STOP SECONDARY THINKING FOR BETTER MENTAL HEALTH
We are all guilty of it; internalizing our relationships. Our mind seems happy to churn things over, day and night, inventing scenarios and stories on who is right or wrong. Exhausting stuff!
Let’s say you have been criticized or put down by someone and you feel very hurt and misunderstood. The resulting emotions are the kindle to get the fire raging by our churning minds. The problem is, this internal mind churning causes a huge mental imbalance and the longer we engage in churning, the greater the chance of some permanent mental damage.
Neuroscience is the study of how our brain works and the way it works makes us behave in a certain way. There is a part of the brain called the Amygdala that reacts to our emotions and when it gets all fired up. And when this happens we are become unbalanced – we are now crazy mind stuff. Spooky!
So the trick is first to be aware that internalizing upsetting issues is not healthy if we let it go on and on. This awareness should help you have some discipline over your churning mind. Of course the mind will keep trying to get you to create new stories of fairness time and time again. Just tell it to move on and think something else. Don’t entertain it by letting it free range like a wandering chicken.
The next best thing is to consider writing it all down in a story. This is externalizing it. Once it is written down it becomes history and you can now see it unfolded on the outside of your mind.
The human brain is good at internalizing problems in the outside world. We would not have built bridges, developed the motorcar or got to the moon without trying to resolve problems in the real world. But internalizing problems, OR SECONDARY THINKING, in our human relationships will lead to mental health disturbance. What they said, what she said and then what they did, is really useless thinking. Let it go when you witness your brain doing this.
When an upsetting relationship matter happens, work out why you have these strong feelings and emotions, consider what you are going to do with these. Maybe let them sit for a while and then discuss the issue with the other party, or talk with friends for support and then write it all down. In doing so you are now externalizing the hurts, preventing them destabilizing you needlessly.
You are not your mind. Let me prove it. You can observe how much chatter goes on in your mind when you meditate. It is then you can observe how your mind constantly wants to drop in thoughts for you to deal with. Say no to churning and that self-talk is you.
Gerry North is a couple counsellor and also treats anxiety, depression, sexual matters and addiction. Email; firstname.lastname@example.org www.counsellingworkslondon.uk