Would you describe yourself as an analytical thinker; someone who keeps thinking endlessly about problems you have? I am. And if the problem is stressful it can cause both the head and heart to hurt so much as to create anxiety and depression.
For some several years now I’ve been able to regulate those thoughts so they don’t hurt so much when I continually ruminate over an issue.
Here are four questions to avoid if your head and heart hurt because of the stresses in your life:
The first is the ‘why’ question. Why did it happen? Why did they hurt me? Why isn’t God answering my prayer? Why did so-and-so get the job I wanted and not me? Why did my family member get cancer? The list goes on.
There’s no value in asking the ‘why’ questions of life. We might come up with our attribution as to the answer to the ‘why’ question, but there’s a good chance we’re not in the right galaxy. Just about every ‘why’ question is a mystery.
The second is the ‘when’ question. When will I get promoted? When will this pain cease? When will they start to treat me fairly? When will my life partner arrive on this scene? When will this arduous season be over? When will I get that cash settlement?
Like the ‘why’ questions, the ‘when’ questions are open-ended. Whenever we ask the ‘when’ question, we ought also to hold in tension the ‘if’ question. ‘When’ and ‘if’ go together. One is about certainty some time off, the other is about uncertainty or possibility some time off. ‘If’ stretches our hope too far, but ‘when’ we can deal with. But ‘when’ is tantalising when ‘if’ is equally applicable.
The third is the ‘what’ question. What does he or she want? What can I get for this thing? What will it take to win that job/contract/deal? Some ‘what’ questions can be answered through enquiry, but most of the time ‘what’ questions can only be known after the event, when all of what’s knowable is revealed.
The fourth is the ‘how’ question. How will I make it through to payday? How can I fix this thing? How am I going to be in two places at once? How does this thing work?
‘How’ is a problem-solving question. If we face something that’s basically impossible, fixating on ‘how’ will send us into exasperation.
Over-analysing problems gets us nowhere, so it’s best to not ask the ‘why’, ‘when’, ‘what’, or ‘how’ questions ad nauseam.
© 2016 S. J. Wickham.