If we acknowledge that catastrophic thinking has more disadvantages compared to whatever utility it might have (in terms of allowing us to prepare for potentially unpleasant events should they occur in the future), then it behooves us to find ways to interrupt the catastrophic thought process.
If we have had a series of bad experiences which have generated catastrophic thoughts such as, “I’m never going to find a compatible mate,” “I’m always going to be broke,” etc., we ask ourselves, “What is the evidence or data that the catastrophic thought is guaranteed to happen some day?”
And we accept the answer: There is none. The bad experiences that we’ve had in the past are proof that we’ve had bad experiences in the past. They do not speak to the future. They are not proof that we are going to have bad experiences in the future as well. Just because things haven’t turned out the way we wanted in the past doesn’t mean they never will.
It’s true that if we do nothing different, then it is likely that we will repeat past mistakes and it will look like we’re on a permanent losing streak. But we’re not on a losing streak. That’s not what’s happening.
What’s happening is we’re creating a self-fulfilling prophecy by not paying attention and not making course corrections when we’re heading down the same dead-end path we’ve been down time and time again.
If we want different results, we recognize our poor choices we’ve made in the past and our other self-sabotaging behaviors, and we make a commitment to make better choices and be more vigilant regarding our self-destructive impulses in the future.
Once we’ve done this, we can eliminate negative, pessimistic, catastrophic thoughts literally at their inception by reminding ourselves that, because we’re doing things differently, all bets are off, catastrophic outcomes are not, by any means, a guarantee, and, in fact, any outcome is possible. The sky’s the limit.
Over time, as we practice these and other positive, cognitive self-talk techniques, we are able to dispel our catastrophic thoughts, free ourselves of the depression, anxiety, demoralization and immobilization that they were generating, and live productive, empowering, exciting lives in the present moment, free of past demons, guilt and shames, free of future fears and worries, and receptive to the success and prosperity that is available to every single one of us.
Walter E Jacobson, MD
Psychiatrist, Speaker & Author
Spiritual Solutions & Cognitive Tools for Well-Being & Material Success
Check out my blog at the above website for practical ways to achieve happiness and success.
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