Worry, rumination,, and obsessive thinking are common experiences that can consume us without us even realising it. We get caught up in our thoughts so quickly and automatically that we don’t notice what’s happening until we’ve spent hours lost in thought, trying to solve problems, deal with emotions, predict the future, and make ourselves feel better. When we’re preoccupied with worries or past failures, it’s hard to connect with loved ones and the world around us. This can lead to a disconnection from our emotions, physical experiences, and ability to take action towards our goals.
To combat this, developing a metaphor to help us see our thoughts and how we relate to them can be useful. One such metaphor is the “hands as thoughts” metaphor. In this metaphor, our hands represent our thoughts and feelings, and the distance between our hands and face represents how much we’re fused with our thoughts. The closer our hands are to our face, the more fused we are, making it harder to connect with the world and take action. By creating distance from our thoughts, we gain more flexibility and perspective, and we can respond to our thoughts with agility instead of rigidity.
The “hands as thoughts” metaphor helps us build awareness around rumination and worry. It shows us how our thoughts can consume us and prevent us from taking action towards our values and goals. When we’re fused with our thoughts, we’re unable to see them clearly and respond to them effectively. We get caught up in our own mental narratives and lose touch with reality. By creating distance from our thoughts, we gain a more objective perspective and can respond to our thoughts with greater flexibility.
The metaphor also highlights the importance of our relationship with our thoughts. When we’re fused with our thoughts, we identify with them and believe them to be true. We become entangled in our own mental narratives and lose sight of the fact that they’re just thoughts. By creating distance from our thoughts, we’re able to see them more objectively and recognise that they’re just mental events that come and go. This allows us to respond to them with curiosity and openness, rather than getting caught up in them and becoming overwhelmed.
So, the “hands as thoughts” metaphor is a powerful tool for understanding rumination and worry. It helps us build awareness around our thoughts and how we relate to them, and it allows us to respond to our thoughts with greater flexibility and agility. By creating distance from our thoughts, we gain a more objective perspective and can take action towards our values and goals. This helps us connect with the world around us, our emotions, and physical experiences, and ultimately lead a more fulfilling life.
Free ‘Hands as thought’ resource
ACT for worrying, ruminating & obsessing
Join Russ on 30th November 2023 for a 2 hour workshop presenting his key strategies to successfully reducing these deeply entrenched habits. Visit our ACT for worrying, ruminating and obsessing workshop page and register today!