Martial arts for mood. Turning the strength of bad emotions against themselves.

At times we humans can be pretty good at focusing our thoughts, concentrating our thinking on one particular idea or concept.

The trouble is, this single-minded attention can sometimes be aimed at the very thing we shouldn’t be obsessing about.

I’m thinking particularly about the unhealthy behaviour of rumination – turning a concern or worry over and over in your head, to no good.

When you’re thinking bad things, possibly on the way to becoming depressed or anxious, you’re often not in the right frame of mind to benefit from the kind of sensible, rational thoughts which might just be able to help you.

Mainly because the whole process of rumination leads you to be anything but sensible or rational.

(I speak from experience.)

Some years ago I did a little martial arts training.

Whilst I don’t remember it all, I do recall the principle of using an opponent’s own strength against him/her.

And I wonder if we might adapt this as a mechanism as a way of breaking the rumination cycle?

I’ve found I can focus on something entirely unconnected to the source of those destructive thoughts.

Crowding out the bad ones with better ones.

Perhaps it’s getting involved in a long conversation with someone, about (in a Monty Python way) something completely different.

Or maybe it’s getting your teeth into a practical task which demands your full attention.

When the thoughts are going round and round, it may be tempting to sit there and let them.

Tempting, but not good.

At times like this, why not look for something new to focus on?

Then focus on it.

Fully.

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