Skip to content

Ep #134: Catastrophizing and Reparenting

Feminist Wellness with Victoria Albina | Catastrophizing and Reparenting

One pattern I see in all of my clients (and even myself in those moments where I’m not checking my thoughts) is the tendency to catastrophize. So, something small goes wrong, or could potentially go wrong, and even when nothing has gone wrong, our brains spin a tale of the worst possible scenario: the catastrophe that is waiting just around the corner.

Maybe your partner doesn’t text you all day when they usually text pretty often. And you decide they’re either completely dead on the side of the road somewhere, they’re obviously cheating on you, or they’ve decided to leave you and they’ll soon be coming back with a U-Haul and their 10 best friends to pack everything up.

And all of a sudden, there you are, spinning and living forever in a pit of despair, even when your new worst-case scenario never comes true. But my tender ravioli, I want you to tune in this week to discover how to reparent yourself with love and compassion, so you can break free from this cycle, find the middle path, and catch yourself when your brain tries to throw you back into catastrophe.


I am delighted to share that my six-month program, Anchored: Overcoming Codependency is currently enrolling for our next cohort starting September 20th, 2021! If you’re interested in joining us for this life-changing work where you’ll learn thought work, somatics, breathwork, and get coaching from me every week, click here to apply now!

If you have not yet subscribed, rated, and reviewed the show on Apple Podcasts, or shared it on your social media, I would be so grateful and delighted if you could do so. This is a free service that I want to get into as many ears as possible, and I’m counting on you to rate, review, and share it to let more folks know that this free support is available to them!

What You’ll Learn:

  • Why our brain chooses to jump straight to catastrophe at the first signs of uncertainty.
  • How catastrophizing is even worse for those of us raised with perfectionism and performance demands in childhood.
  • What happens when a habit of catastrophizing interacts with insecure attachment.
  • Why it’s impossible to be present to the here and now when we’re catastrophizing.
  • The mammalian nature of catastrophizing and why I don’t want you to judge, guilt, or shame yourself for doing it.
  • Why the choice to show up and reparent yourself is always yours to make.
  • What epigenetics can tell us about our tendency to jump to catastrophizing.
  • How to get the cognitive distance to see where your brain is engaging in catastrophizing.
  • What you can do to center and ground yourself so you can do the work of gently and lovingly reparenting yourself when thoughts of catastrophe take over.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

  • Follow me on Instagram
  • Keep up with me on Facebook
  • Send me an email to sign up for my email list, leave me your topic request, or submit a question for the next Q&A!
  • Curious about Breathwork Journey Meditation? Check out my free gift to you, Breathwork Intro – a guide to the practice and a 13-minute session, all on the house, for you to download and keep.
  • Get your free guided suite of meditations here!
  • Let’s connect! Send a text message to 917-540-8447 and drop your email address in and we’ll send you a present. You can also text this number to receive some sweet text messages from me a few times a week. 
  • If you’ve been loving the show and want to work with me, you have got to check out my six-month coaching program, Anchored: Overcoming Codependency.
  • Ep #129: Attachment Styles
  • Ep #130: Anxious Relationship Rushing


Full Episode Transcript:

This is Feminist Wellness, and I’m your host, Nurse Practitioner, Functional Medicine Expert, and Life Coach, Victoria Albina. I’ll show you how to get unstuck, drop the anxiety, perfectionism, and codependency so you can live from your beautiful heart. Welcome my love, let’s get started.

Hello, hello, my love. I hope this finds you doing so well. I am really enjoying the end of summer, getting my garden in order, really soaking up these last hot summer days. I’ve also been really loving the new webinars and workshops I’ve been putting together for you all. I did one about somatics recently. I did one about perfectionism, which is a whole new take on it for me. And it’s just been such a delight.

Really, every day I wake up and I’m like, “I created a job for myself. I built this thing.” And I just feel so grateful that I get to do this, that I get to coach my amazing clients, that I get to talk to you all every week, to do these workshops and these webinars and to keep studying what I love, to coach my clients in Anchored, which is just such a beautiful space to hold and build that container with and for them. It’s a magical life and I’m really grateful.

