I tend to call it “going around the mulberry bush.” My therapist calls it circular thinking. But the best analogy, the one that truly tells you how irritating repetitive negative thinking can be, is “like a broken record.”
To those of you too young to have heard a record skip, trust me. The grating sound sets you on edge just like this destructive thought process.
Negative thoughts start zooming around in your brain, one begets another, and pretty soon they are following each other in a maddening loop that keeps playing over and over. The loop invades your days, and it wakes you from slumber at 3 a.m.
“What if I never get better. What if I can’t get my life back. What if I can’t keep my job. What if I lose my house and savings because of out-of-pocket medical costs. What if my spouse/partner/friends abandon me? What if…”
I have two words for you from the great comedian and t.v. therapist Bob Newhart: Stop it. (Sure, this video is tongue-in-cheek and there’s certainly a time for professional therapy. But sometimes you can change the perambulations of your mind all by yourself. And humor definitely helps.)
Cultivate the mental discipline to cut those thoughts off with one swipe of a magic scythe. Because you don’t have room in your life for stress right now.
To recover fully, you need more than medication to kill the bacteria; you need a strong immune system. Do all you can to avoid stress. Start by watching this video. Hopefully you’ll enjoy a laugh.
Then, listen for Bob Newhart’s voice whenever you catch yourself pointlessly repeating worries. And just stop it.