Article 1

It is also helpful to discriminate between thinking

that is useful problem.-solving versus unhelpful rumination that goes around and around without making progress . Spotting the difference can help you to step out of rumination earlier and avoid getting stuck. Moreover, comparing helpful versus unhelpful thinking about a personal difficulty can give you clues as to what you can do to address problems more constructively.

Perhaps when you are thinking more helpfully

, or being more considerate and encouraging to yourself, you might be asking yourself different questions( such as ‘ How’ questions) . It would then be a good idea to build those approaches into your thinking more often as part of an’ If….then’ plan. That is, you are learning from your own experience to make your thinking more effective. For example, Sadie could learn that asking ‘Why do I not get recognition at work?’ is not very helpful , and that it is more fruitful to ask ‘ What can I do to get recognition?’

There are three rules of thumb that can help you decide whether repeated thinking about something negative is helpful or not .

Article 2

First rule of thumb: Is this an unanswerable question?

Are you focusing on a question to which most people would find it hard to give a definite answer? Is it the kind of question where the possible answer keeps changing , or is too open – ended? If it is, then it may not be helpful to keep thinking about it. This is particularly the case when it comes to understanding people or emotion, and when asking existential and philosophical questions{ for example, Why me?) . Rather than spending time wondering about the reaction of the other person before a difficult conversation , it may be easier to think about what you really want to say.

Second rule of thumb: Stop thinking of it leads nowhere after a period of time.

Keep in mind how long you have been ruminating

How long does it normally takes to come up with a useful answer or makes a decision? People report that effective thinking mostly leads to an answer within about half an hour of concentration , whilst unhelpful rumination , can go for hours without leading to a solution.

Third rule of thumb: Ask yourself’ Are these thoughts leading to a decision or action? ‘ If not , your thought are probably too abstract and unhelpful.

If your thought about a problem just lead to more thoughts

, then you are probably being too abstract and you are likely to end up in a spiral of rumination and inactivity . However when your thoughts lead to a response , whether that it a plan or a decision or some kind of action , then it is much more likely to be helpful thinking rather than unhelpful rumination


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