Tag Archives: thoughts

7 Steps to Help Those who Ruminate.

Sometimes I think I am like a cow. I ruminate over things.

15248194507_2995f253e1_o-1 7 Steps to Help Those who Ruminate.

 

Much of my life I have spent time working on farms, I even have a University degree in agriculture. I humorously call this my degree in pastoral care.

Cows sit out in the field and chew the cud. With their mouth’s moving from side to side they chew food that has already eaten. Cows and sheep are ruminants and have 4 stomachs, so they eat their fill then they chew it later, colloquially known as ‘Chewing the cud’.

Rumination according to Wiki is defined in this way

Rumination is the compulsively focused 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 other negative emotional states.

Do you ruminate?

I know you don’t re chew your food, well at least I hope you don’t, but do you go over and over issues all the time?

What I had been taught all my life was not true: experience is not the best teacher! It’s what you do with that experience that matters. John Maxwell

I think we all have a tendency to do this, some more than others, but if you are always looking back then you are going to stumble in any efforts to going forward.

It’s like we chew over things. Round and around and around. ‘Woulda’, ‘coulda’ and ‘shoulda’ are echoed self talk sound bites leaving you malnourished of hope.

Why do we ruminate?

  1. To feel like we are doing something about the problem. We want to change a situation, so we keep going over and over and over it, looking for a solution. This feeling of doing something can just be a subtle downward delusional spiral to the depressing reality is that there is nothing you can do. The brain, in trying to resolve its tension, looks for the answer. Any activity, including rumination, feels good. We hate ambiguity, that sense of uncertainty and lacking of clarity. We want to solve the mystery.  So like a good detective on T.V. we hunt out the clues to solve the murder and eliminate the mystery. Know that you will never know everything and chasing the past for purpose is like chasing the clouds for pleasure. It will leave you exhausted and lost.
  2. To Self deprecate. Perhaps it is a way of punishing ourselves. That below the surface of our thinking there is a deeper trail of chewing. ‘I did those things, so now I have to punish myself’… ‘This is the consequence of my actions’ … ‘This is the reaping of what has been sown’. So we stew in this cud as punishment. Any sense of forgiveness, grace or loving fathers embrace (Story of Loving father – Prodigal son) is not allowed to touch our lips.
  3.  To potentially learn. We chew over the situation to glean some wisdom from the situation. We consider experience is the best teacher yet only considered experience teaches us wisdom. Rumination can be helpful, as long as it leads to action and not just stewing and

So what are you going to do with that experience.

Are you just going to keep ruminating on it forever?

7 steps to Help those who Ruminate.

  1. Write it out. Get what you’re ruminating in your mind out of the head and on to some paper. I think writing in a journal is one of the most powerful of all mental health disciplines you can have. Here is a link to some a post I have written on journaling.

    Learning to write is learning to think. You don’t know anything clearly unless you can state it in writing. S.I. Hayakawa

  2. Problem solve it. This where writing it down comes in really helpful. Get together with someone you trust and talk about what you have written down.Tease it out to find the problem. Find one concrete solution you can (not should, could or would) do to overcome what you are ruminating about.
  3. Engage in activities that promote the positive. What activities fill your mind with other thoughts preferably positive thoughts. Hobbies, mediation, reading, running, cooking. The main point is to get your mind out of the rumination rut for a while.
  4. Can them.  Get yourself a tin can, and as the questions come up write them down on a piece of paper and prayerfully place them in the can. Imagine yourself placing them in Gods hand to hold them for you. God has big hands! Place the can up on a shelf and leave it there. After a while take that can off the shelf and see if any of your questions have been answered in the intervening time. Add more questions when they come up. see more here
  5. Schedule them. Tell your brain this ‘I do not have time to think about that at this moment. I will think about it tomorrow at 3pm’. Its telling your brain that yes what you are presenting to me is worthy of time and thought so I therefore will make space for it. If you remember to think about at 3 pm so be it, but I have found quite often that this little technique will slowly deflate the rumination balloon of any sense of self-importance
  6. Place them. Do you have a place where rumination is worse? Look for patterns of where your rumination seems to occur more frequently and/ or more powerfully. ‘When I found a place to think my thoughts my thoughts found a place in me.’ John Maxwell
  7. Displace them. I often use truth coaches to get my thinking back on track. These are little powerful insights, quotes, verses that speak truth into my thinking. Find out more here.

Remember this. Whatever you dwell on, it will get you, in the end.

It will create thinking tracks in your brain the size of the grand canyon where every situational event will tumble into.

