What is Catastrophic Thinking? (And How to Stop)

A woman looks pensive in the dark with colored light around her body

When your thoughts start spiraling, getting off the “staircase” can feel impossible. One terrible notion leads to the next: If I can’t get this report done in time, you might think, then I’ll be fired. And if I’m fired, I’ll have nothing to do all day. If I have nothing to do all day, I’ll fall into a video game and beer hole. If I fall into a video game and beer hole, then my wife will leave me. And then…and then…and then

Does this process sound familiar? This anxiety spiral — also known as “catastrophic thinking” or “magnifying,” — often occurs alongside anxiety and depression. Think of your brain as a rocky mountain: one single distressing thought loosens an avalanche of related anxieties.

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7 Men Breaking the Mold on Mental Health

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson

Understanding your mental health requires spending a lot of time analyzing and sitting with your thoughts — something that goes staunchly against everything the patriarchy stands for. Both men and women suffer from this culturally embedded misogyny: talking about your “feelings” is considered women’s work and an entirely unsuitable activity for manly men.

Mental health issues affect men and women equally, but men are less likely to seek help and more likely to die by suicide. In order to break down the stigma surrounding mental health, more men are coming forward publicly to share their struggles. Normalizing these issues for both men and women is an important step in our national mental-health conversation — and these seven men are leading the way.

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Struggle with Time Management? Here’s What It Says About Your Mental Health…

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Keeping a laundry list of tasks and to-dos in order can be a headache for anyone, but for some people, the difficulty goes beyond mere annoyance. Starting work each morning can feel like wrangling a bear — and often, that bear is your mind. No, work won’t always be easy (it’s called work for a reason), but it doesn’t need to be the bane of your day-to-day existence.

It’s important to understand what about task management pains you. Is it stressful? Are you overwhelmed? Are you so nitpicky that you get stuck on tasks for days? When task management turns from an annoyance into a daily struggle, step back and examine your mental health. Understanding the blocks your brain puts up during working hours will help you — with the help of a therapist if you choose — create a plan of attack.

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Are You Hiding Anxiety Behind These Behaviors?

Man looking at reflection in window

Anxiety can be a nebulous emotion. Sometimes it’s obvious you’re worrying — even Doctor Obvious could diagnose you if you’re spending four sleepless hours each night fretting over your big move. But sufferers of generalized anxiety might not be able to identify obvious triggers or realize some of their worst habits stem from the stress. You may recognize your odd, changing behavior, but you can’t identify why — and the uncertainty only creates more stress.

Here are six behaviors that signal that your anxiety needs more attention, or even the help of a professional therapist.

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7 Secrets of Highly Resilient People

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Unfortunate situations are often called setbacks for a good reason: they set you back from your carefully planned life trajectory. For many of us, losing a pet, failing on a work project, or experiencing a harsh rejection can feel like the end of the world.

For some lucky people, these problems don’t seem permanent. Sure, they might feel sad, and yes, even a little disappointment. But they’re resilient: able to bounce back quickly, even from the most serious setbacks. This ability isn’t magic — it’s resiliency, and you can experience it too. Cultivate this life-changing trait by practicing these seven simple habits.

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How to Calm Your Mind When You Can’t Sleep

Comfortable bed with messy sheets

I’ve been a light sleeper since birth, but deep into my 20s, I’ve found myself confronting a new problem: nights spent staring at the ceiling waiting desperately for sleep. A series of big life changes — a new marriage, home, job, and puppy — turned my once-calm mind into a spinning series of worries and to-do lists.

In fact, I swore my brain grew wilder and more active after nightfall.

I’m not alone. Restless nights spent struggling to sleep are an age-old problem. The earliest cavemen probably tossed on their rocks, and even the richest among us lay exhausted (yet awake) on their 100% cotton sheets. But when a few nights of restlessness become a never-ending half-slumber, insomnia can wreak havoc on the human body — and the brain. Continue reading How to Calm Your Mind When You Can’t Sleep