As a human, you are operating off finite resources such as limited time, energy, money, etc. So, to achieve maximum results with minimum resources you want to channel your energy into the problems that will actually launch you forward into your next best life. If you haven’t learned the difference between gravity problems, abstract problems, and actionable problems check it out here.  We know that each of these types of problems deplete us of our time, thinking power and energy, but solving actionable problems is the only way to move forward.  When we think about abstract or gravity problems it is as if we are on a hamster wheel in our own mind.  We work and work and end up exhausted, yet we never actually get anywhere.  That is why it is so crucial to recognize when you are ruminating on an abstract or gravity problem.

The first step is realizing whether or not you are worried about an abstract problem, gravity problem, or actionable problem.  But, what do you do when you realize you are on the hamster wheel of a gravity or abstract problem?

  • Visualize a stop sign.- Think of when you learn something new.  It seems odd, almost jolting to your brain.  The new thought, concept or situation requires much more mental energy than a more familiar idea.  Familiar ideas are simply easier to think through than new ideas. They are like well-worn paths in our mind.  When we are familiar with those thought paths then it is easy to travel them.  That is why it is so easy to fall into an old worry.  It is literally easy for our brain to go there because the path in our mind has been walked so many times.  Our minds know how to get there quickly and easily. If you have been thinking the same gravity or abstract problem for days, months or even years then you need to send a signal to your brain that that is no longer a safe path for you to travel.  Visualize a stop sign and block that path! When you recognize you are on that path you can stop it immediately!

  • Choose a new path- When we are in the car and realize we are traveling in the wrong direction we know that our first step is to stop, but stopping isn’t enough.  Otherwise, we would just stay stuck in the middle of the road!  And, the whole point of the Bounce Back program is that you move forward!  So, you need something to distract your mind from that thought and get you on a new path.  The less you travel the problem path, the less likely your brain will fall into that unhealthy pattern. Select a new path as quickly as possible.  The first step in choosing a new path is a quick truth such as “I will worry about that issue if it becomes an actionable problem rather than an abstract problem.  Right now I am choosing to take action.”  Or, remind yourself “This is a gravity problem.  I can’t do anything about that so I am going to find an area in my life I can do something about.” Then, as soon as possible, move on to something that fills you with life and engages your brain.  You can think of a puzzle, riddle, TV show, favorite song, paint a picture in your mind, write a poem, think about what you would have changed to ensure the Lakers won the night before or solve world hunger.  It doesn’t matter what the next thought is as long as it is interesting enough for you to get away from the first path.  

But Sarah, isn’t that avoiding the issue?  Isn’t that denial?  Shouldn’t you just think about it in a new way?  Yes, eventually….but the first step is breaking that habit!  And, if aren’t used to the stop sign method you can fall into the following:

  1. Think about it.
  2. Stop yourself.
  3. Think about it.
  4. Stop yourself.
  5. Think about it.
  6. Stop yourself

This is obviously not what we need to do to correct that path of thinking.    We want to train your brain to immediately veer to a  new thought path rather than spending all your mental energy moving down the path to nowhere.  Try this instead.

  1. Think about it.
  2. Stop yourself.
  3. Tell yourself a quick truth.
  4. Take your brain on a completely different path of thought that has nothing to do with the first thought.

I promise this will give you the results you want because it will weaken the path of the negative thought and strengthen other paths in your brain.  We are literally rewiring your brain here so it does take a bit of time, but it absolutely allows you to take control of the hamster wheel in your mind and get you toward your next best life!  Try it today!

Bounce Back Action Plan:

  • What quick truth will I tell myself when my recurring thought comes up?


  • What will I plan ahead of time to think about so I can avoid the old path?  Tips: The more engaging for your brain the better.  This has to be something that gives you energy, makes you feel good about life, etc.  Don’t replace one problem with another! 

                         Contact Sarah here for a free 30-minute session.


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Sarah K Ramsey