In our professional and personal lives, we all face numerous uncertain situations, which are usually out of our control. We may overestimate the likelihood or the effect of our fears and anxieties. This expectation of the worst is known as Catastrophizing.
Example: A wrong email sent to your boss can trigger a panic attack about being fired, or a failed test could make one imagine dropping out of school.
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Catastrophizing is natural in young adults as our lives are usually uncertain and unsettled till the age of 35.
Also, when we are in our 20s, our brain region of solving problems and handling uncertain situations, the prefrontal cortex, is still developing.
Catastrophising is when something happens, and you immediately assume the worst-case scenario.
For example, you are running late for work. You know your boss will fire you. You messed up last week on that one email. If you lose your job, your wife is going to leave you. You can't afford an apartment on your own. You will need a roommate. What if you come home one day and he has stolen all your stuff. Then you will have nothing.
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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