(theo altenberg creates glamorous visual puzzles!)
Are you stuck in a problem that won’t resolve?
I’m all about creating new and brighter and lighter ways to go through life with more happiness and less of a drag on your energy. Visualization, washing windows to create more clarity, writing in journals… In thousands of blog posts and articles all over the Internet, my penchant for using inspired design to create lighter, brighter lives is a full-scale endeavor.
And yet… there are times when problems don’t seem to resolve so easily. Instead of being an obstacle to resolve, they become habits themselves.
Communication seems to solve most things when it is open and honest. When you seek resolution, you tend to find it, you know?
That said, depending on the way that you talk about problems, they can becomes a theme in your life. It works its way into everything you talk about. It tends to become your calling card. “I am having a hard time finding “xyz”,” is a slogan for an era… a dark and depressing era. I’m sure that’s not what you want or need!
There are constructive ways to talk about problems if you are ready to resolve them. An NBC New report on the self-damnation of complaining explains:
“If I tell you my problem, and the way you listen to me is sort of agreeing with me, then it escalates the feeling, without having a practical solution for it,” says Matthew Anderson, a psychologist based in Boca Raton, Fla. Instead of spilling your problems to those friends who encourage your rants, turn to someone who’ll point you toward a solution.
You can find a therapist or a coach… or turn to close friends and family that can help you to find constructive ways to step out of this thematic downturn. This is really the only way that talking about problems is anything good. Tons of research suggests that this type of “talking through problems” is very helpful, it leads to growth, resolution of anxiety and all kinds of good things.
That’s not the kind of “problem talk” that is a problem.
Addictively talking about the same problems that don’t seem to resolve is quite self-damning. It is also part of the reason that these problems don’t go away- they are highly identified with who you are and the habits you are creating right now as you ruminate over them.
My friends and I have a “no talking about (insert the person, place or thing)” policy after we hash it out and come to workable ways to resolve the problem. It has been life-saving.
Rumination- the obsessive state of being stuck on a problem- will make your problems very solid and amplify their negative effects. Psych Central explains in the very empowering article “Why Ruminating Is Unhealthy And How To Stop” :
“Ruminating is like a record that’s stuck and keeps repeating the same lyrics. It’s replaying an argument with a friend in your mind. It’s retracing past mistakes.
When people ruminate, they over-think or obsess about situations or life events, such as work or relationships.
Research has shown that rumination is associated with a variety of negative consequences, including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, binge-drinking and binge-eating.
Why does rumination lead to such harmful results?
For some people, drinking or binge-eating becomes a way to cope with life and drown out their ruminations, according to Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, Ph.D, a psychologist and professor at Yale University.
Not surprisingly, ruminating conjures up more negative thoughts. It becomes a cycle.”
By the way, this habit of ruminating may destroy your friendships, making them toxic and unbearable. While you might bond with people over your problems, that’s not a healthy or lasting bond to create!
These findings by the American Psychological Association suggest that you may chase away your friends with your obsessive problem talk.
” While ruminators reach out for others’ help more than nonruminators, they report receiving less support.
At first, friends may respond sympathetically. After a while, though, they tend to get frustrated or mad and pull away. Of course, that gives the ruminators something more to ruminate about.
Susan Nolen-Hoeksema offers tips on how to stop ruminating:
Distract yourself with meditation or prayer
Take small steps to begin solving problems.
Reappraise negative thoughts about events or other people’s expectations.
Let go of unattainable goals.
Develop multiple sources of self-esteem. “
Of course, there are a zillion ideas on this blog and all over the bookstore, your local community in organized events to promote inspiration and the arts, and there are lots of professionals who can help you to bolster your self-esteem and worth through your problems.
A simple place to start: truly clean and organize your house.
The act of moving things around in space will free up lots of energy and get you out of your head for a while. Plus, it will bring you more order and space to make great changes!
P.S.: If you’re ready to take the energy around you to the next level, detox the negativity and make space for joy, the Joy Immersion: 30 Day Negativity Detox is here for you.
THE JOY IMMERSION is a commitment to happy-making, mirror-polishing, life-lifting and simple space shifting for 30 days. It’s loaded with lots of actions that can help you detox from your own negative stuff, uncover more of your greatness and light, and see happiness everywhere you look…!
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