Catastrophic thinking happens when a human thinks about a situation and blows them out of proportion such as turning minor threats into major threats such as, when you feel an increase in heart rate it means you’re experiencing a heart attack.
This is usually more common amongst people who are suffering from persistent anxieties. Have you ever done the above before? Have you ever observed anyone around you blowing things out of proportion? Or have you learned these through movies or anywhere at all?
All these can play a part in the way you think. On the other hand, when someone is easily startled, they may be prone to catastrophize which leads to negative thinking. We might not be able to change how one gets startled easily, but we can guide oneself with regards to the thoughts that happens next. Such as discontinuing your thoughts to negativity. Catastrophizing tends to make a bad situation into an even worse situation.
The words we use are also important when it comes to describing situations. Such as “horrible” or “terrible”. These words do amplify what we do not like. We can try to change these words with words that are slightly most pleasant and less harsh, such as “unpleasant” and see if it makes a difference with the way, we view the situation.
One of the other ways we can try to prevent catastrophic thinking is by focusing on our thinking rather than what the problem is. Examine your thinking before you go straight to the worse case scenario.
Start by deleting the added meanings of your thinking. Put your anxiety into a general statement and then ask yourself what will happen next? Then ask yourself “and then what?” this will lessen your catastrophic thinkingprocess. For example, when you fail a test, catastrophic thinking might bring you to think that your life is ruined and you will never pass this test again and that you will always be a failure.
Take the general statement, “My life is ruined” and then ask yourself, “and then what?”, “I can never pass the test again”, “and then what?” until you might conclude that “you will retake the test”. This will help you to practice the habit of going to the bottom line then going through the whole catastrophic thinking.