Sunday, June 7

Two Antidotes for Ruminating, A Defeating Addictive Mental Habit........ 6/7/15

       Ruminating and depression.

        A big problem for many.  Key is connecting at the heart level with emotionally ma-ture friends.  This action can break us free from self-sabotage.  It liberates us from limiting beliefs.

       Overthinking is easy.  It's like a rocking chair.  It gives us something to do, but it gets us nowhere.  The problem, fretting often leads to depression.

     “Your mind goes round and round over negative events in the past. We focus on prob-lems in the present.  Or we place attention on bad things you’re worried will happen in the future,” says Nolen-Hoeksema, who pioneered the study of wo-men’s rumination and depres-sion and is considered the go-to expert in the field.
         This inability to release bad thoughts and memories gets us down.

        “You rehash events. You analyze them.  But you don’t do anything to 
solve the problems.  No steps are taken to feel more in control of your situation,” Nolen-Hoeksema says.  We will discuss two antidotes for this tendency. 

         Women are twice as likely as men to become de-pressed.   They’re also more prone to rumination.   No coin-cidence, states Nolen-Hoeksema.

How Does Ruminating Lead to Depression? 

       Negative thoughts breed hope-lessness.  It produces despair.  Along with causing low motivation and self-esteem. When rehearsing negative thoughts, they can grow more powerful, disturbing. 
As a person thinks in his or her heart, so is he or she.   Proverbs 23:7
        Stresses seem bigger.   We’re likely to react in an intense, lasting way.  If vulnerable to depression, we can end up seriously upset.  Where is the growth in that?   Yet, for many, this is our default mode.  

        As an alcoholic binges on drinking, the depressed person binges on depressed feelings.  

       They are his or her normalcy.  The downcast individual clings to self-sabotage.  He also lives using  limiting beliefs.   Usually, these negative thoughts have been his constant companions since childhood.  

       Unfortunately, such mental strategizing effectively distracts the person from experiencing what is.  Our mind is full of all sorts of ideas about how people are.   It debates how circumstances should be.   It ruminates how things work or how they should. 

       Our mind is so full of mental noise that there's little space for noticing what is.
Automatically responding to your worst internal fear is a common control pattern. Your buttons are pushed, and you react.  This pattern keeps you in familiar emotional territory, where you don't have to risk learning anything about yourself.  You don't have to change.  Susan Campbell, Getting Real,  23
       Wow.  All we can deal with is what is, not our limiting beliefs and fears.  

        It's key, directly experiencing the present moment.  Many of us have a mind that won't stop telling us what to watch out for.  Often, rumination is focused on the past.  We recall bad things that occurred.  

        Or we imagine situations we wish had gone differently.   Then we start thinking nothing is going right at work.  Or  co-workers don’t like us and our marriage is falling apart.

        The emotional downward spiral begins.

How Can You Tell If You’ve Crossed From Brooding to Depression?

     When a person suffers from major depression, they are down most of the time.  

      They lose interest in almost every-thing.  There are other symptoms.  Changes in sleep is one.  Eating habits are affected.  There is residual tiredness.  

      Or there may be trouble concentrating.  Topping it off are feelings of worthlessness.  The symptoms are bad enough to interfere with the ability to handle daily life.

        Ruminating makes these symptoms worse.  If we are only a little down, this mental self-torture can tip us over to severe depression. Problem-solving becomes harder.  Increased depression saps motiva-tion to try any solution.

Do Women Suffer More From Depression?

         A long list of biological, social and psychological factors increase women’s chances of becoming depressed.  But they may also be gene-tically disposed.  And dramatic hormonal changes can trigger it. 

Is The Cause Mostly Physiological?

      Social factors contribute also.  Women often have more traumas.  That can lead to a higher depression rate.  They also may live with chronically stressful situations such as job, sex discrimination or living with an abuser.   Psychologically, women can get wrapped up---due to codependency and passivity---in relationships.  

      They can become unable to pull out of unhealthy ones.  This is usually a result of not having boundaries or discernment.   Conflict with others is a common trigger.

Why Don’t Men Ruminate?

      Men are generally less prone to rumination.  Men typically spend less time thinking about relationship problems.  When they do, they're less likely to brood over conflicts with others, how they feel about things.   Instead, they take constructive steps to solve the problem or destructive steps to avoid it.

Should Women Try to “Man Up”? 

       We want to cultivate our strengths.   Women usually are good at understanding feelings.  When a person is not mired in rumination, it allows that individual to cope with distressing situations.   Women more often anticipate the emotional consequences of life choices.  

      This helps in making well-informed decisions.   Sometimes antici-pation of all possibilities related to a problem stymies us, paralyzing us.  The 3 P's come into play---which is actually a regression---perfec-tionism, procrastination, paralysis. 

One Antidote

       With problem-solving, women can be mentally flexible, focusing on getting things done, not just getting their way.   With clients, most ses-sions end with creating action steps.  We look at healthy alternatives to the problems they face. When we do this, we are creating a better today.

       This is "staying in the solution."  It involves not giving up our power.  We may not be able to control our circumstances but we can con-trol how we respond to them. 

Second Antidote     

       Asking for help is a good idea, too.   This permits us to use the combined strengths of those around us, instead of doing everything ourselves.

       All in all, thinking can be helpful.  The trick is not to get mired in overthinking that leads nowhere but down the road where the cross streets are Depression and Despair.

How About You? 
What do you do, to slow down your mind, when it is in overdrive? 



"So, where am I, emotionally?" I asked myself that question, while reading this post. It made me reflect on my own habit of ruminating on the unpleasant situations or traumas of the past. I can't say that I'm depressed, but this article helped me see, I'm sliding toward that mire. Thanks for putting it so succinctly to us! God bless you!

Thumper said...

Hi Pablo,

I read your blog and I admit that I am the queen of rumination. I know that it is an illusion of control and I have been taking steps to work on it. Reading scripture and other positive books helps. Staying present with what IS has been extremely effective. Some days are easier than others, but the first step is to become aware of it.


Quotes from the Posts

"I'm mindful that our thoughts affect the words we use, our words influence our actions, our actions shape our character and our character determines our destiny."

From "My Character Determines My Destiny." To read it, please click here.

"Progress not perfection, is better than no progress at all, especially when we're trying to rid ourselves from unwelcome dragons that dwell within the closets of our soul."

From, "Still Learning" which, within four days, became the most popular post
written. To read it, please click here.

"Worry does not empty tomorrow of its trouble, but it does empty today of its strength"
From the post: "Life Is Not a Correspondence Program." Click here to read it.

"Even though we cannot control our circumstances, we can control how we choose to respond to them."

From, "Handling Stress and Dealing With an Emotional Bully."Click here to read this post.

"Nope, being busy isn't exciting. Boring is good. Because boring is not boring; boring is being healthy, living a balanced life that has serenity"

From: "Do You Know What It Means If You Are Too Busy?" For more, please click here.