I don’t know about you, but I can be guilty of catastrohising. Somehow I manage to escalate something simplistic and explainable into a career ending disaster. Why is this?
I believe, for me, this is because I have an incessant desire to always want a complex reason for everything. I want to strive for perfection. Therefore, if something didn’t go ‘perfectly’ in my eyes (which is an unrealistic goal), I believe there must be a deep reason for it. This is where the catastrophising commences. The cycle of searching deeper and deeper for a reason that likely doesn’t exist begins. When there isn’t a deeper explanation for something, I always come back to the same exhausting explanation, that I must not be good enough, but I am. We are all good enough.
So, how do I try to stop myself when the spiralling hat of disaster sits on my head?
Catch your thoughts
The best way to stop your thoughts spiralling is to catch them. Stop the spiral from unravelling by redirecting your thoughts. Whatever it is that is causing you to stress and worry, stop dwelling on it and focus on something else. Whether that be distracting yourself by watching a movie, going on a walk, or doing some colouring, catch your thoughts by focusing on something in the present. I find this helps stop my thoughts wonder off into would could be, and redirects my attention to focusing on the now.
Chat it through with someone
Discussing whatever it is you are catastrophising about can really help rationalise those thoughts. I find this the most effective method of dealing with spiralling thoughts. Whatever I am worrying about, if I talk it through with someone else, I quickly recognise that I am over reacting and over thinking. Chatting it through allows someone else to offer you an outside perspective and get you to see that there is no logic to the way you are thinking. It can also help you understand why you are having these thoughts and how you can confront them.
Be kind to yourself and accept it.
It is normal for things to go wrong, not go to plan, or go perfectly for plan, and there can be little reason for this, it is just part of life. There is no point beating yourself up and being harsh on yourself every time something doesn’t go to plan. Be kind and accept it. I am guilty of feeling that everything must have a complex reason. As a result, I search and search until I find what could be the reason for why it didn’t go to plan. More often than not there isn’t a reason, so I conclude that it must be my fault, I must not be good enough. This is not the case and should not be how we react. We are good enough and it is just part of life. There is no need to over-inflate the meaning of something.
Next time we find our thoughts running away with themselves and becoming destructive, try to recognise that the chances are we are just catastrophising and nothing has genuinely gone that wrong.
I love to run and I love to write, so I write about running!