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Catastrophising is the mental habit in which you overestimate the chances of something bad happening and exaggerate the potential negative consequences of that scenario.
You apply for a dream job and immediately start visualising a rejection. You wait for a response from a friend, but when you don't receive an immediate response, you start imagining all the ways you might have offended the person. You might assume a bad headache means you have brain cancer.
Research shows catastrophising can pose a serious threat to mental health.
Psychoanalysis, developed by Sigmund Freud and others in the first half of the 20th Century, tackled mental illness by trying to uncover suppressed fears and desires resulting from early childhood events.
But by the middle of the century, psychotherapists such as Albert Ellis and Aaron Beck started looking for alternative ways to guide people through their distress. They focused on people’s conscious thought processes that were distorted and could lead to distress.
It is possible to break the negative thought cycles.
The aim is to develop a more balanced view of the situation based on the evidence at hand.
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