Do You Find Yourself Always Expecting The WORST?
Are you constantly having ANXIETY and CATASTROPHIC thoughts?
Do you find yourself expecting the worst, having catastrophic thoughts about what’s going to happen next with your health, your job, your kids?
If so, you are likely experiencing stress and anxiety, which can potentially harm your health, and certainly make life a lot more exhausting.
As a Confident Life Coach and Hypnotherapist, I have helped many clients of all ages be freed of unwanted issues like catastrophic thinking, anxiety, panic attacks and more, and how to get you, your child, your family or your staff feeling unshakably confident, and learn great coping, communication and social skills.
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How Does Catastrophic Thinking Contribute to Anxiety?
Catastrophic thinking is a significant contributing factor to anxiety. Our conscious mind churns in an endless loop of increasingly negative thoughts that then trigger our sympathetic nervous system into fight or flight, stress hormones and one cascade after another of fight or flight and accompanying feelings of anxiety.
What Causes Catastrophic Thinking?
Many people may not be aware that they are actually making themselves anxious and mentally and physically stressed by thinking about the worst possible thing that can go wrong when they think about the future, or responding to a past event with catastrophic future scenarios.
An example of this would be having a dinner party and expecting everything to go wrong, or getting a headache or stomachache and worrying or believing you actually have a terrible illness.
A past event can also trigger catastrophic thinking or stigmatization of an event by giving it meaning it doesn’t deserve. For example trying to sell products or services, not getting a sale or two, then assigning a meaning that limits you such as “I’m no good at sales.”
Or perhaps you are tired of your job and apply for other jobs and get rejected. You give the event significance by thinking “they didn’t want me. I”ll be stuck in my current job forever!” No. You applied and did not get those jobs. There is no significance or meaning unless you give it significance and meaning. If you let go of the significance and meaning, you just keep looking until you find a job that is the right fit.
As human beings, we are hardwired to be able to anticipate the future, and fear the unknown.
This primitive hardwiring is designed to keep us safe, and frankly to keep us alive, especially if there are constant survival events, like there used to be when we were living in primitive times.
The part of our brain that keeps us alive, has not evolved or changed since those times, because we still need to be able to survive life-threatening events.
That primitive survival brain, doesn't make a distinction between a true survival event, and a stressful or high stakes event in our lives, such as a speech, or an interview, or a dinner party you have in the future.
Being unaware of this phenomenon can lead us into patterns of negative, catastrophic thought habits that make us feel constantly and increasingly stressed, anxious, out of control and can even lead to physical illness and panic attacks.
Five Steps You Can Take to STOP Catastrophic Thinking
Step 1: Interruption. Interrupt that primitive fight or flight response immediately - BEFORE it starts charging ahead with negative “what if” future thoughts, panic and worst case scenario thinking by simply taking a pause, and counting to 5.
Step 2: Stay In the Moment. Keep yourself in the present moment for now by reminding yourself that everything in THIS MOMENT is fine.
Step 3: Choose. Remind yourself that you control and CHOOSE your response to circumstances. Many people mistakenly believe their emotional well being and thoughts are dependent on outside circumstances and events. It is normal to respond emotionally to circumstances, however, we DO have control over our responses and especially our thoughts about events and experiences in our lives.
Step 4: Real or Imaginary? Make a distinction between real and imaginary thoughts. Your imagination is the most potent part of your mind. By default your brain does not distinguish between what is real and what is imagined. Take charge and ask yourself if your catastrophic, worst case thoughts are actually real or are they imaginary?
Step 5: Significance Check. Stop and ask yourself if you are giving unnecessary significance and meaning to a past circumstance or a future outcome. We can help ourselves have more choice and control over our response to circumstances, by understanding how our thoughts can give unnecessary meaning and significance to events. This traps us in a mental and emotional thought loop, that causes more and more anxiety and stress. Giving significance to events wastes precious time and energy, and keeps us stuck in the past, or anxious about the future, instead of clear headed and effective moment by moment.
These are just a few tips to help you begin to overcome catastrophic thinking and worst case scenario thoughts.
If you are continue to struggle to let go of catastrophic or worst case scenario thinking, it
could be based in an old belief or thought pattern you are not even aware of.
One of the best, most rapid and effective ways to permanently change how you think, behave and most importantly feel is through hypnotherapy and coaching.
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To find out more about how hypnotherapy can help you or someone you love overcome anxiety and catastrophic thinking:
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