Feeling Resentful? This Simple Tool Could Change Everything

Feeling Resentful? This Simple Tool Could Change Everything

via Psychology Today by Susan Biali Haas

I opened the door below the sink. A waterfall of empty tuna cans and plastic containers clattered out onto my feet and scattered across the kitchen floor. I felt the familiar irritation rise. Seriously—how can it be so hard for him to take the recycling out, just once a week?

As usual, this small frustration triggered a mental checklist of other longstanding complaints, omissions, and irritations. As I scrubbed the dishes, I went through the familiar list, my annoyance and resentment steadily rising.

Stop. I put down the dish sponge and rested my rubber-gloved hands on the edge of the sink.

I talk about this phenomenon to my patients and coaching clients all the time. So many of us, especially those who are prone to depression or anxiety, get sucked into negative rumination. In fact, certain situations may trigger rumination so powerfully, that we have to actively war against it.

My clinical work is in mental health, providing physician psychotherapy to patients primarily struggling with anxiety and depression. Based on my experience, your car may be one of the biggest triggers for negative or obsessive rumination. I’ve lost count of the times that people have told me that their mind goes wild while they’re commuting (probably because it hasn’t got much else to do).

They fume about unjust situations at work. They stew over frustrations with their spouse. They review and relive their anxieties.

We use different techniques to try to undo this “wiring,” to teach their brain a different response to driving solo. Listen to some music you love, sing, distract yourself with a good podcast, etc.

The sink is one of my biggest triggers, probably because my mind hasn’t got much to do, and the dishes remind me of differing commitments and values related to household chores. I’ve learned to catch myself when my resentment train gets going. I’ll shift my focus to what’s happening in the present. Feel the warmth of the water. Smell the lemony suds. Appreciate the satisfaction from a sparkling pot.

This time, it wasn’t enough. I recognized that my dish-triggered or recycling-provoked resentment was becoming too much of a habit. Breaking the cycle when it started wasn’t enough of a solution anymore.

To be clear, this post isn’t about solving domestic or workplace frustrations. If something is repeatedly bothering you in a relationship or situation, it may not be enough to just ignore it or distract yourself when you catch yourself thinking about it. You may need to speak up and initiate a discussion about what’s bothering you. My point here is something different.

I found a surprising way out of this pattern, that really floored me…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE

#happiness #happy #happier #gratitude #psychology #positivepsychology