And I’ve been thinking a lot about the gratitude that I live in these days. And if you’ve listened to this show before, if you know my work, you know I’m not one of those, like, “Positive vibes only…” kinds of people. I deeply and truly believe that life is 50% suffering and 50% joy. And that when we fully inhabit one, we hold and create space to inhabit the other.

And so, I’ve been thinking a lot about the gratitude and joy I’ve been living in, which is, you know, in sharp relief with a lot of my life, when I lived in the thought patterns we talk about, in codependent perfectionist and people-pleasing cycles.

And one of the things I used to do all of the time – and my brain still starts to do this as well. My brain hasn’t, like, been replaced. I just learned to manage it. And one of the things I used to do, and this pattern I see all the time in my clients, is catastrophizing.

So, something small goes wrong or could potentially go wrong, and sometimes nothing’s gone wrong at all. But our brains spin a tale of the actual worst possible scenario, the catastrophe that is waiting just around the corner.

So, maybe you see a rash on your arm and your brain has you diagnosed with cancer with just a few days left to live and all is lost, or your partner doesn’t text you all day when they usually text pretty often. And you decide they’re either completely dead on the side of the road somewhere, or they’re obviously cheating on you, or they’ve decided to leave you and they’ll soon be coming back with a U-Haul and their 10 best friends to pack everything up.

Because of our human negativity bias, our brain’s protective mechanism that loves to bring the worst-case scenario to mind and the absence of information, well, your brain will fill in the void. But it fills it in with the biggest catastrophe you could imagine. And all of a sudden, there you are, spinning and living forever in the pit of despair.

Catastrophizing feels so bad. I remember spending whole days spinning in how terrible things were so soon to be. So, if it feels so bad, and truly gets us nowhere, which it does. It’s such a – I don’t want to say it’s a useless habit because it’s serving a purpose within our brains, but it doesn’t get us anywhere. So, why do we do this?

And I think there can be lots of reasons. For those of us with perfectionist thought habits, when any little thing goes wrong, it feels like a catastrophe because we’re so anxious about appearing perfect to ourselves and others. So, our thought pattern goes right to, “A thing is wrong. All is doomed.”

We have built our identity and worth on everything going exactly right. So any deviation from that is a real problem in our brains. I find this is doubly true of those of us raised with perfectionism and a lot of performance demands in childhood. Like where the A-plus was always expected or love was withheld.

That perfectionism in the household meant that your child mind equates things being off-kilter with deep danger because it equates it with not being safe. Remember, for children, if you are unloved, you will be uncared of, you will die – you know it – cold and alone on a mountaintop.

Likewise, if things were super chaotic growing up, then more chaos, more disturbances in the field will lead you to spin out to the worst-case scenario because you’ve been there. For parentified children, like I was in a lot of ways, we learned early to over-function. And there’s a whole show about this coming out soon, so stay tuned.

And we are so used to working so hard to keep the whole world spinning, because our brains are telling us that’s our job, right? That anything that effs with our plan just feels like way too much because we’ve codependently taken on not just our own lives and issues, but actually everyone else’s too.

When we have externalized our self-worth, like we do from codependent thinking, relying on our achievements, our accomplishments, or other people to show us we are worthy when our anchor isn’t internal, any change in the world can feel very destabilizing.

So, when you’re dependent on your partner to help you feel worthy and good, not getting a text from them has a weight, an importance that feels outsized. The absence or loss of that is scary and our brains start to imagine what it would be like if we lose that connection altogether.

When our catastrophizing habits interact with our insecure attachment – and if you’re like, “Whoa, what’s attachment?” Go back and listen to episodes 129 and 130 after this one.

So, it can create a whole maelstrom of mental and somatic, bodily, well, just garbage. So, let’s say you run towards anxious attachment. And let’s stick with this same example because it’s a useful one.

A date doesn’t text for like a hot New York minute. And so, your brain goes to, “They must not like me anymore. They must have moved on. They’re ghosting me.” And it’s not long before you’re in an abandonment story, a woe-is-me story and, “I’m unlovable and will never be loved,” story. And because our thoughts lead to our feelings and we take action based on our feelings, you start texting your date, but like a lot. Like, over and over again.

And then, you start calling them, and then calling your friends and being like, “Oh my god, I can’t believe it, of course they’re ghosting me. Well, I’ll never be happy…” on and on. And you just strengthen this story in your mind about your unlovability before you even have the facts. Ouch.

