We don’t like to lose control, lose an argument or lose the people, beliefs, lifestyle and things that make us feel safe, powerful, needed and loved.
As a adults, we can exhibit child-like responses and pout feeling annoyed, angry or sad when we don’t get our way or feel misunderstood. Others may become depressed or exhibit default impulsive behaviors like blaming others or excessive shopping, eating or drinking.
Family and relationships mean so much to me. As a wife, mother, big sister, friend, auntie, Godmother, etc. I know that I can worry too much about the people I love. I’m writing this because I realized that whenever my life got crazy, sad or hurtful, I shifted from too much shopping to another unhealthy way of coping. I began to notice that I would stare at the ceiling ruminating. The word “ruminate” derives from the Latin for chewing cud. Whenever we get stuck repeatedly thinking about a stressful situation, we are ruminating. The habit of ruminating is (chewing) turning the matter over and over and over again in our mind. It’s like rewinding the tape and playing it again and again.
. Where did I go wrong? . Why doesn’t he/she act right?
. Why is this happening to me? . What could I have said or done differently?
. How can I fix this? . How can I make him/her love me back?
. When will they listen to me? . What can I do to prove my love/worthiness?
I used play and rewind repeatedly my favorite songs by the Whispers, Luther, Kem, Maze or BeBe Winans. I kept them in rotation learning every word allowing my mind and emotions to drift and escape from my reality.
Having the blessed opportunity to inspire and help others, has also given me the opportunity to learn about myself. Helping and healing myself and others requires the courage to tell the truth and become aware of our default coping behaviors. We can reduce our stress and be more resilient from setbacks as we learn to cope in healthy ways.
I was inspired to write this blog today because I caught myself staring at the ceiling again ruminating about several situations in my life where I feel sad, where I feel misunderstood and one where I feel I have no control to stop a loved one’s pain. Ruminating eats away at your confidence, faith, self-esteem, peace of mind, gratitude and ability to solve or cope with life situations. I have read studies that when men ruminate (overthink) a situation, they are more likely to turn to alcohol or drugs.
Author Dr. Susan Nolen-Hoeksema states that women are significantly more likely than men to fall into overthinking and depression. As women, we are more likely to analyze and think too much more about relationships than men. Food, alcohol and depression creates a “Toxic Triangle” that can destroy your faith, self-esteem, relationships and emotional/mental health.
Let me be your cautionary tale if you find yourself stuck overthinking about something or someone. I find there are at least five (5) emotional traps to avoid. They are emotional quicksand that will pull you down into a dark place of guilt, shame, low-self-esteem, self-loathing, sickness, doubt, debt, drama, dysfunction, defeat and depression.
I’m learning everyday to recognize my triggers, body language, default thinking and old tapes in my head that I have to fix, rescue, control, love, be accepted/understood or succeed in every situation. Anything in excess is unhealthy. These are the 5 “Too Much” traps to moderate and pray for wisdom, discernment, courage and discipline.
1) over think
2) over worry
3) over procrastinate
4) over do things (e.g. give too much, stay too busy, signing up for too many projects, feeling you have to fix, rescue or help others – too accommodating, people pleasing)
5) impulsive (overeat, over drink, over spending)
by Jewel Diamond Taylor, http://www.DoNotGiveUp.net