Murphy’s Law

I suspect Lin is going to scream at me about that last page. [Lin here: for the record, I don’t scream.] No, my friends, or for that matter, my enemies are not going to let me starve. No, they don’t really mind if I tap them for help once or twice a week. (Once again, thank God I know a lot of good people.) It is pretty much in my own head. Yes, I am preparing and trying to maintain some good independence. Yes, I am also catastrophizing.

I am what? Is that a word, even? It is in psychology. Catastrophizing is having irrational thoughts about things.

The thoughts say things are worse, much worse, than they actually are! They say situations are hopeless and we are doomed. Doomed, I say! Doomed!!!!

According to Psych Central there are two kinds of catastrophizing. One is in the present tense and one is in the future. In other words, my situation is horrible and it can only get worse. Uplifting, don’t ya think?

Now just because “I is a psychologist. I is” I am not immune to this nonsense. I just recognize it a little faster than most. Everyone is susceptible to catastrophizing. Hell, look at Murphy. He got famous with a law that is catastrophizing at its finest: “whatever can go wrong will.” There are also a couple of dozen corollaries to the law. Check out the Murphy’s Law website if you want to have fun with them.

People identify with the thought Murphy put forward. Catastrophizing is common practice.  However, the problem is that catastrophizing is not a positive thing. It is sort of the evil twin of cope ahead. Cope ahead helps us to imagine doing things right so that we can actually do them properly. Catastrophizing has us imagining things going wrong. Guess what happens when you practice things going wrong?  Yep. You got it.

Expecting and practicing a bad outcome generally leads to a bad outcome.

Getting rid of catastrophizing starts with our old friends awareness and acceptance.  Just being aware and recognizing what you are doing helps you change your thought patterns. Become aware of your thinking patterns. Are you using a lot of negative words in your thoughts? You know, words like awful, disaster, terrible, debacle, etc. Being aware will have you on the lookout for them when they crop up. Accepting you are using them opens the door to doing something to change your thoughts. Better to practice cope ahead and see yourself as successful. You can also refute your negative thoughts. “That’s not true! It is not true because…”

So, OK, I am not going to starve. I have access to a variety of food sources. People have been transporting me for weeks. Why would they suddenly stop? Everything may work itself out. Maybe Murphy was wrong.

Next: Increase Sleep, Decrease Glare

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