By Katie Copeskey, Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness, U.S. Army Garrison-HawaiiJune 12, 2015
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- Have you ever had so much anxiety about a situation that you got stuck and were not able to focus or take action?
Have you seen this happen to someone else?
The skill of "put it in perspective," or PIIP, allows us to stop catastrophic thinking and lower anxiety, so we can accurately assess a situation and deal with it.
In catastrophic thinking, we waste critical energy ruminating about the potential worst-case outcomes of a situation. Another way to look at this type of thinking is "making a mountain out of a molehill."
Here are some examples of times where we are more likely to catastrophize:
•Ambiguous or vague situations: A text message from a significant other saying, "We need to talk" or an email from your first sergeant that says, "Meet me in my office at 1700."
•When something we value highly is at stake: Your child goes missing while playing outside or the promotion list is about to come out.
•When we are run down or depleted: During deployment or after staff duty, when people aren't getting enough sleep.
•When we already fear the situation: Like flying or public speaking.
In order to combat catastrophizing, there are five sequential steps to use.
Step 1: Describe the activating event and jot down the who, what, where and when. We want to be objective in this step and put down just the facts of the activating event.
Step 2: Capture all the worst-case thoughts. In this step, we want to make sure we exhaust all our worst-case thoughts about the activating event.
Step 3: Generate best-case thoughts. This might be difficult for some, but generating best-case thoughts elicits a jolt of positive emotion and gets us out of our anxious state. Be creative and make it ridiculously good!
Step 4: Identify the most likely outcomes. In this step, we want to identify two or three most likely outcomes, our most likely emotions and how others involved in the situation might be feeling.
Step 5: Develop a plan to deal with the most likely outcomes. In this step, we want to develop a plan for what we identified in Step 4.
For more information about resilience and performance enhancement training, contact your unit master resilience trainer or call the Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness Training Center at (808) 655-9804.