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How to Manage Your Catastrophic Thoughts

Do you find yourself catastrophizing things? If you do, I promise you’re not alone. I’m guilty of this myself.  But until recently I didn’t realize there was an actual term for this.

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What does catastrophize mean?

Someone who catastrophizes sees a situation and assumes it’ll turn out to be the worst case scenario they’ve imagined.  They also assume that if the worst case scenario they’ve imagined does come true, there’s no possible way they will be able to handle it.

As a life coach I’d love to say that I don’t do this anymore now that I have so many valuable coaching tools but, that would be a lie. I still listen to my primitive brain and I still believe it sometimes.  It often goes something like this.

I get unexpected news or something comes up that I hadn’t planned for.  My brain goes straight to the worst case scenario.  And my thoughts swirl around like a hurricane in my brain until I’m thoroughly exhausted.

For me this usually sounds something like this.

My Catastrophic Thoughts

  • “There’s not enough time.” 
  • “I don’t know enough to do that.” 
  • “This shouldn’t be happening.” 
  • “This wasn’t the plan.”
  • “I won’t be able to do this well enough.”
  • “What? There’s no way I’ll be able to do that.”

Since you’re still reading, I imagine you can relate to this.

First of all I want you to know that when this happens nothing has gone wrong.  Your brain thinks you’re in danger and this is its way of trying to protect you.

Think of your primitive brain as the most overprotective mom you know.  The one who bites her nails raw from worry.  The one who worries about worrying.  The one who really doesn’t see the upside of anything but the mundane, safe, path that she’s already been down five million times.

Her intentions are good.  But, you know yourself and deep inside you know that you’re capable of handling this situation.

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How to Manage Your Catastrophic Thoughts

  1. Acknowledge the overprotective mom in your brain.
  2. Know that what she’s saying isn’t true.
  3. Recognize that you don’t have to listen to her.
  4. Decide what you want to believe despite the fit she’s throwing.
  5. Take action from that place instead.

When you look back I bet you’ll laugh at how ridiculous those thoughts were. And, you’ll appreciate yourself so much more for taking action instead of believing your brain’s lies and changing course just to be safe.

So, tell me do you catastrophize things sometimes too, or is this just something I do?

One Last Note!

If you struggle with taking action based on what you want instead of listening to and believing your catastrophic thoughts, I’d love to help you. If you want help with this, go to and schedule your free discovery call with me. I can’t wait to help you with this.

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