This week has felt like a major mental slog trying to get through all the various stressors that presented. Communication breakdown and my tendency towards jumping to conclusions has left me feeling like a wet rag doll, unable to get up off the couch and do anything to help myself. Interpersonal stress is the area where I tend to absorb and get stuck in a rut of trying to work it out in my brain and come up with a tidy conclusion. This is faulty thinking, logic tells me that. Trying to sort anything out by thinking alone rarely works, it just makes it feel bigger and worse and in this case, it got me further down the rabbit hole.
There are many things a person can do after a week of stressful situations and feeling trapped in your own thinking. Sometimes you may not know you are trapped, that does happen. But when you catch yourself and you want to move on from the subject, you can try this visualization exercise.
Imagine writing down the stressful story you keep repeating to yourself on a post it note. You can think of the main hypothesis that is driving your thinking, for example “I do everything around the house” or “they don’t respect me at my job”. Whatever it is you are stuck in, visualize a summary statement. Write it down on your sticky note. Closing your eyes may make it a bit easier…as you see the words in your minds eye on your sticky note, ask yourself if this story is useful to you right now? Ask yourself if repeating it over and over is helping? Can you prove it is even true? Just observe the thought on your post it – is it useful? Can I even prove what I am thinking? Check in again. Your thoughts may try to get hooked back into the entire story and try to drag you down again but see if you can visualize the main point and decide if it useful to keep repeating it.
Now visualize tearing off the stick note with your story. Visualize crumpling it up in to a ball or tearing it up. You have a chance at a fresh start, a new story. What words do you need to hear to move on right now? It doesn’t have to fix the initial issue and in fact, it doesn’t even have to be related. What do you need to hear? Some statements that I have used that help me move forward and start again include “I don’t want to waste my precious energy and time on this anymore”, “I am okay”, “It’s not in my control so let it be”. See if there is a statement that feels better and helps you move on.
Even if we fall into old patterns and we are disappointed to get hooked, we always have a chance to start over or reset. Every minute, every hour, every day is a chance to start over. Now make your second sticky note real, write down your final statement and put it somewhere to remind you again and again.
This is one way to start over.