Category: OCD

Tennis in your brain

We have gotten our intelligence for better and for worse. It warns us for threats and dangers beforehand, even before they are noticeable and thus gives us time to seek solutions and measures to handle them. But sometimes our scary brain warns us and create problems and worries when no real threats or problems exist. These thoughts are just discomforting. 

In spite of that we often start to seek solutions – logical explanations, counter evidence, measures or just comfort – with our logical brain. Sometimes this ends up in a tennis match in our heads, where the scary brain serves discomforting thoughts and the logical brain returns comforting thoughts in a never ending rumination or brooding.

Most people worry over minutiae, trivial episodes in their lives or over unsolvable problems, suffer from bad conscience, guilt or doubt. We often try to rid ourselves from the discomforting thoughts but the rumination and worry just continues.

It is possible to put an end to the tennis match in the brain.

To stop your unnecessary uneasiness you had better consider this;

  • Distraction might temporarily relieve the worry, but it is no cure. Instead it might prolong rumination.
  • Eagerness to quit broodings in a wrong way intensifies it.

Advises:

  • Refrain from comforting when afflicted by problems that cannot be solved.
  • Do not seek answers to questions that have no answers.
  • Do not try to understand things that are incomprehensible.
  • If you accept the presence of your discomforting and intrusive thoughts – you eventually kill them.

Learn how to do that:

Quit ruminating and brooding

If you consider to buy the book – please buy this green och black one. Not the white one (by AuhtorHouse) since they keep my royalty to themseves, because of a self-imposed rule.

The fight between discomforting and comforting thoughts

Discomforting or intrusive thoughts can have varying appearances and contents. They can evoke discomfort by frightening and worrying us, they can lead to anxiety, irritate, provoke, confound us, make us insecure, and they can make us feel hurt, wronged or insulted. Many people think in terms of images or scenarios, which does not make any difference for our line of reasoning.

The thoughts that evoke discomfort can have many different types of content. Their common denominator is that they evoke uneasiness and discomfort, more or less automatically. In the case of OCD, discomforting thoughts are also referred to as “emotion-thoughts”.

Below are a few examples of discomforting thoughts:

Catastrophic thoughts

What if I fail my exam!

Am I going insane?

Mother might die.

I am surely going to get fired now.

The kids might get hit by a car when they are walking to school.

What was that look that she gave to Nisse when I protested?

What if I have cancer?

Does he mind me speaking, since he looked at me that way?

They can tell that I am nervous.

What if I do not find anyone to share my life with?

Doubt and insecurity thoughts

I wonder what he meant by asking me about this?

Did I hit someone when I was driving in the dark?

Was she sneering at me when I was speaking?

What if I forgot to lock the door?

Did I do the wrong thing when I…?

Does he not love me anymore?

Existential insecurity

What is the meaning of life?

Is there a God?

Has my life been in vain?

Will life never be more than this?

What happens after death?

Am I wasting my life?

Self-accusation thoughts

Maybe I hurt her when I said that I did not want to?

They probably did not understand what I meant. What if something goes wrong because of me, and they get hurt?

Did he really understand what I meant?

What if she thought that I was negative and criticizing when I said…?

I wonder if he resented that?

Is Pelle sad because I said that?

How could I be so stupid that I…?

I am a bad mother and I do not have time for the things I need to do at work either.

Comparing thoughts (along with jealousy thoughts)

Which car is the best, and which one should I choose?

Should I really get a new job?

They probably just think that I am a dork. They despise me.

I am not as good as they are.

She does not love me as much as I love her.

She is always better than me.

I am always the worst.

He is much smarter than me.

Other people always get the best, while I always get the worst.

Why is he just looking at her?

A characteristic of the discomforting thoughts is that they trigger a feeling of worry, uneasiness, doubt, or some other unpleasant feeling.

This is an exerpt from the book Quit Ruminating and Brooding by Olle Wadstrom. Comments and discussions are encouraged.

The book is available in two similar versions. Please choose the green and black version. AuthorHouse (the white version) keep my legally earned royalty to themselves, because of a self-imposed rule.

