Catastrophizing, Ruminating, or Finding Where You Actually HAVE Control and Doing that
How are you coping? in a world where the govt, the media and social groups are telling you it’s the zombie apocalypse, how are you dealing with this?
I have some reassurances for you…
- You may feel like you’re alone, but you’re not.
- Yes, you are being lied to and people are exaggerating. They are blustering because they need to feel in control and important. So you do need to sort out what seems logical for yourself.
- Yes it is bad (but that crystal ball that shows 450 Million will die from this has to go back to the factory for repairs!) and yes people really are getting sick and some are dying. That doesn’t mean it will be you or someone you love. Know the difference between protecting those you love, feeling sorry for those who are ill or grieving and getting sucked into an emotional black hole you can’t get out of.
- And find the things you can and should do to be ok and protect those you love.
- Wash your hands! Often! (pro-tip- moisturize too cuzz cracked skin is more of a threat than dirty hands are)
- Stay 2M/6ft apart! Limit the crowds you have to go into. You can always come back later.
- Limit your traveling to what you need to do to stay fed, sheltered and clean.
- Stay in touch with people with all those devices you have been using for the past few decades.
- Check on your neighbours. Esp the frail.
- Those masks? They can actually be more of a threat to you if you don’t know how to/ have the resources to keep them sterile, and the sense to change and clean them between outtings. And if you are hoarding them? You are risking the lives of caretakers and the frail. Just so you know that.
With that? Be sensible and be safe. This too shall pass. No, I mean that! Yes I’m sure! (My crystal ball is in excellent condition!!)
Yes the economics of this really really suck and will for some time.
…..notes/sources on Catastrophizing, Ruminating and Problem Solving
Catastrophizing is an irrational thought a lot of us have in believing that something is far worse than it actually is.
Catastrophizing can generally can take two different forms: making a catastrophe out of a current situation, and imagining making a catastrophe out of a future situation.
Put the problem into perspective: How does this compare to other things humans face?
Take the 30,000-foot view approach: In the future will I be thinking back to this problem?
This too shall pass: Have I experienced this in the past and did I get through it?
Look for patterns: Does this happen often and can I find ways to circumvent these issues?
Beware of over-generalizations: Am I responding by saying, “This always happens,” or “This happens every time?”
Ambiguity or being vague can open a person up to catastrophic thinking.
An example would be getting a text message from a friend or partner that reads, “We need to talk.”
This vague message could be something positive or negative, but a person cannot know which of these it is with just the information they have. So they may start to imagine the very worst news.
Relationships and situations that a person holds in high value can result in a tendency to catastrophize. When something is particularly significant to a person, the concept of loss or difficulty can be harder to deal with.
An example would be applying for a job that a person wants. They may start to imagine the great disappointment, anxiety, and depression they will experience if they do not get the job before the organization has even made any decisions.
Fear, especially irrational fear, plays a big part in catastrophizing. If a person is scared of going to the doctor, they could start to think about all the bad things a doctor could tell them, even if they are just going for a check-up.
A person may also experience catastrophizing related to a medical condition or past event in their life.
Acknowledging that unpleasant things happen: Life is full of challenges as well as good and bad days. Just because one day is bad does not mean all days will be bad.
Recognizing when thoughts are irrational: Catastrophizing often follows a distinct pattern. A person will start with a thought, such as “I am hurting today.” They will then expand on the thought with worry and anxiety, such as, “The pain is only going to get worse,” or “This hurting means I’ll never get better.” When a person learns to recognize these thoughts, they are better equipped to handle them.
Saying “stop!”: To cease the repetitive, catastrophic thoughts, a person may have to say out loud or in their head “stop!” or “no more!” These words can keep the stream of thoughts from continuing and help a person change the course of their thinking.
Thinking about another outcome: Instead of thinking about a negative outcome, consider a positive one or even a less-negative option.
Offering positive affirmations: When it comes to catastrophic thinking, a person has to believe in themselves and that they can overcome their tendency to fear the worst. They may wish to repeat a positive affirmation to themselves on a daily basis.
Practicing excellent self-care: Catastrophic thoughts are more likely to take over when a person is tired and stressed. Getting enough rest and engaging in stress-relieving techniques, such as exercise, meditation, and journaling, can all help a person feel better.
medical news today
Problematic thought styles include:
Catastrophizing. Seeing only the worst possible outcome in everything. For example, your child might think that because he failed his algebra test he will get an F for the semester, everyone will know he’s stupid, the teacher will hate him, you will ground him, and moreover, he’ll never get into college, and on and on. No matter what soothing words or solutions you try to apply, he’ll insist that there’s no remedy.
