I know life is tough
I know people are mean to you
They just do not get the point
They are just offensive and abusive and you have to see them everyday
You have to put up a smiling face and force yourself to be polite and courteous
I know you undergo failure after failure
The struggle is insane and tedious
Everything around you zaps the life out of you
You eventually lose meaning for the goal you are striving for…
I know you have face a very traumatic incident
No one can understand the magnitude of the damage unless they have faced it
People are judging you for everything
You bet they wouldn’t last 5 seconds had they been in your shoes
People do not understand, they are complacent
They do not have priorities or passion
They do not feel for the things with such intensity as you do
They pry a lot and you love your personal space
They are trampling on your freedom
Sometimes, you just hate the world and everyone who is a part of it
You feel like running away to some serene place
You do not want to socialise
You do not give two cents about what others think of you
how your life should be
How you should behave
Yet, haven’t you spent about 90% of the time thinking and hating on others?The same ‘others’ whom you consider as tasteless, manner-less, inappropriate, disgusting and not worth your time? Then why are they on your mind constantly making you feel angry and worthless?
Well, you, buddy haven’t moved on! Now, before you think this article is hate driven or offensive, please understand the difference. It is perfectly usual to be depressed and sad after a traumatic life incident; getting bogged down and disappointed after being stampeded by failures; being irate at people or incidents that hurt you a lot; sometimes hating yourself and feeling worthless.
These are common reactions to negativity and failure you meet with, everyday. But, we are so overwhelmed and preoccupied that we do not know where to draw the line. I would like to stop for a moment and again repeat that it is the magnitude and the intensity of your behaviors I am talking about.
We keep brooding about it; talking about it incessantly to people after people; associate it with every other positive and negative incident that has happened to us; use it to gain attention from others; wallow in self-pity; use it as a marketing strategy to promote yourself to others and what not?
Tell me honestly, are you trying to create a Shock Value for yourself? It is popular among music artists and bands who through their demeanor or actions provoke a strong reaction of disgust or anger or some kind of negative emotion in people to get more views and ratings, just to increase brand presence.
You lose your friends (because it is humanly possible to listen only till a certain point and their tolerance threshold breaks.) You even subject them to sorrow and depression
You affect your family ( They get subjected to ‘caregiver stress’, a condition caused due to the emotional and physical strain of care-giving by your support systems).
You can splurge only a limited amount on therapy and mostly taking long term therapy ends up becoming a financial stress on the person too. Therapy can help you only if you are willing to change too.
You do not make a positive impact on society
You do not emanate a positive aura or an image to others
You lose trust in yourself and others
Sometimes you might even start displacing your anger and off-loading on somebody else and that is very destructive.Is this going to help you in the long run? You could answer that yourself. If it isn’t then please continue to read.
Let me introduce you to this term Rumination in Psychology.
Rumination is defined as the compulsively focussed attention on the symptoms of one’s distress, and on its possible causes and consequences, as opposed to its solutions. Rumination is similar to worry except Rumination focuses on bad feelings and experiences from the past, whereas worry is concerned with potential bad events in the future. Both rumination and worry are associated with anxiety and negative emotional states.
Excerpt taken from the book ‘Psychology: Contemporary Perspectives’, I edition, study Guide by Cram 101 Textbook Reviews.
Trapnell and Campbell ( 1999, p.297) defined Rumination as ‘self-attentiveness motivated by perceived threats,losses or, injustice to the self.’
Excerpt taken from the book, ‘ Applied Positive Psychology – Integrated Positive Practice’ by Tim Lomas, Kate Hefferson, Itai Ivtzan
Rumination is usually defined as repetitively focussing on the symptoms of distress, and on its possible causes and consequences. Extensive research on the effects of rumination, or the tendency to self-reflect, shows that the negative form of rumination interferes with people’s ability to focus on problem-solving and results in dwelling on negative thoughts about past failures. Evidence from studies suggests that the negative implications of rumination are due to cognitive biases, such as memory and attentional biases, which predispose ruminators to selectively devote attention to negative stimuli.
Excerpt from the book, ‘Psychology of Gender’, IV Edition by Cram101 Textbook Reviews.
Rumination and worry in excess is going to be self-destructive and harmful to others as well.
Negativity affects generations:
You are constantly thinking and talking about something negative. It occupies so much space in your life that you have no energy or mental space to think of ways around it, to overcome it or anything positive you could do to neutralize the negativity that you are breeding within you and around you.
