Honestly, Jonas, I am so grateful for the way you put this. I try. I really do. I suggest, to bummed out friends, that they try to find a trick, or a saying that will “stop their thought,” and take their minds away from the issue at hand. I encourage them to think about something, anything, else.
I see ruminating on misery (there are all forms of misery) as a form of addiction and admit that I have been in this state many times before. Now, I start to list all the ways I am happy and grateful for the things I have. Especially for, the skills I have acquired, in order to get through tough situations. Most of the time, I have the ability to enjoy the beauty that surrounds me (even when I am ill or flat broke) and if I cannot, then it is time that I take a trip, up through the ceiling fan!
I was not taught this lesson as a child. I was left to surmise and derive it by surviving many miserable experiences. I think the whole world would benefit if children were criticized less and taught to appreciate their uniqueness along with gratefulness for the most important things: no war zone, clean drinking water and air, a safe place to sleep and something to eat.
Trying to get people to “go somewhere else with their thoughts” instead of continually ruminating about the flotsam and jetsam of their miserable lives is not an easy task; many times I think my efforts are to no avail.
There is that saying, “Those who need advice cannot hear it until they no longer need that advice.” I am coming to the conclusion that listening to what I term “plight stories,” over and over again, adds to their veracity. The story is true to begin with but the storyteller cannot move beyond the current story if I just listen. I must give some other input in order to stop reinforcing the original story through my sympathetic listening. Not to say that listening is not valuable but years later, it is time to get through the fan.
Thank you for this ceiling fan image/analogy which I will apply to myself, if, and when, I get into what I call “hamster wheel thinking” or tautological thinking; I will mention the imagery to others; if they are able to hear it, it will possibly help.