Catastrophisation

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Hola Amigos!!

My digits continue to smoke with newsletter intent, and for this little thought piece, I’d like to focus our collective lens on the phenomena of catastrophisation.

It’s interesting, because I’ve always had a relatively low tolerance threshold for the self created drama that the catastrophists in our lives foist upon us, but having had a lot on my plate this week, I find it even more worthless and unedifying.

The pattern always seems to be the same. Take a nugget of information that is not the best, throw in a generous portion of extrapolation, a soupçon of narrative driven nonsense, and then stew on it and stir and stir and stir it up until you’re in an absolute lather and you’ve completely poisoned the atmosphere with your negative conclusions.

For dessert, keep regurgitating the same arguments, the same laments, cooking up innumerable ways of serving the same tasteless dish of indigestible gruel, and then take shrieking offence with anyone who challenges, or attempts to shine a rational, and balanced gaze on your prognostications until you are apoplectic with indignation and flirting with a cardiac event.

Swill it down with a nice bottle of self justification, and seek out and befriend anyone else who will happily dine on your morsels of wildly exaggerated discontent until you feel a little more psychologically stable.

I don’t know how much you’ve encountered such peeps in your lives, but I’ve certainly seen a lot of it, and it feels like a sickness that continues to go untreated for a vast number of people.

But perhaps we can explore what may be behind it, so that we can more usefully respond to it.

The first thing to observe is probably stating the obvious – that these people are typically filtering life’s events in such a distorted way because they’re really not in a good place. It’s not that they’re purposefully trying to wind others up, – albeit that is a related sickness you see in many other people – it’s actually that they are genuinely perceiving catastrophe/disaster in all of these situations. In that regard, I think it’s fair to say that they at the very minimum have a mild mental health issue to deal with, that may be worthy of some empathy.

My second observation, is that they are most definitely locked into a limbic brain level of information processing. 

What I find particularly interesting about this, is that they are not only processing information in the alarmist and emotionally agitated parts of the brain, but they simply cannot seem to ‘hear’ any form of counter argument coming from the cortex of the brain. It’s like you’re responding to them in a completely different language, one they simply do not seemingly understand. 

My only curiosity is whether they’re pretending to not speak English as French people are so fond of doing with us ‘Rosbifs’, or whether they simply, truly do not understand? 

Either way it’s incredibly sad.

It’s also fascinating to see how far they will catastrophise the current situation. All of sudden, the probabilities are always stacked against any form of positive outcome to the extent that they’re barely worth entertaining. Because apparently they ‘know’ that it isn’t going to work out well, and what’s even sadder is that they clearly feel that life has continually provided them with a far greater quotient of negative outcomes than positive ones.

Now we all remember the negatives far more than we remember the positives. And if we don’t keep ourselves balanced, those fear driven narratives will dominate our senses more than is rational. And it’s down to all of us to do what we can to heal the past so we can enjoy the present and look forward to the ever unfolding future with a sense of openness and delight, rather than fear and despair.

It takes work. One of the things we can all do is try to discern how much we are actually catastrophising things. How many negative assumptions we are making. How much we are letting past let downs dominate present opportunities.

And every time you notice yourself doing it, and trying to get others to buy into your negative conclusions, then it’s time to dust off your toolkit and engage in any relevant protocols to launder the emotional charge out of your system.

Because whilst there may well be an unhealthy probability of troubles ahead (climate for example), that doesn’t mean that anyone benefits from just feeding into the catastrophe of it.

Because otherwise, it just puts you in problem orientation, and this either leads to panic, blame, or apathy. Whereas what we really want to do is to respond in a creative, solution oriented way. And not just any kind of solution orientation, but one that addresses the root causes in a holistically powerful way, rather than ones that merely focus on the symptoms. Because no matter how many symptoms you ‘fix’, you’re not addressing the root causes and so you will be constantly assailed by a symptom factory so severe that you may well end up becoming defeated into catastrophisation!!

How do we achieve such a feat? We connect with the deepest essence of ourselves, and through it, the deepest essence of the universe, and from there we draw water from the font of all solutions and we nourish the situation with the vitality of beautifully well specified ideas and energies. 

And if nothing comes through that demands action? We simply rest and stay alive to possibility, rather than fan the flames of fear and catastrophisation and risk being a part of the problem rather than the solution.

Bad shit will happen. It’s all part of life’s tapestry. It’s how you respond to it that counts. And constantly extrapolating on all of the negativity, and emotionally dismissing any positive perspectives is no way to live.

With love and positive vibes

Will and the Team xxxx

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