Quotes to consider and share
  • Monitor your thinking and deliberately dwell on the virtues of your difficult friend, or negative feelings will surely follow. David Riddell
  • What you focus on gets you. Focus on the negatives/ challenges will always take you down. Focus on the positive/ good things will always give me hope.
  • I choose to ruminate, ponder and toss over in my mind good things.
  • Thoughts disentangle themselves passing over the lips and through pencil tips. Dawson Trotman
  • The thoughts I indulge grow stronger. The thoughts I acknowledge and put in their place lose their power to discourage me
  • The tricky thing about rumination is that it feels like it’s helpful, but there’s no action taken, and you don’t move forward to some sort of solution. Carla Grayson
  • He who cannot change the very fabric of his thought will never be able to change reality. Anwar Sadat
  •  To change your emotions, first get control of your thoughts. Ruts of the mind become moods of the heart. David Riddell
  •  To achieve radical change, I need to call some of my feelings ‘liars’ and choose to side with truth, against my own emotions, until my feelings come around. David Riddell
  • I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse Philippians 4:8 (The Message)

 

Exercises
  1. Use a journal to write out what you’re ruminating on. Share it with a trusted friend, counsellor or pastor and problem solve anything that needs addressing
  2. Find some truth coaches and write them out in an easily accessible place such as a small notebook you can carry at all times. When you feel the ruminations coming on, spend time reading your truth coaches.
  3. Get yourself a tin can and can the questions you are ruminating over.

Barry Pearman
Photo Credit: bogers via Compfight cc

p.s. what did you think about this post! Leave me a comment or tweet me at @barrypearman 

Oh, yeah don’t forget to share it with fellow ruminators using one of handy little icons below. HIT them



8 Steps To Discovering Wellness Through Knowing Your Early Warning Signs

Often I travel over some sharp twisty roads. One of these roads has a large hill and just on the other side there is a beautiful view with a fence that has been driven through.

There are signs to tell drivers to slow down, but for this driver the signs were ignored, boundaries were crossed and lives put in danger. If you know the signs then you can avoid the catastrophe. Continue reading

Christmas – What Others Think of Me is None of My Business

 

Here are some conversations that may have taken place around the Christmas story

Angel: Hi Mary, your going to have a baby.

Teenager Mary: I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve.
Let it be with me. What others think of me is none of my business

Angel: He will be the saviour of the world. Its going to be so exciting. Us angels are going to throw you the biggest baby shower ever.

Teenager Mary: I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve.
Let it be with me. What others think of me is none of my business

Angel: Oh yes, Joseph, your fiance, may well reject you

Teenager Mary: I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve.
Let it be with me. What others think of me is none of my business

Family and friends: So your pregnant, you have God’s child within you who is going to be the Savior of the world? Are you psychotic???

Teenager Mary: I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve.
Let it be with me. What others think of me is none of my business

Joseph: I don’t fully understand but I had a dream. Should I trust my dreams?

Teenager Mary: I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve.
Let it be with me. What others think of me is none of my business

Innkeeper: You want a room? You look like you need a delivery suite. I have one of those. Its a hole in the ground where the cows sleep.

Teenager Mary: I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve.
Let it be with me. What others think of me is none of my business

Shepherds: Kind of ugly isn’t he but he has a special kind of starlit glow to him doesn’t he. Perhaps he might become a shepherd too. (wink wink nudge nudge)

Teenager Mary: I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve.
Let it be with me. What others think of me and my baby is none of my business

Wisemen: (In true barber shop style) We three kings have come from a far. Following some crazy big star. Here we sit, here we ponder, a baby born to be king. ohhhh …

Teenager Mary: I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve.
Let it be with me. What others think of me is none of my business

 

Ok, enough levity!

It is Christmas after all and it is serious business this religious stuff. Living under the expectations of others. Making sure we get what we think they would like. Looking at their faces for approval as they are handed yet another box of scorched almonds.

In the way we give do we hope to find some sort of approval. Is there a self centred motivation in giving?

‘What am I going to get back in the form of approval’

‘Have I have met the expectations of my family, friends, society’.

‘You know you really are a loser if you don’t give everyone the newest flashest most expensive present out there’.

Performing to other peoples supposed expectations will destroy your peace.

Mary was different.

I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve. Let it be with me. Luke 1:38

‘What others think of me is none of my business’ was a quote from a podcast I heard this week.

