If you don't stop thinking about a topic or tend to get too attached to worries, these metaphors will help you take a different approach.
Last update: July 03, 2022
Rumination and anguish feed each other. On top of that, rumination acts as a negative reinforcer because it makes us avoid having feelings that we classify as negative. However, not familiarizing yourself and avoiding them at all costs has a very high vital cost. It is therefore convenient face rumination and distress.
The worse the strategies we use against the discomfort that different events can generate, the more we tend to withdraw from other vital scenarios that may be new, genuine and creative.
In an effort to avoid rumination and unpleasant sensations, they adopt them highly disabling long-term escape behaviors: drugs, gambling, compulsive shopping, excessive work or exercise, social isolation, etc.
How to deal with rumination and feelings of distress
We present some metaphors to foster a different mental activity. On numerous occasions, persistent thoughts lead to ruminations that seem to tell us something important about life and about ourselves. In fact, it is almost always a mental noise.
Giving too much importance to rumination makes us “hook” to it in such a way that it seems that we must stop our life and listen to what it tells us. So how to behave?
Unfortunately and fortunately for us, thoughts cannot be eliminated in the same way we remove dust.
Eliminating them entirely does not depend on our will; rather their intensity will be reduced if we relate to them differently. Some metaphors can help.
1. The pieces of an incomplete puzzle for dealing with rumination
This is an exercise that should preferably be performed under the guidance of a mental health professional. Arrange a few medium-sized puzzle pieces.
Reflect on the thoughts that have haunted the mind obsessively and incessantly since childhood. From interpersonal rejections, assumptions about concrete facts, physical complexes, etc.
If you feel inner discomfort, don't start a battle against it. Try to be aware of his influence at certain times. Remember the many moments you avoided, escaped or didn't come to a conclusion simply because you took refuge in rumination.
So, try to put the puzzle pieces together. Unfortunately, few pieces will fit together. These pieces reflect the amount of content in the form of rumination that has determined your life, but has never led you to build anything meaningful.
On numerous occasions, putting aside the idea of being right made it easier to have new experiences which they separated from isolation and passivity.
Even if you don't find the strength to act in this moment, this can change in the future. It is possible to improve the quality of life despite rumination and unpleasant emotions.
2. The metaphor of the treadmill for dealing with rumination
Surely you have happened to use a treadmill. It's relaxing enough, but imagine your walking or running journey is plagued by constant brooding. The aim is to be able to walk at a steady pace, but the daily worries begin to assail you.
You start to think you have a lot of unfinished obligations and feel anxious while on the treadmill. Remember to shop, call someone, or finish a job.
However, the daily goal is to train at least one hour a day. Each time, it gets better. We release endorphins, the body activates and relaxes at the same time. Toxins are eliminated and you feel better for the rest of the day.
But there is no way to stop the assailing thoughts, the hindering guilt and the feeling of not being where you want to be. Thoughts are like an anti-gravity force that moves away from the intended goal.
You can begin to imagine thoughts accompanying you rather than standing in front of you to stop you from walking. Invite them to join in the pleasant activity you are doing.
Reflect with them on the amount of material time you spend each day doing nothing, then focus on how walking or running on the treadmill optimizes your time, not wasting it.
After all, our passage through life is like walking on that treadmill. Our rumination overwhelms us as we do something and sends us back to a place or situation we don't want. We think about accounts, fights or bad memories to escape from a reality that we might like more or less.
Thoughts and emotions can be experienced as aversive, to the point of avoiding, ignoring and neutralizing them. But are you aware of everything that involves getting off the treadmill and living to the fullest?
3. The metaphor of Mr. Potato
Remember Mr. Potato? He has entertained many children for years and continues to do so. A potato-shaped puppet with very suggestive features, which imitate the human face.
Now think, how many times have you tried to shape people according to your way of thinking as if they were Mr. Potato? Instead of physical attributes, in this case you want personality traits that fit your expectations.
Mr. Potato humans to your liking, but this ends up consuming, because you don't allow yourself the chance to be surprised by reality.
Too many assumptions and demands on a human being with defects and virtues, just like us. Mr. Potato never seems perfectly formed, which leads to abandon it.
However, quitting gambling means quitting having fun and avoiding contact with other people. Excessive demands and expectations may be depriving you of authentic experiences with others.