Catastrophising is when you “view or present a situation as considerably worse than it actually is.”
I do this a lot! As someone with anxiety and who has been through depression many times, I’ve been told this term in my CBT sessions. That a common thing for us to do when low or anxious is to view things as worse than they are.
To think yourself into believing in the coming of the end of the world, often at your own hands…
When we catastrophise, we are indecisive about our life decisions. We take the options in front of us (often thinking up more options or less than appropriate) and overthink about them to the point of obsession. And then, of course, we put too much pressure and weight on these options.
Catastrophising means overthinking every move you make or thought you have. We are in a state of making things harder than they need to be or actually are.
Will your world end if you take a job you end up hating?
Will your world end if you hate a party you attend and want to go home?
Will your world end if someone disagrees or doesn’t like you?
Will your world end if you make the wrong choice?
The answer is no.
Of course, there are some decisions that are huge. Things like divorce, having a child, healthcare or treatment options, and the like that hold a lot of weight. It is for these moments that we should reserve our real fears and anxiety. But even then, it’s likely, at times, that the decision may still not be as bad as you’re thinking it is.
It all comes down to the fear that your life will be doomed from a poor decision or an incorrect step. That there are situations where you can choose so badly that that’s it, it’s over, you’re done for!
But that’s not the case.
“The world is not on your shoulders, unless put it there…”
If you make the wrong decision, you can decide differently next time. If you end up unhappy or in pain, you can make a change and fix it. Life is often not to black and white. We could all do with taking it less seriously at times.
If, like me, you have an anxiety disorder, then it is likely that you catastrophise a lot. If you don’t, it’s still likely that you will catastrophise at some point. If this post resonated with you and felt familiar, then take a moment to just recognise this in your life.
The best way to stop catastrophising is to be aware of when you’re doing it and then take a breath, step back, and look for the truth (facts, figures, evidence) to support or deny the situation you feel you’re in.
Is it really as bad as you think? Are the options (or lack) in front of you really the only ones you have? Is there something (other people, fear, past experiences, emotions) influencing your feeling of doom?
Step away from the situation or problem or decision and come back with a clearer head later on. Emotions are important, but sometimes they can run-ragged and make us see things through a clouded veil of false-truths.
Clear the veil, adjust your perspective, and get real with yourself.
You can do this! x
*If you have anxiety, this will not be easy to do, trust me. But with practice, we can get better at it. Challenge your thoughts actively; it’s a muscle you can work on.*
Workbooks to consider downloading to help you through feelings of the past:
If you need any help in bettering your mental health, or better coping with anxiety, depression, and stress, then my book “You’re As Mad As I Am” may be for you. Check it out here, and download a free sample to see what it’s all about.