Rumination is when our thoughts travel in an ineffective loop, where no insights are derived. It ends up in a fixation that can become obsessive, causing sleeplessness. Introspection is when we derive insights to our questions, can then take steps to act on them.
Some people think mindfulness is some random frivolous woo woo for dreamy tree huggers, when mindfulness practices have been part of psychotherapy for years, it has effectively helped millions battle ill mental health.
What you will notice when you ruminate is you feel frustrated that efforts to squeeze insight out of the problem didn't work, you end up depressed and anxious instead.
Look, your brain ain't a lemon, a lemon only has that much juice anyway. When you're kind to your brain, your brain will naturally work with you.
There're many questions that require longer thought processes that your timeline might not be able to accommodate, questions such as why are we here? Why did that happen? Why do bad things happen to good people?
These are big philosophical life questions that we revisit occasionally, like digging a well, it's great if you have time and can dig it all once, not so great when basic survival needs are top of mind.
When you're in a hurry, you want to turn on the tap and quench your thirst, zip in and zip out.
When basic survival needs are neglected, it becomes a domino effect of worsening mental health, it's all good and fine to ponder, it's quite another thing to wallow and overthink.
I admit I always prided myself on asking the why questions, I usually do end up with insights quickly so introspection is generally empowering for me. I do notice loads of people have difficulties with it so I wrote this.
I see introspection as the road to depth and wisdom, so I like travelling on it.
Then there're times when I replayed events years after it happened, attempting to rationalise the worst parts of my life, realising it took away my focus from my current priorities and living fully in the now.
By switching out the why for what questions, it grounds me inside the present moment.
What do I feel about this?
What can I do about it?
The key problem about why questions is it fixates on our limitations, what questions focuses on the solutions instead, it seems counterintuitive but the brain is funny like that, I always imagine it as a joyous clown in my head.
This has a lot to do with self esteem, our self esteem can only be kept consistently high when we meet our goals, no matter how small those goals are.
When we ruminate, we set ourselves up to fail, taking one small action is way better than being trapped in indecision, circulating your thoughts like mental sharks ready to gobble you up. Way too many peopler are stuck in fear, unable to get out of their comfort zones.
A series of small actions can really give our esteems a boost, when you feel down, try to do 5 little things you can get done quickly and you will notice your dark cloud lifts.
It tricks the brain into submission, calms the fight or flex reflex, the primitive monkey brain thinks you defended yourself against an attacker and retreats.
The money mind was never designed for deep thoughts, also why fearful people tend to be superficial and shallow.
Remember that life is full of uncertainties, there're many random occurrences we cannot predict, we cannot control everything, we can live day to day and do our best each day. Attempting to control the impossible will just stress you out and make you lose satisfaction in your life.
Introspection can indeed increase our awareness, it's how we do it that matters. Way too many people confuse coping with solutions, coping can get us over a bump, solutions are more complex, they require awareness and expertise we might not have.
Asking why is effective when we need to dive deep, it requires a chain of events in order to manifest into reality, the most important step is the first one, then the next becomes easier as your confidence grows, the domino reverses and we conquer our fears.
Remember that confidence is actually needed BEFORE you succeed, it is not success that gives us confidence but confidence that drives success.
Achieving a small goal will generate courage to move onto a more ambitious goal, we keep building on a foundation of goals met and your mental health becomes excellent.
Eshet chayil, God is a She
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