Catastrophic Thinking

| Amy Nussman, LCSWA

”What’s the worst that can happen?” This is a question we probably all have heard at some point in our lives, and may have given a lot of thought to, or maybe not much at all. While evaluating the consequences of events and decisions is a normal part of helping us determine how we want to proceed, spending too much time and energy thinking about possible negative outcomes can be draining. 

It can be difficult to stop our loop of negative thinking, even when we recognize how improbable the thoughts we’re having are. If you find yourself stuck in a spiral of worst case scenarios, you may be catastrophizing.

Catastrophic thinking has been linked to diagnoses such as Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Depression, and Panic Disorder, but can also occur without any diagnosable disorder. Recognizing the tendency to catastrophize and the patterns of your catastrophic thinking are a great starting point to reducing catastrophic thinking. 

Other helpful ways to reduce catastrophizing:

  • Practice mindfulness
  • Talk with a family member, friend, or therapist
  • Journal
  • Schedule an allotted time for exploring worries and fears
  • Work on accepting uncertainty

Today's the day to make a change.