Mindfulness photo by Sangudo

Published on January 4th, 2019 | by Nancy F. Clark

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Why Ruminating Hurts Success And How To Hurdle Those Thoughts

Ruminating Diminishes Your Confidence

When you ruminate on your poor decisions or setbacks consistently, you decrease your confidence. Confidence is what you need to take your personal and professional life to the next level. Without confidence you can’t hurdle problems as effectively or take healthy risks for something that would lead to more life fulfillment. If you want to move up in your career you have to show that you can speak up for yourself and your team. You have to show that as much as you believe in your team, you believe in yourself. In the business world, leaders demonstrate confidence in themselves and their decisions in order to get people to follow them. Leaders take calculated risks. But to take a risk you need confidence.

The Fix: Cut negative ruminating thoughts with successes. The truth is, you have had more successes than set-backs. You may think that you have had more setbacks because that’s what you have highlighted for so long, but now try to rewire your brain by highlighting your successes.

The more successes you dwell on, the more likely you are to increase confidence. List 10 major life successes (you’ve had them) and 10 small current successes (you’ve had those, too). A major life success could be raising a beautiful family, getting that MBA, and advancing to management within your organization. Examples of small current successes will focus more on the day to day decisions you make that keep life going in a stable and positive direction. For instance, you decided not to take part in the office drama, encouraged your daughter to try out for the lead role in the school play, and got that gym membership finally. When you catch yourself ruminating on poor choices, you are to cut that rumination with more focus on your successes.

Ruminating Keeps You In An Ungrateful Spot

If you want to feel down, ruminate on all your problems and wrongdoings. When you brew on all the negative “you have created” and all the things “you have done wrong” you see a bunch of problems. You don’t see that you are healthy, your children are doing well in school and that you have an amazing career. Instead you focus on what you aren’t doing and what you still have to do. This ungrateful view of your life is likely to enhance strong emotions like sadness and anger.

The Fix: If you want to feel positive and happy with your life, look at all you do have and what you do right. Reflect on all you have. This list should consist of both materialistic and non-materialistic things. It’s okay to be selfish here. You’ve worked hard for the things you own. But at the same time, don’t forget to add to the grateful list all the things you can’t necessarily touch or see. For example, your health, your family’s health, the love you share, the intrinsic rewards from being a mentor, your ability to give back to the community or that you have a strong level of willpower and self-control. Recognize that even if you had all you ever wanted, you would still see the next mountain and desire more. It’s human nature to desire advancement and continuous growth. But, while you can shoot for the next level, don’t solely ruminate on all you don’t have and how much more you need. Keep yourself grounded, positive and grateful by thinking about all you have already worked for and now have.

As you ruminate on bad choices, mistakes or flaws you spiral your brain down into a self-defeating, self-bashing event that hardwires you into having negative perceptions about yourself and abilities. This thinking decreases your chances of advancing and feeling fulfilled in multiple areas of your life. Ruminating is a slow self-sabotage. There might be times when things just stink, and that is that. Maybe you did make a bad decision. But, don’t turn one bad decision into a lifetime of bad choices and do not think that one bad decision means that you are bad at “everything,” instead, learn from it and march on.

This Week’s Challenge: 

Become aware of your rumination. Catch the negativity before you spend hours hardwiring your brain in the wrong direction. Begin to reframe your negative thinking in ways that will enhance your present, build your confidence, and keep you grateful.

Jaime Kulaga, Ph.D., is the author of The SuperWoman’s Guide to Super Fulfillment: Step by Step Strategies to Create Work-Life BalanceShe coaches individuals on a national platform to reach a more productive life.

Article photo by Sangudo

Nancy Clark is CEO of PositivityDaily and Director of Forbes WomensMedia. She coaches companies and executives in business skills with the added benefit of training in positive psychology and happiness -- incorporating the latest scientific studies on changing brain patterns and habits. Clark believes that positivity is the next necessary step to engage employees.

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About the Author

Nancy Clark is CEO of PositivityDaily and Director of Forbes WomensMedia. She coaches companies and executives in business skills with the added benefit of training in positive psychology and happiness -- incorporating the latest scientific studies on changing brain patterns and habits. Clark believes that positivity is the next necessary step to engage employees.



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