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… different from every self-help book I’ve read before.

Hello Olle,

I consider your book Quit Ruminating and Brooding is incredibly good. It is easy to read, understand and embrace. Your examples from real life are very interesting . I have lived with worry and anxiety very long and have read several self-help books.

Your book is different from every self-help book I’ve read before. Thank you very much for a very good book, which has
already helped me so much and surely make many people feel better.

Best wishes,

Anna

Video

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” (available at AuthorHouse and other larger book sites). 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 26000 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.

You get dumber during anxiety

When you are afflicted by severe discomfort and anxiety, a number of things happen in your body. What happens is that the body prepares itself for fight or flight through a so-called sympathetic nervous reaction. Part of this reaction is, among other things, that the blood in the body is redistributed. Blood flows to the major muscle groups in the arms and legs, to make you stronger and more prepared for fight or flight. The blood is, among other things, redistributed from the skin. What is even more important for rumination is that the blood is also redistributed from the front parts of the brain, the frontal lobe, where our logical thinking is located. Hence, during anxiety, we become dumber since it is exactly this part of the brain that receives less blood.

When we have strong feelings as a result of our ruminations and broodings, our minds get temporarily dulled. That is, when we use thinking and our consciousness the most during ruminations, our intelligence is momentarily dulled. We become so illogical that we do not even realize the obvious, that it is impossible to solve unsolvable problems just by thinking. We become so dumb that we allow ourselves to be frightened by illogical and apparently erroneous discomforting thoughts.

This is an exerpt from the book Quit Ruminating and Brooding by Olle Wadström. Comments and discussions are encouraged.
The book can be ordered from AuthorHouse.com

ISBN 13 (SOFT): 9781728381121

ISBN 13 (HARD): 9781728381138

ISBN 13 (eBook): 9781728381114

Generalization (continuation of previous posts)

When Albert had become conditioned to be afraid of the rabbit he escaped in any way possible from his white rabbit. With his safety-behaviors, he kept his conditioned fear alive, and another thing also happened. His fear spread to other rabbit-like objects. He was frightened by a white rat, later he was frightened by a piece of white cotton waste, and even a man with a great white beard. This is called generalization.

To apply safety-behaviors in order to escape things that scare us makes objects that are similar to what we are afraid of frightening. The fear “contaminates” things that resemble the things you were initially afraid of.

The more you try to escape from and fight your discomforting thoughts with the help of comforting thoughts, the more frightening the discomforting thoughts become, and the more often they appear. Generalization also makes new thoughts that are close to the initial thought frightening – compare the rabbit, the rat, a white piece of waste cotton and a great white beard.

                      The human brain also has an incredible ability to relate and connect old experiences and thoughts to ongoing thoughts. This, along with generalization, leads the contents of the discomforting thoughts to become increasingly distanced from the initial discomforting thought. The more comforting thoughts, the more imaginative the contents of the discomforting thoughts may become – even unrealistic. In the end, it is possible that you feel bad from completely illogical thoughts, even though your common sense tells you that these thoughts are not true.

The common sense in the comforting thoughts is no match for the conditioned discomfort that the discomforting thoughts automatically conjure up. You cannot fight conditioned feelings with logic and logical comforting thoughts.

Comforting thoughts make the contents of discomforting thoughts increasingly different, more fantastic and unrealistic. This is because of generalization.

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

Continuation of article below

Albert had his attention directed towards the rabbit when he was frightened. The rabbit was removed and was not visible to him when he calmed down again. Fear (anxiety) and the presence of rabbit were connected, and calm was connected to the absence of rabbit.

An object or an event may acquire frightening characteristics if it disappears from you when you are frightened and is not with you when you are calming down. What happens is called conditioning, and the thing that acquires the automatically frightening characteristic is called a conditioned stimulus.

The fact that it was other people who removed the rabbit from Albert, and that he himself did not escape is of no importance. Only the fact that the rabbit was with Albert when he had anxiety, but was not there when he was calmed made him frightened of the rabbit. In the same way that Albert became frightened of his favorite rabbit, it is possible to become frightened by natural occurrences like standing in line, riding a bus, going to the movies, or the heart skipping a beat.

When you ruminate, you escape your discomforting thoughts with the help of your comforting thoughts. This leads to feelings of increased discomfort from the discomforting thoughts. As soon as conditioning has occurred, the discomforting thoughts automatically trigger discomfort. They have become conditioned stimuli for unpleasantness.

Escape, avoidances, and other safety-behaviors increase the sensitivity for the things that you escape or insure yourself against. In attempting to disprove, avoid or distract yourself from discomforting thoughts with comforting thoughts, you make them more frightening, painful and unpleasant.

When discomforting thoughts become increasingly discomforting through conditioning, it feels even more pressing to thwart them with more comforting thoughts. This makes discomforting thoughts even more discomforting, and may result in a vicious circle.

Comforting thoughts make you feel more discomfort in the face of discomforting thoughts through conditioning. This makes it feel even more necessary to use comforting thoughts to thwart the increased discomfort. In the long term, comforting thoughts make you feel worse from your discomforting thoughts, and even lead to more discomforting thoughts.

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

Rumination is a chain of thoughts

We perform a lot of behaviors in chains. Anything from putting on a shirt to riding a bicycle, playing the piano or driving are examples of behavioral chains. All major and joint behaviors are behavioral chains where every small, well performed partial behavior leads to reinforcement which triggers the next partial behavior.

Allow me to illustrate a behavioral chain with the vacuum-cleaning example. You vacuum the left corner (R1) and observe with pleasure how the dust bunnies disappear (C1), this proviedes the impulse (S2) for you to move the nozzle to the carpet to vacuum there (R2), and when you hear pebbles rattling in the tube (C2), you are pleased and know that (S3) it is now time to move the nozzle of the vacuum cleaner again.

S1 – R1 – C1/S2 – R2 – C2/S3 – R3 – C3/S4 – R4 – C4/S5 – R5 – C5/S6 – and so on

This formula illustrates how behavior analysis would transcribe such a chain. S is a starter for (R1) which gets is reinforcement (C1). This reinforcement also acts as the trigger (S2) for the next partial behavior (R2) whose reinforcement (C2) acts as the trigger for the next behavior (R3) and so on.

Let us now look at the behavioral chain in ruminating as a chain of behaviors. Ruminating consists of the two parts, the discomforting thoughts (R), and the comforting thoughts (C). The comforting thoughts act both as reinforcements for discomforting thoughts as well as a trigger for thinking the next discomforting thought (R2). Rumination is driven forward by the comforting thoughts.

At the same time that the comforting thought thwarts the discomfort that the discomforting thought brings, which is pleasant, it also triggers the next discomforting thought. The result becomes a behavioral chain, driven by the effort to thwart/ reduce or eliminate discomfort.

We now understand the dynamics of ruminating, but we still do not have an explanation as to why we feel so bad when we ruminate. The answer to this is conditioning.

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

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

cropped-Bild-23.jpgRuminations 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.

Calming thoughts – comforting thoughts

cropped-Bild-23.jpgThe 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.

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