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  • Writer's pictureDAJ

Don't Get Caught In A Negative Thinking Trap

"Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat." F. Scott Fitzgerald


I woke in the night to excruciating pain! I wanted to scream a scream that would shake the whole house. AHHHHH! I didn't do that scream but neither was I quiet, and I unfortunately woke my husband. I struggled to get out of bed with the pain. My husband offered to help, bless his heart, but what was he going to do fireman carry me to the bathroom. I had to pull myself up holding on to the walls and the dressers to make it to the bathroom and I'm not going to lie to you when I sat down I started to cry. I began to catastrophize my life. Using a lot of negative self talk. I told myself, "So this is the way it is. This is terrible. You can't even get out of bed and walk to the bathroom. Your whole life is terrible. It will always be terrible" I cried some more and then I finally reached a point where I realized I was making things worse with all my crying and catastrophizing and negative talk and I just needed to get up off the pot, be kind to myself, do some self-care and this too shall pass. It didn't pass quickly but it did pass and the more I used my self-care tools and stopped the negative talk, the less suffering I had.


I learned in my University of Pennsylvania, Positive Psychology and Resiliency class that there are thinking traps that we all need to avoid that will help make us more resilient. One of these thinking traps, that frequently catches me, is catastrophizing. When a person catastrophizes they ruminate and go over and over the worst cast scenario, until it starts to become the only possible outcome they see. There is an imbalance of the perceived threat and reality, then the threat becomes this big monster. In addition the individual minimizes the resources they have to cope.


In my case my pain became the monster and I started to think I had know resources to cope. My mind temporarily blocked out this whole tool box of resiliency skills that I have. Lucky for me the more you use these skills the more they become readily available to you and it didn't take long for me to realize what I was doing and put that monster in it's place.

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