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2021-04-23

Managing the Unknown: Reducing Rumination and Committing to your Goals

Our anxieties can not only get out of hand for us personally, but they also have the potential for complicating our social worlds when we interact with our friends and colleagues.
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Too many disorders have a common symptom: rumination, perseveration, and the greater experience of fear that disturbs our moments and may even evoke enough agitation to land us in the hospital. Our anxieties can not only get out of hand for us personally, but they also have the potential for complicating our social worlds when we interact with our friends and colleagues. Anxiety has an uncanny way of entering not only our life but the lives with touch in our everyday lives as if our mental health was a communicable disease.

Like most diseases that are viral, we have the power to prevent it from spreading from ourselves to those we interact with at the point of inception. Anxiety, fear, rumination can begin and end with us, if we choose to commit to goals and not let the ifs in life and unknowns fill our every day. It begins with goal-setting and ends when you’ve decided your dreams are worth fighting for anymore.

Choosing to adhere to our dreams and wants for ourselves and believing in the joy and peace of mind having what you want in life is not only a positive mindset, it’s a productive one that will allow you to cultivate the gains to you need to do accomplish your goals. Rumination, fears, and other anxieties are not only unproductive distractions, but they are unavoidable.

Fortunately, this unavoidable disruption is both manageable and can be an asset that drives your progress towards your goals forward. Identifying exactly what is that’s in what seems like a perpetual holding pattern, taking up unbearable and unwelcome mental energy is a great first step. Realizing that your rumination is just your fears of not reaching your goals manifest is an even further step in demystifying the disturbance and making it accessible to manage it effectively. By providing you with the insight you need to reduce the disturbances harm and prevent further harm from interfering with your achieving your goals is just another reason to stop you from worrying.

Knowing what’s going to stop you or what won’t let you think about what’s productive doesn’t mean you can’t make the disruption into another skill or technique to drive you forward in recovery and managing yourself in the manner that suits you attaining your goals.

Edited: Autumn Tompkins

About the Author

J. Peters

Max Guttman '08, MSW '12, is the owner of Recovery Now, a private mental health practice. Through his work as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, therapist and disability rights advocate, Max fights for those without a voice in various New York City care systems. He received a 2020 Bearcats of the Last Decade 10 Under 10 award from the Binghamton University Alumni Association.

Guttman treats clients with anxiety and depression, but specializes in issues related to psychosis or schizoaffective spectrum disorders. He frequently writes on his lived experiences with schizophrenia.

"I knew my illness was so complex that I’d need a professional understanding of its treatment to gain any real momentum in recovery," Guttman says. "After undergraduate school and the onset of my illness, I evaluated different graduate programs that could serve as a career and mechanism to guide and direct my self-care. After experiencing the helping hand of my social worker and therapist right after my 'break,' I chose social work education because of its robust skill set and foundation of knowledge I needed to heal and help others."

"In a world of increasing tragedy, we should help people learn from our lived experiences. My experience brings humility, authenticity and candidness to my practice. People genuinely appreciate candidness when it comes to their health and recovery. Humility provides space for mistakes and appraisal of progress. I thank my lived experience for contributing to a more egalitarian therapeutic experience for my clients."

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