I don’t know what Mary’s self talk was like through the Christmas story. She actually doesnt say very much. I wonder however if through this whole crazy adventure (advent_ure) she kept her focus on the conversation and experience of the angel visting her. (Luke 1:26-38)

There are things we need to hold onto to get us through crazy times. Self talk we need to repeat over and over again to maintain focus on what is truly important.

Christmas is first and foremost a time of relationship restoration. God restoring his relationship with mankind by becoming mankind.

Worship God the best way that you see fit, because Christmas is about what God thinks of you and is nobody else’s business.

Barry Pearman
Photo Credit: Jesse Michael Nix via Compfight cc

Why this image had a viral sneeze

This week I put this image out through my Social Media channels

 I have been increasing my use of images to get my message across. I like working with images, they can convey so many different ideas all at once.

One of my highlights this year was guest posting on Jeff Goins blog with an article titled ‘How to Wow Your Audience with the Right Image’

The image above had a viral internet sneeze and had 10 retweets, 7 twitter favourites, comments and plus’ on Google plus, and a bunch of likes on Facebook.

Putting aside the powerful attention grabbing picture, I think its the words that really resonated and connected with people.

We have all been there.

Taking on responsibility for some thing that was outside of our control. Worse still is when others blame us for something outside of our control.

‘It’s all your fault’ is an echoed burden too many of us carry.

Perhaps its time to revisit some of our stories. The places and times in our memory bank where our beliefs about life were formed.

  • It was never your fault that you were sexually abused as a child.
  • It was never your fault you were shamed by an over bearing bully.
  • It was never your fault that your parents marriage broke up.

Please, this new day, give yourself the beautiful gift of truth. Only take responsibility for that which is in your control. Other peoples problems are truly other peoples problems.

Questions to Consider and leave a comment

  1. Why do we take on others problems, making them our own?
  2. Shifting responsibility for one’s personal problems is text book avoidance. What is the end result however for the avoider when this is done?

Barry Pearman

Photo Credit: .kleine via Compfight cc

journaling

Too much Traffic in your Mind? Try Journaling

Sometimes my thinking feels like its in a traffic jam. An impatient traffic jam.

 

Horns tooting, temperatures rising, gridlock. Just too many neurons firing off!

One of favorite artists, Bruce Cockburn, captures it well in his song Five Fifty-One

Knots in my muscles, too much traffic in my mind
traffic in my mind, traffic in my mind
knots in my muscles, too much traffic in my mind
it was five fifty-one, gray light creeping through the blind

Somehow, you’ve got to get those tooting horns under control and regain composure in your mind.

One of the most effective ways of doing this I have found is to write. To pick up a pen and let the words flow. Sometimes its just a pouring out of an alphabet soup in a cathartic deluge. Rage, sadness, joy, anger, fear all flow and free the mind.

Is that all journaling can be?

Thoughts disentangle themselves when they pass through your finger tips. Dawson Trotman

 

I look at the psalms of David, the songs of Moses, the prophecies of Jeremiah and others, the Revelation of John and wonder it they too were in some way journaling. God using the situation they were in to express his journaled heart to his people.

In my journaling journey I have at times used the ‘Pour it all out’ method but I have also used three other techniques to help me bring some peace to the ‘traffic in my mind’.

3 Journaling Methods

 

1. Exploring your beliefs

I found this process in a course I took from Wisdom for Life. It is C.B.T. based and helps you to trace out core beliefs.

  1. The emotion or reaction or event I am exploring is …
  2. The self talk producing it is … (make sure you write down as much as self talk as you can here)
  3. The belief supporting that must be …
  4. God’s view/ the reality is …
  5. The challenge I face is …

This type of journaling not only helps us find out what we believe, but challenges us to identify reality – what is rational and logical and can be supported by evidence. Then we are invited to dispute our belief with new and superior insights.

2. The P.A.P.A prayer.

This journaling option comes from Dr. Larry Crabbs book The Papa Prayer: The Prayer You’ve Never Prayed

In this method we are invited to write a prayer along these lines

  • Present yourself – Present authentically to God whatever you discover in yourself, whether good or bad. Don’t hold anything back.
  •  Attend to attend to how you are thinking of God –  Attend to who God really is (as revealed in the Bible) versus who you think God is (based on life experience) or who you want Him to be (based on your felt desires).
  • Purge yourself of anything that blocks your relationship with God – Purge whatever is blocking your intimacy with God by acknowledging without excuse or explanation the self-obsession staining your motives that the Spirit chooses to reveal.
  • Approach God as the “first thing” in your life – Approach God with confidence that what He loves to give you is what you want the most. Stand before God as a loved child. Rest in His love as a prelude to receiving His best.

