It does not matter if you’re the best person in the world — bad things will happen to you. It does not matter if you’re the kindest — you will experience cruelness. It does not matter if you graduated from an Ivy League school —you will feel like a total failure at some point.
I’m sure you’ve found yourself in situations that make you wonder, “why me?”, “Why do bad things happen to me? I’m a good human. I though I deserved more. I thought I deserved to be happy. I thought I deserved to be loved. So why did this happen to me?”. If it makes you feel better, you and the other 110% of the population has and is feeling like that right now.
So, what do you call the incisive current of thoughts and questions?
It is called rumination, my friends.
Have you ever gone over a problem or an event in your head, thinking what you could have done differently, or what you could presently do? You replay them, and replay them, until your mind is exhausted of either tears or the anxiety it caused you.
This is called rumination. This word translates to “chew over”. So, when you ruminate, you’re basically chewing and chewing, and chewing your problems some more. This is very dangerous because your chances of getting depression and anxiety increase as you keep chewing on those darn problems.
So, what can you do?
First of all, always, and I mean ALWAYS remind yourself you are not the only one going through a tough time. One of my favorite books, “You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life” by Jen Sincero, touches up on this with issue quite uniquely. Basically she tells you to get over yourself, because you’re not that special. You’re not special enough to be the only person struggling, and your problem is not special because people have gone through that same problem or similar in the past.
It sounds harsh, but when you know your problems aren’t anything special, you realize people have had them before and they turned out A-OK. (Of course, they obviously put in the work to fix it, and you have to be willing to do the same.)
So let’s start — battling with Rumination
- Go outside, and meet a friend. “Stop talking about your own life for a short while. When you only ruminate on your troubles, they seem larger. Ask someone else about his or her life. Hearing about another’s life, you can look at your reactions. I love the saying that troubles shared are cut in half and joys shared are doubled”. I found this to be very good for the mind because it keeps reminding you you are not the only one with problems.
- Think of the times when things went your way. Don’t become a glass half- empty kind of person by not being “able too think of anything going your way”. Many things have gone your way before, so think of that.
- Write down the possible ways you can solve the problem. Remember, you do not have to know how to solve it in the first try. Be sure you do take some kind of action towards solving the problem.
- Do something that brings the kid in you. Do you like going on the swings, or roller skating, maybe riding bikes? Do it. You’re never too old to have fun like in the ol’ days. This will take your mind off ruminating, and will remind you to be more kind to your inner child.
- Know your triggers. What makes you start ruminating? Is it talking to a certain person? A certain place? A certain smell? Once you know your triggers it is easier for your mind to protect itself from negative thoughts.
- Build a support system. Now, the last one is hard because it is hard to find friends. So, go out there and join volunteering groups, women/men groups, meet-ups, etc. People like talking to you, I promise.
At the end one of the day, remember to be kind to your inner child. It is your inner child whom your feeding all the toxic thoughts. I don’t know about you, but I think you deserve more than that.