Transcript: Practicing Catastrophe
Hello, how are you doing today? All right, so if you haven't listened to episode 96 and episode 97 I invite you to start with those episodes. This is the perfect place to start if you're brand new to thought work, if you're brand new to be a better lawyer podcast. What I'm doing in these episodes is really laying the foundation for what we feel, how to process emotions.
So I don't want you to miss any of it. And I was originally going to make this into a three part series, but then I saw one more topic catastrophe that I wanted to talk about when it comes to practicing our emotions. And I see it so often and my clients and myself that I knew it would be helpful to work through, especially right now, and we're talking about looking for the worst case scenario. We wasted so much time and brain energy practicing these unhelpful emotions like worry and anxiety that come from catastrophizing. And we spend all of this time on these what ifs and what could happens, not recognizing that we are hurting ourselves and hurting our outcomes, the outcomes that we want. Now our brain has a tendency to spend a lot of time in the past and in the future. So we're using our prefrontal cortex to get us to the present.
Like we actually have to keep redirecting our brain. You know, when they talk about meditation and yoga, we're constantly redirecting our brain to do that. But when we think about the future, like that's something that we can either do in a really intentional way. Like we're thinking about, okay, what are my plans for my business? Or we think about all of the what ifs and what could happens. And those don't always show a rosy picture, right? Like we start looking for things to go wrong. It's giving us some sort of false sense of control over the outcome. But the thing is, is we do not have control over that outcome completely. We have the ability to influence it and I want you to see that. But I want you to also understand that you are without knowing it, making or could make that come to pass, that undesired future come to pass.
So I want you to really understand that when you spend your time catastrophizing, that it's just hurting yourself. And when we do anything from that unhelpful emotion of worry or anxiety, we're not going to create the best results. Okay? Then we want to go into that certainty, and I talk to you in in episode 97 about that, that decisiveness that I can do what I can do to make what I want happen. We want to act out of that to create what we want most. Right? Okay. Now sometimes those things come to pass and then we just justify our thoughts by saying something like, see, I told you so. We're just trying to say, Oh, well see that's, that's why I catastrophize. That's why I was planning that whole time. See, I told you so. What we don't see is that our behaviors are the result of how we think and if we're thinking about the worst coming to pass, then of course we are going to be more likely to create that result.
Now I'll use what's happening in the world right now as an example. When we obsess about whether we will get sick, then we become worried. Then we do the opposite of what it takes to stay healthy. For example, we're in a hurry to get out of the grocery store and we don't pay attention to whether we touch our face on the weight of the car or we forget to clean our phone after someone else touches it. Now, this was really interesting. I was listening to a doctor who's also a coach coaching on this exact same topic with doctors and she was saying the same thing she was saying, you know, you are not going to follow your protocols if you are worried. What you have to do is you have to come from that decisive energy. I know how to take care of myself. I know what it takes to stay healthy, wash my hands pay attention, be Villa vigilant about what I am doing and I know how to do that.
I can take care of that. So I want you to see that you could indirectly cause the outcome if you're not paying attention to your thoughts. So that's one way that it shows up in our lives. Another way catastrophizing shows up in our lives is this. We can spend minutes, maybe hours thinking about things that aren't even sure to happen, right? So about a week ago I caught myself doing this and it had been a while since I had done this, but I caught myself and I was thinking about what would happen when I went back to the office. After all of this is over, I started thinking about, well, how am I going to locate all of the files on the first day of court? I mean, they're everywhere. We don't even have the same court dates anymore. We're going to have to look up every single file by hand.
I was asking myself whether I was going to be able to go into the office and have time to get organized before I go to court because I have Monday court and I'm going to have victims who are going to demand what's to know what's going on. I mean, my whole brain was just starting to go into this place like it was just like, Oh Hey, there's all these things I have to worry about. Like it, it made it feel as if I was doing something but I wasn't. And I recognize that but it made it feel as if I thought about those things in advance that somehow I was going to be controlling them. But then what I did, cause I recognize this, I asked myself, well so what, like let's say all of this happens, right? Like all the worst case scenario happens.
