Have you ever found yourself stuck in a downward spiral of repetitive thinking?
Also known as rumination, this process involves musing over and over the same thought, often dark or sad thoughts, to such a degree that it affects one’s mental health. It can lead to depression and affect your ability to process emotions and think clearly and objectively.
Repetitive thoughts can occur in cases where there are limitations within the right-brain access. In such cases, it is the left and logical brain that can run in endless and repeating circuits. The emotional part of the brain cannot filter out any thoughts that might be of no value. While stuck in a spiral of repetitive thinking, there is an inability to receive new ideas or creative solutions.
What is the cause of repetitive thinking?
Different reasons can cause repetitive thinking. Some common reasons include having a history of physical or emotional trauma, dealing with ongoing stressors that you have no control over, or believing that you will be able to get solutions regarding a problem by repeating thoughts.
Repetitive thinking is common with people who are perfectionists or who display varying levels of neuroticism. Severe rumination is also common with individuals who have an unbalanced view of relationships. They may place such a high value on their relationship with others that they make disproportional sacrifices, even if such relationships aren’t healthy.
What can you do about repetitive thoughts?
The antidote to repetitive thinking is creative and independent thinking. Once you notice yourself in a cycle, your goal is to counteract such thoughts with productive and positive thinking.
Here are a few tips:
Break the cycle with distraction
Find a distraction. Call a friend or a family member. Do something engaging such as painting, drawing, watching a movie, or reading your favorite book. Within your capabilities, try to do an intense workout. Intense physical exertion can help to free your mind from repetitive thoughts and has the power to change your mood entirely.
Check the facts
It can be constructive to think about the root of your repetitive thought and ask yourself some questions. Do I have all the facts? Do I need more data?
Additionally, there may be other factors at play that are making you perseverate on the same thought. For example, have you had enough rest recently? Have you been stressed by work, family, or other issues? Sometimes simply “sleeping on the matter” can help us address the problem with a renewed and more expansive perspective.
Don’t go at it alone
A healthy social support network can be vital to breaking the cycle of repetitive thoughts. It can also help you avoid another major pitfall that can easily lead to further uncontrolled overthinking: isolation. Speak to a friend who can offer you a different perspective on the issue. However, be open-minded. Ruminating for extended periods can also make us frustrated and even angry. If we ask for help or advice, we have to accept that we do not have the answers, and we NEED a different perspective to help us tackle the problem.
Negative repetitive thoughts can also begin to affect your self-worth. Therefore, engage in a healthy self-dialogue and speak to yourself about your skills, the things you’ve accomplished, and the blessings you enjoy in life. Look beyond the problem and take another look at the “whole you.” Forgive yourself for the things you may have done wrong, and don’t be afraid to apologize to someone you hurt if necessary. It’s much better (and healthier) to humbly ask for forgiveness than to be hounded by negative thoughts and guilt.
Seek Professional Help (If Needed)
If you notice that your thoughts no longer allow you to go on with your daily duties, it might be worth considering therapy. A therapist can help you discover what triggers your repetitive thoughts and can help you address the core issues. As previously mentioned, friends and family members can help. However, suppose you feel that you don’t have enough of a support system, or your problem is too personal or complex. In that case, it might be helpful to turn to a professional therapist. They can help walk you through the thoughts plaguing you and assist you in gaining control over them.
Our emotional state has a direct impact on our entire system. Hence, we include several therapies to help balance emotions in all the cancer programs and wellness programs provided at the Budwig Center. For example, EVOX therapy can help patients get a deeper analysis of their emotional state. Then they can manage life’s challenges in a controlled and balanced way.
For more information, please read our article: Emotional Healing At The Budwig Center (Guide)
How can creative and independent thinking help?
Creative thinking can often help you find solutions that are outside of the box. It will help you to perceive patterns, which might not be so apparent at first. By thinking creatively, you will find new ways of doing tasks, solving issues, and facing the challenges of life. It brings a fresh perspective and can also lead to you being more productive and more organized. This way of addressing difficulties will help you not be overwhelmed by a situation but to keep calm and find solutions rather than perseverate on the problems.
How is creative and independent thinking expressed?
Open-mindedness, organizational awareness, and effective communication are just a few of the habits and mental processes connected with creative thinking. Before thinking about an issue, you must be able to analyze the situation and understand it correctly. At the same time, it is crucial to be open-minded and allow yourself to see things from a new point of view.
Organize your thoughts to be able to work through the solutions. Rather than mentally ruminate, write a report about the situation, list the issues and potential fixes. Write down how the entire matter makes you feel. Taking the problem “out of your head” and putting it “onto the page” can be a vital first step to help you look at things more expansively. After writing your “report,” disconnect for a while using one of the suggestions mentioned earlier. Then take another look at what you wrote down and make any necessary adjustments and amendments.
Creatively thinking over things in this way can lead to yet another step that can help you get to the bottom of the issue: effective communication.
We discussed communication earlier; however, it’s important to note that “speaking” about a problem is one thing, “effectively communicating” about a matter is another. The clearer you can see the problem, the easier it is to explain it to others. Once you spend sufficient time “creatively” analyzing the matter, you will then be able to provide the person you choose to talk to with a clear summary of the case.
In today’s complex world, we are bombarded with challenges that can easily dominate our thinking. Suppose you realize that you have the habit of overthinking rather than addressing life’s issues creatively and independently. In that case, it might be a sign that you should take specific actions in a healthy direction. The suggestions made in this article may be simple but should not be taken lightly.
It was once said that “perspective is everything when you are experiencing the challenges of life.” So, take control of your thoughts. Endeavor to look at things expansively, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and remember that the goal is to replace repetitive thoughts with creative and independent thinking.
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