If your attachment system tends to run more avoidant, you may not hear from a date in a minute and you may say to yourself, “Well, forget them then. I was never that into them anyway. I don’t even need them.” Which can quickly spin out into, “I don’t need anyone. I don’t need love or care or coregulation of my nervous system. I am a rock. I am an island. I am fiercely independent. So, there.”

All of that makes sense for these parts of you. But my love, what a way to live, taking everything to 75 on a one to 10 scale. And I’m here to tell you that another way is possible; a more securely attached way, a more interdependent way. And we’ll get to remedies in just a moment, my darling.

But first, let’s dive deeper into understanding why we do this. So, at its core, catastrophizing is a way to try to regain a sense of control. When we hit one of these places of uncertainty where we do not or cannot know the outcome, our brains have been habituated to freak out.

If you have a symptom in your body – let’s go back to that rash, or maybe it’s a sore throat or a lump somewhere and you don’t know what it is, you’re faced with uncertainty, which can feel scary. And that scary could lead you to go to care, or if your catastrophizing habit takes over, you might convince yourself that you have some terrible rare disease and your brain will say, “At least I know what I’m dealing with. This is the end of things.”

And so, there can be this certain, like, a kind of fascinating comfort, even in the worst-case scenario. Because you can tell yourself you know what you’re facing. Your brain can be like, “Yeah, that’s terrible. But I know what to do. This is obviously the end of me. So, I’ll make my will, get my affairs in order, and plan my memorial service. Got it. I’ll also call everyone I know and will tell them about my impending mortality, death, and doom, so they can soothe me since I don’t trust me to soothe my nervous system right now.”

See that casual bit of codependent thinking in there? Instead of soothing yourself, you rope others in to try to do it for you. This is combined with our habit from our codependent thinking. Stay with me here. Because we don’t believe in the core of us and the heart of us that we are worthy of love just because we exist. We believe we need to tell these grandiose stories in order to get attention, love, and care.

So, if you’re like, “Yeah, my knee hurts.” In your brain it’s like, “Well, no one’s going to give me love just because my knee hurts. I have to hobble around and tell this story about how it hurts so much and I’m sure I’ll need surgery and I may never walk again.” See how that works?

Your brain believes it has to be enormous to be worth attention, worth love, worth care. It’s an intense way of thinking, right?

And the problem, of course, is that when your brain goes to here, you stress yourself all the way out with these terrible, painful stories, spending an enormous amount of emotional and mental energy on a falsehood and something you have zero control over anyway.

The other thing about this kind of future tripping is that when you are in it, it’s the action you’re taking, like worrying. And you’ve also lost your connection to the present moment. When we catastrophize, we cannot be present to the here and now. And we miss out on all of the beauty and joy right here in this moment.

So, you’re trading in today for the story that you may just be prepared enough for tomorrow if you worry and worry and worry, and it’s just not a trade that I am willing to make anymore.

Catastrophizing is also where your brain attempts to protect you by essentially beating the world, the universe, whatever, to the punch. The idea of being caught off-guard with bad news can be intolerable. So, there’s a part of us that just decides to go right to the bad news to prevent the shock and awe.

It can also protect us from getting our hopes up, which can be an especially easy go-to if we were disappointed a lot as children. If we tell ourselves that nothing good ever happens or the worst is likely going to happen, we think we are protecting ourselves against disappointment.

If I think about everything potentially terrible that happens before it happens, I can get ahead of it. And then, I can maybe keep things from being so bad. By expecting it to happen, then I will also never get my hopes up. So then I can never be let down because I already knew it was going to be terrible.

But like all buffering – and to be clear, this is certainly buffering – this keeps us from seeing the potential good, from feeling pleasure and joy and peace and happiness in our lives when we’re so anxiously focused on the catastrophe that we are sure is headed our way.

My nerds, lest you blame, shame, judge, or guilt yourself for all of this, remember, this habit is so wicked mammalian. Our brains were wired way back in the day with a negativity bias and to freak out over what was potentially maybe probably a lion on the horizon, maybe.

