It’s 2am and you’re up thinking…
ruminating and thinking and obsessing like a record that’s stuck and keeps repeating the same lyrics over and over again…”I’m a loser. What if it doesn’t work out? I f’d up. I f’d up.”
Obsessing, also called “ruminating,” is over-thinking, repeating unanswerable questions, retracing past mistakes, and it’s dangerous…
I was on the phone with my client Amy, and she shared with me that she had been up all night obsessively worrying about a financial issue. Other times, she admitted, she got stuck in thought loops about weight loss and how her body “should just be different.”
In the past, Amy had used food and “midnight snacking” to help calm these obsessive thoughts. But this time, she did her best to get back to bed, and felt really good about herself for not engaging in the binge eating she used to.
Binge eating is often just a tool some of us use to drown out the obsessive thoughts, an action we can take that distracts us.
But we don’t really need the food. Our bodies may crave food because “she” knows the anxiety from the obsessions will go away if we eat…and overeat…
What we really need, and what I shared with Amy, is ways to stop obsessing.
Rather than thinking of happy, positive events over and over again, which lead us to well-being, self love, and confidence, we humans tend to conjure up more and more negative thoughts in a cycle of self-loathing and anxiety.
Research shows that obsessive thoughts and rumination are associated with binge-eating, binge-drinking, anxiety, depression, and more.
Obsessing and ruminating are the path to feeling helpless and worthless.
It paralyzes your problem solving skills so you only focus on the bad, and never have the confidence, clarity or creativity to think up new solutions.
Here are 11 ways to stop obsessing, and get out of ruminating:
- See it. Just the fact that you’ve realized you’re ruminating (and that it isn’t helping) is the first step. As my G.I. Joe cartoon used to say every Saturday morning, “knowing is half the battle!”
- Laugh about it! Find something funny about the situation. Humor can help you see an issue from a new perspective so you can move on. Imagine you’re in a screwball comedy and this situation is happening to Maya Rudolph or Mae
- Be your friend. What would you say to a dear friend facing the same situation? This can help you treat yourself more compassionately. If you have done something wrong, or made a mistake, forgive yourself as you would with a friend, with the same heart and love.
- Reality check. Focus only on things you have control over. Life is so big and complex, there will always be things we have uncertainty around. Try to take a “pronoia” stance – the idea that the world is on your side and the Universe has your back – the opposite of “paranoia.”
- Accept your sadness or fear. We all have sadness, fear, or anger. If you can accept that this is a part of living, and that it won’t last forever (neither life nor the current emotion), and stop trying to make things different, can you just settle into the emotion and feel it fully? Feelings often dissolve if we allow ourselves to fully feel them.
- Stop it! Ever just say that out loud to yourself? Parent yourself as if you were a kid about to do something really harmful. Stop it, kid! Sometimes we just need a wake up call to jolt us out of a daze.
- Get here now. As the Dali Llama said, “There are only two times you can’t do anything: the past and the future.” Center yourself in the hear and how, and focus on one action you can take for your well-being, rather than trying to answer unanswerable questions like “why did that happen?”
- Get distracted. I know, it’s totally different from #7, but getting distracted can get you off a train of thought at this station, right now! When you engage in activities that fill your mind with other thoughts, preferably positive ones, the obsessive thoughts will fade. What’s something fun, relaxing, pleasurable, or useful you could do right now? What’s an awesome funny movie you could watch to start laughing? Do you have a creative outlet? Have you given yourself pleasure via movement, masturbation, or play lately?
- See your thoughts for what they are: just thoughts. And you are not your thoughts! Thank goddess – I can’t tell you how many times my brain has conjured up terrible images of what could happen to my kid on the way home from school. Examine your thoughts with curiosity and without judgment – what can you learn from this and what is just an emotion?
- One last time, with feeling. Tell yourself “ok, self: I’ll let you think about this one more time but this time we are coming up with a plan about what to do next!” Hear the plan, then take action. None of this is helpful if you don’t act.
- Worry time. Make a plan to obsess for 15 minutes at a specific time in the next 24-hours. You’ve set aside some time for it, and you don’t have to be stuck in these thoughts right now if you booked a spot to dive back into the pit.
As you look towards the possibilities this new way of thinking has for you, including all the personal desires and cravings that call to you, I want to extend my hand and offer myself as a part of your circle of support.
When I’m looking at making a big change, or taking on a new way of being, or when I want something that just feels beyond my ability to create, I will raise my hand, phone a friend, shout out loud “HELP!”
If you are in this space, with visions and hope for a future that glows with self-love, joy, freedom, peace and energy, then I welcome you to go. for. it.
Feel into the image that you see and feel, and seek the support you need to make the transformation real.
As part of my mission to help women (and the men who love us) to live into our desires and natural state of health, I’m doing something different and offering a COMPLIMENTARY 30-minute 1-on-1 personalized Vitality Discovery Session
That’s 30 minutes of personalized, uninterrupted time with me without costing you a cent.
I will help you discover what difference you want to see in your life from dropping the extra pounds and feeling free with food.
AND what’s holding you back from getting what you want.
We’ll intentionally approach these topics with love, kindness, and compassion – those good thoughts that helped my garden flourish! Let’s skip the extra shame and frustration, shall we?
Then, we’ll make a plan to get you what you want, in a new, honorable, unique way. Joy, play, fun, pleasure, and a soulful plan of action.
I know you could spend 30 minutes doing something else – email, laundry, chores, drinking wine and eating chocolate…anything.
Yet, I believe that when you and I spend time in this conversation, we can weave magic and a new way of living in and loving your body.
I have space for 10 Vitality Discovery Sessions, and if you feel called, I hope you’ll take me up on this very special invitation.
Click here to answer a few simple questions. If it feels like a good fit, someone on my team will be in touch in 48 hours after the submission deadline to set up your free session. The deadline is Monday, July 20th.