“You mainly feel the way you think” –Albert Ellis.
keep our spleen healthy since through digestion it extracts energy (qi) from the food we eat to build immunity, to keep things moving freely for the proper functioning of the other organs, and to help to regulate emotions. Therefore, If the spleen is not working correctly, illness can arise in our bodies.
You might be wondering, what is so bad about overthinking and worrying? it is all about problem solving, right? Not necessarily, the reason why people do it is because they feel that by dwelling on a problem (or an issue that may come up in the future) they are acting on the problem by trying to solve it, then gives them the sense of taking action towards a situation that is distressing them, which relieves the distress in the short-term. However, when you replay a problem over and over, you are engaging in a process called rumination. Rumination means that you continuously think about the various aspects of situations that are upsetting you. It is true that problem solving, and planning are part of overcoming a difficult situation. However, people who ruminate tend to take it too far and for too long. They often
even continue thinking about the situation even after they come up with a solution or stress about it after the event is over. And others ruminate so much that they don’t solve the problem at all. This is when overthinking becomes a problem because if you ruminate for hours or days, your mood will be impacted during this time and even long after. There are even people that ruminate over things that happened years back. Talk about letting the past control and ruin your beautiful present!
To make matters worse, research suggest that people that tend to ruminate are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression.
Worrying is a self-perpetuating emotional state – the more you worry, the more you find things to worry about. Worrying also a generates stress, and puts your body in the “fight or flight” state. This means that your heart rate has increased, stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol are flowing through your bloodstream, and the activity in the part of your brain responsible for rational thinking has been reduced. Therefore, in this state it is difficult to think clearly or logically and find the appropriate solution to your problem.
It is true that we often can’t change the situation or event that is causing us stress or distress, but we can change our response to it. So how do we change our response to overthinking? Well, it sounds too easy to be truth, but one technique you can do when you find yourself ruminating is to stop and distract yourself! I mean fully distracting yourself by performing an activity that keeps your mind fully occupied like solving a puzzle, reading a book, or exercising (if you are not thinking about the problem while exercising). Make sure the activity you are doing is something you enjoy, otherwise you won’t be able to keep your attention away from whatever is concerning you.
Finally, it is essential to be patient and kind to yourself while you are learning to be aware you are ruminating and stopping yourself. Awareness like any other skill takes practice to cultivate. And Rumination like any other activity is a bad habit and your old habits will keep persistently reasserting themselves while you are trying to change. There is a neurological reason for this, your habits have created well-established neuropathways conditioned to fire off in certain situations. Additionally, pain and negative emotions activate the reward centers of the brain, such as the beta-endorphin and dopamine pathways, causing unconscious addiction to pain and negative emotions like self-pity, anger, stress, and guilt.
Yes! You read correctly! We can be addicted to our negative emotions. Therefore, unless you are putting effort and intention to change on a consistent basis, those neuropathways will pull you back to your old ways of thinking and behaving. This is why it is common to regress or have setbacks while you are in the process of making changes. However, don’t get discouraged and try and try again. Change does not happen overnight. This means you can’t just do an exercise here and there. If you want lasting results, you must be consistent, and create new habits. You are not the only one that struggles to find peace. Every single positive people that I know - including spiritual masters, that live a peaceful life views happiness and peace as a daily practice. It is a state of mind and a way of being that needs to be constantly cultivated.
Remember, even though change takes time, it is not impossible.
Until next week,
Dr. Toni is a Best-selling author, Holistic Health Practitioner (HHP) & Registered Herbalist in San Diego, California. She holds a PhD in psychology, and a Clinical Herbalist Certificate, an HHP certificate and is a Certified Trainer in the Success Principles. In private practice as a HHP she has been influenced by a variety of clinical modalities and orientations, and by the diverse life experiences of her clients. Toni’s approach to healing is holistic & transpersonal. In her work, she integrates the principles of Eastern and Western nutrition, herbololgy, energy medicine, Buddhist mindfulness and personal counseling to assist others in working through their physical or emotional blocks to attain optimal health.