The Catastrophe Gauge is a simple scale for gauging whether something is truly horrible, the absolute worst possible experience or whether it's merely uncomfortable, inconvenient, or even serious, but not the end of the world. The Catastrophe Gauge is a 1 through 10 scale that compares itself to our current experience. 1 is the positive end of the scale and 10 is the absolute worst case scenario.
Warning: Folks with a history of mental illness, trauma, or panic are urged not to use these techniques without a therapist. If you decide to do these processes you will agree to dissolve the webmaster, the server, and Steve Mensing of any responsibility for the application or misapplication of these processes. There is always in any process the fraction of possibility that someone could experience some discomfort.
1 A pleasant experience (A pleasant meal)
2 A mildly uncomfortable experience. (A poorly padded seat)
3 A boring and tedious experience. (Listening to dull music)
4 A very uncomfortable situation. (Listening to chalk squeak on a blackboard or putting up with someone screaming at you.)
5 An extremely uncomfortable situation (Someone is following you for several blocks on a dark night)
6 A threatening situation. (Being informed by your physician that you likely have cancer of the liver)
7 A very painful and dangerous situation (You know you're dying and pain is very present.)
8 An extremely painful and very dangerous situation (Being stuck in a crawlspace while plague rats are attack your face)
9 An agonizingly painful and life ending experience. (Being boiled alive by cannibals.)
10 A very slow and agonizingly painful experience. (Being slowly and agonizingly tortured while being boiled alive by cannibals)
How does your current real life experience compare with the Catastrophe Gauge? Is your current experience truly a catastrophe, a worst disaster or is it uncomfortable, quite unpleasant, or even serious, yet not the end of the world?
A comparison that demonstrates the relative difference between actual experience and worst case scenarios may bring a drop in emotional intensity when someone discovers their present situation is not a catastrophe or disaster.
Here's another test for whether your situation is truly horrible or very uncomfortable or quite serious, but not the end of the world.
To test your situation to see if it is really awful--ask the following questions:
Does feeling awful actually prove the situation is awful?
Does your belief create your feelings of awfulness or horribleness?
If you believed the event was inconvenient, would you feel differently?
Is there anything positive or neutral in your situation? A valuable learning experience?
How long will your situation last? Can you cope with it?
How is a disadvantage or inconvenience awful?
Could this situation be made much worse?
How does your difficulty compare with: (1) Being roasted slowly? (2) Dying gradually and agonizingly from a rare disease? (3) Seeing loved ones paraded into slavery? (4) Being tortured slowly by aliens from another galaxy?
Is your situation truly awful or is it an inconvenience?
Have fun, Steve