“Productive thinking”….learning to use “more helpful thinking choices”

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A few years ago,  I was becoming more aware of my own thinking, as I was thinking thoughts.  Now that was a bit of a surprise! I found myself tumbling around so often in my own thoughts….sometimes positive…..often not quite so positive….sometimes spinning off into worries…. tangential and imaginative, hypothetical “stories”…usually “well intentioned”… but still not  “productive” thinking.

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So I tried to come up with some “useful” questions I could ask myself, in those moment of awareness….to help myself monitor whether to continue thinking along a certain path…whether to continue to try to figure out and attempt to “fix” complex situations….or to stop and let it go…

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Here are a few of the ideas and “flow charts”  I came up with…I’ve had these charts  in the  top “headline” area “Thinking Strategies.”  They’re actually some of the most viewed posts/pages on Pocket Perspectives (through google image search, I think)

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I had “fun” coming up with the ideas and creating these “flow charts”…
I also found them useful in my everyday life
But…
the past few weeks…too much rambling thinking,
so I ‘m bringing the charts front and center,
some reminders for myself,
and to be shared,  in case others might find them potentially useful, too

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….thinking….
when trying to figure out complex situations or interactions
…choosing more productive thinking…

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A variation on that flow chart

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another  variation
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…more…

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From what I’ve figured out,  shifting out of  “ruminating”  seems to  involve:

  • Motivation: for the benefit of  those around me, as well as myself
  • Simple visual materials:  to re-mind me to use the ideas
  • Awareness:  noticing when I start drifting off into non-useful thinking
  • Logic and reasoning: being able to look and think about those criteria, both out of the situation and when it’s happening
  • Practice…again and again and again: there don’t seem to be short cuts…for me, it seems to take tons of practice
  • Notice the positive progress: I’m finding that the results of focused practice are positive, ongoing and well worth the effort…

And here is a simple version, below… 2 on a page...this reminder was taped to the dashboard of my car…

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a bit more concise…. 4 on a page

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Well….how about that?

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Related Pocket Perspectives images and posts:
Muddy Dog Thinking: becoming more aware of non-productive thinking (funny photos of puppies and dogs, too)
Mind Mumbling: looking at over-thinking or worrying being a bit like the bubbling “mud pots hot springs”  at Yellowstone National Park. Youtube: Mind Mumbling (turn volume down)
Another Muddy Dog Thinking: in the Pull Weeds headline section…lots of muddy dog photos
“Pick- up Sticks: Don’t Touch THAT Stick”    Prudently avoiding, or not touching,  certain topics or thoughts, as in that game of “pick up sticks”  link to youtube of PickUp Sticks  
F.E.A.R.  False Evidence Appearing Real, But It’s Not  :  becoming more discerning about validity of thoughts
The Magical Mystery Tour is Coming to Take Me Away:  ah yes…a bit like being on a spinning carousel…hypothetical thinking

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Some advice received from a friend, almost 4 years ago…
around the same time I was creating those “thinking flow charts”
…still practicing with this idea…

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About Pocket Perspectives

A blog about shifting perspectives...
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4 Responses to “Productive thinking”….learning to use “more helpful thinking choices”

  1. sufilight says:

    This is very useful, Kathy! It helps me to see where my thinking is going, and I see that I can be mindful and shift from unproductive thinking to a productive one…

  2. At the time I first made these, they were quite helpful…looks like I’m back for a refresher course! :D …but the ideas were helpful for me, and hopefully will be again…perhaps for others too… :D

  3. Yes, very useful–I might have to put this on the kitchen door!

  4. Uh oh…do you suppose this is a tiny bit of a challenge for people who have taught school???… “school teachers”…. getting ourselves involved in too many other people’s business/challenges? Well, if they’d listen to us, maybe we wouldn’t be so busy fixing things??? :D …being silly there. I was thinking of making a simpler page for myself… “mmob”….mind my own business…uh oh, guess I won’t do make that one.

I'd love to "hear" your ideas about this....

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