Tag: worrying

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.

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.

What are rumination and brooding

Ruminating is thought-behaviors – cognitive behaviors. The typical rumination is a type of internal struggle, an internal discussion where a person in his or her mind considers the possibilities to affect, alter, predict, understand, and prepare for something. Sometimes the problem being ruminated upon is not solvable through either thoughts or actions.

 

It is possible to control and affect thoughts, something that might be hard to believe for someone who suffers from a lot of ruminating. It feels as if you cannot quit ruminating, even if you really want to. Ruminating has a tendency to return, time and again. Yet the fact remains that we can control both our external actions (the motor behavior) as well as our thoughts (the cognitive behavior). The difference between controlling our actions and controlling our thought can be described accordingly.

We can decide between raising our right arm or not moving it at all. We can decide between speaking or being silent. Motor behaviors are under our absolute control, with the exceptions of reflexes and tics.

When it comes to thinking, the situation is slightly different. We can decide on thinking about a certain thing, but we cannot decide on not thinking at all. However hard we try, we will always be thinking about something. Thus, we cannot restrain ourselves from thinking in the same manner that we can restrain ourselves from moving. This is one of the problems with ruminating. We think during all of our waking time. It is also hard to not think about a certain thing, since we are constantly thinking, and it is easy to skip from one thought to another.

It has been proven difficult – indeed impossible – to decide on not thinking on, for example “a blue elephant”. Indeed, as soon as you try to not think about the blue elephant, a blue elephant appears. This is because when you try to keep track of what to not think about, you automatically think about it.

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.

Everyday ruminations

We have gotten our thinking ability, for better and worse. When humankind lived in forests where wild animals were a constant threat, it was advantageous for our survival to be able to recognize dangers before they became real or close. It was important to have the imagination to visualize a bear behind a big rock, and accordingly to take a detour in order to have a head start, and get away from the bear. It was important to realize dangers ahead of time in order to be able to avoid them.

People who had a vivid imagination and the ability to foresee and imagine dangers before they were apparent and real, had better chances for survival. As long as there was a realization that a situation might be dangerous, there was a possibility to devise protective measures and strategies. Awareness and the ability to imagine dangers made it possible to make use of safety behavior. The ability to conceive of and to predict dangers can be seen as a life-saving cognitive activity in Stone Age humans. Early humankind needed ruminating for its survival. The need for this type of cognitive activity is not as necessary in our times.

We are now living in a world where ruminating is not life-saving in the same way. Our brains, that have evolved to become imaginative, will accordingly make us see dangers that do not exist in our relatively harmless world. We are afflicted by unnecessary, discomforting thoughts that warn us of dangers that are not real dangers. However, since we are in completely different contexts than Stone Age humans, our brains come up with completely different dangers.

We worry about if we will not get the job we applied for, and if we don’t, what will we do? We ponder over what our work colleagues say about us and what we can do to find out, and eventually change what they say. Our thoughts are occupied with what we should do if our washing-machine breaks down, since we do not have enough money to instantly replace it with a new one. We can even ponder over if what we said to Lisa made her sad, and what we in that case can say to her to make her happy. We brood on whether or not there is a life after this one, and if we are living our lives the way we were supposed to. We ponder over the big questions of life, is there a God? what is the meaning of life?

Our ruminations occur in different situations, and often in connection to feelings of worry and anxiety. Ruminations can have different names, depending on the context in which they appear. Sometimes they are referred to as guilty conscience, sometimes as anticipatory anxiety, decision-anxiety in other contexts, and with a different content they can be referred to as religious broodings or a crisis of life. It is the same type of activity going on in our brains, only the content of our thoughts varies. The function of this thinking is always the same, as we try to solve problems with our cognitive behavior. Sometimes the problems are impossible to solve, or they can only be solved through exterior behaviors. But often, ruminating is about trying to solve unsolvable problems in our minds.

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.

What is ruminating?

Ruminations are thoughts. Thoughts are a type of behavior, so called cognitive behavior. Other types of behavior are motor or external behaviors. These behaviors are what we do with our bodies and which are usually visible, while cognitive behaviors occur inside of us and are not directly observable. Autonomous behavior differs from the external/motor behavior in that it cannot be controlled by will, and it is run by an independent nervous system – the autonomous nervous system. Autonomous behavior includes things that happen in our bodies, often without us knowing about them, for example, our heart beat, our blood vessels expanding, sweating, our stomachs processing food and our intestines absorbing nourishment etc. Autonomous behavior includes what happens in our body when we get angry, scared, or excited.

We have three types of behavior. These are external/motor behavior, cognitive/thought-behavior and autonomous/emotional behavior.

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.

A book on ruminations – Why?

To my knowledge, there have been no previous behavioral analyses of rumination and brooding which have resulted in a conscious and clearly described strategy for treatment. I have taken the challenge to explain what keeps ruminating going, despite the fact that people claim that ruminating makes them feel bad, and that they want to be rid of it.

I have tested the methodology which was the result of my analysis on both my own patients as well as on my friends who had everyday ruminations. They claim that it has been helpful. They have also stated that the analysis makes ruminating more understandable, and that they can now understand why they have not been able to give it up earlier. The method which I suggest is not a new one, but rather an application of well-proven behavior therapy methods with scientific support. The exciting part is the application to ruminating – a cognitive (thought-) behavior.

My hopes are that this book will be able to help everyone who is ruminating and brooding to rid themselves of this self-torture. I have aimed at making this book simple and straight forward, so that it can be read and understood by the general public, but I hope that behavior therapists (Cognitive behavior therapists) and other therapists will embrace it as well. The content is wholly based on behavior analysis and principles of learning-psychology.

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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