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  • Sarah Kallend

Stop Over-thinking You Silly Cow

Cows ruminate: they chew on their food until it’s just softened enough to swallow: food in this
Rumination
process is known as ‘the cud’. In the top section of Daisy’s stomach the cud is then partially fermented and then it's returned to her mouth to be chewed once again, when she swallows it a second time the cud broken down more and this process continues... chewing and spewing until eventually the cud is fully digested by the stomach.
Are you a ruminator? Do your find yourself chewing over and over on things that are in the past or that are presently happening but that you cannot change? It can take up a great deal of energy and generally speaking the more you engage in this behaviour the lower your mood becomes or the higher your frustrations or worries rise. If Daisy the cow was attempting to ruminate on a substance that couldn’t be broken down by her stomach bacteria, we might indeed call her a silly cow!
Often what we might feel like we’re looking for are some answers: why did this happen? Or what does this mean? And the hard reality is that quite often there will be no answer to these questions? Certainly trying to second guess the motivation behind anyone else’s behaviour is a game that very few of us win at.
And so, very often the only helpful course of action is to find ACCEPTANCE. Now acceptance is NOT agreement, it is simply an acknowledgement that this thing has happened. And for some of us what keeps us from moving towards acceptance is discomfort. Whatever has happened has hurt us or made us uncomfortable and what unconsciously we may be looking for is an answer or perspective that will make it feel OK. We can learn to fear being uncomfortable or dealing with distress. In Mental Health terminology this is called Distress Intolerance … and in social media language it sounds it’s the absolute opposite of “it’s ok to not be ok!”. People with an intolerance for distress feel like they cannot cope with uncomfortable thoughts or feelings. For many people who turn to drink or drugs they are attempting to turn off ‘distress’. And yet we probably all know someone who has endured something truly horrendous and still manages to stay bright and optimistic. The difference is that they have simply learned to tolerate distressful feelings and have come to an acceptance of what has happened to them,
If you have a low tolerance for distress, it’s likely that you’ll use what’s called ‘catastrophic’ language to describe your experience of things in day to day life that others may find easier to brush off. It can sound like, “I am broken”(no you’re not!) or “this has ruined EVERYTHING” (nope, nothing ruins ‘everything’).
If you find yourself going round and round in the same pattern of unhelpful thoughts, don’t be a silly cow, try these strategies instead:
Activities: immerse yourself in a project, hobby or work that needs your full attention.
Contribute: do something for someone else… volunteer, encourage or do something practical.
Comparison: compare what’s happening now to another time when you felt worse, or compare your situation to someone else’s.
Emotions: do something to shift your mood like watch a funny movie or listen to uplifting music.
Push away: pick another perspective; push away the unhelpful thought.. tell it to “get
lost”.
Thoughts: focus on filing your head with something else: read a book or learn something new.



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