We all do it. It’s human nature.  We follow the feeling we’re having, which is hurt and afraid and fearful, and project that out onto the facts of the situation.  It sounds logical, our left brain knows that it’s completely possible, but it’s the worst case scenario and the least likely to occur in the situation at hand.  Usually, once the emotions move, once we’ve acknowledged our pain, shared our fears, calmed down just a touch, had some chocolate, done some heavy exercise, we can look at things more pragmatically.  We can see that we were blowing things out of proportion and while that proportion was a valid expression of where we were in the moment and we had the absolute right to go there, luckily we didn’t stay and now we can be here where we can look at the options and make some positive choices about what can and can’t be done and where to go from here.

For some people, however, catastrophic thinking is where they go for everything.  It shows up in comedies as the nay sayer who is loveable and constantly wrong.  They proclaim the doom of their friends, the project, whatever it the topic du’ jour and are found to be wrong in the end.  But people’s lives aren’t sit coms and catastrophic thinking, if allowed to persist and to control decision making, can create catastrophes where none existed before.  Catastrophic thinking creates boxes that aren’t real, corners where there is open space, and paints us in, traps us so we can’t move and have no options.  Catastrophic thinking makes it impossible for us to take any step in any direction because everything will com crashing down around us if we make one wrong move and all moves are wrong.  Catastrophic thinking makes the entire situation our responsibility, makes it impossible to accept help or even see where it is available, and therefore we are on our own with the world crumbling around us.

When catastrophic thinking takes hold, it’s time to stop everything.  The problem isn’t in the thinking, it’s in the feelings.  In fact, if catastrophic thinking is running the show then it’s more than likely that we’re running from the feelings that are causing it.  Stop and feel.  Freak out, scream, rage, let it rip.  Sometimes the emotions are so subtle they need time and space to make themselves known.  Allow it to happen, seek help to bring them forth.  Once you can see, hear, experience the emotions, the catastrophic thinking will subside.  Remember, we all go through it, but the important thing is the “go through” part.  Clear choices and good decisions come after the emotions have passed.