Thinking Like a Broken Record


Recently, I have made a renewed commitment to simplify my life and make a determined effort to get my life in balance. All the demands that came along with writing a book, editing, and work deadlines coupled with the normal responsibilities of taking care of my family and homeschooling my little ones left me feeling like my life had become chaotic. The past couple of months, I’ve been purposeful to make needed changes in my life. I was so excited when my friend Salida contacted me about writing a new series for Time 2 $ave. You’ll be seeing more from Salida every other week in her new series all about life on purpose. I’m so excited, and can’t wait to dive in!

 

broken record thinking

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One of my favorite toys as a little girl was a red record player my parents bought from Sears. I had a stack of records and read-along books that kept me entertained for hours.  Now my little girls loves it when I get out my old toys for her to play with, and the red record player was an extra fun discovery for a kid with an ipod Touch.  However, we soon discovered that this fun old/new toy was not in the condition it once was. Soon into playing with it, the needle started getting stuck and playing the same few words over and over again. Years of neglect in hot storage ruined the needle and aged the records.

In my last post, I introduced you to the idea of working towards a whole and healthy you: mind, body, emotions, and spirit. Today, we will focus on the “mind” part of our whole selves.  On the last worksheet, you had the opportunity to reflect on where your thoughts are troubled—regrets about the past, worries about the future, or negative views of yourself. Much like that little red record player, our minds can get stuck telling us the same things over and over again, preventing us from moving forward with our lives.

What thoughts play through your mind like a broken record? Some that I have heard in my office are: I hate myself. I should be a better mom. I can’t do anything right. If anyone knew about my past, they wouldn’t love me. Everything has to be perfect. I’m so ashamed of who I am.

Thoughts like these can plague us and affect our emotions with feelings of depression and anxiety, our bodies with muscle tension and physical ailments, and our spirits by interfering with our relationship with God. Beth Moore, a renowned Christian author and teacher calls this “Stinkin’ Thinkin’”. Like years of neglect damaged the record player, this Stinkin’ Thinkin’ can damage our selves.

Every time those stinky thoughts creep into our minds, we can, with conscious effort, catch them and choose to think on healthier, true and realistic thoughts. But learning to replace old thoughts with new ones takes learning and practice. First, it is important to identify some of the “broken record” thoughts. Then it is helpful to label those thoughts in a way that identifies how they are unhealthy—what kind of “Stinkin’ Thinkin’” is it? The included worksheet for this post will help with this. Once we know what those unhealthy thoughts are, we can begin to replace them with more healthy and helpful thinking patterns. Last is practice, practice, practice. We don’t develop unhealthy thinking patterns overnight, and we will not master healthy ones in a day!

Every time the record player got stuck I heard, “MOMMY!” And I had to move the needle to the next song. We were both annoyed with this after a while, and the red record player has been set aside until I can find a new needle for it. Though I may never find a new needle for the old record player, there is hope for our unhealthy and unhelpful thoughts. We can, figuratively speaking, pick the needle up and move on to the next song of our lives. What will your song be?

Worksheet: broken-record-thinking
For more information about me or Summit Counseling Center. For information about scheduling a counseling appointment, call (423) 855-0402. I am also available to speak on a variety of topics for women and youth.

 

Salida Brooks, M.A. Licensed Professional Counselor and Mental Health Services Provider

Salida is an Independent Counselor at Summit Counseling Center, a ministry of Ridgedale Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee. She holds a Master of Arts degree from Liberty University. She is a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors and has experience treating depression and bipolar disorder, self-harming issues, anxiety, abuse, trauma issues, family and relationship struggles, low self-esteem, anger and aggression. Her primary focus in counseling is adolescents and women. Her passion is ministering to the hearts of hurting people through biblically-based counseling.

Salida is a frugal shopper and enjoys the challenge and satisfaction of couponing. She also enjoys sewing and other creative endeavors. Her great love is spending time with family and friends. Date nights with dinner and relaxing at home are a joy with her husband of 12 years, Craig. Cooking and shopping are her favorite activities with their 4 year-old little girl, Leah.

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