In an interesting article, Melanie Greenberg, PhD., a clinical psychologist, explains thinking patterns that are all too common and all too ineffective.
We all tend to ruminate, constantly dwelling on a problem, worry, or an emotional wound. Negative ruminating keeps us up at night and causes us to be emotionally distant during the day, unable to be available at the moment. Then we may start to overthink, reviewing all the possible solutions and outcomes, fearful to make a decision, worried that all possibilities have not been considered. Dr. Greenberg then adds cynical hostility, a persistent mistrust of others and life in general. Sometimes, we get caught up in “why me?”, “no one understands or cares”, “everyone is out to get me”, “nothing ever goes right for me” cycles of thought. We feel like we are on the hamster wheel, running, running, going nowhere.
What to do instead?? It becomes an act of the will to STOP unproductive thinking habits. Make a decision to look those negative thought patterns in the face, and knowing they do not make things better, kick them to the curb! Replace negative thoughts with more helpful approaches. Face what is uncontrollable and tackle what can be controlled. I can’t control the weather, but I can prepare if a storm is approaching. I can’t control other people but I can plan on how to respond to them. I can’t control the past, but I can decide to learn and not repeat what is within my ability to change while accepting what is not. I can’t control the future, but I can greet the unexpected with a firm resolve to allow those hurts to “grow me up”, to become better and not bitter from whatever life dishes out.
What to do instead?? Stop thinking and DO something. Call a friend (not to continue to moan and groan). Help someone else. Do something that empowers you, increasing your sense of mastery. Meditate to soften your mind and soothe your spirit. Pray to release all the uncontrollable to a higher power. Breathe. Take a walk. Pay attention to the beauty around you. Practice gratitude for what is good in your life. Laugh. Listen to uplifting music. Find videos of belly laughing babies.
Dr. Greenberg explains that continually replacing negative thinking will, over time, create new neural pathways.
To read Dr. Greenberg’s thoughts, click the following link: