This habit is sabotaging your mental health

This habit is sabotaging your mental health

This habit is sabotaging your mental health

When you are lying in bed at night replaying your day, are you thinking about the things that went right or the things that didn’t?

Thanks to our negativity bias, the chances are pretty high that you naturally default to the negative. When those negative thoughts become obsessive, you are stuck in rumination.

We’ve all been there – we make a mistake and replay it over, and over, and over. But is that useful – No

How do you get out of the rumination cycle?

 Rumination is the habit of obsessive thinking, it is a coping mechanism for stress, and it is a common psychological experience. When not managed properly, rumination can be dangerous to your mental health.

Replaying an event to try to figure out what you might be able to do differently next time is helpful. When you are stuck in rumination, not only is it not productive, it reinforces the negative material and our negativity bias, and it does nothing to help solve the problem.

Want to break the habit of rumination?

1. Distraction (do something useful and productive). Do not try not to think about it. When you try not to think about something, you magnify it in your mind. Think about or do something else.Your brain will stay in a negative loop unless you shift your attention.

2. Shift your attention to something positive – If you messed up, think about times you got it right. Turn your attention to your strengths. Remind yourself that you are human .If you are still stuck in a negative cycle, remember this simple question: What’s right, right now?

3. Practice mindfulness. Notice when you get sucked into rumination. How does your body feel? Is it contracting or expanding? You can choose to disengage. Rumination is about the past. Bring yourself back to the present. Say to yourself, “Oh, I’m ruminating again”; this calms your brain and takes you out of a threat state, allowing you to think more clearly. Anytime you go back to rumination, gently bring yourself back to this moment and take 3 deep breaths. This will interrupt the rumination cycle.

Wherever we direct our attention becomes our reality because we find what we look for. The more you ruminate, the more likely it inclines your mind in that direction.

Breaking the habit of rumination is a skill and one that will dramatically improve your mental health. You can rewire your brain by spending more time magnifying the positive in your life and less time worrying about things you can’t control.

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Read that again. 🙌 ...

I played piano from the time I was four years old until the age of 15 and during that time, I had a lot of recitals. I remember being so nervous before each recital. What if I played the wrong note? What if I forgot the music? My dad would look at me, hold my hands, and say:

Whatever you do, DO NOT think of pink elephants!!

At the time, I had no idea why in the world he would say this. All I do know is that when I sat down to play, all I saw were pink elephants, and I was able to tackle my nerves.

Turns out my dad was helping me to practice the ironic process theory which explains that when we try to suppress our thoughts, we focus on them even more. Seventy to 80% of our thoughts are negative and repetitive. If not managed, intrusive thoughts can lead to anxiety, depression, and a whole host of mental health challenges.

If you tend to get stuck in rumination, or if your thoughts sometimes get the best of you, here are a few ways to take back control:

1️⃣ Recognize that your thoughts are not facts.
2️⃣ Use your brain. Do a math problem, practice a different language, or play a puzzle game. When you access the prefrontal cortex, the higher level thinking part of your brain, you get out of the emotional limbic system.
3️⃣ Distract yourself. Sometimes a simple distraction gives you enough distance to quiet your intrusive thoughts.
4️⃣ Practice mindfulness.
5️⃣ See a therapist. When negative, intrusive thoughts impact your ability to do your job, maintain relationships, or start clouding your judgment, it may be time to get help. As someone with plenty of intrusive thoughts, therapy has helped me tremendously.

Don’t forget, your thoughts and feelings are not facts. They are simply habits that need to be shifted. Be patient with yourself, and if all else fails, whatever you do, DO NOT THINK OF PINK ELEPHANTS!

Pets provide a deep sense connection and unconditional love. I don’t know what I’d do without without these two nut jobs! Happy National Love Your Pet Day! ❤️🐶 #mindfulmonday #mindfulness #petsnuggles #ilovemydogs #petsofinstagram #nationalloveyourpetday ...

I hope your Friday includes donuts. 🍩 ...

Midweek reminder: Reset your mindset. 🧠 ...


Anne Grady is a Speaker, Author, and #TruthBomb Dropper.

Anne shares practical strategies that can be applied both personally and professionally to improve relationships, navigate change, and triumph over adversity. And she’ll make you laugh while she does it. Anne is a two time TEDx speaker, and her work has been featured in numerous media outlets, including Harvard Business Review, Entrepreneur, Forbes, Fast Company and Inc. magazines, CNN, ESPN, and FOX Business. She is the best selling author of 52 Strategies for Life, Love & Work and Strong Enough: Choosing Courage, Resilience and Triumph.

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