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Am I Ruminating or Problem Solving?

By Jennifer Thompson

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November 18, 2021

The way you think influences the way you feel and the way you feel influences the way you think. It’s a cycle that can be hard to break. Your feelings affect your energy and perception of your reality.

Most people focus on areas in their lives, relationships, and circumstances that are short of their ideal. Essentially, areas that they are unhappy with. Unfortunately this keeps you there — in the unhappy circustances.

The Way You Think and Feel

When you’re feeling sad, you may look at all the things that are going wrong in your life, engage in self-criticism, and predict things are going to end poorly. The more you think about sad things, the worse you feel. The worse you feel, the more you think about sad things. If you want to change your reality, start by changing the way you think and the way you feel. Yes, sometimes it is easier said than done.

Stop It

When you find yourself in a negative state, ask yourself, “Am I ruminating or problem-solving?” If you’re dwelling on the problem, you’re ruminating. If you’re actively looking for solutions, you are problem-solving. Problem-solving moves you forward, ruminating holds you back.

The following can help interrupt your ruminating thoughts:

  • Get involved in an activity that requires some serious mental energy for at least a few minutes. It’s a healthy distraction.
  • Find someone to talk to about a completely different subject from one you’re ruminating.
  • Avoid negative people. Energy is ‘contagious’ — whether positive or negative.
  • Sit down and plan your next vacation.
  • Engage in a hobby.
  • Journal the outcomes you want out of a different life!
  • Take a walk in nature. Notice what’s around you as you go on your walk.
  • Stay fully present.

 

Jennifer Thompson

Do What Works For You

The key is to find something that works for you. You may need to experiment with a few different strategies until you find the activity that best helps you change the channel in your brain.

If you’re having a difficult time getting troubling images out of your head, or you always dwell on the negative, seek professional help. Talking to a therapist could help you think and feel differently.

Acknowledge Your Feelings

This process is not about ignoring the issues in your life. This is not about ignoring your feelings. Whatever you resist will persist.

Acknowledging you are feeling bad, or depressed, is necessary. But you get to decide how long you want to stay in that energy of negativity.

Be honest with yourself. What part of you wants to stay in that negativity? And what parts of you wants to move away from this stagnation? Honour all parts of you, but master the parts that lead you to your destiny.

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