Read more about this. Click here …

3. The Cup

I discovered this method from a counselor called Ruth Penny. Cancer took her life a few years back now but this gift lives on. In this journaling method you imagine your life as a cup, you may even like to hold a cup whilst doing the exercise.

You prayerfully explore two questions.

  1. What has filled your cup this last day/ week?
  2. What has drained your cup this last day/ week?

After doing this for a period of time, say a month, you might be able to see trends, themes, areas to explore further.

Read more about this. Click here …

Some quotes to consider …

To change your emotions, first get control of your thoughts. Ruts of the mind become moods of the heart. David Riddell Click to Tweet

Improvement of our lives begins with the renewing of our minds, which is begun in turn by challenging old beliefs and childhood conclusions. David Riddell

Thoughts disentangle themselves when they pass through your finger tips. Dawson Trotman Click to Tweet

Present yourself – Present authentically to God whatever you discover in yourself, whether good or bad. Don’t hold anything back. Don’t pretend that what’s going on inside you (e.g. hatred) really isn’t happening. Don’t trivialize what’s happening as unimportant, petty, not worth mentioning. Don’t spin whatever you discover that’s disagreeable into something more pleasant. Be who you are, where you are.
Attend to attend to how you are thinking of God –  Attend to who God really is (as revealed in the Bible) versus who you think God is (based on life experience) or who you want Him to be (based on your felt desires). Don’t assume your view of God is correct. Don’t project your experience with authority figures, especially your
father, onto God. Don’t sugar-coat the word God to satisfy your desire for a pleasant experience with Him. Don’t believe everything you hear, except from God Himself in the Bible. Stand before the God of the Bible. You’ll fall to your knees, but you’ll get up a new person.
Purge yourself of anything that blocks your relationship with God – Purge whatever is blocking your intimacy with God by acknowledging without excuse or explanation the self-obsession staining your motives that the Spirit chooses to reveal. Don’t simply try hard to be good; don’t merely promise to do better. Don’t criticize others’ faults without first seeing your own equally serious faults. Don’t redefine your self-obsession into understandable mistakes. Don’t assume that your strong passion for what you believe is right is necessarily holy. Stand naked before holiness. The more you see your sin, the more you’ll be amazed by grace.
Approach God as the “first thing” in your life – Approach God with confidence that what He loves to give you is what you want the most. Don’t retreat from God when He seems unresponsive. Don’t negotiate with God. You have no leverage other than His relentless, tender love and your longing to get what He’s giving. Don’t demand anything from God; expect the gift of relationship. Don’t let the desires that you feel dictate your expectations of what He’ll give you. Stand before God as a loved child. Rest in His love as a prelude to receiving His best. – See more at: http://turningthepage.info/subjecting-your-thoughts-to-the-presence-of-p-a-p-a/#sthash.Mq7g5RHM.dpuf
Present yourself – Present authentically to God whatever you discover in yourself, whether good or bad. Don’t hold anything back. Don’t pretend that what’s going on inside you (e.g. hatred) really isn’t happening. Don’t trivialize what’s happening as unimportant, petty, not worth mentioning. Don’t spin whatever you discover that’s disagreeable into something more pleasant. Be who you are, where you are.
Attend to attend to how you are thinking of God –  Attend to who God really is (as revealed in the Bible) versus who you think God is (based on life experience) or who you want Him to be (based on your felt desires). Don’t assume your view of God is correct. Don’t project your experience with authority figures, especially your
father, onto God. Don’t sugar-coat the word God to satisfy your desire for a pleasant experience with Him. Don’t believe everything you hear, except from God Himself in the Bible. Stand before the God of the Bible. You’ll fall to your knees, but you’ll get up a new person.
Purge yourself of anything that blocks your relationship with God – Purge whatever is blocking your intimacy with God by acknowledging without excuse or explanation the self-obsession staining your motives that the Spirit chooses to reveal. Don’t simply try hard to be good; don’t merely promise to do better. Don’t criticize others’ faults without first seeing your own equally serious faults. Don’t redefine your self-obsession into understandable mistakes. Don’t assume that your strong passion for what you believe is right is necessarily holy. Stand naked before holiness. The more you see your sin, the more you’ll be amazed by grace.
Approach God as the “first thing” in your life – Approach God with confidence that what He loves to give you is what you want the most. Don’t retreat from God when He seems unresponsive. Don’t negotiate with God. You have no leverage other than His relentless, tender love and your longing to get what He’s giving. Don’t demand anything from God; expect the gift of relationship. Don’t let the desires that you feel dictate your expectations of what He’ll give you. Stand before God as a loved child. Rest in His love as a prelude to receiving His best. – See more at: http://turningthepage.info/subjecting-your-thoughts-to-the-presence-of-p-a-p-a/#sthash.Mq7g5RHM.dpuf
Present yourself – Present authentically to God whatever you discover in yourself, whether good or bad. Don’t hold anything back. Don’t pretend that what’s going on inside you (e.g. hatred) really isn’t happening. Don’t trivialize what’s happening as unimportant, petty, not worth mentioning. Don’t spin whatever you discover that’s disagreeable into something more pleasant. Be who you are, where you are.
Attend to attend to how you are thinking of God –  Attend to who God really is (as revealed in the Bible) versus who you think God is (based on life experience) or who you want Him to be (based on your felt desires). Don’t assume your view of God is correct. Don’t project your experience with authority figures, especially your
father, onto God. Don’t sugar-coat the word God to satisfy your desire for a pleasant experience with Him. Don’t believe everything you hear, except from God Himself in the Bible. Stand before the God of the Bible. You’ll fall to your knees, but you’ll get up a new person.
Purge yourself of anything that blocks your relationship with God – Purge whatever is blocking your intimacy with God by acknowledging without excuse or explanation the self-obsession staining your motives that the Spirit chooses to reveal. Don’t simply try hard to be good; don’t merely promise to do better. Don’t criticize others’ faults without first seeing your own equally serious faults. Don’t redefine your self-obsession into understandable mistakes. Don’t assume that your strong passion for what you believe is right is necessarily holy. Stand naked before holiness. The more you see your sin, the more you’ll be amazed by grace.
Approach God as the “first thing” in your life – Approach God with confidence that what He loves to give you is what you want the most. Don’t retreat from God when He seems unresponsive. Don’t negotiate with God. You have no leverage other than His relentless, tender love and your longing to get what He’s giving. Don’t demand anything from God; expect the gift of relationship. Don’t let the desires that you feel dictate your expectations of what He’ll give you. Stand before God as a loved child. Rest in His love as a prelude to receiving His best. – See more at: http://turningthepage.info/subjecting-your-thoughts-to-the-presence-of-p-a-p-a/#sthash.Mq7g5RHM.dpuf
Present yourself