That first day is a total mess. I know I can handle it. The judge is going to understand, you know, if things aren't 100% and if not, Oh well I will do the best I can, the victims will understand and if they don't, I can only do what I can do. I may not have all the files located in time for court and that's okay because I can look things up online and if I don't have an offer, the cases just going to have to be continued. I can do the best I can do and control how I think and how I behave. I cannot control what others think or how they behave. Okay. That's true of every single situation. Even this one I'm going to talk about because I know from speaking to a lot of parents that they commonly catastrophize when it comes to their children.
They will spin and thoughts of some horrible thing that could be for their children. They might feel a false sense of control in that moment, but really they are stressing themselves out with no positive outcome and it places them in the victim mode because they're at the mercy of some made up outcome in their mind and it's painful. It does not feel good. And I know that so many parents struggle with this and it might feel comforting to believe that you're thinking about the worst case scenario, but it's a false sense of comfort. We cannot control what happens in the outside world. What we can control are our thoughts and then we can do the best we can to control the outcomes that we want for ourselves. Now, a much more powerful place to come from is knowing that you can handle anything that comes and you can prepare your child the best you can.
It's a much more decisive energy. Like we talked about in practicing confusion in the last episode. We practice this catastrophizing in other areas of our lives too, right? Like our relationships with significant others. Instead of coming out and asking something of them, which comes from that decisive energy that I can handle anything energy, no matter what they say, we worry, we worry about what they think. We worry about what they're doing, who they're seeing. That's not helpful. Right. And our relationships will not improve by doing this one last example that came up recently, I was talking to a coworker and she was telling me about how upset she was that you know, she saw other people weren't staying at home and how she sees people standing next to each other and it makes her really angry. Like it w you really, you could see it in her face.
It made her really angry and she was frustrated with us, you know, she's saying they were going to extend this day at home order and she was, she was really unhappy. You could see it was really impacting how she felt. And she asked me if I agreed with what she was saying and I said, you know, I've seen that too. But that's their decision. I can choose not to be near them. I can choose how I behave and I see people online and groups of two or three, but they're good friends and they've decided for themselves that that was a good situation for them. It's not up to me to police everyone. And if I didn't think that way, I would drive myself nuts. And my coworker took that in for a second and she, she hadn't seen that perspective and it was really it was really interesting to see the shift that, that made.
Just hearing those words, she seemed to feel more relieved. Just me saying that to her. So I want to offer to you that you can practice moving out of thinking about the worst case scenarios and worry and anxiety and to into more decisive and self-confident energy. And it starts first just by noticing that you're doing it and you're probably going to go right back into catastrophizing. At first, like this is something that takes practice, but just keep practicing. It's okay if you're not suddenly a changed human, right? Like I've been practicing this for years and you know, as you heard it still happens. But now I notice it faster and I recognize what I'm doing to myself and that it's something that I'm choosing to do. And why would I want to stay in that? Right? So I want you to just recognize not only the mental stress that this has, but it also creates creating a stress on our bodies, our brains.
When we think thoughts that create anxiety and worry, they actually release a stress hormone that courses through our body. And that's why we have the emotions that we have. It's caused from the chemical reactions that are happening. And we weren't meant to have stress coursing through our body all the time. We were meant to, you know, have that stress when we were being chased by a tiger. Right? And then we needed to run really, really fast. Not so helpful when we are just making up things to be scared of and hurting our bodies. So when we have those stress hormones in our bodies on a consistent basis, that can lead to health problems, that's can lead to cancers, it can lead to heart disease. So I want you to recognize not only the mental toll that this takes and the time wasted, it's also having a physical toll on your body.
If you are like me and you sometimes go to worst case scenario, I want to hear from you. Okay? I know this is a great topic, right? Practicing catastrophe, but this is something that's necessary. It's something that pops up so often in our lives. So I want to hear from you. Join me on Instagram at Dina. Dot. Cataldo cat and Aldo like the shoe and DM me with what you catastrophize about. All right, I want to hear from you. I know I'm not alone. I know that you're out there. And I do want to hear from you. Okay? I will talk to you in the next episode. Practicing joy. Talk to you soon. Bye. Hey, if you enjoy this podcast, I offer one on one coaching using my be a better lawyer framework. That's where we rewire your brain to help you create the life and the practice that you want. Go to Dina cataldo.com to schedule a strategy session.