You are so consumed with it that it has become a habit, it has become a part of your personality and worst part is you are going to hand it down to your off- springs when these qualities pass down as traits embedded in their DNA. Now, do you really want to sow THAT seed?
Bio-Psychology of Emotions:
Did you know our emotions are conceptualized in the brain?
As soon as we receive a sensory input from the environment – heat, pain, pleasure etc., this communicated to the brain through the sensory nervous system. There are certain parts of the brain that receive these inputs; try to associate this input with past memories and general learning and cognition areas; and collectively the input is appraised and defined as either a “threat” or not. Limbic System is the feeling center for emotions (consisting of various parts of the brain) – it appraises them as either negative or positive.
Then the brain triggers the endocrine system that releases hormones or the chemical messengers that transmit the messages to the organs in your body to prepare yourself for the situation.
These hormones carry the messages and that affects what emotions you feel. If your brain perceives ‘fire’ as a threat regardless of context, it would appraise ‘fire’ negatively at all situations and labels it as a threat. Now this message is transferred to the endocrine system and it releases the hormones that carry messages that makes us feel emotions of fear and sadness. The hormones prepare the body to respond to ‘fire’ as threat and what you are supposed to do when you face a threat to yourself. People who are phobic to fire, flee from it always perceiving any kind of fire as a threat.
Do you see how ruminating about a certain event over and over again can lead to psychotic illness and other mental illnesses like Phobia?
There are many hormones in the body but some are very important in affecting our emotions. Norephinephrine is secreted during panic and emergency, it in turn provokes the stress hormone to prepare the body to be more alert and reactive. Too much of this hormone increases blood pressure. Epinephrine arouses extreme emotions like fear, anger, or amusement to various situations. Serotonin calms the body and subdues depression. Low amounts of Serotonin increases aggression in a person.
Let us look at a cycle:
You work hard and you have a failure
Decoded as something negative, your brain puts it in the negative compartment
You keep ruminating over and over about how horrible you felt about this certain event (incident no.1)
Based on the judgement, the brain obviously would make you secrete hormones that are going to arouse more negative emotions.
You feel miserable, angry, sad, painful
This information is now a new incident where you obsessed about a past incident that was harmful to you and in the present scenario you felt miserable about it ( incident no.2 )
This incident no. 2 also gets associated with incident no.1 and registers itself as another horrible memory which going to trigger a lot of hormones and they will trigger negative emotions.
Basically you just created a junkyard of negative emotions in your brain. Can’t you see how boring and pathetic it is for me to type and for you to read all this?
Breaking the cycle:
The first step in healing is to become conscious of what is happening with you. Once you introspect, you are aware of what is going on within you and around you. Then you either accept that it is harmful and you have to change your present situation or you deny everything and continue to be as you are.There are a lot of ways of combating Rumination. It takes a lot of positivity and effort from your side.
If you are realistic enough to comprehend and acknowledge that yes situations and circumstances around you are disastrous and unpleasant. They are excruciatingly painful BUT you can learn from them.
Now that you have faced an x or a y situation, and you are bound to face it again, how would you react differently so you can take control of the situation?
Or if it is a problem that is beyond your capacity to manage what are the ways in which you can prepare yourself for it at least in minimum levels to mitigate the damage, the disaster is going to have on you?
When would you need to see a friend or a family person?
When is it necessary to take therapy and professional help?
All these constructive ideas would help you address your problems and help you move toward the path of solutions instead of being stuck in a rut just thinking about the problem.
Your creative and problem solving skills are tapped by the brain only when you focus on creativity and solutions. The brain would immediately prepare itself to equip faculties work towards finding solutions else your brain would be helping you focus on negative emotions and labeling incidents as horrible and disastrous forever. Breed positive emotions and equip yourself to cope with situations instead of making yourself helpless.Learn to train your brain to help you instead of destroying you.
There are times when you can not help feeling depressed, hurt or angry but once you realize that you have been feeling such negative emotions too often, consciously make a decision to become more positive. Give yourself a break and try to hatch out creative solutions to these problems. They are only going to make you stronger and healthier.
The best help you can do is help yourself first.
“The only time you fail is when you fall down and stay down.”
Disclaimer: All the characters I have quoted or mentioned about, are not fictitious as I am myself a living example of all that I have spoken.