Questions to consider and leave a comment …

  1. Why do you think writing helps to disentangle the traffic in your mind?
  2. What other journaling methods have your used?

Barry Pearman

Photo Credit: Tony Fischer Photography via Compfight cc

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p8XwtF4HLkrQ1SkNYl83yWGJwptEAqpFq0GKiMB1U2abCRqtOy9wYbeVkWezKTnFF6NYN-xj19HIvBOeBHGtzFyD5wxaVr8tSwd8bX0S0_M0naugXe00OuAU Too much Traffic in your Mind? Try Journaling

6 Markers of a Healthy Spirituality

Over my life I have been involved in many different styles of Christian denominational expression, or Ice Cream flavours as I like to say.

Staid conservative Bible fundamentalism, ‘swinging from the chandeliers’ Pentecostalism, social justice activism and many other ice cream flavours.

They all have strengths and weaknesses. 
Some aspects of all of them have been helpful to my Mental health while some aspects have been down right destructive.
People often ask me ‘What Church should I go to?’
I suppose I would answer this question with this statement.
‘A Church that keeps you grounded with reality, connects you with Biblical truth, is actively part of the local community, and promotes a healthy spirituality.’

David Benner provides 6 markers of a healthy spirituality[1]

1. Grounded in Reality, seeing things as they are.
There is no greater disaster in the spiritual life than to be immersed in unreality, for life is maintained and nourished in us by our vital relation with realities outside and above us. When our life feeds on unreality it must starve and die. The death by which we enter into life is not an escape from reality but a complete gift of ourselves which involves a total commitment to reality. Thomas Merton

It is the acceptance of what reality can and cannot fulfil that leads to real change because, short of the progressive destruction of illusion and consequent mourning, one cannot discover the world as it is. Donald Winnicott

Reality itself – my limited and sometimes misinterpreted experience -is the revelatory place for God. But for some reason we prefer fabricated realities to the strong and sensitizing face of what is. The spiritual life begins with accepting and living our reality. Richard Rohr

