Ash and volcanoes; catastrophising and what if’s

Eyjafjallajoekull (Yur gat a kurt-clek) Volcano

Ashes to ashes

Over the last week the aeroplanes were grounded. I live in west London and it is common to hear aeroplanes fly overhead every thirty minutes. Sometimes they are so loud when I am in town conversation stops.  It has been pleasant and very quiet not hearing airplanes fly overhead. The loss to industry has however run into the millions. It does not only affect the airlines but also all the airline services, baggage, meals, cleaning, deliveries, overseas post, decisions and meetings had also been delayed or cancelled. So many people I know have not been able to get back.

What is interesting is as to how we can start to catastrophise. The newspapers started to do it. A newspaper mentioned a possible two years of plane-free skies. What if? What if and more what if’s? The what if’s mount up. What if, the volcano continues as it is and does not clear and the sky remains affected? (It means no aeroplanes can go up and it may last a year or maybe years) what if,  after all those years trade is affected and the UK remains an island, will we only be having trade via ships and rail? What if more volcanoes blow off steam and even more ash Is the UK doomed? And so on. It could go on. What is the evidence that it could go on? What is the evidence it could end? There appears more possibility it will end soon rather then continue indefinitely.

I often advise clients to look at the evidence for and against.  What is a realistic assessment or what is doubt? If a car breaks down do we assume it will never work again? It is completely hopeless or do we assume possibly it may be an electrical connection. Has it run out of fuel? In the old days it was often the spark-plugs needing cleaned or replaced. It is rarely we assume the whole engine has failed and is irreplaceable.  This then applied also to people and things around us, assume lesser possibilities and then rise with degrees of seriousness as time and events pass by.

The skies opened yesterday and planes started flying overhead. It seems strange to have them back again, for awhile it seemed we were going back to medieval times. My mind had started to catastrophise I would never fly again. How odd to see a plane in the sky when there were only birds.

Meanwhile it is said these few days of of non-aeroplane flying has saved thousands of pounds of carbon. We have off-set our carbon emissions even without trying. Does that mean we can make it up with more trips later on? We can recycle one less thing to make up for it? Does it mean the government will take some taxes off as we have spent less?  I wish….

©2010  Yaz.


Filed under Catastrophising, News, Psychology, Thinking Patterns

2 responses to “Ash and volcanoes; catastrophising and what if’s

  1. Lisa

    Good job! Very valid point on catastrophising and cognitive therapy.

  2. I liked this too! I think the part where you say that you advise your clients to look for evidence for and against is my favourite line in this blog. 🙂

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