearly?
When we don’t sleep enough, we become more unstable, and this can truly affect the way we manage our emotions and the way we see the world.
So, if you know that you are anxious by nature and you want to find out how to stop catastrophizing, then you should know that sleeping plays a big part. Generally, even if we can clearly see that the lack of sleep affects the way we interact with other people, we find it hard to notice how much it changes our perspective of the world.
Evidence suggests that a lack of sleep increases our sensitivity to threats and our tendency to interpret situations negatively. As a result, we become more fixated on molehills and turn them into mountains.
Next time you are thinking about how to stop catastrophizing, consider sleeping as it is and try to always have a good night’s sleep. You will be surprised by how much this can improve your life.
4. The present and the past are not equal to the future
Hopelessness is a feature that makes people feel like their lives are not worth it. Many times, this trait is found in people who suffer from depression, but this is not always the case. There are many people who have hopeless feelings, and this is making their lives harder.
A lot of these feelings can be easily traced down to one fundamental cognitive error: people are applying everything that is happening now, in the present, to the future. But things are not really working like this. If things are not the best right now, this does not mean that they will be like this forever.
We know that sometimes things can go wrong for so long that you have no hope for the future, but this is not true. Generally, people get better, and this means you can get better too. It might be hard at first to leave this mindset behind, but this is the best thing you can do for yourself.
Also, you need to be careful about your learned helplessness. This is when an individual experiences a negative situation over which they have no control, and because of this, they develop this pattern when they refuse to change their circumstances, even if they have all the resources to do so.
5. Gratitude can make things better
If you want to know how to stop catastrophizing, you can try to learn how to be more grateful. Being grateful for what you have can really change how you see things, and this can make you feel more safe when catastrophic thinking kicks in.
Next time you feel overwhelmed by negative emotions and thoughts, take a step back, take a deep breath, and try to look at all of the things that make your life better. Even if you feel like there is nothing that makes you feel better out there, you need to know that all of us have something, even if it is not in plain sight.
If you want to start journaling, this notebook might help you: PAPERAGE Lined Journal Notebook
You should also read: 8 Tips for De-Stressing After a Conflict