Cognitive Distortions: What Is Catastrophizing?

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What Is Catastrophizing?

Catastrophizing, or magnification, is a common cognitive distortion. This is when our mind blows things out of proportion.

We tend to see the worst-case scenario in a situation without considering all of the other possibilities, especially the positive outcomes.

For example, a successful high school athlete anxiously tries out for the college team. As he nervously makes a few errors on the first day of tryouts, his thoughts automatically start thinking about being cut and not making the team.

His thoughts affect his focus, emotions, and behavior and he doesn’t perform well the remainder of tryouts.

Being mindful of our thoughts can help us notice irrational ways of thinking.

If you notice yourself thinking about the worst-case scenario, ask yourself, “based on the facts, how likely is this to happen?”

Also, it takes the same mental energy to think of a negative outcome as it does a positive outcome. So, shift your perspective and live mindfully.

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Myque Harris, LPC
Myque Harris works as an Integrative Psychotherapist (LPC) and Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT-200) in private practice in Charlotte, NC. Her passion for helping people has fueled her career as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) for over 13 years. She supports both men and women of all ages across the lifespan, but her practice specializes in supporting adolescent girls and adult women. She is an advocate for POCs and an ally for the LGBTQ community and proudly supports these populations in therapy and in life. As a trained yogi, she incorporates yoga and mindfulness into her clinical practice. One of her ultimate goals is to help individuals connected to their true self and live a rich authentic life. Myque is a mother, loves to read, is a published poet and author, and contributes regularly to shrinktank.com and psychbytes.com. A few things Myque can’t live without: music, love, family, true friends, yoga, and donuts…we can’t forget donuts! Namaste!

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