The impending catastrophe in your mind

The worst-case scenario thinking is troublesome because it causes the very problem we're trying to prevent - an unpleasant or difficult situation.

How often does a negative thought turn into catastrophic thinking? A spot on your face becomes a cancerous tumour. Your child not attending a specific school spirals into him not getting a good job. From just entertaining an idea, it quickly turns into a worst-case scenario.

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When your thoughts tip from realistic anxieties into unlikely scenarios, take note of it. Also, if your thoughts become catastrophic, notice if you're judging yourself: "I always do this."

We often may not realise when our thoughts become catastrophic. A long-term solution for sharpening self-awareness is mindfulness meditation. It can help you become better attuned to your thoughts.

While you can't control everything, you can consider realistic options.

If you're worried about flying, research the physics and statistics, and remind yourself that you're safer in a plane than in your car. If you're concerned about a blemish on your face, make an appointment with your dermatologist.

The most effective way to overcome your fears is to face them.

If you fear flying, take a vacation where you have to fly. If you fear that you have a severe problem in your marriage, address it with your partner. This way, you will know what to work on instead of just worrying or feeling stuck.

Working with a therapist can help to overcome your catastrophic thoughts.

Focusing on the worst-case scenario may mask a different problem. For example, a fear of flying might be a fear to take a job out of state.

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