Catastrophizing is an irrational way of thinking which is characterized by believing that something is much worse than what it really is. This pessimistic cognitive framework has two general types. The first one is magnifying the negatives of a present situation.
For instance, a student almost failed a quiz and he is already thinking that he is a failure and that he will flunk the course. The second type is catastrophizing a future occurrence. For example, before the quiz, the student is already thinking that he is going to fail and that almost everything that he will do will amount to nothing. People who catastrophize rob themselves of opportunities, are usually hopeless, and have low self-esteem.