Catastrophizing

So this has always been a big one for me, my mind seems programmed to always think of the worst case scenario.  This has sadly meant that over the years I’ve managed to talk myself out of all sorts of things, from simple things like going out to the shops, to bigger things like holidays, jobs, big purchases such as cars, houses, you name it.  As I look back over my life it is with a twinge of sadness that I’ve let OCD control so much of it.  I am however who I am and all I can do is look forward and not back.  So how have I started to take control and manage these negative thought patterns?  It is tricky and I have to admit I’m not always successful.

One nice method is to think in the opposite direction, think of the most positive outcome of a situation instead of the most negative for example:

The situation:  I need to go to the shops to get some groceries

catastrophizing thought:

‘If I go out in the car today I might hit someone, perhaps I should stay at home’

likely result:  you don’t go out, you stay at home and get more and more wound up about your thought and how to get the groceries you need.

Positive thought:

‘By going out in the car today I will get a step closer to conquering my OCD’

Likely result:  You get in the car, drive to the store, get your groceries.  You feel better for being out and distracted.  Nothing happens and you have achieved what you set out to do.

As hard as it is I have always found it much easier long term to confront the thought, they never go away, you can only dismiss them for short periods of time.

I have also found I can get massively absorbed into my own thoughts if I don’t fight them, causing me to be touchy and irritable, definitely not desirable personality traits.  It is important to remember to be mindful and live in the present, not the past or the future.

 

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