I was working with a client this week with chronic health issues. She has struggled for years with nagging symptoms that are kind of elusive and hard to pin down. She’s tired, needs to take naps during the day, doesn’t sleep well, and gets heart palpitations that sometimes lead to panic attacks.
She’s constantly ruminating about her symptoms and trying to make them better. She knows this doesn’t really help, but can’t stop. She says her mother told her recently she was worried about her health even as a child.
In her frustration to get this figured out she suggested we explore the possibility that this may be related to a past life. “I have to figure out why I create this and why it is happening!”
I gently told her I don’t think the reason “why” is really all that important. And the past life is over. I asked her what good that would do. She looked a bit shocked. I said we could spend the next 6 weeks looking at why she has these fears about her health, but the more important question is what she is going to do about it.
Her brain is clearly habituated to this kind of rumination and going down the road of “why” is only going to reinforce the helplessness, frustration and analysis paralysis. It is a deeply ingrained mental habit that needs to be overcome by expanding her awareness to the more important questions in her life such as, “What would feel better than this and how do I get there instead of here?”
I suggested she needs to create a more compelling life than one focused on health concerns. What we focus on grows and there is more to her life than fear, pain and limitation.