Because if you think about it’s a maybe lion and so, you go into fight or flight and you high-tail it back to your hut, well, you’re much more likely to survive another day, to propagate the species. And while that way of thinking, that was of existing is great for mammals who are subject to lion attacks on the open grasslands, my love, that’s likely not you anymore, right?

Most of the time, when this way of thinking is our habit, things feel like lion attacks, when they’re really just a hamster, just strolling along in front of us, living that hamster life. And our brains blow them up into end-of-the-world-level bad. But that’s not the only choice.

When you learn to use the thought work protocol, the think-feel-act cycle to learn how to begin to recognize your own habitual thinking, you can start to get the cognitive distance that lets you see your own thoughts and say, “Well that’s just my brain being a brain. I don’t have to choose to believe these catastrophic thoughts that were taught to me. I don’t have to borrow them from my mom or dad or whomever. I, me, adult me can choose my own thoughts right now in this one moment. I can bring me back to the here and now. I can slow my roll. I can recognize the parts of me that are in fight or flight, the parts of me in freeze, and I can choose to show up right now as my own most loving parent, to reparent my inner children with gentle firmness and care.”

This is the daily work of using thought work and reparenting ourselves. Speaking of parents and their parents and theirs, a nod to epigenetics; the study of the interplay of our genetics and our environment. I’m always out here to throw the patriarchy and white settler colonialist thinking, our conditioning, our socialization the full way under the bus to look at issues systematically and not just on the individual level. And it’s important to recognize just how deeply our own lived experiences, and those of our ancestors, interact with our biology.

Murine studies, which is a nerd’s way of saying studies on mice, have been done, where they stressed out a generation of mice. And note, I’m not saying this is a kind thing to do to sweet little mice. I’m just saying it happened. So, they stressed the mice and then they measured their stress hormone levels and those of their eventual offspring and theirs and theirs and theirs. And their babies showed elevated levels of stress hormones, presumably through epigenetic changes secondary to the stressing of their mamma, grandma, and grandma mice, even though they themselves hadn’t been stressed.

So, this is to say that ancestral stress lives on within our bodies. And this is especially true for folks from marginalized and oppressed identities. Like QTBIPOC folks, women, disabled folks. And this came up for me the other day actually. I mean, listen, I have my moments of catastrophizing and stressing when I’m not managing my mind. I mean, your girl continues to be a human too, even after many years of doing this work. I’m just now able to put myself on home faster and faster. I’m able to re-anchor.

So, I was stressing out about something and my brain was starting to spin, and a lover of mine was over and I was talking to them about it. And they reminded me that for generations and generations, my family have escaped things like pogroms and insecurity. I mean, I’m Argentine. As a people, we are no strangers to things actually being catastrophically terrible in our country. In addition to, in my own life, there being individual and family systems-level chaos, stresses, crises, tragic deaths, et cetera.

In addition to the stress, distress, and trauma that I have experienced in my own lifetime, add to that the thought patterns that are so common in family systems where there is this level of chaos, where there is insecurity. My mom would always say, in like a joking voice, “Nunca confies en nadie,” don’t ever trust anyone. And it was like a joke. But it wasn’t a joke.

Both of my parents, my family, lived through embargo through everything with Peronism, through the Dirty War, on and on. And it leaves these patterns in your mind, where my mom gets really intense about having certain things in stock in the house. And again, the joke was always that we had to have extra of certain vital life goods because you never know when the next dictator is coming.

And it was a joke because my sister and I grew up in the great state of Rhode Island. But it’s also just so not a joke in her body and her mom’s body and her mom’s body, along that whole – all of that DNA, right?

So, it’s not surprising that my brain and body would go to a catastrophic place. I was spinning about money scarcity, and so my brain was like, “All is doomed.” But luckily I have the tools now to see where this is all coming from and to remind myself that wherever my brain goes to, I can always come home to being anchored in me. I can orient my nervous system to this time and place, holding compassionate space for my epigenetics, my family blueprint, my own lived experience without letting myself get fully sucked into the spiral that is catastrophic thinking.

Speaking of brains, my tender ravioli, it’s so vital to learn how to break free from this cycle. Because if you don’t, you’ll keep spinning in things being the actual worst. Your brain will continue to be on high-alert and freak-out mode, flooding your body with anxiety and continuing to normalize that chemical state for you.

