Stop Catastrophic Thinking

Stop Catastrophic Thinking, Reduce Stress

When a problem arises, do you launch into catastrophic thinking? Thinking of all the awful things that could happen? If so, do you know that you can learn to stop catastrophic thinking? Here’s a fresh personal example.

Two days ago, my iPhone 6 developed a huge problem. I couldn’t send e-mails. That meant I couldn’t email a photo from my iPhone to my PC. I couldn’t reply to emails. I felt anxiety rising in my body. I started to worry about all the problems that I’d have without the ability to send e-mail messages. “I’m cooked,” I wailed.

I tend to over-react to techno problems. They often seen overwhelming. I often have no idea how to fix them. Happily, I’ve learned how to stop catastrophic thinking. You can, too. Here’s a process that works.

First, remember that while your problem is annoying or painful, it’s not the end of the world. The worst case for me: I’d have to buy a new phone and reinstall some apps and programs. Annoying, yes, but catastrophic, no.

Second, think of what you can do to solve the problem. Think, “What can I do next?” Focus on possible solutions rather than on the problem. In my case, I thought, “Who has the technical know-how to diagnose and fix my problem?”

Third, reach out to others for help. This step was easy for me: Call Comcast, my e-mail provider.

I called Comcast. I spoke for over an hour with two tech support people. They guided me through lots of tests on my iPhone. None of the tests fixed the problem. The tech support person told me to call Apple.

The tech support person at Apple couldn’t fix the problem, either. She passed me up the line to Bruce, a senior tech support person. Bruce spent over an hour running all sorts of tests. None of the tests fixed the problem. He advised me to download and install the pending updates for the phone. Maybe one of the updates would fix the problem.

Alas, the updates didn’t fix the problem. I reached out to Bruce again to see if he had any more ideas. After more fiddling, he confirmed that all of the settings on the phone were correct. Maybe, he thought, the Apple Mail program was defective. I deleted then re-installed it then entered my account info. I sent myself an email, for about the 50th time during the past two days, and … IT WORKED!

While getting my cell phone fixed was a pain, I didn’t go off the deep end—as I have done in the past. I convinced myself that my problem wasn’t catastrophic. I kept thinking of possible solutions to the problem. I got help. This process worked for me. It will work for you, too.

And thanks to Bruce for going the extra mile to solve my problem.

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