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mind chatter

Ruminating? Is It Useful?

rp_8619481133_df8a85fccf_m.jpgHave a problem you can’t solve?  Has somebody hurt you?  Do you like to talk it over with a friend or friends?  Do you want to share your frustration or hurt feelings.  Do you think it will make you feel better if someone thinks or feels the same way you do?

A little coruminating can help but continuous airing of frustrations, bad news, or unrequited love can make you feel worse, especially for women.  Depression can deepen and anxiety increase and you can even drive away friends with your constant texting or late night phone calls.

Pathways can be reinforced in our brains and associated feelings can be intensified with constant musings and repetitious ventilating.  Going over and over a problem for which there is no current solution or recourse is frustrating both for you and the person you are sharing it with.  It may even make it worse leaving you unable to recognize a solution or change in the situation when it happens.

Sometimes you can create a time table suggesting when you should try to solve the problem again or when you really should worry because you haven’t heard from someone.  In the mean time take a break and encourage yourself not to do anything rash or jump to conclusions.rp_300px-High_Anxiety_movie_poster.jpg

For example, being called to jury duty may throw a wrench in your monkey works if you are sequestered in a jury on long infamous trial but you might get excused from jury duty before you even have to report because of something that you didn’t know would excuse you from serving in the first place or after you get called in for the jury selection for a trial.

There is one thing that I usually say to myself when I start worrying about something that might happen or have happened and that is usually when something bad happens, I don’t expect it so if I am worrying that it has, it probably hasn’t happened.

Enjoy yourself.  It is later than you think.  Excuse yourself from ruminating about something especially when you don’t have all the information and won’t have it for a while.  Yes, be ready when the time comes to do something about it.  It is a lot easier to prepare for something and make plans for when something happens when you’re not worried about it and can think rationally.

 

Time On My Hands. I paid The Price.

Time is a Tickin'

Time is a Tickin’ (Photo credit: im elsewhere)

This being under the weather sucks.  Everyone thinks you have time on your hands when what you actually do is get behind and have to pay the piper.  Nothing gets done without your presence and when you do return, they clamor for your attention.

I was recovering quite well when I decided to help my 2 1/2 yr. old grandson get in my lap after an absence of over two weeks due to my “bad” cold  (You don’t always tell the whole truth to two year olds.).   I strained some muscles in my neck and back.  Well, one step forward, one step back.  This left me not able to turn my head or bend my neck to look at things.  (Actually I could do this but the price in terms of pain was too high.)  Indirectly, this kept me from typing too.

Insomnia

Insomnia (Photo credit: schnappischnap)

The other price I paid for being sick was not being able to get any sleep.  In the first place, I couldn’t stop coughing long enough to fall asleep.  In the second place, if I tried to get comfortable in bed, I set off a muscle spasm.  It hurt to get into bed and it hurt even more to get out of bed.  When I got out of bed, I was extremely stiff and could hardly move a muscle.

P.S.: I am not kidding even though it is April Fools Day.

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Writing Your Life History

painting 'Newspapers, Letters and Writing Impl...

painting ‘Newspapers, Letters and Writing Implements on a Wooden Board’ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Writing your life history can make it clear what the influences in your life have been and how they have effected you.  I did that the other day and realized when I read through it, it was mostly negative.  I was passing judgment on myself and my life and I wasn’t being kind.  I was telling the truth but I left out the good things that happened in my life.

Writing your life history can remake your present life either better or worse.  Focusing on all the bad things that happened to me like being depressed just made me more depressed.  There are two things you can do.  Remake your life story by telling it in a new and different way by focusing on the good things, your accomplishments, your blessings (especially the things you take for granted), and all the little (not so big) things people have done for you.  If you are lucky, you may already have written your life story this way.

Writing your life history and writing about what you would liked to have happened can create a new you.  Armed with your positive life story, you can recreate and develop the new you.  Who you might have been if things turned out differently.  What is holding you back from being that person now?  We are always in the present and often waste time bemoaning our past difficulties and worrying about the future which is not here yet.  Yes, it does pay to be prepared and to learn from your mistakes; but why belabor the topics of what if’s, might have been’s, and what could happen.  When we do this we lose sight of the present, we ignore the beauty of the world, the kindnesses that other people show us, and what we can do now.

Join me in this process by writing your life history and gaining some perspective on it.

 

 

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Passing Judgment Versus Discernment

judge-not-discernmentDiscernment is deciding what is right or wrong for yourself; passing judgment is deciding what is right or wrong for others.  Do we put our noses in everybody’s business?  Can you pass by people without some critical, negative thought about them coming through your mind.  Worse yet, are you passing judgment on yourself before somebody else does it.  There always is some flaw or fault we can find in ourselves or others.

Giving advice comes naturally but for what purpose?  Do we want to make ourselves feel good?  To say what the other person is thinking of us before they get to say it in a way that will be even more self damaging for us.  Advice needs to be  lightly given with no expectation of acceptance.  Not to make a bad situation worse by interfering in someone’s life.  It makes us feel more powerful but to what end?

Do you ever pass judgment on yourself and utter it in a self effacing way, before someone else does it.  You try to say what the other person is thinking before they get to say it in a way that will be even more damaging than if you said it.  Joking and making fun of oneself is an example of this.  This can lead into your faults becoming the source of jokes for others to make about you to put you down; but the catch twenty two is the comment that is always made if you don’t laugh with them, “What’s the matter can’t you take a joke. ”

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Your Locus of Control Part I

theirfaultIs your locus of control external?  Does somebody else always have it in for you?  You try hard; but are limited by forces outside of yourself.  You usually believe that it is not your fault if something goes wrong.  It’s her fault; it’s his fault; it’s their fault; Not me.  Blame it on somebody else.  When you constantly blame others, not yourself, when things go wrong, do you ever consider whether it might be something you have done not something they have done.  Criticisms and judgment passing put the focus external to yourself.