So, of course, flooded with adrenaline or epinephrine and cortisol, you will seek the short-term easy-seeming comforts that folks with our thought habits love; seeking outside validation, insisting that someone else make you feel worthy of love and care by soothing you, instead of you leaning on yourself and your own strength.

And of course, since we love to numb out to avoid our feelings, buffering, or attempting to push your emotions away with anything form alcohol and other substances to Netflix and overthinking and ruminating, which are also buffers. Because they keep you spinning in your catastrophic narrative that anything and everything is terrible. Instead of sitting with the discomfort of your fear, sadness, or other feelings in your body.

And what we forget in these moments when everything feels so big and overwhelming, that there is a balance between never planning for the future, and catastrophizingly planning. We do live in a sometimes turbulent and unpredictable world.

Pack your emergency go-bag if you live in an area with forest fires, earthquakes, or flooding. Have some savings set aside when possible in case you lose your job or need to leave your relationship. Plan and release instead of living in the space where you expect and believe that the worst thing will happen all the time.

Instead of thinking, “My house is definitely going to burn down. I need to get my shit together immediately. I have to run around and get this done,” running like a chicken with its head cut off, you can think, “The likelihood for a fire here is low, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared to leave if I have to.” And then, you can do that preparation and then can set it aside. So, the difference is that you’re not living in the negative future you have imagined or convinced yourself is inevitable.

Life deals us uncertainty and challenges. But catastrophizing actually makes us less able to deal with things effectively. When you can see and pause the catastrophizing and can take some breaths and get grounded, that’s when you can take thoughtful action, you can do the next right thing to change your life.

So, pause and consider this. When you continue to spin in these catastrophic thought and create all of these challenging emotions for yourself, you stay spun up in sympathetic activation or collapse into dorsal vagus, that deer in the headlights possum playing dead.

From there, you are not centered or grounded, and so your brain and body aren’t getting what they need chemically to actually help you respond to life. So, while your habitual thinking may tell you that this kind of framework for living keeps you prepared, that actually makes you less able to respond to real-life stressors when you’re walking around low-key stressed and anxious all the time, awash in adrenaline or epinephrine and cortisol.

And while I do love planning, I think it’s great, I don’t pin my hopes of survival on my emergency go-bag. Instead, I recognize that I am the key to my survival. I am the thing that keeps me safe together with my beloved community and social connections, which I can foster and build when I’m in ventral vagal.

So, when I get tense, I start with honoring my sympathetic activation with truly thanking it, and then bringing myself back into ventral vagal, the safe and social connected part of my nervous system, which is key to thinking clearly and making decisions for my best wellness.

Decisions made from sympathetic are not usually the best ones, my darling. So, learning how to regulate your nervous system, which is a thing we do in Anchored, my six-month program, is vital for stepping out of this catastrophizing habit.

You are what keeps you safe. and the more you’re able to come back to you, to come back to community, the safer you’ll feel; mind, body, and spirit.

So, let’s talk about the remedies. Our remedies here start with compassionate awareness, acceptance, and then action. Note, of course, that catastrophizing is attempting to jump right into action without pausing for the first two important steps.

So, awareness. If you’ve ever listened to this show, you know I talk to my brain in a sweet, silly way. And I say, “Oh, hello, brain. Look at you doing your catastrophizing dance right on time. I’ve been expecting you.” Of course, I went to there. I learned early that I had to overexaggerate to get care. Okay, I’m clocking that, brain. You’re doing that one again. That’s been my habit.

So, of course I’m having these thoughts. And nothing has gone wrong here. There’s no problem. Just thoughts. No blame, shame, guilt, self-recrimination is needed here. Just awareness, followed closely by acceptance and self-love, self-compassion, two of our most healing tools.

I was designed, conditioned, and trained to do this thing. Right, right. Okay. I don’t have to avoid these thoughts or push them under the proverbial rug. I can look right at them and I can own them. I can love them up. I can thank them even and remind them that I’m actually safe in this moment. My brain is just rolling through a memory loop of how we used to relate to the world. And that’s okay. My thoughts are trying to protect me.

So, this is what I really do. These are the conversations I have with myself because why not. Why not be gentle, loving, and kind? Also, because the opposite, being mean to yourself, will just flood you with more sympathetic activation, potentially dropping you into dorsal, that freeze state, once you exhaust yourself. And my darling, you can’t do any good from either of those spots.

