Letchworth hypnotherapy expert Ian Murton: How To Prevent Rumination And Worry
By Layth Yousif
5th Mar 2023 | Local News
The latest in our Nub News series from Ian Murton, a highly-qualified Letchworth hypnotherapist who specialises in helping people to overcome anxiety and insomnia, so they can look forward to enjoying life with confidence.
This week, Ian focuses on the subject of Rumination and Worry - read on for Ian's expert take.
How to stop rumination and worry
We all find ourselves ruminating from time to time. Rumination helps us to remember things and solve problems, writes Ian Murton
It can be described as obsessive or deep thinking. If we have a project to complete for work, then rumination helps us to keep it at the forefront of our mind. It enables us to think around the subject and come up with a variety of ways to solve our problem. In this instance rumination had a positive effect on our life.
However, not all rumination is welcome. Anxiety is created by negative thoughts. It's not the events in our life that create anxiety but our thoughts around them. The more we think negatively about ourselves, or the situation that we find ourselves in then the more anxious we become. We can then find ourselves trapped in a viscous circle of negative thinking.
Negative thinking becomes an unwelcome habit which has unfavourable effects on both our mental and physical wellbeing. It causes our brain to think that we are under threat and therefore it releases stress hormones into our bodies. Elevated levels of stress hormones are linked to fatigue, weight gain, high blood pressure and insomnia amongst other things.
Why do we think negatively?
We are born with brains that are negatively biased. Evolution has meant that we view things as being threatening in order to keep us safe from them. We didn't want to forget that a grizzly bear is dangerous because if we did and went to stroke it, the result would be disastrous.
Once we start thinking negatively then our mind set changes. Instead of looking out for the things that are going well in our life it will only focus on all the things that are going badly. You actually won't be alerted to anything that's positive in your life.
There's a part of our brains called the Reticular Activating System (RAS). It's like a filter for your brain. You can think of it like a security guard. If you have adopted a negative mind set, then your security guard will only let negative thoughts enter your brain. You may be on holiday, the sun is shining, the sea is emerald and there's not a cloud in the sky, but your focus is on why the lunch service is slow. Your security guard has filtered out all good things around you and only allowed the one negative thought to enter your mind. Which of course you will then start focusing and ruminating on.
Our RAS in action
You can try this experiment to discover your RAS in operation. Write 'Watch out for yellow cars' on a post it note and stick it on the dashboard of your car. At first you will have to consciously remind yourself to watch out for yellow cars, but after a few days your RAS will take over and you can remove the note. Unconsciously it will be scanning the road looking out for yellow cars and when it spots one it will alert you to its presence. Yellows cars only make up approximately 1-2% of cars on the road, so you may not see one if you are on a short journey, but on longer journeys you probably will.
So you can use this knowledge to your advantage. Try to focus on 1 or 2 little things that have gone well during your day. Perhaps you've gone out for a walk, perhaps there's a patch of blue sky amongst the mass of grey, perhaps someone's made you a nice cup of tea. By focusing on the little things that are going well in your life, you train your Security Guard to start letting positive thoughts through and in a matter of weeks you can change your mind set.
When you've adopted a more positive mind set then you won't be troubled with anxious thoughts and you can get back to using rumination to your advantage, helping you to problem solve and move forwards with your life.
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To find out more visit Ian's website here