“I swear, you live in your head.”
“Cheryl, stop overthinking things.”
“You are such a cerebral person, Cheryl.”
“You’ve analyzed this to death, Cher.”
“You need to get out of your head.”
These are true words spoken by good friends this year, more so in the last couple of months. I’ve known it to be true, but forcing yourself not to dwell on something is like a kid forcing himself not to fall asleep: the opposite of the desired effect usually results. Yesterday, I received the following article in my inbox from Real Simple: 6 Steps to Stop Overthinking Your Life. I rolled my eyes yet clicked it open and began reading. Reading about people called ruminators. Reading about me.
The strategies given by the article’s contributors for overcoming rumination make sense. Shift your focus. I said to myself upon reading that, “I’ve tried that, but it never works!” Uh, that’s because my idea of shifting focus is taking a nap. Perhaps if I tried this strategy the way it was meant to be carried out, I would find a happy side effect of reading more books or writing more. Speaking of writing, I’ve known this to be a wonderful cure for rumination in the past, and I’ve even had the inclination to do so recently, but I think I’ve developed a slight anxiety about putting my feelings in writing – Will my journals really remain private? What will eventually happen to those journals? Will my friend who promised to burn them when I die keep her word? I know that this is a silly paranoia; still it often prevents me from relying on the outlet of writing, so I’m thinking maybe a password-protected file on my computer. And a challenging book that requires all of my attention for total comprehension – maybe a book in Hebrew even. Shifting focus and writing. These are the techniques I’m going to try in 2012 in an attempt to finally let go of – or at least do less – ruminating.
What do you want to let go of in 2012?