How to Counteract Rumination (Getting to Know your Habit Coach Part 2 of 4)
Want to know the difference between sadness and depression? Want to know the one thing that can take someone from, “this sucks” to “I hate living”?
It’s not serotonin and it’s not unemployment.
It’s something you, fortunately, have full control over so that you can turn your rock bottom into your breakthrough.
The difference between sadness and depression is rumination.
And in today’s post, I want to talk about the different ways you can counteract rumination over negative thoughts and begin to turn your rock bottom feelings into your breakthrough.
What Exactly is Rock Bottom?
Rock bottom is feeling the lowest you’ve ever felt. Its an overwhelmingly negative feeling often riddled with depression and more specifically hateful thoughts about oneself and one’s life. Rock bottom consists of (1) the existence of negative thoughts, and (2) rumination over those negative thoughts. Out of those two sources, there is only one you have full control over. It’s not negative thoughts (although those can be prevented they are bound to happen to some extent in life). So that leaves us with rumination. See, if you exert control over the way you think about your negative thoughts you can prevent yourself from being overwhelmed by them. But if you let rumination control you, you will spiral out of control and hit rock bottom fast … just like I did.
Use your Mind to Your Advantage
So once you realize you have control over your thoughts, you can begin to use your mind to retrain your brain… you can think differently so better behaviour follows and you end up creating a better life for yourself.
My feeling of rock bottom started around 8 years old. And then at age 14, I had a brain injury that fast-tracked me to the lowest of lows.
“Am I going to be stupid forever?” “Have I always been this stupid?” “Why am I so weird?” “Other people think I’m weird.” “I don’t have any real friends”
…these were literally my thoughts. In a sense, you could say I really became my own bully. And as I thought deeper and ruminated over each of my negative thoughts, just like a virus that 1 negative thought expanded into another 2 or 3 thoughts. And soon, momentary feelings of sadness became an all-encompassing overwhelming feeling of negativity (*side note* Yes, I just used the word “negativity” instead of the word “depression”. That is because I refuse to let me or anyone else describe me using the word “depression” and I now know that that is part of the reason I’ve created strong mental health endurance).
So instead of ruminating on negatively as I did, I want you to use your mind to re-think your negative thoughts. Start doing this by keeping track of your negative thoughts. write them down and for every negative thought, counteract it with a positive thought. This exercise is all written out in detail in a past blog post which you can get to by clicking right here.
So once I learned what realistically positive things to tell myself when negative thoughts entered my mind, I was able to turn off the rumination.
Yes, negative thoughts still enter my mind, multiple times a day sometimes. But as soon as they do, I never let myself think deeper on any of those thoughts. Sometimes they enter and I have a little pity party, but then I make sure they leave.
Now you also have to remember that with rumination over negative thoughts, comes a decline in your mood baseline…
It’s Not Permanent, Although it Feels it will be …
Because of the rumination, I was constantly fluctuating between sad and very sad. The constant waves of sadness created what felt like permanent negativity and a rapidly declining mood baseline.
In response to this negative mood baseline, I figured I need to do things to avoid it from happening; I thought that by becoming more “successful” I would stop being sad all the time. In other words, I figured I needed to avoid feeling sad by getting higher grades, working harder, volunteering more, basically doing anything and everything that would make me look like super Ella. I was constantly trying to over-achieve and take-on a million and one projects to prove to people that I could actually be successful. And my resume really said it all: I was volunteering, playing sports, working, exercising… literally doing everything I could to prove to people that I could be counted on. I also figured I needed to do more things to compensate for what I felt my brain injury took away from me, like my intelligence and athletics.
Now you might be able to guess I never avoided any feelings of sadness. But as I tried, I became incredibly stressed by the amount of sh*t I was doing in my life. I had no idea had to control it all and basically spiraled out of control, to say the least.
I took a bunch of time off work and from school because I mentally had no idea how to function in life. That was the exact turning point where I realized that something needed to change.
Stop the Rumination
I discovered that I could not avoid sadness. But I could at least stop myself from becoming overwhelmed by stopping the rumination over my sad and negative thoughts. So to do that, I made self-care my lifestyle. That meant every day was #SelfcareSunday and my life was soooo peaceful and relaxing.
This worked out for a little but then I noticed my productivity plateaued; I felt lazy and then began ruminating over those thoughts! Ugh what was I missing?! So I started analysing the components of resilient and successul people, then realised the answer: The Personal Growth Loop. Self-care + self-development + self-discipline.
And that is exactly what I try to teach people now. The PG Loop is my ultimate formula for counteracting rumination and turning your rock bottom into your breakthrough moment. It is a formula that can be manipulated to become completely unique to your personal growth (hence the name). This formula is the secret to a fulfilling life and it must be considered before creating or breaking any type kind habits. Because creating this formula in your own life is an incredibly unique process, it cannot be taught with a one-size fits all blog post. Rather, has to be done 1:1.
To create this formula in your life, you have to do a deep-dive into your unique feelings, your unique experiences, and your unique goals. I developed this formula and educate myself on it daily, so if you ever want to start turning your rock bottom into your breakthrough, you can book a free consultation by clicking here.
What I’ve Learned …
There are so many other components of my rock bottom that I am going to share more in future posts from now on. I want each of you to know that you aren’t alone when you feel like you’re at your rock bottom, because at one point (and still at some points) I am right there with you.
I think hitting rock bottom is necessary in any type of coaching or teaching or mentor-ship because you actually have proof that what you teach, works.
The fact that I’ve learned how to be resilient to rock bottom-type feelings tells me I’m on the right track. Which is why next week’s post is going to be about how to use your mind to be resilient to poor mental health.
If you guys have any personal questions that you’d like me to answer in future videos, then leave them in the comment section below. As always, I hope you have a great day and don’t forget to make this the year of you.
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As always, I hope you have a great day and don’t forget to make this the #YearofYou!
Disclaimer: I am not a medical or mental health professional. Any information and content on my website is not a substitute for professional health advice.