Catastrophizing is a scenario when someone thinks that the worst is happening with them. They believe that the Situation is worse than it is or just exaggerating the difficulties they face.
For example: Someone gets rejected for 3-4 jobs, they assume that they don’t have enough skills to do the job, they’re failure for everyone, or they won’t ever get a new job.
Many successful people didn’t get a job on the first attempt, and it isn’t proof that you won’t be able to find a job. A person who is catastrophizing might not be able to acknowledge that.
It’s easy to dismiss catastrophizing as over-exaggeration, but it’s often not intentional or that simple. People who do it often don’t realize they’re doing it. They feel like they’ve no control over their worries, which can affect their health.
With this, you must have got an idea about the catastrophizing situation and now let’s dive into what all factors contribute to catastrophizing.
What causes catastrophizing?
The real cause of catastrophizing is unclear. It could be a result of their past experiences, family situations, or something related to brain chemistry or overthinking. People suffering from depression, anxiety, and people who’re often fatigued are more likely to experience catastrophizing.
According to a research, “People who catastrophize and who also have chronic pain suggest they may have alterations in the hypothalamus and pituitary responses, as well as increased activity in the parts of the brain that register emotions associated with pain.”
Tips to stop catastrophizing
We all have the habit of jumping into the worst scenarios sometimes. We start fearing that our loved ones must have met with an accident when they don’t text or call us back. We worry that we’ll get fire when make a minor mistake at work. If you get caught in these fearful thoughts, it gets impossible for anyone to break free. If you want to stop catastrophizing, ensure to follow these tips when you find yourself in such a situation:
1. Recognize when it’s happening – When you find out that you’re think worse, call it in “I am catastrophizing.” It won’t help you make things go away, but it’s the first step in gaining some distance from it. When you find out about your situation, try distracting yourself with other things, such as reading a book, listening to good music, or talking to a friend.
2. Inhale and exhale – Gently inhale through nose and exhale through mouth. It will help letting go of any tension you’re carrying. Scary thoughts trigger body’s stress response, making you feel like danger is imminent. Try to relax your body, which in turn, invites your mind to follow.
3. Answer the scary question – Fearful thoughts often lead to questions like “what if this happens?”, and we start worrying. Stop worrying and treat these questions like actual question. And then, ask yourself what should I do next. Because no matter how much things get worse, there’s always next thing to do, unless you’re dead. Once you start to recognize and start controlling your triggers, it starts to look less like a catastrophe.
4. Move around – Fear can freeze us. We start feeling like helpless. Break out this pattern and start moving around. Start doing your pending home chores, such as laundry, cleaning dishes, or maybe your room. You can also take a quick walk around the block. Shake your arms and legs, and stretch your body to release the tension and feel relaxed.
5. Accept the possibility –In catastrophic situations, we start resisting the possible situations. We somehow make sure to avoid it, which further makes the scenario worse. So instead of resisting, try to get open to the possibility that what you fear could happen, and it would help you fix your problem before it can happen.
6. See yourself coping –We start catastrophizing in fear because we think that we’ll not be able to deal with it. It will overwhelm us, and won’t be able to cope. But trust us; we are strong and can handle any worst situation. Think about all the challenges that you’ve already made it through in your whole life. If you start catastrophizing, it can become a problem for your family and loved ones.
If you find out that you’re wondering about disaster scenarios, take a deep breath and thank your mind for keeping you safe and alive. Remember, you don’t need to overthink or think about everything seriously. Acknowledging that it’s a catastrophe can help you come back to what’s real in your life right at this moment.
Want to know more about catastrophizing, stay tuned to the Wise Rx Discount Card blog!