Stop The Bus, I Want To Get Off
I haven’t posted in a while. To be honest I have been struggling, as I do from time to time, with my DID (Destructive Internal Dialogue).
Have you ever had negative thoughts that you churn repeatedly in your mind?
The process of continuously thinking about the same thoughts, which tend to be sad or dark, is called rumination. The more you think about it, churn it over and over in your mind, the more you feel anxious and stressed. “Stop the bus, I want to get off!’
There are days when I struggle with those inner thoughts. My DID sends my mental health on a downward path. Maybe it is something someone has said to you, and you can’t get it out of your mind. It might be thoughts that run through your mind about how you feel about yourself.
Once you get stuck in a ruminating thought cycle, it can be hard to get out of it. If you do enter a cycle of such thoughts, it’s important to stop them as quickly as possible to prevent them from becoming more intense.
So, what can you do to stop these obsessive thoughts from running through your mind?
Here are some of the things that have helped me, although I often struggle to put them in to action.
1. Change The Channel.
When you realise you’re starting to ruminate, finding a distraction can break your thought cycle. Look around you, quickly choose something else to do, and don’t give it a second thought. For me I like to go walking or swimming, but just doing something different can help me change the focus of my thoughts. I have found it helpful to write my diary putting down on paper what I feel is happening to me. This often helps me see the thoughts for what they are and gain a better perspective on things.
2. Christian Mindfulness.
My friend Richard Johnson has great resources that can help you. Why not visit https://christianmindfulness.co.uk/
Richard writes “Mindfulness teachings identify the “inner critic” as a primary contributor to unnecessary suffering. By observing our initial self-critical thoughts, we can watch them come and go. At the point of awareness, we have what is described as a “moment of choice”. A specifically Christian approach can combine mindfulness with metanoia [change of mind]. We can choose a better and kinder thought towards self.
I love the Psalms. They cover every aspect of life, good and bad. Many of the psalms speak of how God is with us during the more challenging aspects of life. I love their honesty. The struggles and the triumphs by some of the great leaders in the Bible have encouraged me during my own struggles and triumphs.
4. Question Your Thoughts
We often ruminate when we think we’ve made a major mistake or when something traumatic has happened to us that we feel responsible for. If you start ruminating on a troubling thought, try putting your repetitive thought in perspective.
Thinking more about how your troubling thought might not be accurate may help you stop ruminating because you realise the thought makes little sense.
5. Understand Your Triggers
Each time you find yourself ruminating, make a mental note of the situation you’re in. This includes where you are, what time of day it is, who’s around you (if anyone), and what you’ve been doing that day. Developing ways to avoid or manage these triggers can reduce your rumination.
A few years ago, I had to take time out from my work as a priest and church leader because of poor mental health. It was in the course of my counselling that I was taught to look out for the triggers that affect my mental health.
6. Talk To A Friend
Ruminating thoughts can make you feel isolated. Talking about your thoughts with a friend who can offer an outside perspective may help break the cycle.
Be sure to speak with a friend who can give you that perspective rather than ruminate with you.
As you read this you might be saying ‘Stop the bus I want to get off’ but remember that you are not alone. There is HOPE.