Repetitive Unpleasant Thoughts (RUTs) are a problem with being human. Although many people are not bothered much by them, others have a difficult time, and they markedly interfere with their quality of life. At some tipping point they can be severe enough to compromise the ability to function. The term for this extreme form is obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
You can’t outrun your mind
Although physical pain elicits and automatic avoidance or withdrawal response, there is no refuge from mental pain, which is processed in similar brain circuits. We only know to suppress them, which makes them even worse. The brain perceives these thoughts to be a threat and fires up the fight or flight response. A sustained threat physiology is the basis of chronic mental and physical disease.
It is my opinion that RUTs may be the most significant force in driving chronic mental and physical disease. Unpleasant thoughts are sensory input and emotions are the physiological reaction. They are solvable using research-based approaches. Possibly the one most overlooked factor in dealing with obsessive thought patterns is addressing the threat physiology component.
This section of the healing journey is focused on solving RUTs. The learning sequence first focuses on solutions and then on the background as to why and how these disruptive thought patterns are so common. You can’t “fix” them or do battle with them. You must move through and past them.
- Introduction – RUTs
- The Steps to Solving RUTs
- Separating Your Identity from Your Physiology
- Solving RUTs
- Thought Diversion
- “Turn Down the Heat” – Anger
- Nurturing Creativity
- Dissolution of Ego
- The Science of RUTs
- The Physiology/ Mental Mechanics
- Consequences of RUTs
- The Need for Mental Control – The “Ironic Effect”
- Clinical Manifestations/ illnesses/ Diseases
- Healing Principles
- Addressing RUTs
- Become a Professional at Living Life
- The Healing Journey and Major League Baseball
- Become a Genius at Solving Pain
- Repetition and Healing
- “Letting Go” – Freedom from Mental and Physical Pain
This section on RUTs has been carved out of all of my materials including The DOC Journey course and app, Back in Control: A Surgeon’s Roadmap Out of Chronic Pain, Psychology Today blogs, and the backincontrol.com website. For many of you, this section will provide enough information to heal, and others will need to take a deep dive into either the course/ app, or considerother approaches.
There is little time spent looking backwards into your past traumas. You are actually reinforcing these neurological circuits. The focus is learning the skills to process adversity and shift onto circuits that are more functional and enjoyable. Many people have healed using these principles and the outcomes are consistent with engagement and repetition. Welcome to your new nervous system and life.
Defining the Problem
“The Curse of Consciousness” – Trapped by Your Thoughts
“Don’t Worry, Be Happy”
Am I Operating on Your Pain or Anxiety?
Separating Your Identity from Them
Four Aspects of Solving RUT’s
Write and Don’t Stop!
Unhooking from the Train
The Three Column Technique
“Turn Down the Heat” – Anger
Directly Calming the Threat Response
“5–3–2” – Processing Anger in Three Steps
Quit Fighting Darkness and Turn on the Light
Dissolution of Ego
The Physiology / Mental Mechanics
Threat versus Safety Physiology
Common Links to Chronic Disease – RUTs are Relentless
Inability to Escape from Our Thoughts
Clinical illnesses/ Diseases
Extreme Mental Pain – OCD
My Descent Into The Abyss
The Need for Mental Control – The “Ironic Effect”
Your Demons are Robots
Deadly Nature of Self-esteem
Why Nice People Often Finish Last
The Healing “C”quence
The Healing “C”quence
Your “Authentic Self”
Becoming a Professional at Living Life
The Healing Journey and Major League Baseball
Become a Genius at Solving Pain
Repetition and Healing
“Letting Go” – Freedom from Mental and Physical Pain
“She Just Let Go”
A Bunch of Balloons