Key 3. Don’t catastrophise.

Another way to be specific: is to avoid catastrophising. Resist making statements such as, ‘This is terrible’ and ‘I’m devastated’ when it’s not terrible and you aren’t devastated. When we accurately state how we feel, people appreciate the honesty and may take us more seriously. And, when we find that we are not devastated, merely disappointed, we realise the situation isn’t so bad after all. Most importantly, we are more in touch with what we actually are feeling, because it’s not lost in the drama.

1. Don’t use other people’s disabling expressions:

‘It’s all too much.’          ‘I can’t cope.’        ‘Life’s a bitch.’ ‘I am devastated.’
‘I hate that.’      ‘What an absolute, total disaster.’           ‘I’m freaking out.’

Try instead: 
 ‘This is unpleasant.’    ‘I don’t like this.’     ‘This is inconvenient’  ‘I’m feeling anxious’.
These expressions can accurately describe how you feel and reduce the intensity of the emotion. Plus, you see the problem in a healthier perspective.

‘. . . if you develop a habit of saying you “hate” things – you “hate” your hair; you “hate” your job; you “hate” having to do something – do you think this raises the intensity of your negative emotional states more than if you were to use a phrase like “I prefer something else”?’  Anthony Robbins, Awaken the Giant Within



2. Ask yourself: ‘Is it serious? On a scale from 1 to 100, what score would I give the situation?

3. Avoid these two particular words of exaggeration: always and never

‘It always rains on my birthday.’

 ‘You always do that.’

‘It always happens at the last moment.’


‘You never do what I suggest.’

‘We never go out.’

‘I never have any luck.’



Avoid other exaggerations too:  such as everyone and no one.
‘Everyone is corrupt.’

 ‘No one cares.’

Avoid standard complaints such as:
‘That’s typical.’  

 ‘That’s Murphy’s law!’      
  
 ‘I’m such an idiot.’


Using these trite and whiny expressions prompt us to feel powerless, frustrated and discouraged. 
 And, they make us LOOK powerless, frustrated and discouraged.

‘Making broad, generalised and global conclusions on the basis of only a little evidence can leave us thinking that things are really uncontrollable, inevitable and out of our hands. A sense of helplessness often accompanies such over generalisations.’
                                              From an article found in  www.wa.gov.au

Exercises



Expand your vocabulary
Practise expanding your vocabulary to include new words that convey more subtle distinctions.
a) List the words you use regularly to describe your feelings, such as awesome, great, fantastic, cool.

b) Use a thesaurus to list new words to use from now on. Make sure they accurately describe what you are feeling. If they don’t, keep searching rather than falling back on your old words.

 ‘If you describe a magnificent experience as being ‘pretty good’, the rich texture of it will be smoothed and made flat by your limited use of vocabulary.’   

Anthony Robbins, ‘Awaken the Giant Within
However, if the experience is only “pretty good”, stick with that description or use words like, adequate or acceptable.

Complete the sentences
Using the thesaurus, find the most accurate word to complete these sentences. Remember, be specific!
When the team I support wins, I feel …………………….
When the team I support loses, I feel ……………………….
When the team I support draws, I feel …………………………..
When someone ignores me, I feel  …………………….
When someone cries, I feel ………………..
When someone praises me, I feel …………………
When someone talks about themselves all the time, I feel …………………
When someone gets mad at me, I feel …………………
When someone acts superior to me, I feel …………………
When someone is attracted to me, I feel …………………
When someone breaks a confidence, I feel …………………
When someone is very late for an appointment, I feel …………………
When I am in a group of strangers, I feel …………………
When someone gives me the silent treatment, I feel …………………

(sentences compiled by Belinda Ballan, Sydney University)

 

 

This entry was posted in Tip 3. Don't catastrophise. and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s