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5 Reasons You Should Avoid Catastrophizing

by A Hospidales
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“Positive thinking is more than just a tagline. It changes the way we behave. And I firmly believe that when I am positive, it not only makes me better, but it also makes those around me better.”

Harvey Mackay

It’s normal to think about worst case scenarios or scary what-ifs. People tend to think of these kinds of possibilities in order to prepare themselves for the worst.

Nevertheless, if you are always thinking of bad outcomes, this type of thinking can be extraordinarily harmful to your life.

1.    You can ruin your chances for good things in life if you think catastrophically.

“Your mind is a powerful thing. When you fill it with positive thoughts, your life will start to change.”


According to Psychology Today, catastrophic thinking can keep you from living the life of your dreams. To achieve goals, you need to work hard and take risks. It is impossible to actually work toward achieving good things for yourself if you are too consumed with imagining everything that could go wrong.

 2.    You lose your inner peace when you think in catastrophic terms.

“Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.”

Zig Ziglar

Worries and stress are elevated by catastrophic thinking. We all experience times when we feel overwhelmed. When catastrophic thinking sets in, these thoughts occur more often than usual, resulting in paralyzing fear.

Imagine that it is a normal night at work when suddenly it starts to rain. You think of your wife as she drives home from work when you see rain hitting the road.

Immediately, you begin to imagine all of the ways she might get hurt – a bad crash, being hit by another driver, or being swept away by a flash flood. Will your wife die on the wet drive home? Not at all. For someone who suffers from catastrophic thinking issues, is that very realistic? Definitely!

3.    Thinking catastrophically can destroy relationships.

“A positive attitude gives you power over your circumstances instead of your circumstances having power over you.”

The type of thinking associated with catastrophic thinking can also affect a person’s ability to maintain strong and healthy relationships.

People who experience catastrophic thinking often picture terrible things happening to their loved ones. As a consequence, they become overprotective or overly cautious due to these constant, scary thoughts.

Taking care of your loved ones isn’t a bad thing, but too much protection can feel very smothering. People might stay away from you if your mind is dominated by catastrophic thinking. If you think catastrophically, you may end up destroying the possibility of building a meaningful relationship with your loved ones.

4.    When you think catastrophically, you miss out on truly important things.

“Change your thoughts and you change your world.”

Norman Vincent Peale

You lose time and focus on other important aspects of life if you obsess about catastrophic thoughts all the time.

Although there is nothing wrong with worrying (and it may even help you avoid bad situations). However, when it becomes catastrophic thinking, it starts consuming your energies and focus.

The time you spend thinking about imaginary fantasies and imagining elaborate scenarios is time you could be focusing on things that are more worthwhile. When you obsess over worst case scenarios, plans for the future, relationship issues, to-do lists, and fun activities all get pushed aside.

5.    Having a normal and happy life is nearly impossible when you have a catastrophic mindset.

“Success is a state of mind. If you want success, start thinking of yourself as a success.”

Joyce Brothers

Catastrophic thoughts make it difficult to live a normal, happy life if left untreated. Not everyone can control their catastrophic thinking-which can lead to missed opportunities, failed relationships, and more.

The more energy you devote to catastrophic thoughts, the more crippled you become when it comes to making decisions, taking action, and living life. You stop trying something new when you think of how everything can go wrong, instead of taking a chance and trying something new.

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