Friday, April 17, 2015

Goodbye, Worries

As a writer, there are a lot of voices in my head at all times.  But the voice I’m about to talk about isn’t that of one of my characters...it’s that of Bellatrix.  No, not LeStrange, though that is her namesake.  Bellatrix--my Bellatrix--is the nasty, insensitive voice in my head who has made a habit of taking me to the edge and then pushing me off of it, sending me on a spiral of worries and anxieties that I need not have. She's insecurity, stress, and low self-esteem, and she loves to talk. Funnily enough, a lot of other people seem to have a friend just like her living in their mind, too. Do you? Who's your Bellatrix?
Anyway, while sitting and worrying last night about something worthless of mention, Bellatrix chatting away at me, I came to the realization that what I was doing was completely pointless.  Since when do we have to do listen to our Bellatrixes? Why are we letting them make us ruminate all the time?  How is it helping us?  Thinking, planning...those are okay things to do.  But stressing yourself out constantly isn’t.  Angsting over whether or not other people liked your outfit isn’t going to make your life better.  Analyzing everything you do isn’t going to make anything easier.  And it isn't going to make the unfriendly voice in your head get any quieter.
Ruminating is a skill that so many of us seem to have mastered even though it isn’t actually beneficial for us.  We do it so much that there are freaking worry trails engraved in our thought pathways, and, for all the anxiety rumination causes, it doesn’t even lead to anything effective.  I mean, we sit around, paranoid, feeling lost, and in the end what do we have to show for it?  We haven’t solved anything; we’ve just exhausted ourselves (and produced a whole lot of unnecessary cortisol!).  Honestly, beauties, there’s nothing appealing about rumination at all.  To quote Frozen, I really do think it’s time to just “let it go.” Goodbye, Bellatrix!

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Here’s the tough part, though: how do we beat our ruminative habits?  They’re so second-nature!  It’s like trying to stop biting your nails or pulling your hair or kicking your leg up and down while sitting (the latter of which I sort of still do....).  Know that I’m not sitting here writing this entirely rumination-free--I’ve still got worries and anxieties whispering in the back of my mind, and it’s really difficult to quiet them.  Seriously, though--why can’t my thoughts have a volume control remote?  I’d mute everything Bellatrix says (literally, everything!), put all my angst about university on pause,  silence my writer’s block (hey, characters, if you want to start up a dialogue, go ahead!), and crank up the volume on my chem homework (voltaic cells, anyone?).   Alas, my mind isn’t a television set, so I--like everyone else--am just going to have to deal with processing and filtering it on my own.  It’s a bit of a daunting task, maybe, but it’s 100% accomplishable, too.  We’re really good at ruminating, right?  That means we can be just as good at not ruminating!  (The logic behind that is iffy, but let’s go along with it anyway, okay?) The next time you feel yourself falling into the dreaded spiral (*cue dramatic music*), take a step back (literally, if you need to), take a few deep breaths, and try to clear your head.  Look at your situation objectively, starting with a very broad, world-encompassing perspective, and focus on your surroundings.  Where are you?  Then move onto what’s happening, but make sure you analyze it on a more global spectrum.  There are really terrible things going on in our world right now, and there are many seemingly-suffocating problems that we face that hardly even seem mentionable when compared to the struggles of others.  Realizing that our own personal difficulties, while important to us, could often be very much worse facilitates a clearer mindset.  Once at a point where you can look at what’s happening with a better understanding, tell yourself it’s going to be okay.  Just those words.  Okay.  It’s going to be okay.  

And you’re not going to ruminate.
<3 Frances

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