Rumination is a behavior stream

cropped-Bild-23.jpgRuminating is not really one behavior, but rather a stream of many behaviors. It is a stream of thoughts. The rumination-stream does not consist of the same thoughts repeating themselves, but rather it consists of two types of thoughts. Two types which each have their own different function.

Behavior analysis is the understanding of the function of different behaviors. One behavior can have different functions, depending on different situations. Different behaviors may have the same function, even though they differ starkly. In order to understand a behavior’s function or purpose, it is essential to see it its context. If you do not understand the function of a behavior, you might treat it improperly. Thoughts are also behaviors, which can have different functions.

Our feelings are affected by external and internal factors. We might get upset, angry, and frightened by things that we hear and see, but also by things that we think. In the same manner, we can be calmed by things we see, hear, and think.

Thoughts in ruminations have two different functions. One kind of thoughts leads to anxiety, insecurity, or discomfort and these thoughts function as frighteners or “triggers”. The other type of thoughts functions as calmers, reassurers, or comforters, also called safety-behaviors.

Thoughts that lead to concern, frighten, lead to uneasiness, anxiety or discomfort in general will henceforth be referred to as “discomforting thoughts”. Thoughts that function as safety-behaviors that are used to rid uncertainty, insecurity, concerns, feelings of discomfort and doubt, will henceforth be referred to as “comforting thoughts”.

This is an exerpt from the book Quit Ruminating and Brooding by Olle Wadstrom. Comments and discussions are encouraged.

Ruminating in various types of anxiety

cropped-Bild-23.jpgNearly every human being has been ruminating. The everyday ruminating that we do does not distinguish itself in terms of characteristics from the ruminating and brooding that are parts of a more serious state of anxiety. The difference is that everyday rumination is not as persistent and longstanding, and it is not as painful. There are a few anxiety disorders that are known to be characterized by persistent rumination and brooding. The most common ones are Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, jealousy, hypochondria, Social Anxiety Disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder.

 

In cases of these anxiety disorders, ruminating is a major part of the problem. In some cases it is the dominant and most painful behavior for the patient. Ruminating is often a way to convince oneself, to calm oneself, to experience clarity and assurance and to finally feel better.

 This is an exerpt from the book Quit Ruminating and Brooding by Olle Wadstrom. Comments and discussions are encouraged.

Preface to Quit Ruminating

cropped-Bild-23.jpgIt is not common among people who call themselves behavioral analysts or behavioral therapists to attempt a behavioral analysis of cognitive behaviors. One likely reason for this is that thoughts (cognitions) are internal and cannot be measured or observed in the same way as external, motor behaviors. Demands for visibly measurable results of the treatment cannot, in these cases, be met. When working with behavioral analysis, this demand is close to holy.

I do not feel that it is reason enough to not attempt to understand and find ways to treat a thought-behavior such as rumination. Whatever the case, many – maybe even most of us – suffer from ruminations and broodings. Both of these lead to anxiety, concerns and sleepless nights. Rumination and brooding are significant components of compulsive disorders and social anxiety disorders, and can in these cases not be ignored. In these cases, there must be some way to approach them.

Another reason to dedicate oneself to the problem of rumination is that it is a willfully controllable behavior, even if the ruminator does not always experience it in that way. Rumination is a learned behavior such as any other motor behavior. Treatments that are based on learning, such as CBT, should for this reason be interested in rumination. Difficulties of “touching the behavior” should therefore not lead to not handling it. One way to make rumination more substantial is by looking at it as “self-talk”.

Considering how much suffering it brings, and how much private time that is spent doing it, I see it as an urgent matter to teach a way of tackling it based on behavioristic premises. This book describes how behavior therapy can be used to treat a cognitive behavior.

This book is an attempt to provide an approach to the behaviors of ruminating and brooding. It can be applied whether the ruminating is of an everyday character or if it is part of a more serious condition. It is my ambition that the reader will understand, not only how to face his or her ruminating, but also why he or she should act in the manner described.

 

This is an exerpt from the book Quit Ruminating and Brooding by Olle Wadstrom. Comments and discussions are encouraged.

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