When you see something, is it always from your own perspective?  Do you have difficulty taking another person’s point of view or even acknowledging that another point of view could exist.  If somebody does something and you don’t understand why they did it, you come to the conclusion that they did something wrong or stupid.  Do you wonder why other people often don’t accept your comments calmly and frequently get mad or feel put down?

You learn so much more when you ask questions opposed to passing judgmentsDo you realize that other people have their own points of view and reasons for doing things?  Do you understand that it might offend them if you don’t first let them tell you what they are doing and why they are doing it before you pass judgment on them?  Does your attitude tell them that you already think that what they are doing is wrong?  If they’re wrong, you are right.  If you often find that when things go wrong it is somebody else’s responsibility.  It is something that they did wrong, the locus of your control is out there external to you.

 

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Who’s Your Inner Voice? Part I

Having discussed mind chatter before, now I want to know,  Who’s your inner voice?” Parent, teacher, minister, God, the devil?  Your friends and/or neighbors.  Family members besides your parents?  When you talk to yourself, do you become your inner voice or do you have to do it out loud?  Interesting idea isn’t it?

Who’s your inner voice?  If it is not you, then it is someone else like I said above.  Why do you let somebody else tell you what to do when it is you who will suffer the consequences?  Doing what you are told to do by that inner voice may save you some grief or it may not save you some grief.  If you constantly repeat in your head what somebody else has told you, is this benefiting you or that person.

Who’s your inner voice?  Have you thought about it and come up with an answer?  Did you choose that inner voice?  Does it benefit you?  Please don’t just believe that because the voice comes from inside your head that it is really saying what you need to hear.  Our parents, our peers, may have less than good intentions when they tell you something and it sticks in your head and tells you to do something for your own good?  Think for yourself.  What really do you need to do for your own good?

Who’s your inner voice?  Is it positive or negative?  Negative voices whether anger, fear, self-despairaging comments are things that get you in to trouble, lower your self-esteem, and may even make you think you wish you were dead are not in your best interest.  Guilt, shame, etc. can work against you if you continue to voice them even after the incident has passed and you have made amends if any were necessary.

Who’s your inner voice.  Does it egg you on, promote behavior that will harm you or others?  Adolescents often have an imaginary audience who they perceive as judging their behavior.  They also may believe things that are not true (personal myths) that support beliefs that will put them in harm’s way.  For example, they think they are invincible.

Inner voices can be positive.  You may have grown to trust them.  When you are about to give up, they keep you going.  More about who’s your inner voice next time.

children-innervoicejpg

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Past, Present and Future Which Is More Important To You?

Past, present, and future which is more important to you?  What do you spend your time thinking about?  You can’t change the past; you can just reinforce the effect that it has on you in the present and thus on the future.  Have you ever thought I can never live that down?  Do you realize that the person who hurt you has long forgotten about what they did and maybe even didn’t know or care at the time if your feelings were hurt?  The longer some people live, the more they have to regret.  Soon your memory is clogged with memories of the past leaving no room for the present or the future.  How many stories have you had repeatedly told to you by someone about their unhappy or unfortunate past?

Things of the present in front of the people o...

Things of the present in front of the people of the future (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Or of the past, present, and future, is the future more important to you?  You may feel you have to be prepared for what misfortune the future might bring.  Worry can eat at your guts and tear at your insides and because of this are you really any more prepared when and if disaster does strike?  Yes, it might be silly or stupid to not plan at all for the future; but anxiety often does not help you to be anymore prepared for it.  In fact, anxiety can cause you to procrastinate in doing so and to wind up even more unprepared than you would have been.

Perhaps disaster does strike in the present moment.  Would you have paid an even bigger price if you had lived your life up to that point filled with dread for what might happen?  How many horrible things were created and experienced by your fertile mind when you could have been possiblely concentrating on the unspoiled peace and tranquility of the present moment?  In fact some people feel that the contents of your present thoughts have a lot to do with what will happen in the future, not only in a negative way, but also in a positive way.

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Cross Talk, Mind Chatter

mindchattercenterpointeCross talk and mind chatter represent the clutter of the mind.  Meditation developed my ability to clear my mind and turn off the conversations in my head.  My mind is usually not totally blank when I do this.  Especially when I am doing this while I am out and about.  I am aware and am able to remain alert for necessary stimuli.

I thought I had mastered the art of diminishing or even stopping the crosstalk and mind chatter in my head.  Then I realized that I was having a running commentary in my head as I was fixing myself some leftovers.  Every time I performed a necessary action like turn on the microwave, I told myself to do it.  I decided to experiment and go ahead and fix my bite to eat without having a conversation in my head with myself.  Miracle, of miracles, I could do it.

Where did that habit involving cross talk and mind chatter come from?  I usually don’t do that when I drive.  Yes, I am aware of what I am doing and what I am going to do.  Could it possibly be because there is less routine and more choices to be made when I am heating up something to eat?  Does driving involve more habits?

Also there is another factor involved in what I do in the kitchen.  I had to become more deliberate in my actions when I cooked and prepared something to eat.  Things I used to do around the house without thinking, I now had to think about because I developed physical limitations that I hadn’t had before.  I had to be careful how I did things and I had develop new ways of doing some things.  I think that this comes under the category of do-it-yourself occupational therapy.  To avoid an accident, hurting myself, or breaking or dropping something, I had to remind myself mentally to be more careful about doing some things.mindchattersleep

Now that I have formed new habits in this area,  it is about time for me to cut back on cross talk and mind chatter and “go it alone.”  Now maybe I can get in a meditative state of mind around the house.

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