12 Behaviors That Reveal Someone Struggles With Catastrophic Thinking

12 Behaviors That Reveal Someone Struggles With Catastrophic Thinking

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Are you a victim of catastrophic thinking? Perhaps you have this terrible habit, but you don’t realize what it is. When you’re faced with a situation, do you always jump to the worst possible conclusion?

The underlying factor behind most of these thoughts is a generalized anxiety condition. Your anxiety levels rise to unprecedented proportions when things are outside of your comfort level. Remember, when you’re dealing with anxiety, it can make you think and feel untrue things.

Have you ever had a panic attack and thought for sure that you had a heart attack instead? Anxiety can cause the body to go into fight or flight mode, and much of your catastrophic thinking could be coming from this underlying condition.

Cognitive Distortion

catastrophic thinkingYou’re catastrophizing, which is experiencing cognitive distortion. This misrepresentation occurs when you have little information, and your mind automatically jumps to the worst explanation. While it can be a bit upsetting not to have all the data you need, it’s not always a catastrophic event.

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It all comes down to negative thinking. If you feed this monster, it will spin out of control in your life. The smallest of things can trigger significant fear. Let’s examine a couple of scenarios to help you see how this distorted thinking can control your life.

Here Are Three Hypothetical Situations That Illustrate Catastrophic Thinking

Look at these three scenarios to get a better picture of what catastrophizing looks like.

The Threat of An Accident

Linda’s son is late coming home from work. He always walks through the door at 5:30 pm. She catches a news alert that tells her there’s a wreck on I-95. Knowing her son uses this freeway, her mind automatically thinks the worse.

She calls him time and again but gets a voicemail. By the time her son returns her call, she’s already started calling the police department and hospitals to see if her son has been in an accident.

* Linda caused herself great pain and torment because her mind automatically assumed it was her son in this incident. Thankfully, her son was fine, but it took her all night to calm back down.

Waiting For His Pink Slip

Jeffry received an email from his boss to be in his office at 8 am for a meeting. Since his boss usually doesn’t call such meetings, Jeffry immediately starts to panic. He knows that he is going to be fired.

All night he couldn’t sleep, and he wakes up feeling nauseated and anxious. He makes it to work and can barely get his composure to make it to his boss’s office. Once inside, he is congratulated for his help on a project, and the boss gives him a healthy bonus check.

* Jeffry didn’t do anything wrong. Just because the meeting was out of the ordinary didn’t mean he was in trouble. Actually, he was being rewarded.

Avoiding Tax Problems

Using her informed mail delivery service, Bonnie sees that she has a letter from the IRS. Her heart drops to the floor, and she begins to panic. She knows she is being audited and going to go to jail.

Being a small business owner, she replays all the deductions she took in her mind. She races to the door when the postman walks by her house. The letter was just a formality and telling her about a refund they owe her of $12.00.

* Bonnie was getting a refund, not a jail sentence. If she had just waited till the letter arrived, she would have never had all these false scenarios racing through her mind.

Do you see how the smallest of things can make someone jump to these outlandish conclusions? It’s all because of catastrophic thinking caused by cognitive distortion. So, how do you know if you have this condition?

12 Signs the You Struggle with Catastrophic Thinking

So, you’ve read the accounts of others who have struggled from this distorted version of thinking. Now, it’s time to see if you have some similar traits as these people. Here are the most commonly observed behaviors in someone who engages in the unhealthy practice of catastrophic thinking.

1. The News and Social Media Stresses You Out

While you would love to watch the news or engage with friends on social media, it stresses you out. You can’t handle all the negativity as it sends your anxiety soaring. A Taiwanese psychological study confirms that stress and catastrophic thinking often walk hand-in-hand.

2. You Are Stuck in The Past

You’ve had something traumatic that’s happened to you, and you can’t get over it. No matter how hard you try, your past is ruining your future. You replay these events in your mind like a loop.

pop meme3. Your Favorite Word Is No

When your kids or spouse ask you to go anywhere, the answer is always no. You are so worried about what might happen to them or that you prefer to stay in your home. If you don’t watch, behaviors like these can cause you to become agoraphobic.

According to the National Institute of Health, agoraphobia is characterized by extreme anxiety that being in a public place won’t allow you to escape. People often shut themselves in their homes to try to protect themselves from impending doom.

4. Your Routine Must Be Written in Stone

Your routine must be the same every day. If there is an alleviation from your schedule, you become very anxious. When everything goes as it should, you can function with ease.

5. You Exaggerate

When you retell a story, you always add a little flair to it. It’s not that you’re trying to lie to others; it’s that your mind automatically replays your thoughts and feelings on the matter, which may be a bit twisted.

6. Adventure is Not for You as You Prefer Certainty

Throwing caution to the wind and being adventurous is not your thing. You are so nervous when things don’t go according to your schedule that you cannot enjoy yourself. You like certainty, even when it comes to vacation.

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Consequently, you may find yourself going to the same vacation spot, staying in the same cabin, and eating at the same restaurants. Certainty brings you comfort in life, and anything out of the ordinary causes your anxiety to soar.

7. You Overthink Everything

You tend to overthink, and this learned behavior could cost you friendships and even jobs. The key to this problem is that you’ve had past failures that you’re afraid to repeat. So, you’re too cautious, and you analyze everything.

8. You’re Always Asking “What If Questions.”

When you consider anything, you play 20 questions in your mind. When your spouse wants to put the home on the market, you have many “what if” questions that paralyze you with fear?

What if the house sells too quickly and you have nowhere to go? What if the home has issues that are found in the inspection that you don’t know about? Sometimes you must trust your gut instincts and jump.

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