Do you ever find yourself spiraling into catastrophic thoughts when something doesn't go how you want it to or expect? Maybe you receive a rejection email from a job you applied for, and suddenly you're
convinced you'll be unemployed forever. Or perhaps you have a disagreement with a friend and start worrying that your entire friendship is falling apart.
Catastrophic thoughts can take over our minds and cause us to feel anxious, overwhelmed, and even panicked. But don't worry - there are ways to keep catastrophic thoughts from taking over and regain control of your mind. Here are three tips to help you do just that.
Reground Yourself in the Present Moment
When we're stuck in our heads, worrying about the future or ruminating on the past, it's easy to spiral into catastrophic thinking.
One way to reground yourself when anxious is through mindfulness—paying attention to the present moment without judgment. While you can practice mindfulness through meditation, you can also make it a mindset by paying attention to your breath, senses, or surroundings throughout each day.
Additionally, breathing exercises, such as deep or alternate nostril breathing, are effective ways to calm your mind and reduce anxiety. The breath is a powerful grounding tool we can access anytime we need a buffer between ourselves and our thoughts.
Set Aside Time to Worry
It may seem counterintuitive, but setting aside time to worry can effectively keep catastrophic thoughts from taking over. When we try to push our worries aside or ignore them, they can fester and grow in our minds. However, when we set aside time to worry, we give our worries the attention they would likely get anyway, except we can minimize their unwelcome, unexpected arrivals throughout the day.
To do this, choose a specific time each day, such as 15 minutes in the morning, and dedicate that time to worrying. During that time, allow yourself to think about your worries and write them down if it helps. When the time is up, let go of your worries and focus on something else.
This practice can help you become more aware of and address all your anxieties regularly rather than letting them build up and spiral out of control.
Sometimes, catastrophic thoughts can be too much to handle on our own. If you're struggling with catastrophic thinking, don't be afraid to seek support from a mental health professional.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that can be particularly helpful for managing catastrophic thoughts. CBT focuses on identifying and changing unhelpful thought patterns and behaviors and can provide you with tools and strategies to manage your anxiety and keep catastrophic thoughts at bay.
It helps to release catastrophic thoughts by talking about them rather than allowing them to amplify in your mind - even if that means simply talking to a trusted friend outside of therapy when needed.
Catastrophic thoughts can be overwhelming, but remember they are just thoughts that don't have to control your life. It takes practice and effort, but with the right tools and support, you can build a more positive, resilient mindset to help you face life's challenges confidently and calmly. Therapy can help! Our team is here for you.