Consistency breeds creativity + Catastrophizing + New newsletter format ✨
It's time to stop waiting for inspiration and take action!
This week I have focused on building more consistency in my work. Previously I was publishing when I felt inspired, which led me to long bouts of stagnation, overthinking, and becoming distant from my work. Now that I am changing my approach and harnessing the power of sticking to a schedule, consistency will breed creativity. Once I have the foundation of being disciplined to create at set times, I can be free to experiment and bring more creativity into my work. I am approaching this new approach with an experimentation mindset, so I will keep adjusting along the way to deliver value for you, my readers. I want to help you overcome your inner challenges to be free to create and achieve your potential. As always, hit me up if you want to chat, or you can share your thoughts in the comments.
Let's do this!
Today's Topic: Catastrophizing
You've heard the saying, making mountains out of molehills. It's taking something small and blowing it out of proportion. That's exactly what happens when something triggers a chain of thoughts that go from simple to bad to worse in our heads.
An offhanded remark can trip us up to overthink and flood us with anxiety. We start to imagine "what-if" scenarios from one negative thought to the next.
I'll share my recent experience. I recently received a message from a coworker in Teams. Teams is the messaging app we use at work, and when someone messages you while you are offline, you receive a shortened version of the message in an email, don’t get me started on this, let’s leave that’s a topic for another day :). So the text I received was "We need to talk about your presentation..." this triggered my anxiety, and I immediately went into the "what-if" mode.
What if I made a mistake?
What if I blew it?
What if my team hates me?
What if I get fired?
What if I can't find another job...
As you can see, this train of thought eventually landed me in a bad place.
There is another word for this type of mental trap in which we assume the worst possible outcome for a situation; it is called catastrophizing or catastrophic thinking. We all worry at times which is fine, but when the worry takes over and affects our mood and actions, that's when we need to take the necessary steps to overcome it.
As you can see, the negative thoughts started before I even had any evidence of what was said. If I repeat this cycle multiple times a day, you can see how this can lead to a downward spiral of anxiety and depression.
Why do we catastrophize? It could result from the past experiences that caused us to have a negative and fearful outlook on life which became an ingrained behavior. However, we can unlearn this thought pattern. We can break free from it.
Here are a few techniques that have worked for me:
🧘🏽 Do a guided meditation
Use a meditation app to help you detach from your thoughts and create some distance to stop identifying with the negative thoughts. I use the Waking Up app, but many guided meditation apps are available. Try them out to see which one resonates with you.
✍🏽 Write your thoughts
Bring the thoughts out of the dark by writing them down so you can look at them and challenge them.
Ask yourself do these thoughts make sense?
Are the thoughts backed by evidence?
Attack the thought with logic to diminish its power
😌 Do breathing exercises
Refocus your attention on your breath to help you relax and get back into the present moment. Try this:
Take a deep breath in through your nose and fill your belly with air.
Make sure not to only breathe with your chest and to feel your belly expand
Breath out through your nose and feel your belly become empty of the air.
Repeat a few times and notice if there is less anxiety.
You can do this exercise anytime and anywhere as soon as you feel the negative thoughts appear.
👀 Reframe your thoughts
Replace the negative thoughts with constructive, balanced, and rational thoughts. Accept that you are constantly evolving and are committed to learning and growing from your experiences.
🙋🏿♀️ Ask for help!
Catastrophizing thoughts can overpower us. Reach out to a therapist to seek professional help if needed. Share the thoughts with a friend so you can gather the rational evidence you need to arm yourself and be able to move past the negative thoughts.
What would you add to this list?
What has your experience been with catastrophic thinking?
What have you tried that works?
Share your thoughts in the comments! 👇🏽
Interesting find of the week
🧠 Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)
REBT is an action-oriented approach focused on helping people deal with irrational and negative beliefs so they can learn how to manage their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. This approach caught my eye because it tackles the negative beliefs we carry throughout our lives and that end up creating problems for us in the present.
As I dive into the world of REBT to better understand it, I will be writing more about this, so stay tuned!
For your eyes only
This colorful and lovely illustration made my day. The vivid colors instantly improved my mood.
Illustration by Emmy Jayne (@emma_j_designs)
Let me know what you think of the updated content. I will be sharing more exciting finds I believe you will also find interesting. That's it for now.
Catch you next week and as always, stay strong!