By Dr. David B. Hawkins, Crosswalk.com
Did you ever have a parent who, when facing a problem, advised “Sleep on it. You’ll feel better in the morning.”
It’s good advice. Taking time away from a problem often helps your brain have the opportunity to reframe your situation in healthier ways. When you’re smack-dab in the middle of the muddle, things can look mighty bleak. But a break from the situation often helps you view things from a different and healthier angle.
I don’t know about you, but when facing a challenging problem I want to fix it NOW. I’m impatient. The problem is, many problems cannot be fixed now! Solutions to many problems are complex and take time to unravel.
Furthermore, there are times when our brains need a break from the strain of trying to fix a problem. Research shows that strenuous walking, exercise, doing art or engaging in other activities also help to get your brain—and emotions—out of a rut.
Another way to change our point of view is to pray. Notice what the prophet Isaiah had to say: “So my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your way, declares the Lord.” (Isaiah 55: 8) The Apostle Paul says, “So we fix our eyes on not what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4: 18)
Many couples coming to me for help are desperate for change. Yet, when I review with them what they have done to change their situation, many say, “We just keep doing the same things and getting the same results.” When pressed, indeed they are stuck in a rut, relating in the same ways and doing the same things. The results are, not surprisingly, disappointing.
So, let’s all break out of our ruts. Let’s gain a new perspective on your problems. Please consider these steps to changing your situation:
First, take a break from the problem.Yes, there are times when we must step away from a problem. Rather than thinking the same thoughts, ruminating about the same obstacles and feeling the same painful feelings, take a break. Our brains, body and emotions need a break.
Second, engage in different activities to engage other parts of your brain.In order to give our brains a break, we must do different things, see different sights and feel different feelings. This can be enhanced by different forms of exercise, artistic endeavors, talking to friends and sleep, to name a few. Consider what has helped you in the past gain a new perspective.
Third, write out how you have been viewing your problem.After you’ve had a change of scenery, write out your problem. Write out the specifics of your situation. What exactly is the problem? Have you gained enough information to evaluate what is really happening? Have you asked yourself difficult questions about why your situation is even a problem, when in fact it may not be?
Fourth, pray about your situation. Scripture tells us, “The prayers of a righteous man has great power to prevail.” (James 5: 16) Prayer is indeed powerful. Ask the Lord what is really going on and what might He have you do in this situation? What changes might He want for you in this phase of life?
Finally, brainstorm other possible solutions to your problem.Consider other possible solutions to your problem. What are some other outcomes than the one you want? A crisis is a great time to shake things up a bit. It’s an opportunity for great change. Seize this opportunity because positive change is more challenging when life slips back into normalcy.
Do you need a new perspective? Are you stuck in a rut? If you would like further help making changes in your life, we are here for you. Please send responses to me at [email protected] and read more about The Marriage Recovery Center on our website and learn about our Personal and Marriage Intensives as well as our newly formed Subscription Group, Thrive,for women struggling from emotional abuse.
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Dr. David Hawkins, MBA, MSW, MA, PhD, is a clinical psychologist who has helped bring healing to thousands of marriages and individuals since he began his work in 1976. Dr. Hawkins is passionate about working with couples in crisis and offering them ways of healing their wounds and finding their way back to being passionately in love with each other.
Over the past ten years, Dr. Hawkins has become a leader in the field of treatment for narcissism and emotional abuse within relationships. He has developed several programs for treatment of men dealing with these issues and the women who love them. Dr. Hawkins is also a speaker & trainer for the American Association of Christian Counselors and writes for Crosswalk.com, CBN.org, and iBelieve.com. He is a weekly guest on Moody Radio and Faith Radio and is a best-selling author of over thirty books.