Overcome Fears And Anxiety
Catastrophic thinking is another trick of the mind that causes so many people to stay “stuck.” This kind of irrational thinking can effectively paralyze you and stop any progression in your life.
Overcoming whatever is your underlying fear is the key to ending this type of destructive thought pattern.
How To Know If You Struggle With Catastrophic Thinking
When you feel drawn to be, do or have something but somewhere within, you feel stopped every time you attempt to go for it, then you have an inner conflict potentially involving catastrophic thinking.
In your mind, you’ve concocted a story of what’s going to happen if you make the change, or go after what you desire. And for some reason (usually past trauma which has created fear of the unknown), you’ve also written an undesirable event or outcome into the script. As a consequence, any thought of making the change you want desperately to make, is now associated with images of pain and suffering (the undesirable event you wrote into your story.)
Catastrophic Thinking And Its Catastrophic Effect On My Life
For a time, I really feared commitment and I had no idea why. It took me a while to work out that whenever I thought about commitment, I went straight to images of myself as a married but lonely woman who was really just living to serve her family. In other words, dead on the inside. I’d get so upset. Thinking “what if I can’t ever commit to someone? I’ll be alone forever!” or “what if I don’t ever get over this? I’ll never get married and have children. I’ll never truly love or be loved!” This is catastrophic thinking in full swing. No wonder I feared commitment! Who wants a life like that?
I also feared being a hopeless mother… which is another story for another time. But let’s just say, it was tangled up in my reasons for being so afraid of commitment.
Sadly, this irrational thinking really took its toll on my life. I avoided relationships for most of my 20’s and whenever I did date, I found I attracted “losers” (ensuring I’d never be too attracted to them anyway!)
Overcoming Catastrophic Thinking
The key thing to realize is that if you see pain as an inevitable outcome of undertaking change or going for what you want in life, it may just be that catastrophic thinking has got the better of you. Ask yourself; is the scenario you’ve imagined fact or is it just a story? In most cases it will just be a story, and the catastrophe you’re imagining is just irrational thinking that is warping your perceptions of reality.
For example, many people think that leaving a corporate job to become a full-time artist would entail a period of being poor. That’s why we have the stereotype of the “starving artist”. But the truth is that many artists haven’t struggled at all after leaving their corporate jobs. Many fall straight into more money. Their successes prove that the story we’ve concocted in our minds isn’t the only possibility of what can take place.
Change Doesn’t Have To Be Difficult: Managing Your Resistance To Change
What if you were to re-write the story of your future when you embark on your desired change? You have the power to edit out the catastrophe that is currently dominating your plot. There are an infinite number of ways the story could go.
It may take a while for you to believe that the new story without the tragic turn could be viable. That’s okay. Just keep telling yourself the new story, over and over, and eventually you’ll believe it. This is the magic of repeating positive thoughts everyday. Also consider using some positive affirmations about how easy and exciting change is. Focusing on having daily positive thoughts and work at visualizing the outcome you want to manifest. This will put you in the right frame of mind as you embark on your change.
Oh, and in case you are wondering; eventually I realized that I could have some choice over what commitment should look like for me. Truly overcoming my fears required me to can my original story and write a completely new one!