Reduce anxiety and depression by challenging common cognitive distortions
“The sky is falling!”
I don’t know if you are familiar with the children’s tale of Chicken Little, but there are times where I feel a real connection to him.
This little chicken is hanging out and minding his own business when something hits him on the head. He looks up to see what it may have been, and sees the sky. He immediately intuits that the only reasonable explanation in that moment is that he was hit with a piece of the sky. The sky is falling!
It can be so easy to jump to the most negative possible outcome for a particular situation. When this happens, there is a good chance that you have fallen into the trap of catastrophizing.
Your teen doesn’t answer their phone; they must be imminent danger.
Your boss sent you an email after hours; You are about to be fired and then homeless.
These conclusions can feel VERY real and cause a physiological response in our bodies that make it almost impossible to reassure ourselves.
We better fix this cognitive pattern immediately or the world will come to an end.
Just kidding 🙂
But here are some tips for you to peruse at your leisure:
1. Recognize that you are having a catastrophic thought.
It can be very hard to challenge this type of thinking if you don’t first recognize that you may have jumped to the most negative possible conclusion. Start paying attention to your thoughts and asking yourself whether it may be an extreme conclusion.
2. Play it out.
Start at the beginning and play through the entire catastrophe of a situation. Get very concrete and specific with this. It can allow us to see just how many very intricate things would have to fall in to place for our feared outcome to happen.
3. Practice some self-care.
Catastrophic thinking is often connected to being tired and stressed. Spend time with a good friend, go for a walk, get your nails done, read a good book etc. Take some time to rest and recharge. Your outlook on life can begin to be a lot more positive.
Challenging catastrophic thinking can be really difficult, especially if we are already in a bad head space.
We would love to help you navigate your way through it. Feel free to reach out to find out how we can support you.