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EP. 130 What is Catastrophizing? + 5 Ways To Overcome It

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Welcome to a new week of the Hope Rescue Podcast. This week we are continuing our discussion going through some of the concepts Tim outlines in his new book “Breathe.” If you’re interested in purchasing the book, follow this link: If you struggle with negative emotions, this book is perfect for you. You don’t have to live your life captive to your emotions. You can have power over your anxiety and become truly transformed by what scripture says.

This week we are discussing the concept of catastrophizing. When we catastrophize, we take something that is manageable and we make it unmanageable. We take something small and we build it up to an overwhelming size. Catastrophic anxiety can be defined as ruminating about irrational, worst-case outcomes. Tim explains that when he does book signings, he oftens writes Isaiah 41:10 in people’s books which says, "fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Tim explains that this is one of the most powerful verses in the Bible in relation to negative emotions. We don’t have to fear, because God is with us. We don’t need to be shaken up when trials come our way, because He, the Creator of the universe, is our God. He upholds us with his righteous right hand. The word “dismayed” used in Isaiah 41:10 in Hebrew means to look all around with fear or anxiously look about. The word dismayed is incredibly similar to catastrophizing because it is when we are looking around for every possible scenario that could go wrong.

Sometimes evil people prosper. In Psalm 73, Asaph writes about how wicked, violent, prideful, malicious people are sometimes healthy and successful. Asaph explains that to combat his lack of earthly success, he tries to purify himself by washing his hands or by changing his thinking, but when he actually sought the Lord, he realized he had to change his beliefs. He started focusing less on doing or thinking the right thing, and more on believing the right thing. What we believe determines what we think. What we think determines how we feel. How we feel determines how we behave. When we have a transformed faith, even when we fail we continue to trust God.

People who catastrophize are usually intelligent and creative individuals. Their intelligence causes them to analyze situations but their creativity causes them to take that analysis to the worst case scenario.One of the keys to overcoming catastrophic thinking is to develop a discipline of focusing on our faith in God. We make ourselves vulnerable when we subject ourselves to the things of this earth. Our riches can be stolen. Our clothes can be eaten by moths. Our metals can rust. Our possessions can be destroyed. But God is continually with us.

The first step to overcome catastrophic thinking is to acknowledge you are a catastrophizer. If you find yourself constantly thinking about how things might go wrong, looking for every possible threat to yours and your loved ones' safety, and unable to accept a good thing when it comes your way, you might be a catastrophizer.

The second step to overcome catastrophic thinking is to write down your negative thoughts. Usually when you write down your worst case scenario, you realize how much you are exaggerating the reality of the situation.

The third step is to write down and replace the negative thoughts with optimistic scenarios. The fourth step is to repeat these optimistic scenarios in your head over and over again. The more you think positively, the less you will notice your negative, catastrophic and fearful thoughts.

The last step is to talk out loud to a trusted friend about the negative thoughts racing around in your head. As you speak out loud about what you’ve been thinking in your mind, you may realize without your friend even saying anything how exaggerated and fear-based some of your thoughts are.


Isaiah 41:10 "fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Psalm 73:21-26 “When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart, I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you. Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

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