Category: reassuring

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.

Stop worrying – the new model

When you google “stop worry” you find sites that redommend 5 steps, 9 steps or even 13 steps in order to stop your worry.

These steps sometimes are helpful for you to get rid of the worry instantly, but the worry unfortunately comes back. And that seems to be inevitable.

This new model for how to stop worrying and ruminating is aiming to train your brain to refrain from producing discomforting and worrying thoughts – to extinguish the habit of thinking discomforting and upsetting thoughts. This is a more permanent way to deal with the worry.

The new model was first presented in 2007 in the book “Quit ruminating and brooding“. It has now been tested in two very large scale studies (in press) with 140 subjects in the first study. In the second study (with 340 subjects) the new model has proven  to be even more effective than the standard treaments for Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) with their different stressmanagement methods.

What is so special about this new model?

It does indeed not strive to relieve your uneasiness immediatly, but to free you in a longer run and permanently.

It aims to train your warning or scary brain to refrain from seeking threats, dangers and producing discomforting thoughts when you are feeling low, guilty or are anxious and aroused.

The book “Quit ruminating and brooding” has become very popular in Sweden and the nordic countries (small countries in Scandinavia) and has sold more than 29000 copies to date. The book is easy to understand to anyone and it is appreciated by the common man as well as by psychologists and students. Why not try it? You might regret and worry about it if you do not.

The book is available in English since 2015

Get the book

  • Distraction might temporarily relieve the worry, but it is no cure. Instead it might prolong it.
  • Eagerness to quit worry in a wrong way intensifies it.
  • 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.
  • If you really want to learn how to quit worrying  Read the book.

If you consider buying the book – please buy the green och black version. AuthorHouse (the white version) retain my legal royalty because of a self-imposed rule.

It Is Nice to Take Off Shoes That Are Too Small

cropped-Bild-23.jpgI had a friend who jokingly used to say: “I always buy shoes that are too small because it is so nice to take them off.” There is something in this joke. It resembles the motivation for ruminating and worrying. If you want to feel comfortable in that way, the only chance to do so is to put on shoes that are too small over and over. If you want to feel eased and comforted, the only chance is to first make sure that you have something that requires comforting. In order to experience a small part of the security that the comforting thoughts entail, you first need to feel discomfort.

The comforting thoughts reinforce the discomforting thoughts and make them return and multiply. It does not matter that the discomforting thoughts are painful and unpleasant when the reinforcement that follows just increases their number and variety.

Ruminations are driven by the shifting between the unpleasant thoughts and the comforting thoughts. The comforting thoughts reinforce the discomforting thoughts, which in turn increase in number.

Yet another piece of the puzzle needs to be added in order for us to understand how ruminations function, and it is about how chains of thoughts work.

This is an exerpt from the book Quit Ruminating and Brooding by Olle Wadström. 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.

Ruminating is the “tennis” of the brain – the internal argumentation

Ruminations can be likened to a game of tennis, where one side hits a frightening thought, and the calming side returns it with a comforting thought. Each time the “ball” comes over to the other side, it can be returned. The game can go on forever. Since we are intelligent beings, we keep finding new frightening aspects, or we get new irritating ideas, and find new comforting thoughts.

Ruminating is an internal dialogue, or discussion or debate.

Our ability to see new dangers leads to a never ending shift in the contents of ruminations, even if it is about the same subject or field.

Look at this example of how rumination can function. Let the tennis game begin.

Discomforting thoughts                   Comforting thoughts

  • What if the interest rate increases?
                                                        The interest rate has not increased for a 
                                                         year.
  • Sooner or later it is bound to increase. It has always been up and down. If it increases, our living costs will hit the ceiling and we will have to move.
                                                           No expert has talked about increased                                                                     interest rates recently.
  • In the thirties, the stock market crashed and interest rates increased overnight without people knowing about it ahead of time, because if they did, they would have sold their stock shares before the crash.
                                                            Economists are more competent now, so                                                              that could  not happen in such a surprising                                                           way these days.
  • But the monetary system is also more complicated now and, hence, more vulnerable. And if the interest rate increased by 2%, we might not be able to afford food. Then we will be forced to sell our house.                                                                                                We will be alright, one way or another.                                                                 We will get plenty of money for our house                                                             if we sold it now.
  • Then where would we move?
                                                                  There are plenty of apartments in                                                                           Olsberga.
  • In that case, the children will have to change schools, and they will lose all their friends.
                                                                  There are probably many teachers that                                                                  are better  out there, and the children                                                                    would not have as far to school.
  • They might get bullied.
                                                                    Why would they? They have always                                                                       been well liked and popular.

 

  • There are a lot of problems in Olsberga and my children might end up in a bad crowd and start smoking and drinking.
                                                                    Why would they do that all of a                                                                               sudden? That has not happened before.
  • If they do not make new friends, they might start hanging out with kids who do drugs.
                                                                   And so on.
  • And so on.

Ruminations can go on for a long time. There are really no boundaries for how long they might go on. Hereby, the intelligence and imagination of human beings become a burden.

This is an exerpt from the book Quit Ruminating and Brooding by Olle Wadström. 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.

Calming thoughts – comforting thoughts

The other type, the comforting thoughts calm, reassure, and provide clarity, certainty or comfort. In terms of content and function they are the opposite of discomforting thoughts. They temporarily decrease the amount of discomfort. Rather than frightening, these thoughts are used to find explanations, solutions, remedies, and counteractions to the danger, convincing evidence or ways out of the situation. These thoughts are pleasant and provide comfort.

Comforting thought belong to the category of behaviors referred to as “safety behaviors”. Safety behaviors are the behaviors which make us momentarily feel ease and comfort. Comforting thought are invisible safety behaviors which at least give a temporary pleasant and calming feeling.

A few examples of thoughts that comfort with calm, explanations and assuredness

If I did have cancer, the doctor would have noticed it at my last check-up.

Doctors are good at detecting cancer in people, so I can be calm.

I have passed all the previous exams, so why would I not pass this one?

I am not the biggest idiot in the group. Jocke often screws up.

He probably asked me about that because I knew something similar the last time we talked, not because I looked strange.

She probably likes me.

The boss did not look my way when he was complaining. Was that really a sneer? She was smiling at Kalle as well.

Nobody else gets AIDS from the door handle, so it should be safe for me as well.

Of course he loves me and the children otherwise he would have left us…

But I have never hit anyone with the car before, so why would I do it now?

The meaning of life is to serve God.

If I were going insane I would not be thinking like this. Those who are really insane do not realize it.

If I did hit anyone with my car, other drivers would have noticed the victim and taken them to a hospital.

Of course I am a good mother and worker, but everyone has a hard time making everything work all the time.

I never did anything to him, so why should he be mad at me?

A characteristic of comforting thoughts is that they always provide some comfort and some calm. The calming thoughts can be logical, but they can also be unrealistic fantasies and pure wishful thinking. You think about how things might go or how they could have went. They can be fantasies of sort, or daydreams that give some temporary feelings of well-being in a situation that is perhaps hopeless or unsolvable.

I hope that mean idiot dies.

They will soon find out what type of person he is, and then they will regret not giving that job to me.

If I win a million, then I will…

A characteristic of comforting thoughts is that they at least give some temporary comfort or feel somewhat calming at the moment.

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.

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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