So, instead, from self-love, you can ask yourself, you can get into that deep awareness about what you are actually worried about. And for most of us, coming from our codependent perfectionist and people-pleasing thought habits, what we fear is how we will feel if things don’t turn out the way we want them to, the way that makes us believe that we will feel in control, and thus safe.

And this is where reparenting comes in. So you can hold and care for and remind the scared parts of you that you never have to beat you up. You never have to call you a failure in a bad way. And you get to ground yourself in your body or orient to the environment. And from there, you can choose your next thought knowing it will create your next feeling. Spin in the doom and gloom thoughts, feel all the doom and gloom feelings, right?

And listen, I’m not saying anything bad about the doom and the gloom. I don’t talk or think about emotions as negative or positive because they really are all just teachers. Some are just more challenging teachers than others, right?

The work here, as always, is to see the challenging, uncomfortable feelings and bodily sensations that come up when your brain starts to catastrophize is just what they are. They are challenging uncomfortable feelings and bodily sensations that come from your thoughts and your nervous system.

I work a lot with my clients on living in their whole bodies, not just from the neck up. And that starts with getting in touch with the sensations in your body and the feeling words you put on those sensations, the stories you tell about them.

So, when you have catastrophic thoughts and your nervous system gets activated into sympathetic, you can pause and can notice, name, and release the narrative around your bodily sensations. “Okay, my heart rate is a little faster. My palms are a little damp. My breathing is a little shallow.” Okay, that tracks, right? That’s classic sympathetic activation. Which means nothing has gone wrong here.

My body’s doing what it’s supposed to do and you don’t have to tell the story that any of those experiences are a problem. You can notice those sensations and how uncomfortable they may be without pushing them away, and instead, you can get present to them.

And as these so many humans who have gone through Anchored can testify, that when you get present to the sensations in your body without labeling them as terrible, just saying they exist, they begin to dissipate more easily on their own because you stop adding fuel to the fire.

You can just get present with them and then you can choose how you want to continue to think and thus feel about those sensations, thus creating new sensations. So next, from awareness, this is what’s happening in my body, I’m going notice, name, and release the narrative around these bodily sensations, we step into acceptance.

We recognize that our bodies are doing this because we were trained to think this way, to feel this way, and then we can get to some action. So the action I love to take here is to really, really, really let your brain go to town on the worst case scenario. Really play it out like it’s this super melodramatic Victorian novel or something.

And I like to ask myself while I’m doing that, okay brain, the terrible thing may happen, and then what? What next? Then what happens? Okay, so let’s stay with the example we’ve been using. Your date doesn’t text you back on your internal timeline. Okay brain, then what?

Well then, they’re abandoning me. Okay, then what? Well, then I won’t have them. Okay, and then what happens? Well, then I’ll be alone. Okay, what next? Well, then I’ll feel sad. Okay, then what? Well, then I’ll have to go back on the stupid dating apps. Okay brain, then what? Well, then I’ll feel dating anxiety all over again.

So you see what we’re doing here? You’re letting your brain really spin out and get concrete about each of the worst next outcomes that your brain is worried about. So let’s take another example. Let’s say you’re worried about failing at something at work, like giving a lecture. And so your brain starts to spin.

And the work here is to give it room to do what it needs to do. Because when we get stressed and we’re unable to move their energy, we have this movement potential within us. It’s like when you look at kids who are anxious or stressed out, grownups too, we all get fidgety. There’s that movement potential within us that needs to be released.

We release it mentally by letting our brains do what they want to do. But in a thoughtful, intentional way. Here’s another metaphor. It’s like when your dog is barking at something outside the window. It’s trying to warn you and do its job, just like your brain is.

So screaming at your dog doesn’t do much because it just gets them all riled up again. So don’t scream at your dog and don’t scream at your brain. Instead, let them both do their job and then soothe them. We’ll get to soothing soon.

So let’s say your brain says oh my God, I’m so worried, I’m so anxious, I’m going to fail at this lecture, it’s going to be such a nightmare, it’s going to be terrible. Then what happens, brain? Well, my boss is going to be so mad at me. Then what happens, brain? Well, they’ll be disappointed in me. Then what happens? Well, then I’ll get fired.

