The human mind is an incredible thing. It is what keeps us conscious, thinking and learning, however for some people it is also the cause of anxiety and worry. Overthinking, worrying and constantly imagining the worst case scenario is a real infliction for people around the world and it is commonly referred to as catastrophic thinking, or ‘catastrophising’ as it has become more commonly known.

At some point in our life, we will all experience some form of catastrophic thinking – worrying about our friends and family, our children or our careers. It is a natural part of being human, however if you are constantly overthinking and imagining the worst case scenario; letting every innocuous thought transform into an imminent disaster then it can be incredibly scary and debilitating to everyday life.

Nobody is born with a catastrophic thought process, it is something that we learn and adopt growing up. In this modern world, social media and technology have been an incredible invention and allowed us to connect and chat face to face with friends from around the world in just a matter of seconds. However as we become more connected, it is also bringing with it a growing sense of anxiety. Many people see the lives being portrayed on social media and wonder why their life is not going the same way as their friends, creating a sense that they are failing and not achieving their full potential.

Alongside this, the increased level of connection with the rest of the world means we are bombarded daily with negative news stories and horrific events; making our brains think that these are far more common occurrences than they are in reality.

If you are finding that your mind is increasingly creating catastrophic thoughts, leaving you feeling like you are missing out on life, living below your potential and unexcited about what the future has in store, there are a few tips you can adopt to help:

Understand when and where these thoughts occur
One of the biggest ways to overcome catastrophising is to understand when, where and why these thoughts appear. By doing this, many people will begin to recognise a pattern appearing – perhaps before a big work meeting, meeting certain people or doing certain tasks.

We often do not realise why our mind is suddenly creating these thoughts, but by taking stock of when they occur we can begin to become aware of our triggers and be more attune with our thoughts and how they change.

Face what scares you and regain control
When you are able to understand what it is that is causing your anxiety and catastrophic thoughts, you will begin to have a picture of what it is that scares you. The best way to overcome those fears is to face them head on – no matter what it might be, the more you do it and get used to it the more you will begin to relax when facing it; reducing the negative thoughts that accompany it.

This will let you regain control of the situation, helping to take control of your thought process and allow you to take action against those worst case scenarios you are picturing.

Embrace the fears
Whilst facing your fear is important, anxiety in itself is not always a negative aspect. Typically an anxious person is more likely to be highly intelligent, energetic and successful – so redirecting that energy can actually help you to become more productive.

Take a few moments each day to examine what your biggest fears are and the worst case scenarios you are imagining. Write each one down so you can visualise them clearly and focus on applying critical thinking to help you find solutions and better your life and mental health.

Of course the most important thing to remember is that you are not alone and at no point should you feel like you need to tackle the problem on your own. If you are finding yourself constantly picturing the worst-case scenario then there are many support options out there, from self-improvement sessions to therapists, so do not feel ashamed to seek help.

Author's Bio: 

About me:
Chris Hamilton is on a mission to empower people with the skills they need to quit their job and live their best life. He highly recommends this training class which shows you how to turn your love of personal development into an exciting new direction. If you are currently feeling a bit lost, and would love a new path in your career, you might want to consider the exciting world of coaching here.

A professional life spent sometimes thriving, sometimes just surviving in technology corporates and a personal life doing a similar, but not co-ordinated roller coaster I feel extremely un-uniquely qualified to provide thoughts and input to anyone. And yet a recent set of realisations have made me understand that we are all fundamentally OK, we just lost our way, forgot the way home, had our vital co-ordinates overwritten by the plethora of information fire-hosed at us by a commercially-fuelled social media etc, etc…
After years of training and developing staff and helping clients, often being sought out for advice - for years even since the playground (which always puzzled me), I thought that I had a gift I should use. When I finally escaped the gilded cage of the corporate competition of glittering prizes I was comfortable that I had what it took bring to my experience to people who needed help and guidance.
What actually happened was far more interesting.