Minimization. Another side of catastrophizing, this involves minimizing your own good qualities, or refusing to see the good (or bad) qualities of other people or situations. People who minimize may be accused of wearing rose-colored glasses, or of wearing blinders that allow them to see only the worst. If a person fails to meet the minimizer’s high expectations in one way–for example, by being dishonest on a single occasion–the minimizer will suddenly write the person off forever, refusing to see any good characteristics that may exist.
Grandiosity. Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance or ability. For example, your child may fancy herself the all-time expert at soccer, and act as though everyone else should see and worship her fabulous skill as well. She may think she can run the classroom better than her “stupid” teacher, or feel that she should be equal in power to her parents or other adults.
Personalization. A particularly unfortunate type of grandiosity that presumes you are the center of the universe, causing events for good or ill that truly have little or nothing to do with you. A child might believe his mean thoughts made his mother ill, for example.
Magical thinking. Most common in children and adults with obsessive-compulsive disorder, but seen in people with bipolar disorders as well. Magical thinkers come to believe that by doing some sort of ritual they can avoid harm to themselves or others. The ritual may or may not be connected with the perceived harm, and sufferers tend to keep their rituals secret. Children are not always sure what harm the ritual is fending off; they may simply report knowing that “something bad will happen” if they don’t touch each slat of the fence or make sure their footsteps end on an even number. Others may come to feel that ritual behavior will bring about some positive event.
Leaps in logic. Making seemingly logic-based statements, even though the process that led to the idea was missing obvious steps. Jumping to conclusions, often negative ones. One type of logical leap is assuming that you know what someone else is thinking. For instance, a teenager might assume that everyone at school hates her, or that anyone who is whispering is talking about her. Another common error is assuming that other people will naturally know what you are thinking, leading to great misunderstandings when they don’t seem to grasp what you’re talking about or doing.
“All or nothing” thinking. Being unable to see shades of gray in everyday life can lead to major misperceptions and even despair. A person who thinks only in black-and-white terms can’t comprehend small successes. He’s either an abject failure or a complete success, never simply on his way to doing better.
Paranoia. In its extreme forms, paranoia slides into the realm of delusion. Many bipolar people experience less severe forms of paranoia because of personalizing events, catastrophizing, or making leaps in logic. A teen with mildly paranoid thoughts might feel that everyone at school is watching and judging him, when in fact he’s barely on their radar screen.
Delusional thinking. Most of the other thought styles mentioned above are mildly delusional. Seriously delusional thinking has even less basis in reality, and can include holding persistently strange beliefs. For example, a child may insist that he was kidnapped by aliens, and really believe that it is true.
3 Psychological Mechanisms related to Catastrophizing
Psychological research on chronic pain and catastrophizing has uncovered three types of mechanisms related to catastrophizing
How to Overcome Catastrophizing
- Mindful awareness
You have to catch yourself having cognitive distortions to be able to do anything about them,
- Consider Other Possible Outcomes
Consider positive predictions, neutral predictions, and mildly negative predictions, not just very negative predictions.
- Make a Distinction Between “Significantly Unpleasant” and “Catastrophe”
The key to overcoming catastrophizing is making a distinction between something being significantly unpleasant and it being a catastrophe. Failing an important exam would be extremely distressing but it does not doom the individual to a life of failure.
- Increase your perception of your ability to cope.
If you believe you can cope with negative events, anxiety will be much less of a problem for you.
Types of Catastrophizing
The common types of catastrophes people tend to imagine include:
Imagining yourself losing control. For example, an individual with panic disorder predicts that if they go to the mall on a weekend afternoon, they will have a panic attack. They predict that having a panic attack would be a catastrophe, rather than it just being significantly unpleasant.
Imagining yourself spiraling into a deep depression.
Imagining yourself never finding love, and imagining that if this happens you will be plagued by intense feelings of loneliness 24/7 from now until you die.
Equating some type of mild to moderate social rejection with being totally shunned by all desirable people.
Telltale Signs of Anxious Rumination
You feel worse instead of better.
Compulsive need to think and say the same things repeatedly.
Inertia, inability to take action.
Feeling of urgency and paralyzing high stakes.
“Catastrophizing,” feeling of fear and dread.
Thinking is expansive and unfocused -multiplying rather than reducing your anxiety.
Thinking is continuous and pressured, without a beginning and end, and without leading to solutions or resolution.
Feeling of depressive anxiety, defeat, roadblocks.
Feeling overwhelmed and needing to solve everything at once.
Need for constant reassurance.
Friends and family are impatient and want to avoid talking to you.
Signs of Actual Problem-Solving
Ability to generate a range of ideas and solutions.
Ability to take some action.
Feeling of momentum or progress, hope.
Flexibility, variability of thoughts.
Tolerance of ambiguity and range of possible outcomes.
Seeking help from others in an open-minded, collaborative way.
Ability to take one step at a time.
Ability to set limits on problem-solving time.
Ability to bear anxiety without escalating or needing to get rid of it.
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.
reinhold niebuhr (1892-1971)