You play it out. Because our brains love to grab on to the worst thing it can imagine without really seeing it through to its eventual end. And often enough, the actual worst-case scenario is that we feel a feeling that we’re very uncomfortable with.

And so our brain will stop somewhere else before we can even get to the end of the story and can see that what we fear is either a challenging emotion, like disappointment and sadness, or we fear other people’s judgment, or we fear that we won’t be able to handle a potential eventuality.

And this is when we get to remind ourselves that we really can do hard things, that we have evidence that you can find a new job, a new apartment, a new date, you’ve done it before. We have lived through loss and death and grief, and we have survived it.

My goodness, we’ve lived through a pandemic. And you don’t have to allow your brain to take you to the pit of despair. You truly don’t. You don’t have to let your brain believe that the terribleness is the only option. But first, you need to let your brain do its thing. Play it out. Worst, worst, worst-case scenario.

Next, I’ll invite you to do the same thing, but with the most bestest case scenario. See what we’re doing? We’re using the fact that our codependent thinking likes to take us into all or nothing, black and white thinking and we’re using it to our advantage. Sneaky.

So what’s the best-case scenario in the lecture example? So you give the lecture, you get a standing ovation, everyone loves it, you immediately get a raise and a promotion or tenure and a book deal. And you reach 473 life goals in one hour and you’re on the cover of every magazine and you’re golden and you’re set for life and you retire to Mykonos at 35.

Play it out. Get ridiculous in the best sense of the word. But show your brain, show your brain that just even though that your habit is to go into catastrophizing, that you can engage your neuroplasticity and create a new neural groove where you can also imagine the most amazing scenario.

Then take your two lists, compare them, and ask your adult self, not your inner children please, but your own most loving parent what the most likely middle ground outcome is. You are unlikely to get fired after giving one lecture that’s not so great and you’re unlikely to be able to retire at 35 to Mykonos based on the success of a single lecture, but what’s the middle ground, babe?

When you recognize what’s real and what’s likely, you can focus there and you can give your brain a chance to rest, relax, and be in the flow of things versus trying to control, manipulate, and mold situations to go or be your way.

And when you’re in that flow state, your nervous system is so much more likely to be in a regulated state more, which gives you more access to your own mind, your own cognitive capacities, and is great for your digestion. So you can actually make the smart decisions, which can potentially steer life closer to that best-case scenario and can remind you that you truly can survive the worst-case scenarios and that stressing about them, staying low-key anxious in your own life never helped a darn thing, never led you or anyone else to feel more safe, which is of course the subconscious goal of catastrophizing, right?

Instead, you can choose to feel safe in and with yourself now as your own most loving adult. Can soothe your inner children, can regulate your perfect nervous system, to honor your conditioned responses, and to start to create new neural grooves in your mind that steer you toward the equanimity of the middle path.

The place between abject doom and false positivity. The place where you have your own back and can trust you to come through for you whatever circumstances may happen in this human lifetime.

Thank you for listening, my love. I hope this has been helpful. I know that learning to overcome my own catastrophic thinking has been absolutely life-changing and it is one of the many skills that we really hone in on in Anchored, my six-month program.

If you’ve been hearing about it and you’ve been curious, now is the time to check it out and to join us. Head on over to to learn more about the actual only program based in neuroscience, internal family systems, breathwork, thought work, somatic practices, and so much more, with a specialized focus on helping humans socialized as women to regain our deep and profound self-love, to walk through life trusting ourselves, having our own back, and knowing we have the capacity, you have the capacity to put you first, others second, with love.

Now’s the time, my darling. This is the last offering in 2021. Join us, Alright my beauties, let’s do what we do. Put a gentle hand on your heart if you feel so moved. Attune to your beautiful breath. And remember, you are safe, you are held, you are loved. And when one of us heals, we help heal the world. Be well, my beauty. I’ll talk to you soon.

If you’ve been enjoying the show and learning a ton, it’s time to apply it with my expert guidance so you can live life with intention, without the anxiety, overwhelm, and resentment, so you can get unstuck. You’re not going to want to miss the opportunity to join my exclusive intimate group coaching program, so head on over to to grab your seat now. See you there. It’s going to be a good one.

Enjoy the Show?