We’ve all been there – something triggers us and we end up catastrophising and imagining the absolute worst case scenario. We make mountains out of molehills. Try out the techniques in this blog post to decatastrophise and get back to normality. One thought can sometimes spiral out of control and before we know it we have become homeless, bankrupt, single /and/or have imagined ourselves on our deathbed. Learn to deal with anxiety and stress in a calmer way and enjoy a less stressful life.
Steps to decatastrophise
Specify the catastrophic consequence clearly:
This has to be as specific as possible. “What if something bad happens?” is too vague.
Here are a few good examples:
What if my health never gets better?
What if my partner leaves me?
Losing my job
Change any “what if” statements into concrete declarations of fact:
Examples: My health will never get better
My partner will leave me
I will lose my job
Challenge the truth/validity of your statement:
Ask yourself if anything bad has ever happened before. Ask yourself how often this might happen or whether it is very likely to happen. Also ask yourself whether there is any clear evidence to suggest that your worry will come true.
Ask yourself what a friend might say if you told them about your worry. Are there any reasons to doubt your worry coming true?
Examples: My health is bad right now but I have been ill before and improved. The doctor said I had a good prognosis.
My relationship is going through a rough patch but that doesn’t mean my partner is thinking of leaving me. My partner has given me no indication that they might leave me.
I might be performing worse at work but losing my job is a big jump. Perhaps I am jumping to conclusions. There is no evidence that I am about to be fired.
Come up with three positive alternative statements:
My health will probably get better. I’m at my worst now – even if I don’t fully recover I’m likely to get better than I am now.
My relationship will survive this tricky patch
My job will still be there tomorrow
Remember that thoughts are not facts and there are times when we allow our thoughts to get the better of us and cause us great distress. Use the above exercise to restore calm to your mind and see things from a different perspective.