Catastrophic Thinking: Anxiety Trigger

by Dr. R.E. Freedman

Young woman using mobile phone by mug, close-up

Your way of thinking has a profound effect on the way you feel. The anxiety condition lends itself very well to the habit of catastrophic thought, especially when your thought process changes from generalized self nurturing to continuous catastrophic thinking. The hallmark of this intrusive behavior is when the slightest change in norm triggers a fearful, negative reaction. After a while this becomes HABIT and a habit that builds upon itself.

Examples of catastrophic thoughts:

– A minor cough becomes a serious disease in one’s estimation.
– A headache becomes a brain tumor rather than a minor incident.
– Hearing about a sick friend or family member is about death rather than minor ailments.
– Walking to the car from one’s front door brings about fears of a serious attack.
– Paying the delivery guy causes fearful notions of an attack.
– Going for a check-up becomes fertile ground for fears concerning what they may find.
– Someone mentions another person’s health issues and it’s an immediate “me too” in your mind.
– Watching a doctor or hospital show on television brings forth an increase in one’s own presumed symptoms.

These are just a few examples of catastrophic thoughts but the list goes on and on. Most of these fear thoughts are centered around Health Anxiety and continue into the Anxiety Cycle (one symptoms reconciles, only to be followed by another just as concerning) if they are not recognized and the behavior corrected.

Constant worry becomes your everyday companion if not checked and this in itself is extremely exhausting. All body twinges become serious warning signs of major health issues, in an overactive mind. It helps to recognize this behavior because it enables an individual to interrupt this behavior out of choice.

After a while one reaches the point where they’ve had enough of this exhausting habit and decide it’s time to do something about it. There is a way out and it’s not difficult. Understand that it is important to protect yourself against danger but there is a limit to the intensity of watching out for oneself.

Here are some ways you can break the cycle of Catastrophic Thinking and move forward with your life:

– Understand that life is risky but viewing life from the perspective that everything is dangerous ruins your present moment. There is always a midway perspective when it comes to worrying or guarding against danger. Find that mid-point and steer yourself toward it.

– Let go of being the “over-emotional” “over-reactive” individual. Understand your strong points and focus upon them. Don’t define yourself as the “on guard” worrier. Recognize and acknowledge your talents in life and build on them. Through this perspective you will stop overestimating danger and develop a strong sense of self, impervious to every twinge and fear. You will evaluate situations and determine the safest route of action without the need for excessive worry and self-sabotaging thoughts and behaviors.

– Learn to “talk back” to an over-active mind fueled by an active imagination. Explain to yourself the truth of the situation and calmly go from there. Remember, it always begins with a thought. Self correction comes in handy when you instruct the frightened brain to STOP and look at the situation from the proper perspective, pointing out the “up side” of the situation, and approach it from the best vantage point.

– Change your “what ifs” to “so whats” and don’t worry about what others may think. Free yourself from the cycle of constant fear and notice the bright side of the situation. You always have the CHOICE to select a more perspective

– Breathe- Relinquish resistance as you breathe slowly, calmly allowing your muscles to loosen. A tense mind and body is often characterized by contracted muscles, as a result of fearful thought. Breathe in , hold it, exhale slowly as you breathe away all the tensions of the day. Watch your shoulders loosen as you release the burden of fear you’ve been carrying all day. Catastrophic thoughts are less likely to attack a relaxed mind and body.

– Recognize the fact that most of your fears NEVER come to fruition. All this wasted energy only serves to exhaust you when you could be expending your energy on something more production and fulfilling.

– Eat well and do not skip meals. Nourishing your mind and your body results in a better outlook on life. Use foods to your best advantage, creating a less reactive mind and body.

– Outdoor activity is extremely therapeutic and will help lift you out of this habit of catastrophic thought. Leave the worried thoughts behind as you engage in moderate outdoor exercise on a daily basis. Activity alone is exhilarating to both mind and body. It is helpful in extinguishing the negative, fearful thought patterns and behaviors.

– Learn to be comfortable within yourself. In essence, Be Yourself, and this will relieve many of the pressures life presents. Self confidence allows one to remove the mantle of catastrophic thinking. When one is comfortable in their own skin, life becomes a challenge rather than a threat. Self Esteem rises when the habit of negative thinking decreases.

Most of all, understand the fact that you have power over how you feel. Some actually believe that worrying (a catastrophic outlook) prevents bad things from occurring. This is not the case. Catastrophic thinking does not serve as protection against frightening occurrences. It is mainly a self-sabotaging behavior that fuels a fatigued mind.

It is now time to make your choice in life. Choose freedom from fear induced thoughts and view life from a positive perspective. Think of the possibilities of life rather than perceived dangers. There are actual days when the sun shines, the air is fresh and one is able to smile and enjoy the moment. It begins with you deciding to see this side of living, which always reflects your attitude. Take the risk of enjoying the moment, without the burden of habitual catastrophic thinking. This will open the door to better health, both emotionally and physically. Letting go will actually bring you lasting control over the things you have been hoping to attain all along.

For further information feel free to call our office at 215-635-4700. Office Hours are 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM (EST)

Anxiety Busters, Inc.

http://www.anxietybusters.com
info@anxietybusters.com
Office Phone: 215-635-4700
Office Hours: 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM (EST)

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