How to Stop Catastrophizing in One Step
by Robin Sacks
When you stress, your body deploys its little cortisol soldiers.
This army is always on stand-by. But if you have them armed and ready, always anticipating a battle, you become convinced that you are constantly in danger and should be fearful, hesitant, and feel threatened.
There are ways to teach this army to take a step back until there is actually a real reason to step forward.
The quickest way to stop this army from being deployed too often is to stop telling yourself everything is a threat. This is called catastrophizing. Most things in our lives are not catastrophic, they are not emergencies, and they are not a reason to call in your cortisol army.
When you begin to validate or invalidate your thoughts and self-talk, you begin to regain control of your life, simply by not losing control in the first place. In other words, don’t believe everything you think just because you thought it! Ask yourself, “Is this a real thing, or am I just making it a big thing?”
Author, neurologist, and psychiatrist Viktor Frankl explained, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
When you catastrophize, you skip right over this space. When you learn to make that space for yourself, you will get a different result; one that is more calm, more confident, and based in reality (not a story you tell yourself).