2. Awareness
The spiritual life is, first of all, a matter of keeping awake. Thomas Merton

We have to accept that we are all sleep walkers. We need to awaken and we need to learn to see. Spirituality is about seeing. Once you see, the rest follows. Jesus tells us that if our eye is healthy our whole body will be full of light. Richard Rohr

3. Hopeful openness

  • To life, to others and to God

The most important question each person has to answer -“is the universe friendly?” Einstein

4. Loving connectedness

  • Connectedness with others, with the earth, with God
  • Interdependency, compared to codependency and independency

5. Transcendent meaningfulness

  • Making sense of personal reality in a way that gives direction and purpose to life
  • Having a framework to make sense of failure and suffering
  • Making suffering sufferable
  • Movement beyond egocentricity and entitlement
  • Capacity for grace and gratitude

6. Capacity for love, work and play

  • Altruistic attitude toward others
  • Sense of vocation
  • Spontaneity and playfulness

Questions to Consider and leave a comment.

  • How would you answer the question ‘What Church should I go to?’
  • What would be the signs for you of a Healthy Spirituality?
  • In what ways can Mental Illness rob you of a Healthy Spirituality?
  • In what ways can Mental Illness actually lead you to a Healthy Spirituality?

Barry Pearman
Photo Credit: Cayusa via Compfight cc

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How to Develop a Compass for the Brain

I am lost and need a sense of true North. A focal point, a direction, a ‘something’ to aid my progress out of the fog. 

Mental Illness is one of the worst fog generating experiences you can have.

Your brain can play tricks on you.

Your perceptions can change, some times quite dramatically, to being vastly different to everyone else’s.

I well remember someone pointing out to me the ‘Little spacemen in the tree’. Psychosis was fogging his thinking, he was unwell, but in his mind he was perfectly well.

Perhaps though the more subtle and less overt effects of mental illness can be more damaging. The thinking habits nurtured over many years in a watery soup of unawareness.

When the stress becomes too much for the fragile brain, we become disoriented, confused, and truly lost.

The fog has closed in and it’s black.

Mental illness often fog’s out a true perception of life. The perspective you have gets fogged by the interpretations you have made about events.

Event + Response = Outcome (E+R=O).

When the Response is effected by an illness then the Outcome can be disastrous.

When the stress loading becomes too much it is very easy to lose your way.

What we need is some sort of Thinking Compass. 

Something that we can refer back to time and time again, and that will always point towards true North. Always to healthy thinking and hope.

We don’t need some huge massive compass, too big to carry, too heavy to bear, and too incomprehensible to take in. When you are unwell you don’t want to be overloaded with information and unrealistic expectations.

Even previous learning experiences can hinder your uptake of new information.

It’s not so much that the client is unable to grasp the info, as he or she is easily discouraged, based on a fund of previous negative experiences in school. C. Scott McMillin

Do you have a compass for the brain? 

I have a handy-dandy little notebook (apologies to Blues Clues fans). It is small enough to fit in my back pocket and easy enough to pull out when I need a sense of direction.

I have a little notebook that is my Thinking Compass. I use a physical book, not an electronic recording device. I just think something quite tangible happens in the brain when you put the pen to paper.

Into this compass goes all sorts of material for me to keep training and coaching my brain.

  • Quotes. These maybe quotes I have gleaned out of books, podcasts, social media etc. Short and pithy, powerful and true.
  • Empowering and Challenging questions. Questions that stop you and make you think and consider some tough choices. e.g. Am I truly taking responsibility for my own life, today? In what ways am I going to help someone else today?
  • Scripture verses. The Bible is full of verses that speak truth in the innermost being. Read it and glean goodness.
  • Counselling insights. If you are getting counselling perhaps your counsellor can write down some the keys insights they want you to think and consider.
The criteria for material getting into my Thinking Compass is that there has to have some sort of ‘ah hah’ moment attached to it. There has to be a ‘light bulb turning on experience’ when I read it.
Basically my brain needs some sort of new learning experience for it to make a new pathway.
Making new pathways in our thinking is hard work, much like building a rope bridge over a chasm. Many repeated journeys back and forth in the brain will make a new thinking bridge strong and secure.
Going back to the Thinking Compass time and time again is needed.
The thicker the fog, the more times you will have to refer to the compass.
Question to Consider and leave a Comment.
  • Do you have some favourite verses or quotes that are like a compass to you? Why them and would you like to share them in the comments section?
  • Have you had an experience of a Mental Illness being like a fog around you, disorienting you, affecting your judgements? What helped you? 
  • Can you have too much information? How can you discern what is most helpful and disregard the rest?
Barry Pearman
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