How full is your f*ck-it bucket after all the seasonal excess and pressures of the festive period?
Despite having published one for several years now, I didn’t get around to writing my annual Christmas Blog Post this year (see past sample).
If you happen to be interested in their content, you can find some of the older ones by searching for ‘Christmas’ in the blog (HERE).
Sadly when looking for inspiration this year, I just got to that point where all I could think of was… “F*ck It, nothing’s changed (for the better) in our society… it’s just the same old shit in a different year.”
OK, that’s maybe a sad viewpoint to hold but it’s also a healthy way to think sometimes.
It doesn’t imply that I no longer care about the social issues I’ve raised previously, more that if I continue banging my head against all the political and social walls (that I don’t happen to agree with), it’s likely to be unhelpful for my own mental well-being.
It’s often a worthwhile process to let others know what you think about something, but when you can’t personally change the situation; often the best course of action is to stop thinking about the problem. Don’t ruminate!
Rumination is the focused attention on the symptoms of one’s distress, and on its possible causes and consequences, as opposed to its solutions, according to the Response Styles Theory proposed by Nolen-Hoeksema (1998) – Wikipedia
Constant or obsessive rumination is a known negative impact upon our mental-health.
Rumination is also a common-place causation factor for people experiencing anxiety and/or depression.
Ruminating is simply repetitively going over a thought or a problem without completion. When people are depressed, the themes of rumination are typically about being inadequate or worthless. The repetition and the feelings of inadequacy raise anxiety and anxiety interferes with solving the problem. Then depression deepens. (Margaret Wehrenberg Psy.D. Psychology Today, Rumination: A Problem in Anxiety and Depression)
Christmas, perhaps more than other times during the year, is one of those periods where we tend to experience heightened social pressures.
Many of these ‘pressures’ actually come from our internal thoughts and emotions, as opposed to external factors. We struggle with how we believe we should or shouldn’t behave with and for others.
We ruminate about our ‘best’ course of action but, best for who? How often are the perceptions we have about the thoughts of others a match for reality?
Importantly, are those perceived thoughts of others relevant to our own well-being? Does how someone else thinks about you really matter? Mostly no… but we still tend to ruminate about it.
Tips to Stop Ruminating: Once you get stuck in a ruminating thought cycle, it can be hard to get out of it. If you do enter a cycle of such thoughts, it’s important to stop them as quickly as possible to prevent them from becoming more intense. (www.healthline.com)
Some suggest that it’s hard to not care; about people, about those we love, about the things that matter to us and about all the issues that have an impact on our life, good or bad.
In part, that’s correct. But I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t care, what I’m saying is be mindful about what it is that you’re ‘caring’ about.
Can your actions change outcomes? If not, ignore that which no longer matters in your life-planning. Only you can decide what matters to you and the remainder should be consigned to your f*ck-it bucket.
Another significant but common factor here is that too often; we fail to pause and take any time to try to understand why it is we think the way we do. Welcome to the concepts and theories of metacognition – the awareness and understanding of one’s own thought processes.
Metacognition is “cognition about cognition”, “thinking about thinking”, “knowing about knowing”, becoming “aware of one’s awareness” and higher-order thinking skills. (Wikipedia)
The way we think about issues and events often plays a significant role in the live’s of those who are impacted by addictive behaviours.
The continued and regular use of a substance (or activity) serves to develop different thought process, about any given set of circumstances, at least temporarily.
Often that addictive behaviour also serves to mask and/or ‘help’ us escape from thoughts around past trauma. Again, those ‘distorted’ thoughts, when under the influence of a substance, are in turn driving the choices we make about our actions that follow.
Studies show that metacognitive mechanisms… the thought processes underlying general vulnerability to addictive behaviours exists. They have also identified how metacognition plays a key-role in the maintenance of such behaviours and the escalation of craving. (Spada, M. M., et al 2015 – Metacognition in addictive behaviours).
You might find it hard to develop a metacognitive capability, to understand what you are thinking and why. The ‘science’ can be a little heavy or difficult to get your head around. But again and often, you can simplify the situation by carefully and mindfully using your own personal f*ck-it bucket.
By forgetting about the value of your bucket you run the risk of bouncing through life-like the ball in someone else’s pinball machine; continually bouncing off the kickers and slingshots of perceptions and expectations held by others. Battered by their flippers and bumpers that dictate your route following their traits and needs, as opposed to your own.
Their ‘life-game’ is different to yours but importantly, it is mostly irrelevant to your own personal and individual well-being. So why subject yourself to a playfield in the machine they are playing?
Epictetus, the Greek Stoic philosopher simply taught that… all external events are beyond our control; we should accept calmly and dispassionately whatever happens but, as individuals, we are still responsible for our own actions, which we should manage with self-discipline… and some planning!
- “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”
- “Make the best use of what is in your power, and take the rest as it happens.”
- “There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.”
The Magic of Not Giving a F*** | Sarah Knight | TEDxCoconutGrove: The bestselling author of The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck and Get Your Sh*t Together, Sarah Knight, outlines her “Not Sorry Method” to stop spending time you don’t have doing things you don’t want to do in her humorous talk.
Often we can benefit from thinking about What’s on our f*ck it list? Like many others after experiencing a ‘near death experience’, Scott C. Jones realised life doesn’t need a long list of wishful events but contain more simplicity. Jones suggests that we should “Never do things you don’t want to do, ever.” This is again perhaps a little simplistic however, there is an element of worth in what he says, that will help to improve your individual wellbeing.
When someone tries to fill my ears (and time) with noxious unimportant shite, I’m always reminded of the Australian musical comical troubadour Kevin ‘Bloody’ Wilson who succinctly, some would say flippantly, sums-up the process in his humours rendition of D.I.L.L.I.G.A.F.
If you’re one of those who suffers from the stress created by other people, perhaps you need to start looking at what actually matters… what do you really give a f*ck about?
But more importantly, how much of what doesn’t matter to you can easily be consigned to the underused F*ck-it Bucket.
Living a mentally healthy life is all about taking care of our own needs and not letting any one else step over our personal boundaries, whilst still remaining empathetic, compassionate and caring about others… it really can be done.
Get yourself a new shiny F*ck-It Bucket for 2019 and use it – Happy New Year!