View profile

Why Thinking the Same Thoughts Doesn't Work

Let me know if this sounds familiar. You're stuck in a rut. You're in quite "a pickle," if you will.
Why Thinking the Same Thoughts Doesn't Work
Let me know if this sounds familiar.
You’re stuck in a rut.
You’re in quite “a pickle,” if you will.
And to get out you, you think, If only I think about this more, I’m sure to find a way out.
Have you ever thought like that?
I have.
And what I learned is this: it usually does not work!
Here’s why.

Thoughts become things.
Thoughts become things.
Get Out of Your Thinking Rut
When you think the same way, you’re going to get the same thoughts you’ve already been having.
Thanks, Captain Obvious.
But this is what I mean. Common thoughts are linked to common associations. When you think common thoughts, the ones you’ve already been having, you’re just moving around on a hamster wheel of associations. The structure of the hamster wheel makes up the structure of your thoughts.
You feel like you should be making progress, but you’re actually just a hamster running in the same place. How frustrating.
The key is NOT to keep thinking the way you already have. It’s to come up with new thoughts, which lead to new associations.
New thoughts help you break free. They get you out of the rut you’re in.
This is how it works.
If I want to understand why my coworker gave me a strange look when I entered the office, it will do me no good to ask myself, over and over, “Why did she look at me that way? What did I do?”
This kind of thought loop typically leads to similar thoughts.
Thoughts like,
“Did I make her mad?”
“What am I wearing? Is this a stupid shirt?”
“What could I possibly have done?”
This is where new thoughts are helpful–thoughts that are completely different from the old, tired thoughts that are serving no purpose but to keep me down in the dirt.
Instead, it’s better to think this.
“Well, that was odd. Maybe she wasn’t looking at me. I’m sure it’s nothing. I wonder if she’s having a good morning?”
Those new thoughts are not judgmental. They’re inquisitive. As you can see “inquisitive” is a totally different mode of operation for the mind than “judgmental.”
It’s the difference between staying on a train moving down one track across the country–and hopping off and deciding to explore the community through the train is moving.
It’s a totally different way of thinking. And that’s the point.
So if you’re stuck on something, it’s totally fine. We all get stuck.
What you should not do is continue to let the train track of your mind burn deeper grooves into your brain.
Hop off. Try a different approach.
It’s only by going a different way that you can step out of the rut you’re in.
This sounds simple. It is–and it isn’t. Like anything, this takes practice. I hope you’ll practice. It’s worth it.


P.S. I used this app when it was called Pacifica. Now it’s Sanvello, but it still seems incredibly effective for changing anxious thinking. Give it a try if you’re stuck in a mental rut.
Did you enjoy this issue?
Become a member for $10 per month
Don’t miss out on the other issues by Jordan Brown - Mental Health Newsletter Writer, Poet, Social Worker, and Advocate
Jordan Brown - Mental Health Newsletter Writer, Poet, Social Worker, and Advocate

The Mental Health Update is an inspirational mental health newsletter featuring authentic mental health articles that make mental health issues like depression, anxiety, OCD meaningful AND accessible.

This is different from typical mental health newsletters.

It's not just an Anxiety Email Newsletter or a Depression Email Newsletter - It's timeless mental health wisdom and inspiration to start your day in a thoughtful, uplifting way.

I was tired of other mental health newsletters blasting out generic lists of links. And I was especially tired of other mental health newsletters not focusing on the everyday reality of mental health issues.

So I decided to come up with a mental health newsletter I wanted to read.

This health newsletter is like a caring friend that just wants you to feel better.

Mental health awareness articles don't need to be all doom and gloom and filled with jargon.

With The Mental Health Update email newsletter, you'll get practical mental health information, tips, and new ways to view the world.

We discuss topics like anxiety, depression, OCD, the mental health to mental illness spectrum, social and communication skills, and much, much more.

This is what a few subscribers had to say about The Mental Health Update:

"If you haven't yet subscribed to Jordan's mental health newsletter, you absolutely should. It's chock full of good stuff to read and will help make your day better. Not unlike a daily vitamin for your mental health and soul..." - JR

"Encouragement from someone who has “been there” when it comes to mental health struggles. Comes in the form of stories and simple, actionable tips for reframing and working with - and through - your issues. One of the few newsletters that has survived my ruthless inbox decluttering sprees. Highly recommended!" - Kelila

"Jordan's mental health update is a welcomed email in my inbox. It often provides me with a chance to break from the mundane tasks of working in an office and take a moment for myself to hear his thoughtful and well put together thoughts on many aspects of mental health. As someone who works in the psychology field it's often a nice reminder and way of grounding myself to all the great work that's going on and the journey we all must take in supporting mental health. Thank you Jordan!" - Rob

I take my no-spam policy very seriously. I consider it a mental health obligation to not abuse your trust.

You can manage your subscription here
If you were forwarded this newsletter and you like it, you can subscribe here.
Powered by Revue
Missoula, MT